. Old School Tees Blog

A Brief History of the Rising Popularity of Band Tees


Why did band tees get so popular, and why are they still popular to this day? See how they started, how they stuck around, and how they gained their value.

Band shirts are a staple in a wardrobe for any music fan. Buying a t-shirt at a concert brings back memories you'll remember each time you wear the shirt. Wearing a shirt from your favorite band helps to express your musical preferences and your devotion to the band.
Chances are if you're a music fan most of the shirts in your wardrobe are band merchandise.
You probably have vintage shirts, tees inherited from family, limited edition tees, and tees featuring album artwork from your favorite albums. But have you ever thought about the history of band shirts?
Read on and find out the amazing history of band tees and its rise to popularity.

The History of the T-Shirt

First, we need to discuss the history of the t-shirt. T-shirts weren't worn by themselves until the 1950's. Before that, the simple white t-shirt was worn undergarments.
T-shirts gained popularity when movie stars such as James Dean sported them. The simple t-shirt was seen as a fashion item, and men started wearing them alone rather than as undergarments.
As more t-shirts were worn, companies started to use t-shirt marketing as a form of advertisements.

Elvis and The Beatles

Not surprisingly, the first band tees printed were from the two biggest legends in rock n' roll: Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
In the late 1950's, a member of one of Elvis' fan clubs printed the first ever rock t-shirt for Elvis. When The Beatles started becoming a powerhouse band around 1964, their t-shirts started to print.
However, printing band t-shirts didn't become a cultural staple until the late 1960's.


70's Bands Make a Statement

During the 1970's, rock bands started to emerge. Bands such as Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Kiss began printing band tees. However, these were only printed in small quantities.
During this time, bands started touring and they needed an easy way for venues to identify crew. T-shirts were made specifically for this personnel.
Shirts made for fans were actually bootlegged shirts, made very cheaply and sold without the band's permission.
This trend continued in the 80's until more professional printing services became prevalent and licensing and copyright laws became more prevalent.


Winterland Productions

In 1968, rock producer Bill Graham formed Winterland Productions. This print shop was said to be 'the first concert t-shirt manufacturing company.'
Winterland Productions was also said to be the 'biggest, baddest, and coolest print shop' in the San Francisco Bay Area.
But Winterland Productions was actually the first professional printing shop that purchased rights to print band tees and the bands sold them.
Winterland Productions was named after the San Francisco concert venue, Winterland Ballroom, which was also owned by Graham.
Graham printed shirts from leading bands of the hippie movement, such as Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Big Brother and the Holding Company.


Common Band T-Shirt Designs, Styles, and Quality

Band tees are printed on 100% cotton. Most are black or white, even though it's becoming more common to print band shirts in additional colors.
At first, t-shirt styles were only offered in men's sizes and the sleeves were short-sleeve. As the trend grew more popular, more shirts started to be printed in women's, youth, and XXL+ sizes.
Band shirts are also offered in 3/4 sleeves, long sleeves, and hoodies.
Designs usually encompass a band's individual image. This could be an image of the whole band, which was common with The Ramones and Kiss.
Other band shirts feature one band member, such as AC/DC's classic image of guitarist Angus Young.
Other shirts simply feature the logo. This is common for bands such as Motorhead and Judas Priest.
Bands have also had a signature image or mascot. This includes the tongue-sticking-out image from The Rolling Stones, the 'ZOSO' image from Led Zeppelin, and the zombie 'Eddie' seen on all of Iron Maiden's merchandise.
Album artwork has also been printed on shirts to promote the album and sell merchandise.

Shirts by Genre

The band t-shirt revolution only grew because more bands started to emerge. With more bands came more genres and styles, and more band tees. Unique artwork and logos appeared, and more ways formed to wear band merchandise.

The Psychedelic/Hippie Movement

It was mentioned that Winterland Productions were amongst the first to print band tees, and focused on the hippie movement.
These designs featured intricate logos and designs featuring some of the leading bands during this era.
This was also the era when tie-dyeing your shirts were becoming popular. Because of this, the classic tie-dye shirt is a reflection of the hippie movement.
Major hippie events such as Woodstock Festival came out during this time. These band shirts were available at Woodstock Festival and other music events of the era.


Punk

Music became faster and angrier with punk. Bands such as The Ramones, The Clash, The Misfits, and Sex Pistols catapulted with a music movement that focused on anarchy and self-empowerment.
Everything about punk was DIY during this time. It was cheaper and more accessible to print patches, so bands opted to print their logos on patches instead of shirts. These patches were either sewn or pinned on jackets and shirts.

Metal

When heavy metal started to become a phenomenon, their band tees featured some of the craziest designs. This is due to heavy metal's darker imagery, but also the increase in technology with printing.
It became more common to print intricate designs such as album artwork and commissioning artists to draw unique designs. Even earlier heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath featured this kind of merchandise.
When British heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest became well-known, they printed their colorful and intricate art on their shirts.
This trend continued with the thrash movement; when Metallica and Megadeth reached popularity, their cover and song art was featured on merchandise.

Glam Metal

Glam metal and glam rock was a revolution for heavier music genres. These bands were broadcasted in the public eye, being played on radio and TV stations around the world.
Because of the fame and money, these bands were earning, they needed more marketing materials. This included band tees and specific designs that were trendy during this era.
Since these bands were constantly touring, tour shirts became popular during this time. These are shirts made specifically for a tour and feature the tour dates on the back of the shirt.
Bands such as Poison, Ratt, Warrant, and Motley Crue did well selling their merchandise.


Frankie Says Relax
In 1984, the song 'Relax' by Frankie Goes to Hollywood was banned by BBC Radio. The reason was sexually explicit lyrics.
So what does the band do? They design shirts in protest.
These iconic shirts only have 'Frankie Says Relax' printed in big, capital letters.
However, this shirt movement moved the song 'Relax' to the number 1 spot on the charts. The single received so much success, even though it was banned from one of the biggest radio stations.
What does this example prove? Two things: 1. Rock bands still persevere even with the interference of censorship and 2. Wearing expressive t-shirts truly makes a powerful statement.

