10 Ugly Rockers

10) Biggie Smalls: Rappers are given far more leeway because being a big, ugly dude makes you more menacing. No one’s going to believe you’re from the street if you look like you get your nails done. Yet, usually you have to have a certain brickwall look to you. Biggie, on the other hand, looked like the only working out he did was to nail some more fast food. His size was menacing, but he looked like he’d prefer a nice nap over a gym workout. My kind of guy.

9) Barry White: It really is amazing how certain guys can get away with looking like hell and still convince the world they’re walking love machines to the point where the world believes the hype and it actually happens. Motivational speakers call this positive thinking. I call it crazy and delusional. But apparently it works. I’ve taken to imaging large piles of money in my backyard. So far all I’ve got are weeds.

8) Carnie Wilson: When she first emerged with Wilson Phillips, Carnie was hidden as much as “they” could and “they” emphasized her slim sister and the other skinny chick. Poor Carnie. Such a pretty face, but in a world where “full-figured” is any woman who’s eaten a decent meal, well, what are you going to do? If her self-esteem wasn’t already in the toilet, you can imagine what the video directors and management said about her and the “advice” she was often given. Of course, she’s since gone on to do some pretty radical weight-reduction surgeries and hosts a version of the Newlywed Game where she gets to watch other couples humiliate themselves to win wonderful prizes.

7) Bachman Turner Overdrive: An entire band of guys who looked like they belonged in the stands of a hockey arena not on a stage and Canadian as well. These days guys like this take care of business but not as rock stars, but as custodians at your local high school. As John Lennon once said in another completely unrelated context: The Dream is over.

6) Mama Cass: The Carnie Wilson of her day, yet back in the 1960s they didn’t “hide” her. These days, they’d take one look at her and figure either go get your stomach stapled and some plastic surgery or else be replaced by someone else immediately. After all, we’ve got auto-tune now!

5) Meat Loaf: Men always get away with more. But there was a lot of more of him when he first broke with Bat Out Of Hell. And from the sight of him on certain programs, it seems like he’s in much better shape. Not exactly svelte, but a lot less sweaty looking than he used to be. Is it Atkins?

4) Van Morrison: Short, pudgy, moody Irish guys don’t get recording contracts anymore. At least that’s what they told me when I applied. Of course, I also can’t sing. But neither can half the music industry and it hasn’t stopped them! Never mind what Van looks like. I don’t think they sign people who make music that sounds like this anymore anyhow.

3) Johnny And Edgar Winter: Albinos? Are you kidding me? Sure, these Doublemint twins could be a kooky novelty. They’re actually just brothers, not twins, but it doesn’t matter how many instruments you can play or how much talent you have, the important part of music is the marketing and unless they’re willing to exploit the fact that they look really weird with that white hair and pasty flesh there really isn’t any commercial potential. Join the circus, folks.

2) Janis Joplin: She was considered a freak and a pig when she attended the University of Texas, which was probably a compliment considering the times and what passed as acceptable back then. She was hardly an ugly duckling, but she wasn’t a Ford Model either. These days they’d just complain that her music is too loud and annoying and insist on smoothing it over while they airbrush her photos here and there. 

1) Barbra Streisand: Of course she’s a legend. But if she were starting up in the business right now, Barbra would be in line for a nose job without a second thought. There’s no way the entertainment industry puts all that money behind her without “correcting” her look. After all, you can only airbrush so much.