Movember: Rock’s Top Ten Greatest Moustaches of the Eighties


Derek Smalls. Almost as ludicrous a moustache as the ones worn by The Darkness

What are the Greatest Moustaches in Rock?

November has become a slightly frightening time of year for men everywhere. A very worthy campaign has swept the nation in the last few years encouraging people to grow hair on the upper slopes of their faces during the month to help raise awareness and highlight the fight against prostate and testicular cancer. I am a big fan of this Movember campaign and have willingly paid over large spadefuls of cash to willing volunteers who appear keen to look ridiculous.

Of course I draw the line at actually growing one myself. London is now littered with the most dreadful looking Sergeant Major types of facial graffiti and it is quite disconcerting. I find myself giving these charitable types reproachful looks similar to those given to me by ants when I approach them with the ant-powder.

I thus see Movember more as a spectator sport. I look stupid enough without actually contributing to my own downfall and am determined to remain less hirsute than these selfless individuals who are so willing to lay down their self respect for people with such serious illnesses.

A recent comment thread on Every Record Tells A Story veered away from the topic in hand (Black Sabbath) and towards Tony Iommi‘s own moustache, which is as luxurious a growth as ever appeared on a man’s upper lip.

The seventies were of course quite an unpleasant time for dislikers of hairy faces, with hardly a band around that didn’t think they looked rather natty sporting these hideous slug-like lip-accompaniments.

Thankfully, punk came along and swept away all the hippies for a while and thus the eighties were pretty clear of the ‘tache. A few staunch supporters still clung on to the look however, like Voldemort’s death-eaters waiting for the right time to unleash hell across the world again.

Let’s take a look at these Eighties anti-heroes and affronters of good taste:


Siegfried? Or Roy?

1. Rudolph Schenker from The Scorpions

Well – there is the slight excuse of being German in his defence. I think this was still a fashionable look in Lower Saxony in 1987. And probably Upper and Middle Saxony too. It just went out of fashion in the rest of the world in 1887. Unless your name was either Siegfried or Roy.


Claude (2nd left) towers over Dio. (Claude was five feet tall…). Probably.

2. Claude Schnell of Dio

See explanation above. One of the more unpleasant things you’ll ever see outside of a nightmare. Even one featuring one of Dio’s dragons or demons in it.

mustache hitler

You have to admire his absolute nerve…

3. Ron Mael from Sparks

On his face is “A dark stain like mulligatawny soup” as Wodehouse once put it.  You thought a Hitler moustache would be a good look? Really? At what meeting was that decided? (I know this was the seventies, but it’s one of a kind – and hadn’t been removed by 1980…)


Is that Derek Smalls at the back? No – it’s Frankie Poullain of The Darkness (left)

4. Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap (see picture at top of page)

A joke moustache in a joke band. See also The Darkness. Even before Hawkins’ own effort, Frankie Poullain – the bass player – had styled himself deliberately on Smalls himself. That’s life imitating art imitating life. Imitating an idiot.


Dave Holland is the ludicrous looking one. Sorry – let’s narrow that down – on the left.

5. Dave Holland of Judas Priest

You would have thought that having a gay guy in the band would have improved their dress sense. But no, Mr Holland was determined that this lip-fungus should make himself look especially dreadful.


Scott is the ludicrous looking one – did I do that joke already? – on the right…

6. Scott Columbus of Manowar

Mr Columbus clearly didn’t feel that dressing in a loin cloth and leather chaps was ridiculous enough. “It’s ludicrous – but is it really fruit-loopy enough?” I hear him say. “What this look needs is a fuzzy caterpillar crawling across my face”.