Band T-Shirts Today

The vintage band t-shirts have exploded in popularity. You can see celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber sporting old-school band shirts, and see vintage-inspired designs in major retailers around the world.
But the band shirts still remain a staple amongst music fans. And there are a variety of reasons.
The major one if an industry reason -- the music industry is losing money. It first started with illegally downloading music, but now streaming services have made it impossible for labels to receive album sales.
The vinyl and cassette trends have emerged and help bands and their labels, but they can't solely rely on those sales.
Because of this, merchandise is more prevalent. Bands are printing more merchandise and selling it on tour. Online retailers have purchased rights to designs, print the merchandise, and sell it on their website.
Other merchandise has been created to help out music artists even further. Some of the pieces of merchandise include headphones and even barbeque sauce.
Selling band shirts isn't just for the industry professionals anymore. Old music fans are digging up their vintage band shirts and auctioning them off. Shirts from bands like The Clash have spiked up in price, up to $225.

Do You Appreciate Your Band Tees Even More?

Whether you get your band merchandise through a third-party retailer or from the band themselves, you truly appreciate your band shirts. Even when the design is faded from wear, your favorite band's shirt is still your first choice.
Band shirts have always been a major part of music history, and always will. So many people have a devotion to music, and they love expressing their musical views. The best way to do this is by wearing your favorite band shirts.
If you're looking for great band shirts, we have a wide selection in many different genres.





The Origins of Glam Rock- Today's History Lesson

Not to dredge up the year that was 2016 and memories of all of the pop-cultural icons that passed with it, but if we're going to talk glam rock, it would be far from complete without talking about David Bowie.

A quote from Rolling Stone magazine says this of the late musician:

"As was the case with Miles Davis in jazz, Bowie has come not just to represent his innovations but to symbolize modern rock as an idiom in which literacy, art, fashion, style, sexual exploration and social commentary can be rolled into one.”

That, my friends, is the essence of glam rock. And Bowie not only embraced it; he oozed it.

Even so, he cannot be credited with pioneering it. At least, not completely.

Before Bowie came on the scene, others were laying the fundamental groundwork for the burgeoning theater of the bizarre that would become glam rock.


Glam rock was its own cultural revolution.

Spawned as a reactionary movement to the years of peace-and-love hippie psychedelia on one end and progressive, highfalutin music on the other, glam rock was born of the need to make rock fun again.

It was also the ultimate mash-up.

Drawing from influences as far reaching as 1930s Hollywood glitz and glamour to the pre-war cabarets, Victorian literary styles to science fiction, glam rock returned to classic three-chord boogie with tribal beats but delivered it with a campy post-ironic androgyny.

Outrageous was the theme - from clothes to hairstyles, makeup to shoes. (Think platform-soled boots fashioned with live fish swimming in the heels.) And the music itself was shamelessly catchy,
drawing melodies from bubblegum pop and those hip-shaking rhythms from early rock.

And the music itself was shamelessly catchy, drawing melodies from bubblegum pop and those hip-shaking rhythms from early rock.

And it would set the stage, as it were, for the later punk, art-rock and power-pop movements.

The Beginnings of Glam Rock


Just to set the record straight: Glam rock is not to be confused with '80s hair metal - a distinction that's not always clear to American listeners.

Glam rock was a mostly British phenomenon that became hugely popular during the first half of the '70s and then declined quickly by the end of the '70s. (The '80s hair metal genre would later mutate from glam rock.)

It can be broken down into two main schools.

The most prevalent one was that led by T. Rex (a.k.a. Marc Bolan) who pioneered glam's fashion sense with unapologetically sexy, silly and "surface" music. Some of the artists that followed this aesthetic were Gary Glitter, Sweet, and Slade - thus creating a wholly British substyle known as Glitter.

The other school relied heavily on image and a deeply artistic aesthetic, demonstrated by artists like David Bowie and Roxy Music. This school was showy, dramatic and ambitious, in respect to both sound and lyrics.

For the second school, the outlandishness of glam rock was an opportunity for them to manipulate their personas while exploring the darkness lurking under the music's stylish, sparkly surface.

Meanwhile in America...


Glam rock wasn't as well received in the States, though one of the most prominent glam rock bands were the New York Dolls.

They had a raw sound more reminiscent of the Rolling Stones, but their outrageous aesthetic and transvestite wardrobe placed them firmly in the same camp as their brethren across the pond.

Here's a list of some of the music that epitomized the glam rock era:

1. "Ballroom Blitz," by Sweet


Some consider this the band that started it all, and this was their biggest stateside hit. (Tia Carrere did a cover in Wayne's World which should be noted does NOT qualify as glam rock.)

2. "Metal Guru," T. Rex


This is a two-chord wonder that is both an ode to a car and a girl.

3. "Suffragette City," David Bowie


This one is the most popular of his Ziggy Stardust anthems and possibly the tale of a gay man being tempted by a woman. The epitome of glam rock.

4. "Cum On Feel The Noize," Slade


We're not talking the Quiet Riot version here, y'all.

5. "All The Young Dudes," Mott The Hoople


This saved Mott's career. And while the band members were straight, this song was purportedly about the glam movement and was actually a gay pride anthem.

6. "Personality Crisis," The New York Dolls


This song established New York Rock as an enduring movement even after the death of the Velvet Underground.

7. "Do The Strand," Roxy Music


Roxy were the art-rock contigency of glam rock. Their style would later help them to birth Britain's New Romantic movement.

8. "Can The Can," Suzi Quatro


In her leather jumpsuit, Suzi was the female teen idol of glam rock.

