As Movember arrives once again, we take a look at how moustaches (the source of a musician’s power) have evolved in music…
Though poorly documented, moustaches have played a key role in the evolution of music as we know it. It may seem that there is no evidence of any kind to support this, but doubters may wish to refer to bands whose careers have had periods with or without mo’s (naming no names…) It seems that a ‘tache has a Samson-like effect on a musician’s ability.
It therefore stands to reason that, during the period of Movember, musicians should use this as an opportunity to be at the height of their musical powers. Get yourself sponsored, and you can even raise money for worthwhile men’s health charities, too.
To give you some inspiration, here is a guide to the evolution of musician’s moustaches.
Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Back in the late 19th century, one of the UK’s greatest ever composers was born. It stands to reason that he was also one of the greatest ever wearers of a mo’. Elgar’s muzzy really is something to behold. Luxurious, shaped, waxed- it’s as if all musical energy emanates from it. Something to think about the next time you listen to Enigma Variations…
Blind Boy Fuller (1907-1941)
The early blues scene was the melting pot of both music and moustache style. Though there were many notable examples (of both), special mention must go to North Carolina’s Blind Boy Fuller.
Aside from having a great name, his beautifully understated mo’ was, perhaps the beginning of an enduring style in musician’s moustaches (see Hendrix and Price, for example).
Charles Mingus – (1922-1979)
Charles Mingus’s reputation as a Jazz innovator is without question. Aside from being a pioneer on his chosen instrument (the double bass), his largely improvisational works were groundbreaking.
It could be said that his face reflected his musical approach, with a neatly trimmed mo’ akin to Blind Boy Fuller, but raising the bar with a slightly wilder goatee- employing ‘tradition’, but going ‘off-piste’ with it. Bravo, sir.
David Crosby (1941)
David Crosby is the owner of one of music’s most enduring (and biggest) moustaches. If you needed any evidence that a moustache was directly connected to musical ability- look no further. Crosby’s key involvement within The Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash and CPR, established him as a musical giant. His astonishing songwriting and vocal prowess are surely in no small part due to his mo’, which is akin to a beautiful eagle in flight…
Frank Zappa (1940-1993)
How important is Zappa’s mo’? Important enough that the Zappa estate has reputedly has trademarked his famous ‘tache and soul patch combo.
His music was groundbreaking- his face was groundbreaking. In fact, Zappa could barely help himself from going off on a pioneering tangent, whatever he did (even if that was naming his kids…!).
We’ve talked a lot here about how a mo’ imparts musical powers. Lemmy seems to suggest a host of other powers stem from a moustache, too. At the age of 67, the hard-living former Hawkwind and Motorhead band member has lived two lives in the same body.
And yet, he’s still touring, still playing, and looks in remarkably good shape for a man of his age with his lifestyle. Are moustaches the holy-grail?
Eugene Hutz (1972)
Perhaps suggesting that in music, even moustaches are subject to stylistic cycles, Gogol Bordello’s charismatic frontman, Eugene Hutz sports a muzzy reminiscent of Elgar’s (though perhaps with a slightly more flamboyant flourish…
Like many of the musicians here, Hutz’s mo is a great indicator of his musical approach: traditional, but with a very modern, rebellious twist. His music is often described as gypsy punk, incorporating his Roma musical ancestry with punk attitude.
The impressive handlebar with waxed ends is a perfect summation of this.
Feeling inspired yet? You should be- look a t these mo’s, and listen to the music! Moustaches are the thing your music needs, and you could even raise some money during Movember, too… 😉
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.