Archive for the ‘Pop moustaches’ Category

Great moustaches in rock: Ferry and Dylan

August 20th, 2009 7 comments


It”s true, we don”t normally think of Bryan Ferry”s upper lip as being follicularly ornamented. And if we did, we likely should want to banish the memory of the image into that remote password-protected folder buried in the operating system of our sub-conscious that produces what we hope to be infrequent nightmares. What was Bryan Ferry hoping to communicate with his “tache? A vain man, he must have believed his ineffectual snotbreaker added a certain je ne parlez français pas to his extravagant elegance.

And who of us with the powers of beard growth have not fancied ourselves with a moustache? Maybe a thin Clark Gable number to exude the confidence of a particularly manly man”s man? Perhaps a robust Freddy Mercury, protruding macho-like from a luxuriant overbite? Maybe a Ron Jeremy porntache to camouflage the sleazy curl of the lip? Or go the whole hog and grow a Lemmy horseshoe for good luck, hoping it will evade the facial warts that lend character to a booze-worn face.

giorgio_MoroderSome men, after a few razor-free weeks, might have in the process of removing the growth experimented with various temporary beard styles. First the goatee (for the geography teacher or communist icon look). Then applying razor to chin to create the Lemmy, noting with some embarrassment that our sense of symmetry is stunted when it comes to the art of barberism. So the jowlmask goes, but slowly, piece by piece, because we need to pay brief homage to the droopy “70s porn actor look as perfected by Italian producer Giorgio Moroder (pictured). Damn symmetry again.

And so we arrive at a probably uneven Mercury, tweaking here and there until we face the most abstruse question in all endeavours involving mucking around with overgrown stubble: shall the next step be the Clark Gable or the Hitler? If you are like me, you will pick the Hitler toothbrush look for pure comedy effect and “hilarious” photo opportunity (never to show that picture to anyone!). If you look like Clark Gable, you go for a Gable, naturally (after all, even Gable would have looked preposterous with a Hitler “tache).

And so it must have happened that Bryan Ferry, fancying himself a worldly lady magnet, arrived at his adventurous pencil moustache. Three years earlier, in 1973, he had been crooning These Foolish Things, a song from the Gable era. It made perfect sense to our favourite foxhunting, Tory-voting glam-rocker. “It does look dashing, innit,” he might have said to his appreciative reflection as he poured another bottle of extra-virgin olive oil over his hair, cheerfully fortified by the certainty that his moustachial judgment would attract universal admiration.


Alas, poor Ferry, for he was profoundly mistaken. From the moment the caterpillar whiskers made their public debut, they were derided as few moustaches ever had been. And how could it not be so? Sitting on Ferry”s face was not so much a moustache than a trail produced by an anorexic slug slithering along its ink-soaked ass in a state of tottery inebriation, holding on tenuously to the ridges of Ferry”s upper lip in an ultimately triumphant bid to stay on course. Bryan Ferry, so astute in matters sartorial chic, quickly realised that he looked like the mid-70s equivalent of a douchebag, and with steady hand applied the Wilkinson Sword to his lip.

Happily, Ferry failed to set a pervasive trend. Occasionally one popster or another would sport a pencil moustache (or, as Jimmy Buffett did, dream of growing one), perhaps in knowingly ironic homage to Ferry. Ron Mael, no doubt tormented by indecision in repeated experimental razor adventures, gave us both the Gable and the Hitler. But for the most part, Ferry abandoned a fashion before it could catch on. And then came Bob Dylan.


What in the name of Errol Flynn is it that Dylan is sporting on his upper lip, and to what good purpose does it exist? Is Bob trying to create something even more revolting than his voice? Is that slither of sparse thatch intended to mimic quizzical eyebrows? Is he trying to be Zorro, defender of all virtue and avenger of widows and protector of virgins? Look like your creepy paedo uncle? Compensate for his inability to grow exorbitant Edwardian walrus whiskers by going for something similarly absurd? Simulate the motion of windscreen wipers on a drizzly afternoon as he snarls this way and that? Fail pitifully in his desperate bid to emulate fellow Wilbury George Harrison in the book of shit moustaches? Prepare for a career in stand-up comedy in which fun follicles compensate for the absence of jokes (it”s an old trick)?