9. "I'm The Leader Of The Gang," Gary Glitter


With his tribal style, Glitter helped begin glam with "Rock and Roll Parts 1 and 2."

10. "Be My Lover," Alice Cooper


Alice mingled in the glam, goth, and metal realms, but he definitely knew how to go full glitter on everyone.

Yeah, glam rock was freakin' awesome. But...

Only one woman?


You'd think with so much make-up, glitter and ruffles, Suzi Quatro wouldn't be the only female on the above list. Though she wasn't the singular glam rock female representative, the pickings were thin.

The effeminate nature and gender games of the glam rock aesthetic carried the appearance of messing with patriarchy. But it was a facade because in the early '70s, the patriarchy was still firmly in control. It was predominantly men getting glammed-up.

Glam rock would, however, influence future female musicians like Siouxsie Sioux, Grace Jones, and Annie Lennox who managed to make it work in the next decade.

And then the glitter faded. 



Though the glam rock movement didn't really emerge until 1972, it had already peaked creatively by 1974 was essentially on the downslide by 1975.

The artists that had dominated the movement were either moving away from the style or releasing subpar work that just didn't have the sparkle.

Glam rock inarguably influenced the British punk movement, and was an even bigger contributor to the theatrical sturm und drang of post-punk.

Finally, glam rock was pivotal to the development of '80s pop-metal. Interestingly enough, though, apart from Def Leppard, many of those American hair bands had scant knowledge of these glam bands.

Talk about ironic.

Do you have a favorite glam rock band? We'd love to hear about it.

The 10 Best T-Shirts to Make People Sing or Quote Movies

The graphic tee is nowhere near extinction. There's something about a good, comfy, and interesting graphic tee that's just so appealing.

Not only that but graphic tees are great conversation starters. But how can one pick the best graphic tee for starting a conversation without getting too cheesy or too out there?

We put together a list of the best t-shirts to wear in the new year to start pop culture conversations, make people sing, or make people quote popular films. What a great ice breaker!

Check out these 10 best t-shirts for starting conversations!


The 10 Best T-Shirts For Starting Pop Culture Conversation in 2017


Music and films are the best conversation starters. It's a good way to break the ice and see if you and
another person have something in common.

Let's look at five of the best t-shirts you can wear for each.


Music T-Shirts


Get people to sing when they see these awesome t-shirts!

Grateful Dead

You can't go wrong with a good old classic Grateful Dead tee.

This California-based rock band was known for their eclectic style that fused elements of country, folk, reggae, rock, and psychadelia together as well as their extensive performances. Active mostly through the sixties and seventies, the Grateful Dead left their mark on American music history.

They're known for their trademark rainbow teddy bears and lightning bolt emblazoned skulls, and there are a ton of variations of the band's logos.

David Bowie

The wound of David Bowie's passing is still fresh, but his music (as well as his legacy) will continue to live on for years to come.

Bowie was a prominent figure in the music world for over fifty years but is regarded particularly highly for his work in the seventies. Innovative, creative, and one-of-a-kind, we may never have an
artist like Bowie ever again.

Nirvana

If you were a teenager in the nineties, you probably owned at least one Nirvana tee. Luckily, there's still plenty of new and vintage Nirvana tee designs out there!

Nirvana was an American rock band formed by Kurt Cobain in the late eighties and rose to fame in the nineties. Kurt Cobain tragically died in 1994 at the age of 27 and Nirvana disbanded.

What remains is the innovative work of a band that transformed and manipulated the grunge genre of rock music that still holds power to this day. Give "Nevermind" a listen.

Joy Division

You've probably seen the iconic Joy Division "Unknown Pleasures" album cover art on many shirts. This design is incredibly popular, and if you haven't listened to this English rock band, you should.

Active through the seventies until the early nineties, Joy Division was considered the definitive post-punk band. Their music was often soaked in tragedy and despair, making them the quintessential "sad kid" band to listen to.

Well, sad kids grew up, and they'll probably have a good laugh at your shirt. You should also listen to "Unknown Pleasures" at least once if you haven't already.

The Beatles

The Beatles will never go out of style, and neither will their wearable merchandise.

The Beatles were an English rock band from Liverpool that formed in 1960 and built a musical empire that lasted ten years before the band's breakup.

There's just something about the Beatles-- they started out as an enormously popular pop culture phenomenon but grew into sophistication towards the end, making them almost an embodiment of 1960's counterculture. Historic, legendary, and still awesome to listen to today.


Movie T-Shirts


Get people to throw out their favorite quote with the best t-shirts that feature movies.

Star Wars

2016 was a big year for Star Wars. Rogue One came out this year and Carrie Fisher, who portrayed
Princess Leia in the film franchise, tragically passed away this year as well.
There's going to be a lot of Star Wars talk in the next year, so be ready with an awesome Star Wars t-shirt.

The Big Lebowski

This cheesy yet iconic cult classic is still a popular film to this day-- if you haven't seen it, you really should at least once.

If you're a fan of The Dude, be sure to rock a Big Lebowski shirt this year. It's one of the most quotable movies of all time.

Show off your love for our favorite lazy guy in a robe with a Big Lebowski t-shirt!

Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an iconic horror-musical known for its iconic logo- a pair of big red lips.

If you're a fan of Rocky Horror Picture Show or musicals in general, this is a good shirt to wear to weed out other musical fans. They won't be able to resist quoting the movie!

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters will always be cool. Who can forget the campy original 1984 spooky classic?
After the all-girl Ghostbusters reboot came out this year, there was a lot of buzz about the film and everyone seemed to have Ghostbusters fever for a while.

With rumors floating around about a possible sequel to the remake, there may be another wave of Ghostbusters fever in 2017 as well.

Cry-Baby

Get a little abstract with a t-shirt featuring this 1990 teen musical romantic comedy from director John Waters.

