Jan 012013

Fonzie’s blue windbreaker.

Townspeople of a certain age knows that Fonzie was coolest in his early appearances on Happy Days, when he wore the light blue windbreaker, not the leather jacket. What’s the Fonzie’s Light Blue Windbreaker of Rock, that is, the early, underrated, almost-forgotten stylistic mark (musical or otherwise) that is actually much cooler than what an artist would be known for?



  37 Responses to “What’s the Fonzie’s Light Blue Windbreaker of Rock?”

  1. I was going to say The Rolling Stones ’65/’66 scruffy bohemian look was way cooler than anything that followed (Ditto, The Who’s enforced mod look era), but I’m not sure that’s what you’re going for…Plus, I’m kinda sick of talking/reading about both of those bands who will not die.

  2. Yeah, those Looks are already well known, although early Stones performances in which Mick is wearing either a sweater or sweatshirt (it’s hard for me to tell in B&W) approach Fonzie’s light blue windbreaker:


    What I’m seeking could end up being something broader than an article of clothing.

  3. You mean like Buster Poindexter’s old band?

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    How about Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac? More blue windbreaker cool than the eezy cheezy lite pop stylings of the world-dominating ‘Mac of the 70s and beyond.

  5. That would be a great suggestion…if it were true. I don’t know, HVB, I admit to having an issue with appreciating da blooz, but I’ve got some box set of Peter Green-era Mac, and most of it’s godawful boring. Give me the leather jacket of “Rhiannon” and “Go Your Own Way” over most of that early stuff.

  6. A high five for you Mod. I think HVB has the right idea but stadium-era Mac rules.

  7. hrrundivbakshi

    Come ON! Name one cool thing about stadium-era Fleetwood Mac! I didn’t say the Green-era Mac was “better” — just cooler. That’s what the blue windbreaker is all about, isn’t it?

  8. The light blue windbreaker is cooler, in part, because it’s better. It allows the Fonz to fly under the radar and be a much more intriguing character. In concept Peter Green-era Mac IS cooler, but it’s not really that good and it is, in fact, not even as good as Classic Mac. Therefore, it is not as cool as it should be. The Fonzie’s Light Blue Windbreaker of Rock needs to be a) as cool as or cooler than it is in concept and b) better than the better-known quantity. I hope that’s clear.

  9. cliff sovinsanity

    John McVie’s bass tones on The Chain.

  10. hrrundivbakshi

    Okay then — I submit ZZ Top, pre-“Eliminator” to post-“Eliminator.” Surely we can all agree that “classic Top,” though less well known than the MTV-era band, is superior, and vastly cooler!

  11. NO, early ZZ Top is acknowledged by anyone who can read as the superior version of the band. Even I know that. Plus, the early version of the band isn’t a single-season, near-forgotten appearance. It’s not like Fonzie wore the windbreaker for 6 years before breaking out the leather. It was a single-season deal deal – and the Fonz’s appearances in the show’s inaugural season were brief and sporadic. This is a very specific question. Perhaps you did not grow up with a deep appreciation of early Happy Days. I trust others who have will get the full implications of the reference. Despite the hard time I’m giving you, don’t think I don’t appreciate the effort you are making. I trust you are taking a number of blows for the betterment of the Hall.

  12. machinery

    Ok, I’ll give you a clothing reference — which might be larger — with a nod to my short-lived prog rock year. Although when anyone thinks of Genesis, they think of Phil Collins, I immediately turn to that ridiculous photo of Peter Gabriel prancing around the stage in a giant flower costume. Totally stupid, but much cooler than what they became.

  13. cliff sovinsanity

    For your consideration, the music and leather fashion of The Romantics:

    On their first album

    and 3 years later in the MTV era for the album In Heat

  14. Huh, I think they looked equally stupid on either album cover. I’m all for “What I Like About You,” but I’m not seeing a light blue windbreaker in their closet.

    Not an example I would necessarily stand behind with any great passion, but perhaps the following will help illustrate what I’m getting at.

    It can be argued that early Human League, before they added the women, were of nearly forgotten blue windbreaker coolness:


    I think they only made 1 album as a duo. Whereas the band’s giant hits were cool enough, they completely overshadow the band’s roots. No matter how popular those bad ZZ Top albums are, for instance, everyone knows about the grittier stuff. The earlier hits still get played; everyone who has an interest in Classic Rock knows Tres Hombres exists.

    I think the same goes for Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, although that Gabriel Flower Look gets closer to what I’m talking about it, even if few of us can even hum more than “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” and maybe one other song from that era. They put out a half dozen albums of that stuff, right?

