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That 70s Swagger

by Kathy Copeland Padden about a year ago in 70s music
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Three masters of Cock of the Walk Rock

Two outta three ain't bad Photo by

What happened to rock and roll? When did it become so antiseptic and prissy? Maybe I'm showing my age, but I lament the death of rock music as I always knew it. I don't need corporate-sponsored spectacle. Where's the grit? Where's the heart? Where's the groove? 

Where are all preening, posing, impossibly charismatic frontmen in tight trousers?

Now, if you're just happening by to say, "Well, it's obvious you haven't seen Justin Joseph LeClare Fartnocker from the band 'Avocado Toast and the Vape Pens,'" you would be correct. I haven't seen them, and I'm more than OK with that. There, I saved you the trouble of posting a bunch of YouTube videos I'll never watch. 

Without further ado, here are my three favorite cock and roll frontmen.

Mick Jagger

Often imitated, NEVER duplicated Photo by Rolling Stone

Mick Jagger has been a sex symbol since he licked those 20-year-old lips and sang Little Red Rooster straight into the camera on black&white TV. (Yes, there really was such a thing.) This kid was oozing sex appeal when he was barely out of his teens. This was before my ancient ass was even born, which makes me feel young and old at the same time. 

I fucking love Mick Jagger and always have. He practically invented frontman swagger (Jagger swagger, if you will.) He's the consummate showman even in his late 70s, and half of one of the most underrated songwriting partnerships ever. If you scoff at this, try listening to something they composed other than Satisfaction or Jumping Jack Flash, then get back to me. 

I wasn't really there for his mid-70s ultra-campy phase when he was putting on his makeup like Bette Davis in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" but he was still cooler than anyone else. Still is, too. And we all go through embarrassing phases, Mick just has his embarrassing phases on a global stage. 

Questionable wardrobe and make-up choices aside, it's undeniable that Jagger has always positively dripped charisma. When he's onstage, you can't keep your eyes off the guy. Mick Jagger is a 120-pound force of nature.

Plus, he's 113 and could outrun most of us.

Robert Plant

Baby baby baby baby do you like it Photo by Papodhomem

I have no idea who helped Robert into those painted-on jeans, but I would like to thank them. Robert and those jeans got me through some tough times. I miss the days when you knew what side a dude dressed on from 30 miles away. 

His hippie pagan vibe during his Zep days was mysterious and seductive. Who else was writing about May Queens, Lord of the Rings, and Valhalla? Jimmy Page always had more of a black magic air about him, but Robert Plant's aura was pure light. 

Robert's vocals are unmistakable. Whether he's shrieking like a banshee or crooning like Elvis, Plant brought his A-game every time. He was never an athlete on stage like Jagger, but he didn't have to be. All Robert had to do was put his hands on his hips and shake that glorious blonde mane. 

Yep. Sigh. That's all. 

Steven Tyler

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll encapsulated in one man Photo by Neal Preston Townsend Street Gallery

Poor Steven Tyler. When Aerosmith was a baby band, everyone called him a second-rate Jagger clone. His suffering must've been immense, what with all those chicks throwing their undies at him.

Steven Tyler is a trip. He pulsates with kinetic energy on and offstage. He has a giant personality that fires every performance. And he's always so much fun to watch, kinda like a five-year-old (that isn't yours) after a pot of coffee. And Steven laughs at his own jokes, which I find positively endearing. 

Steven has always had flair and, along with Keith Richards, put gypsy chic on the map. He didn't - and doesn't - limit his style just to his wardrobe. The scarve-festooned mic stand, the 20 pounds of jewelry, and some pretty interesting hair moments also bore the mark of Tyler's aesthetic. 

Unlike many fellow musicians (Jagger *cough* Jagger) Steven has never forgotten what it's like to be a fan. He genuinely appreciates fans because he is a fan, and happily poses for pics and signs autographs even outside of "work." 

And that sort of humility is sexy. 

I've seen all three of these guys live. When it comes to unadulterated high octane energy I gotta give the blue ribbon to the Demon of Screamin', Mr. Steven Tyler. The dude was doing backflips when he was eligible for a senior citizen discount.


When these guys go, they'll take any vestiges of rock's golden era with them. And we'll be left with Justin Joseph LeClare Fartnocker from the band "Avocado Toast and the Vape Pens." Yay.

Yes, please. Photo by Rolling Stone

70s music

About the author

Kathy Copeland Padden

Political junkie, history buff, and music freak spending the End Times alternating betweencrankiness and bemusement. Come along! It's fun!

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