All over him like a rash. The moustache that is…

7. Lee Aaron‘s guitarist John Albini

No, me neither. Better than Lee Aaron having a moustache, we can only assume he woke up one morning, took a look in the mirror and realised that when you have a face like that, a furry growth in the middle does ease the strain for the onlooker…

Interesting moustache fact: According to Hoare’s Short Italian Dictionary, the word Baffona is Italian for “Woman with not unpleasing moustache”.

mustache motorhead

8. Lemmy.

Perhaps doesn’t count on this list, on the basis that it existed in the sixties, and remains to this day – and I’m not going to argue with the legend that is Lemmy. See also Ted Nugent – albeit I won’t argue with Ted not because he’s a legend, but rather that a) he’s a nutter and b) he’s a better shot than me.

moustache mustache

Kirk’s moustache was like Lars Ulrich.
Not all there.

9. Kirk Hammett of Metallica

Kirk’s loathsome “bum-fluff” moustache always struggled to establish itself, and was eventually blown away by a mild gust of wind in 2004. It re-grew, and Kirk then resembled Zorro.


Freddie wears the moustache crown…

10. Freddie Mercury

He fronted a band called Queen and had a bushy ‘tache. And yet it was still a shock when he came out…

Did we miss any?

(Thanks to mikeladano and Heavy Metal Overload for the moustache suggestions)

Record #120: Beck – Devil’s Haircut

Categories: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal

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57 replies

  1. SUPER huge points for including John Albini. I never would have guessed anybody would remember him. (He shaved it off by the time they did Bodyrock anyway, but I only remember him as “that Iommi looking guy”.)

    Great list. Much enjoyable. (Nice translation too!)


  2. The look is so goofy I kinda like it (not that any of these men are remotely attractive to me! LOL!)

    There was ONE guy who actually looked hot with the mustache. That was Grant Show when he was in a very short lived series called “Swingtown” three summers ago, which took place in the 1970s. And I must admit Nick Cave looks pretty cool too.


  3. You had me at “Derek Smalls.” Glad that Freddie Mercury made the list, too.

    This post made me laugh and recall my own about the best beards in rock. Ah, No Shave November…what did we do before you?


  4. Haha this was great fun! I can’t think of any more to add. Good call on Ron Mael and I had never heard of John Albini but, hey, the ‘tache and guitar combo seems to have turned him into a babe magnet if that photo is anything to go by! I appreciate she’s the singer but that body language doesn’t fool me.

    Especially liked your description of Kirk Hammett’s moustache too. And I love the new design of your blog, it look fantastic!


  5. Great post, there are some really meaty taches in here!


  6. Some of the members of Molly Hatchet had some pretty good taches too


  7. Love this list and the accompanying photos. How about honorable mention to Tony Iommi (if only for the cover of “Seventh Star”) and Jon Lord (I believe his monstrous moustache still appeared during Deep Purple’s Mach II reunion in the ’80s)? Gotta give love to the originators.


  8. Dio era Sabbath. You Had Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice. Now that’s what I call ‘Tache Metal!


  9. Oh yes. I almost forgot. The guvnor of taches. Frank Zappa


  10. “Did we miss any?”

    Three really obvious misses. Really obvious. First, all 4 Beatles (counting all 4 as one miss). OK, they had them in the 1960s. Second, Neil Peart—not just a moustache, but one even curled up a bit. AND a kimono. Third, Nick Mason, who made the handlebar acceptable in prog rock. (Note that for a while, Rick Wright also had the Mason handlebar ‘tache, and for a while both had full beards before going to the clean-shaven look.) Honorable mention: Ian Anderson, who around 1975 or 1976 briefly had no full beard but just ‘tache and sideburns. (He now sports a ‘tache and large goatee, rather like Lenin.)

    Hhmmm….My four favourite bands, for a long time, have been the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Rush and Jethro Tull. What does that mean? (Personally, I’ve always had a full beard, of varying length.)

    What about Ritchie Blackmore? He does have the musketeer ‘tache. (By the way, his youngest son is named Rory Dartagnon.)

    And, of course, the Scorpions aren’t from Bavaria but rather from Lower Saxony.