In the film, Johnny Depp portrays a teen rebel who falls in love with a "square" named Allison in 50s Baltimore. The film is ridiculous in the most John Waters way possible, and worth watching-- and wearing a Cry-Baby t-shirt.

Even though Cry-Baby isn't as well-known as the rest of the films on this list, it's definitely one of the most quotable.


Where Can I Get The Best Graphic T-Shirts?


There are tons of places to find niché shirts that feature our favorite quotes from movies and musicians. The best by far when it comes to price, quality, and sales is Old School Tees.

Not only do we carry a wide range of movie and music t-shirts, they also carry sports, television, and comic book t-shirts as well.


Get Graphic!


Was our guide to finding the best t-shirts for starting conversations about films and music helpful?

We'd love to hear what you think in the comments below!

Why Real Fanboys and Fangirls Choose Vintage Inspired Tees

Look in your closet - it’s a safe bet there’s probably at least one band tee lurking in there.

Band tees are a staple of almost everyone’s wardrobe.

You’ll find that they’re very personal purchases, often treasured until they’re tattered.

When you slip on your favorite tee, it just feels right. It makes you comfortable and confident and speaks volumes about your life.

Affordable reprints of vintage tees are taking the fashion world by storm these days.

Celebrities have been spotted mixing them with high fashion brand name clothing, and sales of graphic shirts are skyrocketing.

They’ve got a long history, too, and have been around for longer than you would imagine.
Bobby-soxers in the 40s were among the first to begin writing brand names on their jackets and sweaters.

From there, savvy bands, like The Beatles, jumped on this new trend and responded to fan’s needs.
The band tee became a staple of merch tables at concerts and has remained that way to this day.

While bands have moved beyond the simple tee shirt, some of their merchandise is utterly ridiculous.

Sure, there’s your standards stickers and posters, but BBQ sauce? Gummy skulls with USB drives in them? Records made with actual blood!?

You can’t beat a classic vintage tee - and with good reason.

Let’s do a deep dive into the how and why you need to rock this essential piece of fashion.


Friends In Fandom


Wearing a vintage tee is a great way to show the world what you’re into - and attracts like-minded people to you too!

Fandom is a complex, ever-growing animal.

Devotion to a band was once dismissed as just a phase teen girls went through, but through the years has grown in legitimacy.

Friendships are now forged on message boards and with mix tapes.

Barrels of ink and terabytes of data have been used to write about people’s favorite bands.

Take your passion out in the open by wearing a vintage tee and you’re sure to meet like-minded people.

What a great way to make friends and meet new people - and you’ve got it right in your closet!


How Guys Can Rock Vintage Tees


Dudes are kind of stuck with jeans and tee shirts, and while that’s a classic look, there are ways to mix it up.

We’re not talking full-on David Lee Roth with rhinestone neon leggings (although if you’ve got a Van Halen shirt to go with those, rock on!).

You can come up with different styles just by varying your vintage tee size.

Baggy styles are popular with guys in their 20s who want to look street-style cool with minimum effort. Pair an oversized vintage tee with skinny jeans and don’t be afraid to layer this look.

A true fit tee is probably the best and most versatile choice for most guys. Throw on your favorite jeans and your tee shirt and you’ve got a great everyday look, but you don’t be afraid to dress it up.

Pairing a vintage tee with slacks and a blazer plays with high-low concepts of fashion and brings a sense of edginess to a buttoned-up style.

For those that are at the gym without fail day in, day out, go with a smaller than usual tee to show off your hard work. Roll up the sleeves a bit to give everyone a front row seat to the gun show!


Ladies’ Looks With Vintage Tees


Vintage tees are an extremely flexible addition to any woman’s wardrobe.

They can be dressed up or down and go with practically anything.

For an ultra-casual day, borrow your boyfriend’s tee and throw on some leggings.

Is there anything comfier - or cuter?

If you’re going with the jeans and tee shirt look, play around with your accessories.

Rock a Guns N Roses tank top with cut off shorts, then add some strappy heels for an unexpected pairing. The 70s are back in a big way in the fashion world.

If you were wondering what to pair with the flares you see in the stores, go with vintage tees.

Just like in guys’ fashion, tees can dress up or down any occasion.

For daytime, tuck a vintage tee into a sweet circle skirt for an outfit that’s sure to turn heads during Sunday afternoon errands.

Going to a party? Sparkles and tee shirts are the perfect duo.

Add a vintage tee to a showy skirt, strap on glittery heels and throw a leather jacket over the whole deal for an edgy yet glamorous look.

Transform The Humble Tee Shirt


A tee on its own is a beautiful thing, but there are lots of fun tutorials that show you how to customize them and create your own style.

Consider taking a Wu-Tang tee and adding a feminine touch of lace to it. Keep it real and be a dainty princess all at the same time.

Want to rep your favorite metal band while you pump iron? Turn your vintage tee into a tank top.

Tees can go beyond your closet, too.

Be eco-conscious and badass by turning your shirt into a reusable grocery bag.

At night when The Sandman comes, grip a pillow made out of a vintage tee tight.

Don’t keep tees in the closet - bust them out for every occasion.


Why Vintage-Inspired Tees Are The Way To Go


With all the great acts that have come and gone, vintage tees are a hot commodity - and almost prohibitively expensive.

Authentic tees go for hundreds of dollars online, and do you really feel comfortable wearing them every day like you would a reprint?

While we would all love to have the real thing from back in the day, that’s not always possible.

You’ve been a true fan since the beginning but that doesn’t mean you have every piece of merch a band’s ever made.

Your best option is purchasing a vintage-inspired tee from Old School Tees.

They’ve got all your favorite bands, golden oldies from the heyday of graphic tees, and tees inspired by pop culture.

Check them out, and tell us which vintage tee holds a special place in your closet!

The Top 10 Rock Stars Who Were Also Fashion Icons

Fashion comes in many forms, but fashion mixed with rock and roll is especially interesting.

