If you expect to make the big time in the music biz, the only absolute requirement is raw musical talent. Haha, no -- that can totally be faked. What you really need, however, is a gimmick. Flavor Flav has his huge clocks, John Lennon had his trademark spectacles, each member of Nickelback is actually two shaved monkeys standing on top of each other in wigs and torn jeans, and so on.
But while we tend to think of these things as carefully crafted pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is a superstar's public image, the fact of the matter is that sometimes an iconic trademark came about less by design and more by necessity. For example ...
7Slash's Top Hat And Hair Is To Ward Off Stage Fright
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Slash's style hasn't really changed much in the last 30 years, because why the fuck would you change perfection? Just one look at the leather pants, curtain of curly hair, sunglasses, top hat, and positively perilous cigarette, and you know you're about to have your eardrums punctured and made sweet, sweet love to by a vintage Les Paul.
But have you ever noticed how Slash's signature look comes with the added benefit of completely covering his face? Hell, for the first three years of Guns N' Roses' existence, no one was really sure if Slash was human or some kind of sentient Chia Pet.
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You water it with heroin to make it grow.
And It's Actually Because:
Even though he grew up around famous people (his mother was a costume designer), Slash was surprisingly anxious about appearing in front of a crowd. That's obviously a pretty monumental hurdle for anyone who aspires to have "Rock God" printed on his business cards, so Slash needed a way to get past this crippling anxiety. And that's where the top hat comes in.
The reason you rarely see Slash without the hat is because it's his way of blocking out his stage fright. Whenever you see him onstage with the hat down low and his bushy coiffure covering the part of his face that the hat can't manage, odds are he's not doing it to look cool -- he's doing it so he doesn't have to see you. (Yes, you specifically.)
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"For all I know, you're Axl. So, just in case, fuck you."
It wasn't always the top hat. Slash sampled other styles early in his career before finding -- and stealing -- the top hat one fateful night in 1985. His "hide beneath the hat" method probably also came in handy for not having to see his mom naked with David Bowie again.
Who knew that Paradise City and Suffragette City had the same mayor?
And speaking of David Bowie's body parts ...
6David Bowie's Crazy Eyes Are The Result Of A Punch To The Face
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David Bowie has never stuck to one particular style for very long. One day he's a glam rocker, the next he's in a suit and tie, occasionally he's something called a "Ziggy Stardust," and still other times he's giving your childhood self pants-induced nightmares. But throughout each and every image transmogrification, there's one thing that remains (somewhat disturbingly) constant: those crazy-ass eyes.
One burns through your skull while the other inappropriately diddles your mom.
Commonly confused with heterochromia (a condition in which a person's eyes are two different colors), Bowie's eyes are actually both the very same mesmerizing shade of blue. They only appear different because one of his pupils is perpetually stuck in "No, officer, I haven't been smoking anything. Why do you ask?" mode.
And It's Actually Because:
It's very much unintentional, and it's all because of a girl ... well, and because Bowie is a bit of a dick.
Actually, way more than a bit.
See, while Bowie was hanging out with his friends George Underwood and Peter Frampton (yes, that Peter Frampton) back in high school, George scored a date with a girl that Bowie himself fancied. Taking an "all's fair in love and war" approach to the matter, Bowie told George that the girl was totally planning to stand him up. Every ounce of this story was bullshit, and it resulted in George being the one doing the standing up while the girl spent the entire evening tapping her foot and repeatedly glancing at her watch.
Feeling like a complete tool upon finding out, George went to confront Bowie, only to find him bragging about stealing George's girl. George hauled off and delivered a haymaker that would make Muhammad Ali nod in quiet admiration, granting Bowie a personal tour of the emergency room along with a permanently paralyzed left pupil.
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The Laughing Gnome laughs only at him.
Things ended well enough, however: George and Bowie made up, and Bowie considers the look a blessing in disguise. George even went on to design some of Bowie's most iconic album covers, possibly because Bowie's gimpy eye couldn't focus well enough for him to do it himself.