Friday, January 25, 2008


Folk Rock, Country Rock, and some Acid Rock too. We've been looking to the south and the west (coast) in recent posts. And last time we remembered the musical, "Hair." Now it's time to pay tribute to that staple of the hippie rock era - fringe. Like hair itself, fringe could be a very individual thing. If it was leather, you could leave it natural brown or doeskin white, or have it dyed any color that took your fancy. You could also have it made of synthetic strands, decorated with beads, long or short, thick or thin. Fringe in the 60s/70s was a visible statement of your mindset, lifestyle, politics - you name it. Plus it was a lot of fun to wear. I not only had the aforementioned fringe vest in my youth, but these days I still have fringes on a purse, a jacket, and some work gloves (but now it's more of a "cowgirl" thing, the result of all my years in Alberta). Anyway, in this post we will look at some memorable fringed outfits. These are the standout ones I remembered and could find easily on YouTube, but I know there are others. Feel free to post your favorites.

Neil Young is known for several fashion statements, one of which is pictured above on the left. But, as the photo on the right shows, he also had some killer fringe. This is from the album, "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere." I couldn't find a definitive video at YouTube of Neil in full fringe, but this is a nice one regardless, and...he's wearing a jacket that may or may not have a bit of fringe at the be the judge.
This one starts with Graham Nash solo at the piano, but hang in there, David Crosby steps in at 1:43 to harmonize, wearing a gorgeous brown abundantly-fringed shirt. After a little goofy chit chat in the middle, they duet up again on Marrakesh Express. I wonder where that shirt is today...
At the "Woodstock Nation" fringe was king. Here's Roger Daltry all bedecked, doing "See Me Feel Me" from "Tommy." The video is pretty dark (in the optical sense) in places, but you want to catch the last 2 minutes, when it brightens up, and Roger really works that fringe, and Pete Townshend does his signature jumps and fans the guitar. Love it love it love it!
Here we have Jimi, starting out with a familiar riff, then just taking off, with his beautiful blue and white fringe swaying along.
Okay, there's two of these; both still at Woodstock. The first one is actually of Janis (who was really more of a feather than fringe gal) but it's the very first few seconds of the video that shows Sly Stone when he raises his fringed arms like a bird taking to the sky. The second link is for the complete video of Sly's performance of "I Want to Take You Higher" which ends with the same flight. Like the Who video above, it's pretty hard to see in places, but gets better. And that whole performance had to have been one of the most moving of the weekend. And the fringe is the piece de resistance, as far as I'm concerned. Big wow.

Feb. 12/08 Update: Bingo! Just found one of Janis with fringe. Check out the photo at 3:45.

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