While much of what's "popular" is decided by haute couture designers and famous celebrities, there have been many icon musicians that were also fabulous fashionistas.

From Jimi Hendrix to David Bowie, we put together a list of ten of the best rock star fashion icons throughout modern history.

Get inspired by these ultimate fashion icons who also happened to be musicians!


Top Ten Rock Star Fashion Icons

These rock star fashion icons are still memorable and inspiring to this day.


Prince


The late beloved Prince wasn't just known for his sex appeal, redefining of masculinity, and expert guitar and singing skills. He's also known for being an incredible fashion icon.

The seventies were all about shirtless, masculine, buff male singers. Prince took this and flipped it upside down, making masculinity something that could be a little feminine, a bit androgynous, a lot of sexy.

From flashy sequins to bright fabrics to super tight pants to lace and blouses, Prince wasn't afraid to break boundaries.


David Bowie


Arguably the most iconic musician on this list for his looks, David Bowie manipulated aesthetics within his career often.

Bowie used his appearance as just another addition of his persona, along with music and performance. His look was so connected to everything he was-- something alien, gender-bending, dangerous, unusual, and beautiful.

Bowie is known for his avant-garde makeup, big red mullet, suspenders, platforms, and haute couture shapes within his fashion brand.

Even though he is gone, he is truly missed-- and his style along with his music will be remembered for ages to come.


Jimi Hendrix


We probably wouldn't have the modern popular silk blouse if it wasn't for psychedelic rock star fashion icon Jimi Hendrix.

From bell bottoms to interesting jumpsuits to embroidered vest, Jimi Hendrix made his mark on the fashion world with his unique brand of fashion. Though, realistically, he will be even more well known and legendary for being one of the greatest guitar players to have ever lived.

Like Prince, Hendrix was a fan of purple, as well as a generous amount of jewelry and headbands.


Debbie Harry


Blondie's frontwoman was known for her blonde locks, "screw you" attitude, and ability to make femininity something other than conventionally attractive.

Debbie Harry wasn't afraid to mix typically masculine things like leather pants or t-shirts with typically feminine items.

Debbie Harry was one of punk's biggest stars to make punk fashionable in her own way.


Cher


Known as "The Goddess of Pop", Cher is also the queen of elaborate stage costumes that kept us guessing each time-- a pre-Lady Gaga of her own time.

In her hippie days in Sonny & Cher, Cher was known for her long luscious hair, pinstripe pants, fringed vests, and headbands.

Post-Sonny & Cher, she branched out into more elaborate fashion, creating costumes with larger than life headpieces, sheer sequined bodysuits, thigh high boots, and humungous hair.

Cher has become slightly more modest in recent years, but at 70 years old, she's still got that fashionable eye.


Grace Jones


At 5 foot 9 inches, Grace Jones truly is larger than life. Her fashion legacy, too, is larger than life.
Starting out as a model, Grace Jones wasn't afraid to break conventional molds of what a "beautiful" woman should be. She was unapologetically dark-skinned in a time where black women were rarely seen as beautiful enough to strut the catwalk.

Moreso, she dressed her body in incredibly creative, outside the box ways, known for her groundbreaking rigid pantsuits, big hats, and hooded outfits.

Let's not forget the musical aspect of Miss Jones. She made albums across many genres including new wave, disco, electronica, funk, reggae, and dub.

One of the coolest things about Grace Jones is her attitude- she doesn't take herself way too seriously, and she wasn't afraid to present herself androgynously.


Madonna


You can't have a list of rock star fashion queens and kings without including the Queen of Pop Madonna.

Madonna was (and still is) one of those legendary pop musicians with instantly recognizable looks.

She's so connected with music and fashion that many modern big artists cite her as a major influence.

From club kid looks to thrift store outfits to her big hair and that cone bra, Madonna wasn't afraid to be as outlandish as possible while still maintaining a dangerous sort of sexiness.

She became more sophisticated as her career went on, opting for corsets and bodysuits and Victorian-bohemian looks.


The Sex Pistols


Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten were unintentional fashion icons, without a doubt.

The Sex Pistols are quintessential punk-- and when the average person thinks of what "punk" looks like, they often go right to the band's signature tight pants, leather jackets, torn shirts, and big spiky hair.

The Sex Pistols truly defined the "look" of punk for many decades, inspiring young punks and the punk music world for years to come.


James Brown


Funk doesn't get enough credit for the fashion trends it popularized in its prime. James Brown, of course, being at the top of the genre's fashion pyramid.

James Brown had his iconic look-- the well-tailored three piece suit. But as fashion started to move away from this rigid traditional male performer look, James Brown changed his style along with it.

Brown was brave in his fashion choices, which often included low-cut jumpsuits, sparkling jewel-covered coats, bright scarves, and velvet capes.

Brown's looks added an element of drama that complimented his beautiful voice.


Freddie Mercury


Most people will see a photo of one of Queen's Freddie Mercury's looks and immediately recognize the wearer. His outfits are incredibly iconic-- making the legendary man worthy of this list.

That thick mustache, those full white sleeveless suit, that yellow military jacket. There are so many looks of Mercury's that were fantastic.

He wasn't afraid to get strange, either. When performing in Queen, Mercury often worth capes, glittering body suits, and anything that could show off that chest. A bit bizarre for the time, but legendary nonetheless.

Think we missed some mega rock star fashion icons? Let us know!

The Top 10 Hair Bands of All Time

The 1980s are known for many different things, and rock n' roll almost tops the list.

The decade of decadence owned big hair, big voices, big sound, and was the pinnacle of rock star excess.

Some of the biggest and best rock stars of the era fall squarely into what are collectively known as "hair bands."

You've heard all the names, even if the genre might sound unfamiliar. Twisted Sister, Poison, Bon Jovi and the like rocked the decade with teased hair and glamor abundant.

There's always a debate when hair metal come up. The sunset strip produced so many bands that choosing the best always causes arguments.

