[Originally posted on 89.3 The Current's blog on MPR.com 9/9/09]
The Beatles and Fashion
By Jahna Peloquin
This week, the world will finally hear the way the Beatles were meant to be heard. Over the past four years, the entire back catalog of the princes of pop has been painstakingly remastered, including all 12 original UK studio albums, the Magical Mystery Tour and a combined two-CD set of Past Masters on CD, plus stereo and mono box set collections, for the first time since 1987. If that wasn't enough, a version of the popular game "Rock Band" is being released based on the Beatles catalog. It's all happening, fittingly, on 9/9/09. (Number 9, anyone?)
So on the eve of the re-release of the Beatles entire catalog, it seems fitting to take a look back at the hugely influential look and style of the Beatles over their ten years of existence.
Let's start with the early years:
(Image by Albert Marrion)
Check out those leather pants! Replete with their classic Beatle boots, the young men are barely recognizable here. They look more like a gang of good-looking roughs than the classic mop-topped, bespoke quartet they would soon become.
(Uncredited promotional photo, circa 1963)
By 1963, The group has come into its best-known look: Vidal Sassoon-esque bowl-cut haircuts and narrow-cut mod suits.
(Photo by Robert Whitaker, 1964)
By 1964, Beatlemania had officially hit. The gang of roughs are now a gang of well-dressed, dapper gents.
(Image courtesy Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum)
Check out the Beatles' "English countryside" look they're sporting in 1965. With the coming of the mid-'60s, the mod look is starting to loose favor to the coming hippie vibe.
(Image from the Yellow Submarine/Elenor Rigby split 45)
On the cover of 1966's "Eleanor Rigby," the boys in the band are sporting decidedly shaggier haircuts and an overall more relaxed look. Gone are the narrow lapels of their early '60s suits - in are open-collared shirts.
(Image by Michael Cooper at Chelsea Manor Photographic Studios, taken March 30, 1967)
A definite shift happened in late 1966 (psychedelics, perhaps?) to the Beatles' style, musical and sartorially. Their "Sgt. Pepper" phase included a much-brighter palette, inspired by traditional Indian garb. Oh, and the boys grew facial hair, thus becoming men and setting a trend that lived on into the '80s - the mustache. They even gave away mustaches with copies of the record.
(Photo by Ethan Russell/Monte Fresco/Mal Evans at John Lennon's home in 1969)
In 1968-1969, the band donned various combinations of facial hair. During this time, John Lennon's signature eyeglasses became more apparent, and Ringo Starr really started rocking his classic mutton-chops-and-mustache look. Meanwhile, their flower child style was tempered with flared, crisp pant suits.
There you have it - ten years of style from a band that influenced the trends possibly more than any other group at the time.