Feb 052013

Let’s kick off Once and For All February with a subject that hits on a large segment of the Hall’s demographic, involving a favorite band, Rock Superpowers, and the all-important issues of Look. Let’s determine—once and for allThe Beatles’ Coolest Collective Look.

The nominees and the RTH People’s Poll follow…after the jump!

Collarless Suits. What’s more classic, more Beatle-esque than the original collarless suits? Next to the moptop hairdos (and the music, of course), those suits are most responsible for putting the band on the map.


Sgt. Pepper’s. What’s more classic, more Beatle-esque than the moustachioed Sgt. Pepper’s Look? Any Beatles tribute band performance builds to a crescendo once the vaguely Beatles-looking members come back from a brief intermission in their colorful silk military suits and glue-on moustaches.


Rooftop Concert. The rooftop performance Look is heavy, man. Hair is blowing in the wind. Facial hair is in need of that snazzy electric razor favored by Adrien Brody, André 3000, and the Spanish guy from that overlooked gem of a movie The Science of Sleep. To top it off, they’re wearing a mish-mash of women’s fur coats, raincoats, green jeans, and proto-hipster sneaks!


Stoned Soul Picnic. The Rubber Soul album cover photo shoot caught the band on a day when they probably needed a haircut, but someone must have watched the weather report and realized that low humidity would allow for one more day of stoned shagginess.


Richard Avedon glossies. Fashion photographer Richard Avedon’s White Album glossies capture a unique perspective on the boys: they are both immersed in their hippie-dom yet cleaned up and glammed up just enough to show their original guise as the fresh-faced lads they had been just a few years earlier.


Runners up (not eligible): Leonine (ie, when all 4 Beatles were bearded, which I don’t believe was ever captured on camera simultaneously); Walrus/Eggman costumes; Beatles Dress Up Like The Band (ie, Beatles Again album cover)…

Voting runs through the month of February 2013!

What's the Beatles' Coolest Collective Look?

  • Stoned Soul Picnic (46%, 22 Votes)
  • Rooftop Concert (33%, 16 Votes)
  • Richard Avedon Glossies (17%, 8 Votes)
  • Collarless Suits (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Sgt. Pepper's (2%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 48

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  17 Responses to “Once and For All: What’s The Beatles’ Coolest Collective Look?”

  1. machinery

    I think you missed a few looks Mr Mod. The Germany leather look, the Maharishi total paisley look and that odd time when they looked like cowboys — Harrison had the full-on beard and huge Stetson.


    Just sayin is all …

  2. I didn’t miss them; they were not among the selected nominees. Every year during awards time something worthy gets overlooked. I agree it sucks, but isn’t that profound sense of disappointment part of what makes awards season great?

    The last Look you mention is from the Beatles Again album cover shoot, in which they consciously tried to look like the Band. As much as I would have liked to have seen this Look included for consideration, the selection committee did not agree. The Marahishi Look is a good one too, but the committee felt it was outweighed by Sgt. Pepper’s. The German leather Look also was considered, but that predated Ringo. We can’t leave out Ringo, can we?

    I’m surprised (but not really, considering who we are) that the 2 most iconic Looks have not yet received a single vote.

  3. 2000 Man

    I really don’t seem to like many of their looks. Maybe that’s one reason why I’m ambivalent about them.

  4. “With The Beatles” was released just one week before my 11th birthday. I formed the opinion then, & have never felt any need to change it, that no man’s wardrobe is complete without a couple of black roll-neck (turtle-neck) sweaters. I certainly still own & wear my “Beatles jumpers”.

  5. jeangray

    Interesting. Most of the ineligible looks I dig much more than the voting options. The Walrus/Egg Man, the Hey Jude Album — Hell, the German leather look is so good, it’s worth throwing Ringo out of the equation.

  6. jeangray

    Even more interesting (to me anyways), I have never really enjoyed that Rubber Soul look.

  7. misterioso

    Well, of these, the Avedon. I agree with the general discontent.

    Incidentally, previously someone (sorry, forget who it was) mentioned the photo in the red/blue gatefold. A very cool picture to be sure. Somehow I never took in the story behind it. It was taken on their so-called “mad day out” when tons of promo pics were taken. See for example http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/photos-the-beatles-romp-through-london-in-1968-20101210

    Anyway, a good look.

    But give me “Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out” Look. Subtly different from Stoned Soul Picnic look. Less fuzzy, better clothes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8SEOWoA5h0

  8. BigSteve

    Rubber Soul all the way.

  9. jeangray

    Hey! Those “mad day out” pics are great. Some of the shots seem to form a sort of visual representation of the already fermenting dichotomy between Paul & the rest of the band.

  10. That was me in favor of the red/blue gatefold picture. Very cool shots on the “romp through London” link.

    Of the options on the table, I was torn between the Avedon shots and Stoned Soul Picnic shots but I went with the Avedon because it seemed like it was a more timeless look.

  11. misterioso

    For the over-the-top fanatic treatment of the day’s shoot, see http://maddayout.tumblr.com/ There’s a bunch where Paul has no shirt on. ‘Cause he’s dead, that’s why.

  12. Coming of age in the world of Rock n Roll during the 70’s I had to cast the vote for the Sgt. Pepper’s look as the one I most recall in the memory bank….just hope it wasn’t because of Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees!

  13. I was hoping for the Walrus & Eggman masked costumes. So I can go with Rubber Soul. I always hated the Sgt Pepper suits; maybe it was that BeeGees movie!

  14. One evening Peter Frampton was in our company & we were actually asked if we would not mention the Sgt Pepper movie ! Oh yeah, like that was gonna happen. ♫Oh I get by with a little help♫.

  15. I’m approaching this from the the category title – Coolest. The collarless jackets are not cool; I’ll give you iconic but not cool. The Avedon shots are tres chic but not cool. Sgt. Pepper is too of its time to be truly cool; cool should have some timelessness aspect.

    Which leaves Stoned Soul and the Rooftop and I have to give the nod to the rooftop. First of all, they had to be cool as they were on a rooftop in London in January; it must have been beyond cool, hence the fur coat. Despite all the bickering and imminent dissolution of the band, I’ve always thought they seemed happy on that roof (look at John in that picture and tell me he’s not happy). Here they were, on top of the world, playing live again after a few years, playing straight ahead rock & roll like the old days. These were the mop tops again (albeit shaggier) and for the last time. Way cool!

    (By the way, Mr. Mod, what happened the ability to preview a post before submitting?)

  16. alexmagic

    I’m sticking with Al here on talking about coolest vs. most iconic or anything like that. And sticking with him on going with Rooftop.

    I know Rubber Soul era is the lock to win here at RTH and I’m also a fan, but Paul’s beard cannot be overcome. The ’69 facial hair line-up (bearded Paul, beardless John, George and Ringo sporting modified versions of their Pepper-era ‘staches) is formidable. The decision for Paul and John to switch beard alignments in ’70 (briefly taking George’s beard in the process) was a disastrous blow to the band.

    The rooftop symmetry extends beyond the facial hair, too. Not only did John and George team up with giant fur coats, but Ringo’s red pleather raincoat is complimented by Billy Preston’s amazing black leather car coat. And then there’s Paul, beard fully in command and going without an overcoat in the cold, as if as a final statement of leadership that he won all those years ago when John blew it during the infamous Hard Day’s Night World Championships. (https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/bands-on-the-run#comment-24784)

  17. ‘beard alignments’ – love it!

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