That's why we're here. When you sell rock memorabilia, you tend to know your hair bands. We're counting down or picks for the top 10 hair bands of all time.

We're counting down or picks for the top 10 hair bands of all time.


Top 10 Hair Bands

#10: Warrant

Did somebody say Cherry Pie? Heavy metal rockers, Warrant, gained fame for their ballads "Heaven" and "Sometimes She Cries," but the band also knew how to shred an axe.

Coming straight out of Los Angeles' metal scene, Warrant is a shining example of big hair rising through the LA clubs to hit it big.

The Rainbow, Whiskey A GoGo and Viper Room were all part of Jani Lane and co's rise to superstardom.

Jani Lane especially was hair metal personified with a vocal range that could scream out the metal or sing you a lullaby.


#9: Cinderella

Cinderella grabs a spot on our list for rising to hair metal stardom far from the Los Angeles club scene.

In an era dominated by LA decadence, the rockers from Philly brought outside influence into the homogeneous metal scene.

The band certainly looked the part of hair metal. Flowing locks and glamor shot music videos cemented them firmly in the genre.

However, Cinderella brought an edgier sound than most hair bands. "Night Songs" was different enough to stand out and propel the Philly nobodies firmly into the MTV music video rotation.


#8: Whitesnake

Whitesnake is another band forged away from the LA club scene. The rockers got their start in England after former Deep Purple member, David Coverdale, moved towards a modern sound.

The band saw success in the early 1980s, drawing on their blues roots to establish a following. Their image then caught on enough that the Middlesbrough rockers procured an invite to the Monsters of Rock Festival in the UK.

Whitesnake's hair metal years came in the later eighties, which gave us the infamous Tawny Kitaen music video "Here I Go Again."

The band's ability to adapt wins them the number eight spot on our top 10 hair bands list.


#7 Bon Jovi

No hair metal list is complete without the inclusion of everyone's favorite rockers to hate, Bon Jovi.

Despite their, um, less than creative music, and willingness to embrace every cliche in the book, Bon Jovi ruled the eighties with the voice of an angle.

Their early hit, "Runaway" helped throw the band into superstardom. Offers to open for acts like Scorpions and Kiss started rolling in.

Big hair, a big voice, and countless screaming women help establish Bon Jovi as hair metal greats. After all, how many hair metal bands can you point to that still make music?


#6 Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister wasn't your average hair band. Oh, they had the hair, and the clothes, and even the sound, but the guys from Jersey also had agendas.

Dee Snider, the group's front man, was instrumental in fighting the PMRC's push to include warning labels on heavy metal albums.

Mr. Snider testified before the U.S. Senate in what went down as one of the most rock n' roll performances of all time.

Dee showed the world that rock n' roll was more than sex and drugs. His testimony blew away opponents with a mixture of real world experience and unexpected intelligence.

For this, and their music, Twisted Sister grabs our sixth spot.


#5 Quiet Riot

Quiet Riot marked the transition from Van Halen hard rock grit to glam rock. The LA-based rockers showed the world that big hair and metal could co-exist, which paved the way for thousands of hair metal bands to come.

The band saw early success thanks in part to lead guitarist, Randy Rhoads. Rhoads was so respected that he consistently ranks among the best axe men of all time.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck when Rhoads died in a plane crash. Quiet Riot soldiered on and eventually went on to record their hit single "Cum On Feel The Noise."

They earn our fifth spot for bridging the gap between new and old.


#4 RATT

If Quiet Riot paved the way, RATT finished the road. The Hollywood rockers were one of the first on the scene of the early eighties sunset strip.

Their rough sound, teased hair, and propensity for leather drew in club owners and helped make The Whiskey A Go Go and The Rainbow the "it places" for hair metal.

Strong singles like "Round and Round" and "Lay It Down" helped push the hard partying band into the spotlight.

Any band named after a rodent that can also drive women crazy deserves a spot on our top 10 hair bands list.


#3 Poison

Love em' or hate em' you can't think of hair bands with picturing Brett Michaels and co. The heavy makeup-wearing rockers blazed their way into the late eighties metal scene with good looks and better ballads.

"Nothin' But A Good Time", "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", "Unskinny Bop", and the list goes on and on. The band pumped out ten top 40 singles, and six top ten singles.

Musically, they owned the late eighties charts. Socially, well, they owned the sunset strip too. Rock bands attract women, but Poison might as well have owned a brothel.

Sex, drugs and rock n' roll embodied, these hair metal rockers earn an easy spot on our top 10 hair bands list.


#2 Motley Crue

There's not much about Motley Crue that hasn't been said, but we'll repeat it all anyway. The Crue was unlike any other eighties hair band.

They embodied excess, and not only destroyed themselves, but their fans as well. A Motley Crue concert was notoriously unpredictable, but sure to include onstage debauchery of all kinds.

Albums titled, "Girls, Girls, Girls" showcased the band's love for women, while songs like "Kickstart My Heart" chronicled band member Nikki Sixx's heroin overdose.

There wasn't anything about the Crue that wasn't full throttle. Glam and excess rolled into one, the true eighties hair band.


#1 Guns N' Roses

Guns N' Roses didn't just define hair metal, they defined a generation of rock n' roll that had lost its way.

The band started from a mashup of LA hair bands, Hollywood Rose and LA Guns, before forming into the original line-up.

Vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler, would shake the foundations of rock.

Their debut album, Appetite For Destruction, took the metal world by storm.

The hard-partying rockers held glam cred with frontman pretty boy Axl Rose, and gained hard rock fans with Slash holding down the axe.

Countless singles, whiskey bottles, coke lines, women, and heroin balloons later, and Guns N' Roses had conquered rock n' roll.

Are they real glam rock? It's debatable. But they are one of the best-selling, genre defining, hard rock bands of all time. Top 10 hair bands? Top ten bands period.