Cisco Houston, allegedly inspiring a superannuated Bob Dylan

Cisco Houston, allegedly inspiring a superannuated Bob Dylan

Dylan fans have spent much mental energy contemplating the mystery of Dylan”s “tache and its intrinsic profundity. One blogger in 2004 perhaps solved the mystery: Dylan is paying tribute to folk legend Cisco Houston, who bade this cruel world farewell just as young Bobby Zimmerman forsook the cold climes of Minnesota in favour of the hot scene of Greenwich Village”s folk cafés. If this is really so, then Dylan”s experiment in paying tribute through the medium of moustache is a bust. Should Dylan, a man in his 60s, be sincere in his desire to faithfully copy the stylings of his hero, he might want to consult Johnny Drama from the fine TV series Entourage, who revives the Cisco look with incontestable splendour.

Bob Dylan is a fan of Warren Smith”s rockabilly song Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache, recorded in 1957 for Sun Records. I won”t create a theory that it is that song which Dylan is paying tribute to (unless he drives a red Cadillac, in which case I claim credit for solving the great Dylan moustache mystery). I simply required a good reason to post that magnificent song.

And from Ferry, the musical equivalent of his moustache, a version of It’s My Party so boggling of mind that you may wonder whether Ferry had lost his when he passed it for inclusion on his 1973 album of covers, These Foolish Things. Ferry as the male Mrs Miller, with a wink and no mercy!

Giorgio Moroder, he of the porn moustache and rich line of disco production (Donna Summer!), released his From Here To Eternity album in 1977. With Kraftwerk, he is the co-inventor of the synthpop New Wave of the early 1980s, as the title track proves.


Warren Smith – A Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache.mp3
Bob Dylan – Idiot Wind.mp3
Cisco Houston – Passing Through.mp3
Bryan Ferry – It’s My Party.mp3
Giorgio Moroder – From Here To Eternity.mp3


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Great Moustaches in Rock: Orleans

March 10th, 2009 12 comments

I offer little new insight when I register that the 1970s was the acme of nightmare-inducing moustaches. Even James Brown got in on the act, managing in the process to look even more than ever like my sister-in-law”s former mother-in-law. After a long hiatus of Great Moustaches in Rock, we turn to the misadventures in hirsute stylings perpetrated by soft-rockers Orleans.


To our relief (or frustration, if you are looking for comedy), Orleans” moustachoid period was mercifully brief. Soon the tough thrashing monsters of soft rock (well, in comparison to David Gates” soggy Bread anyway) asserted their uncompromising masculinity with thatch all over their faces, doubtless taking the lead from the diminutive stud-muffin on the far left. Then division set in as two members realised the follicular folly of their comrades” ways and”¦oh, say it isn”t so”¦shaved! Or were the apostates in fact new members? I know little about the group, but scanning their covers, Orleans seemed to gain and shed members as rapidly Zsa Zsa Gabor”s nuptial turn-over.

And so Orleans appeared on the cover which has established them as legends in every worst-covers-of-all-time catalogue, an incongruous presence amid fundamentalist Christians, doll-killing maniacs and other assorted representatives of the psychotic recording artiste community. In most such anthologies, Orleans are the only outfit that actually sold records. Still The One remains a staple of “70s soft rock nostalgia, and that appeared on 1976″s notoriously sleeved Waking And Dreaming album.


I don”t think it”s a bad cover at all. It is a bit odd, that much is true. But what we have here are five guys who clearly like each others” company and are not self-conscious about exhibiting their closeness, the two chaps on the right especially. The reason why it is included in those amusing covers collections is not because some Orleans members have comedy fur on their heads, or because their torsos are nauseating, but because the photo looks “gay”. More cultured observers would invoke the terminology of “homoerotic”.

