Looking Glass: Rock Music's Five Most Famous Four Eyes (Other Than Buddy Holly)

Categories: WTF Island

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Holly had no idea what he was starting.
The Wall Street Journal wrote an interesting article about Buddy Holly's optometrist. That's not something most people would think about when it comes to music, but fashion has been significantly influenced over the years by music. In much the same way Clark Gable changed the men's undershirt industry when he removed his button down in It Happened One Night to reveal -- gasp! -- his bare chest, Holly's signature black plastic frames (procured in Mexico, apparently) turned nerd-wear into something cool.

After Holly, it wasn't all that surprising to see bespectacled musicians on stage and in photo shoots and as fashions changed, certain artists followed in the footsteps of Lubbock's favorite rock and roll son and sported actual eyeglasses (as opposed to sunglasses, which everyone wore). Here are five who continued the eyewear tradition.

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I'm a pimp... a thank you very much.
5. Elvis Presley

When the King made a statement, any statement, people paid attention, even if that statement was, "Hey, it's the '70s and, sure, I look like a porn producer, but I'm the King!" His thick gold-rimmed take on the classic aviator is a tough one to pull off, but Elvis made it his bitch, like everything else.


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Some hipster out there is thinking, "That outfit would go great with my moustache."
4. Elton John

When combing through photos of Elton John and his famous glasses over the years, it was hard not to draw comparisons between his oversized, round plastic frames early in his career and what modern day hipsters wear. It was like looking through an American Apparel catalog without the pubic hair and deepening sense of shame.


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Wearing glasses made "Watching the Detectives" much easier.
3. Elvis Costello

It's pretty odd that another rocker named Elvis would be well known for his Buddy Holly-esque eyewear. Costello's signature look has always included the thick black frames even if they got a little square in shape (not in coolness) as fashions changed.


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Loeb's signature glasses... and signature wistful look up and to the right.
2. Lisa Loeb

The Dallas-raised pop folkster is probably better known for her sexy librarian look than her songs, but when you look as good as she does with them on, who cares? Loeb wisely understands how popular her look is (ask Ingrid Michaelson) and recently launched a line of eyewear based on her signature look. Smart move.


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Those glasses couldn't be more '60s if they were in the shape of a peace symbol.
1. John Lennon

While John Lennon's influence as a musician is incalculable, his influence on people's choice of tiny, round glasses should not be underestimated. Probably the most well known children's character of all time, Harry Potter, sports a pair. 'Nuff said.

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9 comments
Jaydubya73
Jaydubya73

What about Milo from the Descendents?  Cooler even than Buddy's, and his music is uh-mazing!

Jim Porter
Jim Porter

Roy Orbison! Pretty sure those lenses were corrective.

And on the B-roll: The Buggles

Jeff
Jeff

I considered Orbison, but I really wanted to stay away from sunglasses. Bono's are corrective as well and pretty famous, but still sunglasses.

Undeniable
Undeniable

Roy wore tinted lenses because he was badly crosseyed and didn't want it to show.

I guess that is why you left Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder off the list too.

Jeff
Jeff

Yeah, I said in the post no sunglasses, so I wanted to stick with strictly non-tinted lenses of all kinds.

rob
rob

Roger mcguinn? Warren zevon?

Jeff
Jeff

Both good choices, but not quite as popular or recognizable as the above.

Hair Balls
Hair Balls

The WSJ article contained something I never knew: "If anything, (Holly's optometrist] Mr. Armistead is prouder of his efforts to promote his profession in his home state—the University of Houston's College of Optometry building is named after him.."

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