Now if they could only become friendly enough to tour again...

That wraps up our list. Hopefully you enjoyed our picks, (we know you're yelling about at least one already).

Make sure to check out our store to snag some t-shirts from the bands on our top 10 hair bands list.
Until next time, keep banging your head.

Like Mick's Mouth, the Rolling Stones Tongue is Iconic

Instantly recognizable, a good logo doesn't need words to tell you who it belongs to. A handful of such logos have come to define the 20th century - Apple, Nike, Starbucks, and the Rolling Stones tongue!

The Rolling Stones are certainly a legendary rock band, as well as a successful business. In 2013, they were worth more than $1.5 billion - including merchandise sales.

The tongue logo and the band are now inseparable. But where does that truly iconic logo actually come from?

Let's head back to 1971!

The Rolling Stones had been signed with Decca Records in the UK and London Records in the US since 1963.

But by 1971, they were ready to make a break and release their next album, Sticky Fingers, on their own label, Rolling Stones Records.

That split with Decca led to total creative control for both the band and their management. It was only a matter of time before they took a leap forward in both their music and packaging.

The cover of Sticky Fingers was designed by legendary Pop artist, Andy Warhol. Featuring a photograph of a male denim-clad crotch, it certainly stirred up controversy at the time.

Particularly since the zipper on the jeans was fully functional. You could pull it down to reveal his underwear.

To this day, no one knows the identity of the well-endowed model on the cover. But it certainly captured the public imagination.

The Sticky Fingers cover was voted "#1 Greatest Album Cover" of all time in VH1 in 2003.

We even carry it as a t-shirt design.

But some people have assumed that Warhol was also responsible for the Rolling Stones tongue.

That's partly because the logo made its appearance in the Sticky Fingers package.

While Warhol designed the outer sleeve, the tongue first appeared on the inner sleeve.


But Warhol didn't design the logo.

Unhappy with designs produced by Decca, the band had been looking for an art student to create designs for their 1970 European Tour poster.

They auditioned a range of artists from the Royal College of Art in London. There they discovered the work of John Pasche.

The band commissioned Pasche and Mick Jagger even turned up to see his final degree show. One of Pasche's designs was to be used by the band later.

His pastiche poster based on 1930s tourism adverts showed a real knack for graphic design.

Impressed by his work, Jagger also asked Pasche to design a logo for their new label. The logo would replace the previously rejected versions from Decca.

Originally, Jagger's thoughts revolved around the Hindu goddess Kali. Images of Kali, goddess of everlasting energy, show her with a large mouth and her tongue sticking out.

But Pasche worried that using Kali as inspiration might 'date' the image. After all, the Indian craze characterized the late 1960s. Pasche wanted something more current.

So he turned to an even more accessible source of inspiration. Mick Jagger himself.

Jagger is famous for his large lips and mouth, and by using them in the logo, Pasche distilled what the band was about into one image. He also captured their sexual provocation and reputation.

The Rolling Stones tongue also represented the band's stance against authority. While creating the logo, Pasche also made sure he chose a design that could be reproduced easily.

But he also chose a design that wouldn't age or date badly. Pasche was right, given the continued popularity of the band - and the logo.

And you can certainly enjoy the logo splashed across a high-quality t-shirt.


The Rolling Stones tongue was born

Pasche worked on the design himself and sent a basic version to Craig Braun at Marshall Chess. Braun's team refined it into the Rolling Stones tongue we recognize now.

One of the key reasons for the success of the Rolling Stones tongue is its recognizability. You don't need the name of the band to know whose logo you're looking at.

And legendary logo designer Paul Rand once said,
"The principal role of a logo is to identify, and simplicity is its means… Its effectiveness depends on distinctiveness, visibility, adaptability, memorability, universality, and timelessness."

Pasche's Rolling Stones tongue certainly meets all of those criteria. Merchandise saw it applied to all sorts of t-shirts and memorabilia - making it adaptable and distinctive.

At the time, Pasche received just £50 for the design. But 2 years later he received another £200 to recognize how successful the logo had been.

But that success wasn't without problems of its own. As late as 2013, the Rolling Stones sued a German jeans company that stole the logo and used it to sell clothing.

According to the lawsuit, the New Yorker Fashion company used the logo on posters and clothing tags. The band asked for $325,000 in settlement damages.

That's why all of our Rolling Stones t-shirts are fully licensed and official.


The legacy of the logo

The band eventually bought the copyright to the Rolling Stones tongue. In 2008, the V&A Museum in London bought the original artwork from Pasche for $92,500. Pasche still works as a freelance designer.

In 2008, the V&A Museum in London bought the original artwork from Pasche for $92,500. Pasche still works as a freelance designer.

In 2012, the Rolling Stones hired iconic illustrator Shepard Fairey to refresh the tongue logo. Fairey, the artist behind the Barack Obama 'Hope' posters, had previously collaborated with the band on the art for their 2011 album, SuperHeavy.

While Jagger wanted a logo for their 50th anniversary, Fairey insisted on keeping the tongue within his new design.

But the original logo has never really stopped flirting with controversy. In 2016, the Saatchi Gallery in London staged an exhibition about the Rolling Stones, called 'Exhibitionism'.

They tried to use the logo in adverts on the London Underground for the exhibition. Their ad team stuck the tongue on a photo of a woman's crotch, but the ads were banned until the team moved the logo to her navel.

Ever the exhibitionists, the band are still touring. They show no signs of slowing down as they head towards their 55th anniversary.

And their logo shows no signs of outstaying its welcome, either. Who knows where it'll appear next?
If you'd like to wear a slice of rock 'n roll history, then check out our range of Rolling Stones t-shirts now!

Here's the Story Behind the Pink Floyd Prism Graphic


You've probably seen the Pink Floyd prism graphic from the cover of "Dark Side of the Moon" hundreds of times in your life.