I think I”ve made the point before that the generalised use of that concept is homophobic. Of course, there is such a thing as homoerotism, but it cannot be applied indiscriminately. If one describes the Orleans cover as homoerotic, then one is ascribing all manner of meaning to a snapshot in time. Perhaps the chaps on the right are indeed gay. Perhaps they are heterosexual but not embarrassed to show affection towards other men. Perhaps they were horsing around. Perhaps comedy-beard dude in front is trying to move whispy-tache”s hand away. Certainly hairy dude in front seems to be puzzled at it all.

Whatever the context, the photo cannot be arbitrarily sexualised. And even if one does so, and even if some members of Orleans are gay, including it in funny-covers collections is an act of homophobia. Intentionally or not, it communicates that being gay, or giving rise to suspicions of homsexuality, is somehow hilarious, and that men who show affection for one another are likewise “hilariously” gay. That common prejudice and the resultant compulsion by most men to avoid demonstrations of affection towards other men lest they be thought of as being homosexual is such a great loss to humanity “” and reinforces anti-gay sentiments.

Of course, faced with such perceptions, the cover was ill-advised. Frontman John Hall once explained that the topless pic was entirely unplanned. The photo shoot had been going for a while when the photographer suggested our friends take their shirts off (you can”t see it, but they still have their trousers on). Obediently, they did; a few pics were taken, and two minutes later the five put their shirts back on. And of all the photos taken at the session, the record company chose that one for the cover. At least Orleans are not forgotten “” indeed, in some incarnation or other, they are still touring the nostalgia circuit.

Orleans – Dance With Me.mp3
Orleans – Still The One.mp3

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Great Moustaches in Rock: Dr Hook

August 21st, 2008 6 comments

Dr Hook once punned with prurient poise: “When you”re in love with a beautiful woman, it”s hard”. It is difficult to imagine that said beautiful woman would find it easy to relieve that rigidity when confronted with the explosion of ill-advised whiskers which served to detract from the occasional eyepatch and a calvary of tonsorial catastrophes. I suspect that even the promise of pants that get up and dance wouldn”t do the trick (or would it? Perhaps this blog”s four female readers can enlighten us).

The gala of lip thatch that was Dr Hook and the Medicine Show had a strange way with women. On Sylvia”s Mother, the Doctor (well, there is no Dr Hook, but in that agricultural festival of labiae hirsutus it might have been anyone) sobs as he begs the polite but impervious Mrs Apricot to put Sylvia on the phone. Contrary to popular interpretation, which sees Mrs Apricot as a malevolent trespasser in the affairs of the good but desolate Doctor and his oblivious subject of affection, I think she is being kind as she neglects to remind him of the restraining order which Sylvia ““ about to get happily married with a man whose weekly cuisine is not trapped on his upper lip ““ had taken out against her stalker. All ends happily, however, when we learn that the song was in fact a lampoon. Hurrah!

Indeed, our follically extravagant friends had a great line in satirical songs. Which is as much as you”d expect from a band which featured a Bill Bryson look-alike. Cover Of The Rolling Stone (or Cover Of The Radio Times, as it was retitled in Britain to ensure BBC airplay!) ““ written by the poet Shel Silverstein, who also wrote Johnny Cash”s A Boy Named Sue ““ set the template for the quirky self-deprecation now volunteered by the likes of Ben Folds, Barenaked Ladies or Weezer, with the asides from the other “tache merchants particularly droll (“I want to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone” sings the Doctor, “That”s a very, very good idea” a drawling sidekick commends). Of course, our bewhiskered heroes did make it to the cover of the Rolling Stone, albeit in diminished numbers. And even then, with uncharacteristic concern for public health, the magazine opted to represent Dr Hook by way of cartoon lest the sight of the real thing on newstands across the United States unleash mass gagging ““ and I don”t mean humour breaking out on the streets of America.