  15. ladymisskirroyale

    Early Eastern Philosophy/Mysticism era Love and Rockets. They went on to the full leather jacket thing but I liked them and thought they were much cooler more when they were singing about simple/complicated things like flowers, kundalini, yin/yang flowerpots, etc.

  16. Seger, before The Silver Bullet Band, had some very cool singles.

  17. misterioso

    I fully realize that chronologically this is all wrong based on Mod’s blue windbreaker paradigm, but for my money the melodic, dare I say “poppy” Velvet Underground of the 3rd record, the VU record, and Loaded is cooler than the avant garde VU of the first two records–that is to say, that Yule-era VU is cooler than Cale-era VU. Please understand this is not to suggest that the first two, Cale, albums are lousy or anything but rather that I certainly listen to the Yule albums more and get more enjoyment out of them, and, if push comes to shove, I’ll go with the 3rd record as the coolest of the lot, which makes it pretty cool in my book.

  18. As with Human League, I don’t have a strong feeling one way or the other on the band, but this is a good example. I remember their first record and thinking it sounded like something I could like a lot more than most Bauhaus. (There was a related album by Dali’s Car, if memory serves that also sounded like something I could like.) Then I remember them becoming yet another late-’80s band that I at least didn’t hate.

  19. Yes, that’s another fine light blue windbreaker of rock entry.

  20. I know what you mean and agree. In TV terms, maybe that album is more like the Col. Potter-era of M.A.S.H. or the Woody era of Cheers, for people who prefer the entry of those characters over the characters they replaced. (I terms of Cheers, however, I’m a Coach guy all the way.) I’m sure there’s a better example than Jesse-era Burn Notice, which maybe only one other Townsperson would get.

  21. Alice Cooper back when Alice Cooper was the band and not just the stage name for Vincent Furnier. Those two early critically and commercially maligned albums; Pretties for You and Easy Action are far cooler than that Bob Ezrin produced ones that follow.

    I am not dismissing the Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith albums that followed…I just those two early albums to be wonderfully strange and under appreciated.

  22. NOW we’re dancing closer to the flame!

  23. Bronzed Nordic God

    Although Randy Holden is best known for the Blue Cheer and all his other hard rock and metal excursions, he started out in the band The Fender IV making some of the most drop dead awesome surf instrumentals I have ever heard. Two incredible singles and a few incredible unreleased tracks and they were gone. Way cooler than anything he did later. Here is Everybody Up and Malibu Run:



    In that same vein, I guess the surf band The Crossfires was way cooler than the much more famous Flo and Eddie incarnation The Turtles.

  24. Ed King, founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd and co writer of Sweet Home Alabama, was the guitarist for the Strawberry Alarm Clock. But personally, although it’s not cool, I prefer Skynyrd .

    How about Eddie Grant? I only recently found out about his band the Equals, and they are much, much cooler than Electric Avenue.

  25. 2000 Man

    Ultravox in 1977 was cooler than they would ever be. In fact, Saturday Night in the City of the Dead is nothing short of fantastic in every way, and everything that followed unequivocally blows, even though that’s what people remember.

  26. mockcarr

    That High Numbers I’m The Face single by the Who is the equivalent of Chuck Cunningham. Hell, the bass part sounds like him bouncing the damned basketball.

    I’d say the Bee Gees 60s stuff is their windbreaker.

  27. BigSteve

    I won’t claim that the 101ers were as great as the Clash, but “Woody” may be a more intriguing character before he became Joe Strummer.

  28. I’m glad you suggested “Woody,” BigSteve. I was thinking the same thing. He’s totally a windbreaker among Clash lore.

  29. 2000 Man

    Jesse era had made me lose interest in that show, even though Bruce Campbell is still pretty awesome.

  30. Wow, good to know there was once another fan of that show. I stuck with Jesse, and I feel he’s paid off. It’s a good thing, too, Fi got sprung from jail and was able to pluck her eyebrows.

  31. ladymisskirroyale

    Good call on Human League. As for Love and Rockets, the dividing line was the horrifyingly popular, “So Alive.”

  32. misterioso

    And how is it that no one has ever named a band Fonzie’s Blue Windbreaker? Only a matter of time, I think. You heard it here first.

  33. Even thought I like plenty of his 70’s smooth rock and his later adult jazz material, Van Morrison was never cooler than with Them.

  34. While flipping channels last night I stumbled on back-to-back episodes featuring Windbreaker Fonzie! Man, it still doesn’t get much cooler than Windbreaker Fonzie.

  35. Pre-puberty Michael Jackson.

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