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1972, America, Led Zepplin, long hair, Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, The Who

The Robert Plant Look

Long, long hair for the boys was a rock-and-roll thing in 1972 – picture Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin or Roger Daltrey from The Who.  On stage it was perhaps alluring, but on Main Street of the early 1970s long hairs were looked on as the dregs of the community, the derelicts of the town, the juvenile delinquents, the lechers, the addicts, whatever deviance you cared to ascribe, the kind of people that made ladies clutch their purses a little tighter as they walked by, caused mothers to avert their children’s eyes, elicited disgust from businessmen.

It was all about the hair.  Long.  Wild.  Oh so unconventional.  Great manes of straight and curly and bushy and wavy and thin and thick hair, cascading over shoulders, down backs.

It wasn’t the clothes that scared the people so; blue jeans and concert T-shirts, the occasional army jacket – worn ironically – and black canvas Chuck Taylor All Star high top basketball sneakers, as well as whatever shoes mother brought home from Thom McAnn.

Long hair was a symbol of an emasculated degeneracy.  The cure?  “Be a man and cut your hair.”


About markwalston

Writer, historian, creative director, poet, playwright, author of nine books and nearly 200 essays and articles exploring a broad range of American social, cultural and historical topics.


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