Apart from a commentary on rock ‘n roll’s hedonism, the whimsical conceit of the song was that Dr Hook and the Medicine Show looked nothing like a popular rock band. To this day it seem inexplicable that Dr Hook successfully circumvented the strictly enforced law that at least on member of a rock band must not be pig ugly (the law was lifted only in 1977 to allow Genesis entry into the USA after the departure of Peter Gabriel). They might have looked like a clump of hip-in-their-own-minds school teachers ““ English and Geography, probably ““ but they also looked as though excess consumption of the green stuff had left its deleterious mark. Dr Hook sang about that in I Got Stoned And I Missed It. Among the memories gone astray is having had sex with a virgin (yeah, right!). So it is an anti-drug song ““ the type your cool English/Geography teacher might introduce to illustrate the hazards of narcotics.

Over the time, Dr Hook lost their extended moniker and their lyrical quirk ““ puns about being hard aside ““ but created some decent if ingratiating pop. A few treacly MOR ballads aside, When You”re In Love”¦ is perhaps as close to disco country music ever got (or vice versa), and the toe-tapper Sexy Eyes could have been sung by Olivia Newton-John, Luther Vandross or Linda Ronstadt ““ but none of whom have ever found acclaim for the poetic stylings of their lip growth.

Dr Hook – When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman.mp3
Dr Hook – Sexy Eyes.mp3
Dr Hook – You Make My Pants Want To Get Up And Dance.mp3
Dr Hook & the Medicine Show – Cover Of The Rolling Stone.mp3
Dr Hook & the Medicine Show – Sylvia’s Mother.mp3

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Great Moustaches in Rock: Oates

July 8th, 2008 10 comments

The great pantheon of frightful and stupid moustaches is populated by hairy scary guys like these geniuses:

And then there was John Oates, modelling the porn school reject ‘tache with perm combo:

It must have been hard for Oates to play second banana to the King of the ’80s Mullet; harder yet if on the LP cover on which Hall & Oates went for the Agnetha and Anni-Frid look, the dude without the ‘tache looks the tougher guy.

There always was something slightly ridiculous about John Oates, lipgrowth and comedy perm aside. He was tiny next to Hall, and he had a need to strike axeman poses with his guitar when all we needed him to be was the other Righteous Brother. That seemed to be his destiny: the perennial sidekick. In Lisa Simpson’s dream Oates even took to the stage as part of a supergroup of “the other guys”, which also featured Art Garfunkel and Jim Messina. It was a bit unfair on Garfunkel and, especially, Messina (who was much more talented than Loggins). But Oates seemed to belong there; Daryl Hall was generally supposed to be the superior talent. Ah, but was he? Have you heard Hall’s solo records? They are crap (Edit: apparently not all crap; see comments). In particular that FIFA World Cup song he recorded. Proof that Oates was the indispensible ingredient in the Hall & Oates recipe, much as nutmeg is in Coca Cola? The poor man was terribly underrated. No wonder he’s staring down the bigger Daryl.

I’m delighted to note that Hall & Oates are now undergoing a critical rehabilitation. Even The Quietus, which can be heartlessly scathing in its critique, has recognised the genius of Hall & Oates. Better than I could, Adam Narkiwiecz expresses all I’d say on the subject. “H&A are up there with the greats,” Narkiewiecz rules, and he is damn right.

Here, then, are a few Hall & Oates songs. The version of Everytime You Go Away is from the live album with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks, though the two great Temptations don’t appear on that song. They are, however, represented on Out Of Touch, here as a live version from Live Aid (how brilliantly ’80s are those echo effects?). Your Kiss Is On My List, from the 1980 album that also yielded the original version of Everytime You Go Away, ranks among the duo’s finest moments of the ’80s, while the mid-’70s trilogy of She’s Gone, Sara Smile and Rich Girl serve as a potent reminder that Hall & Oates are essentially a ’70s group, and not the ’80s novelty act some appear to regard them as — usually because of Daryl’s hair and John’s moustache.

