Friday, May 13, 2011

Who Started The U.K. 60's Moustache Craze?

It has been said that the so called "grenadier guards moustache look" that took Britain by storm was born on Boxing Day (December 26th) 1966 when Paul McCartney (in the company of Guinness heir Tara Browne) had an accident whilst tooling around Liverpool on a moped that resulted in a chipped tooth and a busted up lip.  Macca grew the moustache to cover the slightly unsightly scar and before long everyone in the British pop world sported one too from every one of The Beatles to their roadies and George Martin to even Mick Rowley from The Smoke (who looks like a young Tom Skerrit in the "Beat Beat Beat" clip below) to a young Francis Rossi from Status Quo.  However as you will note, one of these photos clearly predates Macca's famous look!

The original? Macca, January 1967

Freddie Mercury briefly joins The Kinks, but seriously Ray Davies sports a stash April 1967

Denny Laine Deram Records promo photo, Spring 1967

Steve Marriott onstage Blackheath, July 1967

Charlie Watts Manchester September 28, 1966 for a "Daily Mirror" photo shoot.

Carl Wayne of The Move, "Beat Instrumental" 1967

Mick Rowley of The Smoke, "Beat Beat Beat"

Francis Rossi of Status Quo 1968, Macca moustache and Steve Marriott barnett.


Anonymous said...

Ray Davies of all people grew the 'tache first out of all those pictured. His was grown in February 1966 during his infamous breakdown - Davies has said that he slept for a week and "woke up with a moustache" - and he decided to keep it for a short period... have seen one photo of him onstage with it and there were one or two photo sessions before he thankfully got rid of it.

Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts were next around August... were seen on all the publicity and promotion of "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby" but were gone by the time the next single came out in January 1967.

The Beatles first public appearance with the moustaches appears to be the TV interview outside Abbey Road shot on December 20th. Not been able to find the transmission date but when that was broadcast, that was the first time the public at large saw their new image. Whilst there is no doubt many would have grown because The Beatles were wearing them, Ray Davies and the Rolling Stones members had already started the ball rolling paving the way.

Big Beatles fan Syd Barrett then grew a moustache in January 1967 which lasted for that month only, probably influenced by The Beatles.

Paul got rid of it first, followed swiftly by John in June 1967, but Ringo and George retained theirs. Paul grew a beard at the end of 1968 and again in late 1969 and once more in 1971. He last sported a moustache in 1974/1975.

Jingle Jangle Mourning said...

I've always thought that Paulie looked rather smashing with that 'stache. However I'm grateful that Syd Barrett didn't keep his:

diskojoe said...

My theory on the origins of the moustache craze is that around that time in London(1966) the fashion craze was for Victorian/Edwardian clothing & bric & brac (such as Lord Kitchner's famous recruitment poster). An example was the Crimean War jacket that Jimi Hendrix wore. The urge to have facial hair like the old days to match the clothes probably followed.

Also, on Ray Davies' 'stach, I've read that he grew it after he had his nervous breakdown in '66. Brother Dave had a beard in the early '70s which was a "shock to the system" to quote P.G. Wodehouse

Smashingbird said...

I hadn't seen that pic of Marriott, I usually love a 'tache but oh Stevie nooo!

mndandy said...

The Kinks photo here actually dates from April '66!