It's been featured on t-shirts, lunchboxes, backpacks and billboards. It's been parodied, reimagined, and redesigned, even by the graphic's creator for the 30th-anniversary re-release of the "Dark Side of the Moon."

In many ways, it's become more recognizable than the band's actual graphic logo.

The album itself has sold over 50 million copies worldwide and nearly 30 years after its release, it still holds the record for most weeks spent on Billboard's Top 200 album chart, at 736 weeks!

And even though it was only ten tracks long (many of them highly conceptual), it is consistently ranked as one of the best albums of all time.

As iconic as "Dark Side of the Moon" is as an album, even people who have never actually sat down to listen to it can point to the Pink Floyd prism and be able to tell you where it's from.

It doesn't have the band name, the album title, or any description. It doesn't even have a picture of the moon, and yet people will instinctively say "Dark Side of the Moon" when they see it.

So what's the story behind that simple, yet enduring design? If you've ever wondered about the person behind it, and how he created one of the world's most recognizable album covers, we've got the story here!


Storm Thorgerson

"Dark Side of the Moon" was Pink Floyd's eighth studio album and the seventh featuring album art by legendary graphic artist, Storm Thorgerson.

Thorgerson created some of the most iconic album art of the last five decades, working with over 100 different world-famous bands, and designing hundreds of album covers, none more memorable and recognizable than his art for "Dark Side of the Moon."

But Thorgerson was known and sought after for a very different style to what ended up being on the cover of "Dark Side of the Moon." He was primarily known for creating surrealist photographs and pictures and hadn't done any graphics prior to that album.

"Could We Not Have One of Your Funny Pictures?"

In fact, it was a conversation with Pink Floyd's keyboardist, Richard Wright, that led to the shift in style.

"Dark Side of the Moon" is a highly conceptual album, and quite different from the rest of Pink Floyd's discography. As such, Wright wanted the album cover to reflect that change and showcase something very different, something "smarter, neater, and more classy."

Storm told Rolling Stone in a 2011 interview that Wright approached him after he had listened to the album and said, "Storm, let's have a cool graphic on the cover. Could we not have one of your tatty, figurative pictures?"

Thorgerson explained to him that he did pictures, not graphics.

To which, Wright said, "How about a change? Something simple and bold. Why don't you try to see it as a challenge?"

According to Thorgerson, they took all of three minutes looking at the designs but were completely enamored with the prism, refusing to consider the others or hear any further explanation of the significance of the design before they were back in the studio to continue recording.

Guitarist, David Gilmour, said in a 2003 interview that he just thought the design was very commercial and would look great in a record shop window.

Gilmour and the other members of the band strongly disliked having photographs taken of themselves for album covers, because they ended up looking like "vague pictures of four lads bouncing in the countryside."

The Pink Floyd Prism

According to Thorgerson, there were two parts to his design of the Pink Floyd prism.

The first part was the light which passes through the left side and turns into a rainbow spectrum of light from the right side.

Thorgerson used this aspect to relate to the psychedelic laser light shows that Pink Floyd was famous for at their live concerts.

According to Thorgerson, they hadn't really had a way to celebrate their elaborate light shows outside of their live concerts up to this point, and it was something he always enjoyed about their performances.

The second part of the Pink Floyd prism design was the prism itself, the triangle. Thorgerson said that the triangle is a symbol of thought and ambition, which was very much representative of Roger Waters' lyrics for the album.

The combination of the two concepts was very representative of Pink Floyd as a whole, combining the symbolic icon for thoughtful and ambitious lyrics with a representation of the psychedelic sounds and visuals that the band was known for.

The Super Hero Version

Thorgerson's original design for the cover was very different. Though no remaining copies exist of his original drawings, Thorgerson initially wanted to the album cover to feature a photographic version of Marvel Comics' "Silver Surfer" in front of a multi-tiered ocean wave.

This design, he says, was very representative of the fans and their relationship with the band. But his conceptual drawings were turned down, and the band was given seven different possible designs instead.

All four members of the band unanimously agreed that the prism design was the best by far.
Would the world have been as obsessed with the album nearly as much if it had featured a silver-painted man on a surfboard instead of the prism and rainbow?

Thankfully, the band made sure we'd never have to know the answer to that question.


Conclusion

Sometimes the concept of a design just comes together naturally and fires on all cylinders. For Storm Thorgerson and Pink Floyd, that was the "Dark Side of the Moon" album cover art.

Conceptually, it's a perfect representation of the music of Pink Floyd at its most basic level. It hits the notes of progressive rock and psychedelic visuals while remaining simple and bold.


But it is also symbolic of the thoughtful and ambitious production of the music and lyrics, especially for "Dark Side of the Moon."

Black Sabbath "Last Tour"

Fans are not sure that if this is the real deal or not. Black Sabbath announced their last tour ever for 2016-17. This tour is called "Black Sabbath Farewell Tour" or "The END Tour" and it's said to be the end of Black Sabbath touring for good. Fans have been making sure they get tickets while they can to see the  legends for one last time. Even though it was said to be the last tour there were some talk after that make it sound like some of the members are still willing to tour. We will see what the future brings. Ozzy stated that he wants to keep tour with his project. So this will not be the end of Ozzy's touring career. As for Black Sabbath we are pretty sure this is it for seeing them live.

Rumors have people wonder if Tony Iommi's health is at risk and that may be the reason for not touring anymore but he dismissed this rumor quickly. He was diagnosed with lymphoma back in 2012. He was able to fight lymphoma and get treatment. He says he is still scared it may come back.

We are all happy to celebrate the many years of Sabbath now with our selection of Black Sabbath t-shirts here at Old School Tees! We hope you enjoy the last concert and rock out!

Go get your tickets guys! http://www.ticketmaster.com/Black-Sabbath-tickets/artist/734569


Black Sabbath Wear At OLD SCHOOL TEES



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