EDIT: Ooops, I uploaded the studio version instead of the Live Aid version of Out Of Touch. Below the Live Aid and the studio version. And to make amends, the Live Aid performance of Maneater. (Look out for the Live Aid special next week!)

Hall & Oates – Maneater (at Live Aid).mp3
Hall & Oates – Out Of Touch (at Live Aid).mp3
Hall & Oates – Everytime You Go Away (live).mp3
Hall & Oates – Sara Smile.mp3
Hall & Oates – Your Kiss Is On My List.mp3
Hall & Oates – Out Of Touch.mp3
Hall & Oates – She’s Gone.mp3
Hall & Oates – Rich Girl.mp3
Hall & Oates – Private Eyes.mp3

And do watch the video for She’s Gone. It is a comedy classic.

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Great Moustaches in Rock: James Brown

May 17th, 2008 No comments

After a post on Barry Manilow, I think we need to get the funk on! So let’s not worry ourselves about the fact that JB went through almost all of his very long career clean-shaven but recall the short period in the mid-70s when he sported a sub-pimp’s moustache (to compensate for his tatooed eyebrows, possibly).

Unlike some perpetrators of the ‘tache in rock, Brown quickly discovered that the caterpillar-lip looked silly, especially when combined with his middle-aged ladies’ coiffure. Tellingly, facial growth reappeared only in the one famous picture in which JB’s hair does not look like Aunt Agnes’ do:

Brown bore a striking resemblance to my sister-in-law’s ex-mother-in-law, whom we shall refer to as Mrs D. Indeed, when Brown sported his moustache, they looked virtually identical. Even in personality, they sometimes seemed like doppelgängers, for Mr Brown was known for some callous and poor behaviour. Keep those flaws, and subtract any bit of benevolence, charm and generosity in spirit Brown may have exhibited, and you have Mrs D. What James had in abundance, and Mrs D none, was talent.

Brown’s impact on modern music is undeniable. It was JB who introduced the idea of the ostentatious entourage (for best use ever of sidekicks on stage, witness the antics in this fantastic video), thereby paving the way for loads of people in the world of rap to obtain honest employment as paid Official Sycophant. Without JB’s moves, Michael Jackson might have stuck to the Jackson 5 dance routines, and there’d be no moonwalk. And JB’s blistering pre-fight entertainment distracted Appollo Reed so much that he ended up being killed by a Russian boxer, thereby paving the way for Rocky to win the Cold War.

Brown’s music was important, too. I’ve read that “Funky Drummer” is the most sampled track of all time, though to me Maceo Parker’s tenor sax is the star of the song. Brown could be a gospel-tinted shouter (Please, Please, Please), straight soul singer (1963’s Prisoner Of Love, Brown’s first pop hit, a 1930s song on which he sounds like a woman; It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World; the ubiquitous soul-funk of I Got You), and of course the Godfather of Funk (arguably Papa Got A Brandnew Bag in 1965 was the first real crossover funk hit); and helped along rap with spoken tracks such as the utterly stunning King Heroin (1971), which fed into the work of Gil Scott-Heron and the Funky Poets. It is puzzling then that Brown won one of his only two Grammys for a song which he didn’t even write, Dan Hartman’s Living In America.

With that, the part-time Republican Brown acquired a song which serves to symbolise the contradictions in the man’s message: the man who once raised his fist by declaring his blackness loudly and proudly was now singing a funky hymn to Reagan’s America “You might not be looking for the promised land, but you might find it anyway”. Ugh!

