Throughout history, rock and roll has been a genre that oozes style and individuality, both musically and aesthetically. Visually, this often includes long hair, leather jackets, piercings, jewelry, tattoos and of course some fine facial hair. The beard and rock music go hand in hand, and it is a look that has never gone out of style. There have been all kinds of different facial hair throughout rock’s long history – from the neatly trimmed goatee through to the full on wizard beard. Here are 10 of the best beards in rock.
12. Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa was famous more for having a moustache than a beard, but it would be wrong to exclude the extraordinarily talented musician and composer when discussing facial hair in rock music. Widely considered to be one of the greatest and most creative artists of all-time, Zappa was also creative with his physical appearance. Along with his thick, wavy black hair that came down to his shoulders, Zappa also had a thick black moustache that he grew to below his bottom lip. He also sported a full soul patch but this did not connect with his moustache. This created a unique and iconic look that is now synonymous with the rocker, and in many circles it is known simply as “the Zappa.”
11. Jim Morrison
Many will remember The Doors front-man Jim Morrison as young, clean shaven rocker, but as the years went on he adopted a wild, unkempt look that matched his on-stage behavior. Whilst Morrison may have added a few pounds in this time, there is no denying the brilliance of his beard which was incredibly thick but well shaped. The beard also grew into his famous thick, wavy, and dark hair to create a very hairy look for Morrison which suited him well. Musically, The Doors are one of the most influential rock acts of all-time, and it was Morrison at the forefront. He would also visually become an influential figure in rock, as you can still see his visual style in many of today’s rockers.
10. George Harrison
There was a period where all of The Beatles experimented with facial hair, but guitarist George Harrison was the first to grow a beard and kept his much longer than the other members. This made it a defining part of his look, and it also gave him a bit of edge against the well groomed look of the other members. Like many other rock musicians of the time, Harrison had long wavy hair that came down to around his shoulders, and when this was combined with a thick, bushy beard it completed the “Jesus beard” look and gave Harrison a spiritual and calm aura. He may not be as famous as John or Paul, but Harrison is one of the all-time great guitarists and also rocked a fine beard for many years.
9. Seasick Steve
Seasick Steve epitomizes the Deep South country blues look and sound. He is a self described hobo who spent much of his youth drifting around the U.S and even Europe. He is famous for playing a three-string guitar and singing in a gruff voice about the struggles in his early life and doing casual work, but his visual appearance is often what he is most famous for. He is usually seen in dungarees with a white vest-top underneath, complete with a baseball cap on his head and tattoos all down his arms. He has a thick, bushy, grey beard that covers his entire face and reaches down to the top of his chest. Whilst the beard covers all of his face, it is much thicker around his mouth and growing from his chin.
8. Nick Oliveri
Bassists are stereotypically not the most wild or extreme member of a rock band, but Nick Oliveri is certainly no stereotype. The ex-bassist for Queens of the Stone age, founder of Mondo Generator, and contributor to dozens of other acts has a made a name for himself for his wild behavior, playing on-stage naked, and his striking physical appearance to go along with his bass playing skills. He has a completely shaved head and a fine goatee beard that runs down to the top of his chest and this has become his signature look. When this is combined with heavy tattoos and partial nudity (at the very least), along with a remarkable scream, Nick Oliveri will frequently steal the show when on stage and does not fit the bill for a typical bassist.
7. Shavo Odadjian
Much like Oliveri, Shavo Odadjian is a bassist with a shaved head, almighty beard and will often steal the show from everyone else on the stage. Odadjian is the bassist and backing vocalist for System of a Down, and his beard has become an important part of the bands look. The impressive piece could be described as a ponytail beard, and it reaches all the way down to the middle of his chest. He has tight bands at intervals of around one-inch, making it look like a gym rope. He has more facial hair below his lip which runs into the lengthy beard, but this is the only other hair on his entire head. His facial hair color is sandy brown/reddish, making it an even more striking and unique look.
6. Chris Adler
Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler is as famous for his fast drumming as he is for his thick and stylish beard. Impressively, Adler’s beard does not interfere with his playing and this comes as somewhat of a surprise as it often reaches the middle of his chest when he stands. You do not see too many drummers with lengthy beards, making Adler somewhat of a pioneer. The long, flowing brown beard is often separated into two different strands to give it a distinctive and unique look. He also has matching long brown hair that goes past his shoulders which gives him a hardcore look. This is particularly in tune with Lamb of God’s distinctive metal sound.
5. Scott Ian
Scott Ian has one of the most unique beards in music, and that is because the Anthrax guitarist has been known to dye his facial hair bright red. It is also a beard quite unlike the other entries on this list, as it only starts right at the bottom of his chin and grows down to the top of his chest. Aside from that, he is completely clean shaven and sports a shaved head, giving him a unique and bold look which makes him a fan favorite in the metal genre. Anthrax are one of the “Big Four” thrash metal bands and they are an important and influential act, with Scott Ian and his image being a key part of this. As he has aged, Ian unfortunately no longer dyes his beard but instead rocks a very mature grey one instead.
4. Zakk Wylde
The former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and founder of Black Label Society has what is best described as an epic beard. The guitarist is a mountain of a man and an imposing figure, with long blonde hair flowing down to the middle of his chest. His beard is a much darker brown color, and it also grows down to his chest level. This creates a striking look much like a lion’s mane, and it lends itself well to live performances with hair flying in each direction as he rocks out. Wylde completes the rock/biker look with a bandana, leather or denim jacket with no sleeves and big black leather arm cuffs. Wylde has also been known to braid his beard on occasion, which is always an impressive feat and will draw many fans to the guitarist.
3. Kerry King
Slayer’s Kerry King has one of the finest beards in all of music, and is another musician that has opted for the shaved head and long beard look. King has taken this to the next level, with tattoos on the side and back of his head to give him an imposing and menacing look. His beard is incredibly thick and a brownish/red color and it grows down to the middle of his chest. King has been known to tie bands around this beard much like Wylde, but his beard appears much thicker than Wylde’s making it look like a thick piece of rope. King will give beard envy to just about anyone that appreciates good facial hair, and on top of all this he is an extremely influential and respected guitarist in the rock and metal genres and an important part of one of the biggest metal acts of all-time.
2. Rick Rubin
Rick Rubin is a legendary producer that has worked with acts including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, Slayer, Tom Petty, Black Sabbath, Mick Jagger, Neil Diamond, and Rage Against the Machine. On top of this, he is also a key figure in the hip hop industry and helped to popularize it through founding Def Jam Records. Despite working with these acts and being such an important figure in the industry, he is perhaps most famous for his beard. Rubin is considered to be somewhat of a wizard when it comes to producing, which is fitting as he has a grey, bushy wizard’s beard which could belong to Gandalf or Dumbledore. This goes well with long, wavy brown/grey hair down to his shoulders for the ultimate rock aesthetic. As impressive as it is, it is not quite as good as another classic rock beard.
1. Billy Gibbons
There really could be no other beard at #1, and although fellow ZZ Top member Dusty Hill also rocked one of the best beards in the genre, it is Gibbons’ that steals the show. You will struggle to find a cooler or more talented guitarist, and his work has inspired all hard rock and blues acts that have followed. Gibbons has a trademark sound and look, along with an incredible gruff voice that make him immediately recognizable. He is normally seen wearing all black, along with a hat, and always with sunglasses regardless of where he is. He then has a long ginger-ish/grey beard that has reached all the way down to his belly-button area. All this means that you rarely see much of his face and the long, thick beard covers so much of his it that it almost seems to start growing out of his shades.