Lights on, the show begins, the speakers are roaring, you can hear the drums set in and then you see them: the band rocks up, loud as always…
“Are you ready guys?” the singer screams to his audience. The music kicks in, headbanging. Long hair, up and down, up and down. So does the crowd. Long hair everywhere. Where we are? A metal concert, of course!
I could go on with this for quite a while. Probably also without telling you anything about what type of music show you are. You can tell just by the hairstyles I’m talking about.
There is a certainty about these music cliches. Metal band members have long hair, rappers wear caps, female pop artists have crazy hairstyles, male pop artists perform shirtless. There is some truth in all this, we all know that.
But why is that so? And can you actually tell someone’s music taste by their hair alone? Let’s have a closer look at the relation between hair and music!
First of, the Stereotypes
We have all been there and if we are to be honest, it was almost always correct. Myself, for example, I was sporting a great scene haircut when I was about 16. And guess what: this was exactly the music I was listening to as well.
And not only this. Before I went heavily into the emocore music, I was jamming to Linkin Park and was indeed copying Chester Bennington’s hairstyles.
So I’ve been there myself and so have you, probably. I knew a bunch of people that changed their hairstyles throughout the years accordingly to their music taste.
With punk comes the mohawk, with rap music come baseball caps and baggy jeans (at least during the good old times of Eminem), and so on.
Each music genre brings a certain style with it which young folks copy because the singers and artists are usually their role models. But why do these artists have these styles and haircuts accordingly?
Musical Role Models?
Essentially, some could argue with the role model effect of this. As a teenager, I wanted to look like Chester Bennington – so I copied his hair. Then I wanted to look like Travis Barker (from blink 182), so I copied his hair and so on.
They are role models to children and that’s why children will copy them and, of course, these stars had their own role models.
Music and Its Influence in Hairstyle Trends: A History
Let’s talk about rock music and its role in changing hair cuts, hairstyles, and hair trends throughout the years.
In 1964, The Beatles were the biggest thing ever, millions of girls wanted to date them and millions of boys wanted to be them. And suddenly, everyone was wearing their hairstyle – the so-called mop-top.
And so did other rock band members as well. Knowing that the girls loved this kind of haircut, they wanted to look as close as possible to their scene heroes.
Then hard rock and metal were born. Led Zeppelin and later Ozzy Osbourne came along sporting long hair and a heavy sound. It was a statement.
“Look at me I don’t care about what everyone else is saying. I’m loud and wild. Wild and long-haired.”
The 70s marked the clear start of the long hair era via heavy metal – look which is still very much in use up to this day.
It is not only a cliche of this music genre: it is its identity. Take headbanging: the longer the hair, the more impressive it looks.
The Punk Period
And then the punks came along. Essentially, this was an answer to the long-haired heavy musicians. We are loud, but we are different! So they needed something to divide themselves. So this genre went with short and spiky hairstyles.
As a side note: the punk style often features a mixture of business attire elements (like ties or jackets) mixed with colorful additions like bright colored socks or colored hair. So freaky and strange hair – one not seen below – topped their statement beautifully.
In the 80s, we had the glam rockers. Bands like The Cure, Van Halen, Motley Crue, etc. came along and combined punk with metal. And they also kind of combined the two hairstyles. Big hair – still long – but styled up with a lot of hairspray and gel for a spiky statement that said: Look at me!
The Emo Period
And then the era of the emos began. The emo look probably came along as a child of the glam rock scene. I myself sported such a look for several years.
It was still a “Look at me statement!” combined with a slight tone of “But please, actually don’t recognize me“. Bands like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, and so many others made this look big.
The lyrics of said bands were sad and meaningful and spoke out of a teenage heart. They wanted to show that they were hurting, and what better way of telling that than by hiding one eye behind some hair? A perfect statement that too many people are looking away.
Music Hairstyles Nowadays
After the big emo movement, it went surprisingly quiet. Most of the bands nowadays rock one of the above-mentioned hairstyles – respectively the one in their music niche, and so do their fans.
But it is surely just a matter of time until the next big thing comes along. Maybe the mumble rapper style will take over?
Well, I personally hope not.
Hair and Music: A Conclusion (?)
So long story short: the reason why most people in a certain genre rock the same hairstyles is easy to explain, in my opinion.
The biggest stars of the scene rock a style, people love them for their music and want to be like them. They are role models not only for their fans but also for other bands which then copy their style and their fans do the same and so on, and so forth.
So is there a connection between hair and music? Or is it only stereotyping? My opinion is already pretty out there and easy to tell, but what about you? Do you think there is a connection between music and hairstyle trends? Comment and let me know!