All songs deleted after Blogger DMCAed this post. All my posts featuring James Brown songs have been zapped that way. Well, JB has to live somehow…

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Great Moustaches in Rock: Village People

May 5th, 2008 2 comments

Apparently half, or at least two, of the Village People weren’t gay. One has to admire the putative heteros (with one exception) for not feeling threatened by a whole world thinking that they were homosexual at a time when same-sex orientations were obscured even by some of the most flamboyant exponents of camp, by force of rampant homophobia. In the late ’70s, Elton John would say he was bisexual, a position he has, I think, since departed from but which was nonetheless brave at the time. Freddie Mercury let his band’s name and, later, his moustache do the outing, but was careful to give his homophobic fans enough to defend their hero’s “honour” (everybody will have encountered Queen devotees primed to challenge you to an old-fashioned duel should you have dared as much as to hint at Mr Bulsara’s homosexuality. Some of them are still in denial).

The Village People sported a whole catalogue of facial horticulture, to the point of cliché, in a bid to assert their collective homosexuality. Take Leatherman’s droop-growth, carefully styled to assessorise his leather chaps and caps to evoke the stereotype of a San Francisco clone (you don’t hear the word clone anymore. Send in the clones!). His luxurious shrub is supposed to communicate that he’ll like a bit of rough in the hole (the club’s hole; your filthy mind!).

Cowboy’s ‘tache was less scary but still exquisitely gay. In the picture here, Randy Jones looks angry (to the apparent astonishment of Leatherman), but usually he wore a smile so open and engaging that quite conceivably he’d have stood with Gary Cooper in facing down the bad guys in High Noon (that would be Gary Cooper the dead actor, not Gary Cooper the “ex-gay” fellow who founded a Christian ministry to cure homosexuals from their “affliction”).

By comparison, Construction Worker’s moustache is rather unremarkable. To compensate for his mediocre snotabsorber, he camped it up even more furiously than the other villagers. Watch him: he prances this way, he strikes a macho-gay pose that way, he gurns in a show of rampant homosexuality. Construction guy David Hodo has not disclosed his sexual orientation, as is his right, but my guess is that he’s straight. As was, you guessed it, Leatherman (who died in 2002).

If you have concentrated, you will recall that I qualified my applause for straight Village People doing gay with a caveat. Leadsinger Victor Willis, the Cop (who, in a bitter twist of irony, has since had serious trouble with the law), left the group when he worked out that he was fronting a novelty gay act, with his objection centering on the latter attribute. None of the hits, he claimed, had a gay subtext. And with song titles such as Hot Cop, Macho Man, Action Man, Fireman, Milkshake and, for crying out loud, I’m A Cruiser, who could ever have thought so?

Of course, when Y.M.C.A. and In The Navy were hits, the gay subtext did sail straight over many people’s heads, such were the naive times. And that was the subversive beauty of the Village People. When the US Navy sought to use In The Navvy as a recruitment anthem, they really must have thought that the Village People were totally ungay, not a clue to be had. Willis — who was later married to the Crosby Show‘s Mrs Huxtable, incidentally — cannot have any such excuse as it was him who camped it up big time in the camp shanty with that line of being afraid of the water, and the nudge-nudge-wink-winking question: “Oh my goodness. What am I gonna do in a submarine?”

I presume the Young Men’s Christian Association was grateful for the publicity on the back of the Village People’s biggest hit. Oh yes, “you can hang out with all the boys” and “do whatever you feel” surely was a reference to good old-fashioned male camaraderie. I bet you won’t have Gary Cooper the “Ex-Gay” putting those lines on his pamphlets.

In presentation, the Village People were a manufactured novelty act, much like contemporaries Boney M, and their music was treated accordingly. As anybody who has ever listened to a whole Village People album will agree, much of the music was mediocre. But the good stuff has acquired a bad reputation it does not merit. At parties, people will invariably laugh when Y.M.C.A. plays, smear on the irony thickly as they perform the letters routine (as demonstrated here by the blasphemous troupe), and assure each other that this song is so stupid. It isn’t stupid at all; it’s a good pop song compromised only by overexposure.