    • When I was growing up, I was always told ‘just because you have hair round your mouth, don’t talk like a c***’ It was the seventies. Nanny could be pretty vulgar. But I think that’s saved me from ever growing a lip wig and matching chin rug. Even though I’ve just had a lump scanned on my left testicle, it wasn’t due to the awareness created by celebs sporting scary ‘tashes. (Michael Owen looked like a mexican bandit on MOTD2 last night.) If anything it was due to playing with myself whilst watching posts of Lee Aaron. How about instead of having Movember next year, we have Becember, where sexy women are encouraged to dress scantily whilst sporting some sort of novelty-trimmed beaver?
      This would go much further in helping the nation’s testicles. And lets face it, sperm counts ARE falling. I think it’s about time women did something for us apart from busting our balls!
      David Cameron
      Prime Mingester.


    • Ha ha! I thought someone might pull me up on my German geography! Thank you for doing so.
      I did cunningly put the word “eighties” in the title of this post in order to focus a little – so whilst all your suggestions are excellent ones, I’m not sure any of those moustaches survived the rise to power of Margaret Thatcher.
      PS I think you might be psychic – I have just written something about the names of famous people’s children, so hold that thought about Blackmore.
      PPS Not sure what any of this means. Do you prefer the music of Rush when they had facial hair or no facial hair?


      • OK, all my examples were gone by the 80s, except the drummer from Cheap Trick.

        Except for Moving Pictures, the best Rush is when Peart had his moustache. The others haven’t had facial hair, except for Geddy Lee’s “soul patch” (Zappa beard without the ‘tache) recently. (Peart has also had a full beard at some times in the last 20 years or so.)

        I can’t hold the thought on Blackmore since it’s already out there. He has two children with his current wife, Autumn Esmerelda and Rory Dartagnon. Of course Dartagnon is a nod to his love of the Renaissance, including the fashion. Rory might be a nod to Rory Gallagher, I don’t know. These are both small children from his young wife. He also has a son who is several decades older.

        Mick Box of Uriah Heep has a son named Romeo.


      • I have amended the post to reflect your better understanding of German geography….
        Sounds as though, to your ears perhaps – like the in the story of Samson and Delilah – some of Peart’s powers were lessened when he cut off his ‘tache…?


  11. What about the drummer from Cheap Trick? Also smoked a pipe while playing drums?

    The Doobie Brothers? Should we go there?


  12. How about Greg Norton from Husker Du? That was a perfectly sculptured work of art he had there, complete with curled-up ends. It was like the sort of thing you’d get in a Christmas cracker.


    • Nice description! I only recently discovered Husker Du (Turn On The News is amazing) but then we couldn’t all like Husker Du and the Smiths in the eighties – I liked Def Leppard…
      Until now I didn’t know what they looked like. Looking Greg Norton up on Google images reveals a proper waxed number. Extraordinary that a cool indie band felt it was okay for one of their number to resemble a sergeant major…


      • Yeah, I realised that Husker Du were a little different to the rest of your list, but Greg’s muzzie is a terrific specimen. They were all pretty unique characters in the band. After they split up, Greg left the music biz and ran a restaurant for many years.


      • You’re right – it’s very special. I can understand his opening a restaurant. The ‘tache makes him look like a haughty maitre d…


  13. With Push, I have to vote for Greg Norton’s buccaneer moustache. I’m not sure he’s still running the restaurant in Red Wing but ate there once when he did. I think the moustache sadly may have been gone by then but it was a beauty in its heyday.


  14. This just in….

    This magnificent soup strainer belonged to singer Michael Sadler of Canadian pomp rockers Saga.

    Sadly, today he’s bald of head and snot carpet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! That’s an excellent description and a magnificent specimen on display. Mr Sadler is showing good skills there…


      • Just like what has been suggested with Neil above, some people say Saga was never the same after Michael shaved off his moustache. However, I see him having a bit of a grey beard on most recent photos. Saga are still a great live band, by the way.

        Status Quo’s Alan Lancaster had one during the band’s heaviest days too (I think Spinal Tap were partially based on Quo), which was still in place in the 80s. Francis Rossi had a pretty thin one at the beginning! (But that was the 60s.)

        Liked by 1 person


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