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'80s Rockers: Where Did All the Hair Go?

Updated on May 11, 2020
Marcy Bialeschki profile image

Marcy is a school counselor at an alternative school in Illinois and a part-time bartender who loves writing in her spare time.

Big Hair, Don't Care

Ahhhh, the 80's. Where do I begin? If you didn't live it, you missed out. This was the decade that started with the '70s long hair turned long and big hair and ended with business in the front and party in the back. But the music was life-changing. Looking back, the emergence of the iconic hairbands is probably what most people associate with the '80s. However, the great thing about the '80s was the music was so diverse. Hairbands were just one genre of music. One trademark remained constant with almost all '80s musicians, though -- the long, big hair.

Where Did All the Hair Go?

Recently, a teacher-friend on Facebook posted he is doing social studies lessons on different decades for his middle school students. He is currently asking for information, pictures, and videos from the 1980s to enhance his remote learning unit. Instantly, my mind went to hairbands, particularly Bon Jovi. In college, I had a pretty good 1980's hair-do, but every girl and guy I knew was envious of Jon Bon Jovi's gorgeous mane. That hair! When I see pictures of him today with his short, in-style cut, I think, where did all the hair go?

Locks of Love -- created in 1997 and still in business -- is an organization where people donate their long tresses to have them converted into wigs for cancer patients. I don't know when Jon Bon Jovi cut his hair, but I think it was around 1990, before Locks of Love. But wouldn't it have been cool if he donated it? Can you imagine being the person who got a wig made from that gorgeous mop? Or, can you imagine being the stylist who got the honor of snipping it off? Talk about a resume bullseye!

Locks of Love is a fantastic organization that has helped thousands of cancer patients regain confidence and a positive sense of self. I am 100% a fan of this remarkable organization. For more information, see the link below.

Some More Iconic '80s Hair

But lets' not stop there. What about David Coverdale from Whitesnake? Who doesn't remember that Here I Go Again video? The female actress, Tawny Kitaen, displayed quite the mane herself, but I remember thinking his hair is longer than hers. No one can forget the scene in the car where she can't whisper in his ear for getting tangled up in all that hair. She tries in vain to flip it out of the way, and the scene cuts. Between the two of them, a family of six could be fitted for wigs. I feel as if Locks of Love missed out on the surplus of material the 80s had to offer.

Other musicians who wore the big hair better than most women include the late Jani Lane from Warrant and Bret Michaels from Poison. Of course, there is Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, who still has his gorgeous do, and looks fantastic, by the way. I would be remiss to exclude Joe Elliot and pretty much the whole Def Leppard band as well as the whole crew of Motley Crue.

The Mane Says It All

Hairbands were not the only game in town, however. The music of the 1980s offered something for everyone. I often swung violently among genres depending on who I was with. If I was riding in my brother's jeep, we were listening to Van Halen or Judas Priest. I never did care for the screaming sound of Judas Priest, but it was his Jeep. I was just a passenger. Nonetheless, those Jeep rides did engrain a love for Van Halen. Although I would not categorize Van Halen as a hairband, Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth could hold their own in the hair game back in the day.

Van Halen's 1984 album is one of my all-time favorites. It came out the year I graduated from high school, and I still associate many of the songs with people and events from those precious times. I remember my classmates performing Jump in a talent show on our Senior Trip like it was yesterday. We all knew the guys had been practicing and that they were going to perform, but we had no idea how incredible their performance would be. None of the guys in my class had 80's rocker hair, but they sure nailed that performance.

No copyright infringement is intended.
No copyright infringement is intended. | Source
Kirkwood Lodge Lake of the Ozarks  Blue Mound High School Senior Trip  1984  "Might as well JUMP!"
Kirkwood Lodge Lake of the Ozarks Blue Mound High School Senior Trip 1984 "Might as well JUMP!"

Fashion trends come and go, but no one can deny big hair is the trademark of the 80s.

Too Many To Mention

What came after the flowing manes of the '80s? Yep, you guessed it, the mullet. Looking at some video and pictures of my '80's favorites, I noticed the mullet in its budding youth through all that hair. So, where did all the hair go? Maybe the answer is it made a brief stop in the '90s with the mullet. No doubt, '80s big hair was a fashion icon. The mullet of the '90s, however, is now considered a fashion flop.

I may not have mentioned your favorite '80s band or favorite mane of hair because there are way too many to mention. The ones featured here are my personal favorites. Fashion trends come and go, but no one can deny big hair is the trademark of the '80s. I sent my teacher friend a Bon Jovi video so his students can see the gold-standard of '80s big hair in action. I loved the look then, but I'm not sure I'm ready for it to make a comeback.

The start of my experiment with the big-hair-turned-mullet look. I see I wasn't the only one. 1987 Western Illinois University
The start of my experiment with the big-hair-turned-mullet look. I see I wasn't the only one. 1987 Western Illinois University

© 2020 Marcy Bialeschki


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