Follow-up In The Navy is almost as catchy, and has a great line in wicked humour (the submarine gag never fails to make me laugh). Go West was good enough for the Pet Shop Boys to cover it without resort to “irony”. Can’t Stop The Music is often described as a so-bad-it’s-good job, which is simply untrue; it may be the group’s second-best song, after Go West. Even some non-hits rocked, such as the pre-HiNRG disco track Ready For the 80’s (greengrocer’s apostrophe notwithstanding).

The Village People had some extravagant moustaches and a handful of really great tunes. We forgive Bob Dylan a terrible line in ‘taches and a lot of disposable dirges. That is a good enough reason to stop doing the letters dance to Y.M.C.A., take Can’t Stop The Music seriously as great pop, and celebrate the Village People for enriching us by bringing homosexuality (real or feigned) into the cultural mainstream.

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Great Moustaches in Rock: David Crosby

May 2nd, 2008 6 comments

A site of Panini football stickers has highlighted some miscalculated experiments in hairgrowth among British football players in the mid-’80s. Check out drawn-on-with-cokey-tache boy Paul, Pablo Escobar, New Romantic Hitler, Old Surfer Hitler and REO Speedwagon Hitler.

These lads might have exhibited regrettable lines in moustaches, but they have also inspired a new series on this blog on the Great Moustaches in Rock. A series on the famous, iconic, noteworthy, amusing and weird moustaches in rock ought to kick off with David Crosby. Actually, it should start with Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer; the Spinal Tap bassist who gives a voice to — hi-diddly-ho — Ned Flanders, Mr Burns, Smithers, Principal Skinner and more). But I have no Spinal Tap music with which to demonstrate the special sound effects created by the rustlings of a rock ‘n’ roll snotstopper. But, hey, a pic will do:

Easy girls, easy! Please do wait for the main event: Mr David Crosby, whose follicular upper lip adventure has yet to end, possibly because all the drugs killed off that part of the brain responsible for good grooming judgment.

Not only that, but Crosby’s comedy ‘tache antics have finally got the better of his erstwhile sidekicks, who once exercised such admirable restraint in the facial growth department. Even Stephen Stills, once follicularly unadventurous and rocking the best sideburns in folk-rock (much better than Neil Young’s whiney-voiced, future Republican-voting matted bush of earhair) is pissing about with a supposedly age-defying grunge beard, while Graham Nash once whispy caterpillar growth has turned into a colonial Tory asshole centipede.

We may stare in contemplative wonderment at Crosby’s magnificent ‘tache, and perhaps derive amusement from imagining how David’s facial tanline would look if he were to shave it off. But let’s give our man credit for being party to some great music. He was a member of the Byrds, CS&N/CSN&Y, and released a solo album self-deprecatingly titled If I Could Only Remember My Name (it’s Von Cortland, buddy).

It is actually mean to poke fun at Crosby’s history of drug abuse: if we need an inspiring story of somebody who has climbed out of a big hole, David’s is not a terrible place to start. And you have to dig a dude who whacks off into a cup to make it possible that his lesbian friends can become parents.

But back to the music. In Crosby, Stills & Nash, David’s portfolio was the hippie stuff (Stills was the minister of love songs, Nash took care of the silly stuff, Young did the whiney stuff), such as Long Time Gone, Almost Cut My Hair (imagine Hendrix doing that song!), Deja Vu, and Guinevere.

Before that, David Crosby co-wrote the Byrd’s 1966 classic Eight Mile High (which gets a name check in American Pie), but fell out with his bandmates within a couple of years while recording The Notorious Byrd Brothers. His song Triad (about a love triangle, with the optimistic proposal of a threesome arrangement) was rejected for inclusion by the other Byrds, signalling Crosby’s departure. Triad appeared on a couple of live albums, and then, in its original form, as a bonus track on the remastered version of the Notorious Byrd Brothers album released a few years ago.

The Byrds – Eight Miles High.mp3
The Byrds – Triad.mp3
Crosby, Stills & Nash – Long Time Gone.mp3
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Almost Cut My Hair.mp3

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