Good music is three parts sound and one part image. You may dance around your living room to Stevie Nicks or rage along with Hole’s Courtney Love, but nothing compares to seeing legends like these ladies perform live. These women want to put on a show—and that they did, discovering their big, onstage personalities through heavy kohl-rimmed eyes, platinum blonde shags, and every now and then, a bold lip. Somewhere along the way these 13 earned the title of beauty icon alongside their rock star status.
From Joan Jett to Alison Mosshart, We Love Rock 'N Roll
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David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust
The androgynous Ziggy Stardust, alter ego of musician David Bowie created for 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, deserves a shout out for his gender-bending, far out hair and makeup. What does it take to make an icon? A candy apple mullet, pale skin, cheekbone-enhancing blush, and shockingly colorful lip.
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No makeup? No problem for this worshipped singer, artist, and writer whose smooth visage and shaggy brown mane are as cool as her debut album Horses, which took the New York City punk scene by storm when it was released in 1975.
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When it comes to icons, Nicks wins by a landslide (pun intended). We favor her ‘70s look: all that feathered blonde hair, a nude lip, smoldering brown shadow, and defined lashes. Of course, her shawls, flowy dresses, and an array of hats and headscarves left quite a mark, too.
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Harry led the new wave charge with her punked-up, bleached blonde hair, shimmery-smoky eye, and deeply rouged cheeks—to highlight those killer cheekbones—as the frontwoman of ‘70s into early ‘80s band Blondie.
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Gothic punk rock took ‘70s London by storm, and the face of Siouxsie was its most influential canvas. The lead singer of Siouxsie and the Banshees, this pale beauty swore by costume-like makeup, like a bold rectangular drawn-on brow to a kohl-rimmed cat eye or an exaggerated wine lip, way before Kiss.
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She may not give a damn about her “Bad Reputation,” but Jett was certainly concerned with her signature look, a raven-black mullet that she perfected for The Runaways and took with her to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The singer cornered the beauty market on shades of black: from her perfect eyebrow arch, to her smudged, kohl-rimmed eye.
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“What’s Love Got To Do With It?” when you have such amazing hair? Turner’s glamorous porcupine-chic ‘do is as beloved as her perfect legs, and who can’t resist when it’s belted out of a powerful red lip.
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Visual artist and feminist lead singer of ‘80s alt-rock band Sonic Youth, Gordon brought her own style to the table, a sort of understated proto-Grunge. She frequently wore a dark, bold lip, but a subtle eye and shoulder length dirty-blonde hair that said, “I’m more concerned with my music than my look.”
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You say disheveled, we say grunge. Many have tried to recreate the lead singer of seminal ‘90s band Hole’s heavy eyeliner and carefully smeared lipstick but few have succeeded. Maybe because twenty years later, she’s still rocking the same look better than any of her imitators.
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The Scottish lead singer of Garbage, famous for hits like “Stupid Girl,” inspired a generation of ‘90s teens (and probably Florence Welch and Paramore’s Hayley Williams, too) to go red thanks to her outlandishly crimson hair.
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Whether wild and wavy or sleek and straight, Morissette’s ‘70s-inspired middle part never changed. ‘Ironic’-ally, she whipped it back and forth way before Willow Smith was a twinkle in her parents’ eyes.
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Alison Mosshart was bored, looking at old pictures of Nirvana in Seattle, when she decided to bleach her hair. Soon the ends were pink, orange, and even bright yellow—turning The Kills singer into a beauty star in less than a year. Now her mop’s inspired like-minded locks from admirers like model Chloe Norgaarde and Lucky Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen.
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The lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs impressed her fans this year when she traded her coal-black locks for a shock of platinum blonde. With a revolving door of looks and costumes—she’s even gone violet!—that are as unpredictably loud as her music, Karen shoots risk-taking to the extreme.