Rockbrat Wonders: Which Rocker Wore The Most Ridiculous Wig ? Ritchie Blackmore

grab your partner dosey doe

It’s pretty common knoweldge that  ol Ritchie has been wearing the dead cat on his bonce since about 1972 – that’s almost 40 years friends. In 2011 – Ritchie is still donning the rug and dresssing like a character out of Lord Of The Rings. Remember those days in Rainbow when he used to wear the black body suit? With Joe Lynn to the right of him, I’m sure they had to have a plan to manage the wigs – didn’t want to mix em up you know. I dunno about Ritchie nowadays. Here’s a recent photo of him doing some medievel jig, with rug well and truly glued down – but still donning the spandex. Maybe they went in for a little bit of jousting later on. Talk about a parody. There’s nothing I like more than a man of 70 aging gracefully in a dignified way.

11 thoughts on “Rockbrat Wonders: Which Rocker Wore The Most Ridiculous Wig ? Ritchie Blackmore

  1. Dear Mr Rockbrat,
    You rock my world! Not quite as much as Ozzy Or Noely G but pretty damn close.
    I love your memories of metal in the “80’s. I was a huge metalhead back in the day.
    The recent posts on rock’s wigwearers made me roar with laughter. Marky Ramone’s rug is the absolute worst. I touched his head once and you should have seen him grab his head in terror! You forgot Nikki Sixx. At a book siging for his Heroin Diaries (what a shit book!), his rug nearly got blown of his head by a electric fan!
    As for Lord Blackmore, yeah he’s a bit barmy these days. I don’t think it’s the wig though. Back in the ’70’s he was wearing a wig but released masterpieces like Machine Head and Long Live Rock’n’n Roll. R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio
    Sincerely, Christal

  2. Ah yes – Blackmore’s wig. I first became aware of Ritchie’s wig sometime around the Burn album which was right around the time my relatives started preparing me for the reality that I one day might not have any hair. They pointed out the thinning areas on my head after which I became acutely aware of thinning hair in others. So when I saw some earlier pics of Ritchie sans rug or weave I realized that the hat was a cover up as opposed to some cool stage gear he liked to wear. After he formed Rainbow he seemed to go into a holding pattern though by the 80s his “hair” was thicker than it was in the 70s. Okay by then my hair had receded and I looked like a young Jack Nicholson.
    Dio, a fantastic singer, started thinning at some point but he never went the wig or surgical route. Well he might have for a little bit around the Holy Diver years cuz for some press shots his hair looked thicker than it did on the first Rainbow album. But Ronnie can do anything he wants because he is so damn awesome (RIP).

    Anyway it finally occurred to me that many rockers went the way of the rug – its not like they are exempt from male pattern baldness. The 80s glam metal crowd was no exception – look at that Brett Michaels guy (not that he was anywhere on the same level of accomplishment as Blackmore). He had been wearing that bandana for decades. For whatever reason lots of people don’t realize that Jagger wears a toupee – he has for quite some time now. Jeff Beck does too as does Ronnie Wood (he needs a tuneup on that thing) and Paul Rogers. I think Tony Iommi does also (judging from his recent Guitar Player article pics) but I cut them some slack because they are “older gentlemen” who didn’t start the cover up till later in life. Back in the 80s Al Dimeola had one of the worst toupees I’ve ever seen. He wore it for his REH instructional video. While he is a fantastic guitar player that thing mesmerized me to the point that I found it hard to concentrate on the lesson. To be fair – these days he seems to have gotten a better hair system going on. The shredder Michael Angelo Batio (he grew a third name at some point because in the 80s it was just Michael Angelo) had one of the worst wigs ever but I think it has improved.

    Guys blessed with great hair who do *not* wear wigs include: David Bowie, David Coverdale, Steve Tyler, and Chris Cornell, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Roger Waters. I can’t decide if Roger Daltrey wears anything or not because he has always had curly hair anyway. In the end I don’t care what these guys do as long as they keep making good music. I’m not into the madrigal, medieval stuff that Ritchie plays these days (although his singer / wife is pretty damn hot) but his “look” does fit the music. Two guys I give props to for never hiding it would be Matthias Jabs and Klaus Meine of the Scorpions. They both wear scarves or hats now but for years they didn’t try to hide the recession at all. They turned out some great music.

    1. Bluto,When you say Jeff Beck and Ronnie Wood wear wigs is that a fact or something you just assume?I’ve seen Jeff Beck’s hair blown back in a recent video,I’m convinced it’s his hair.Sure,he’s had the same haircut since the Yardbirds,but so what.In Ronnie Wood’s case,I’ve never seen a photo with his hair looking like it was receding or thinning.Are you sure of your statements?I’m not trying to start a fight,I just would like to know if you’ve got first hand proof,like knowing a girl that spent the night and ran their fingers thru their hair/wig.I don’t doubt they dye their hair,but where is the wig story coming from?Thanks for replying.

      1. Nothing like responding to a comment two years after the fact – Better late than never. Anyway I definitely know that both Beck and Wood have had wigs or at the very minimum extensions for some time now. Jagger also. Paul Rogers too. In the lower tiers Richie Sambora, Nikki Six, Harry Connick Jr (not that he fits in stylistically with the others but he comes to mind as an example). Don Dokken, Joe Lynn Turner (though he has alopecia for decades now). If you are even peripherally involved in the touring business you find out quickly. However, some people close to the various top tier bands sign NDAs (non disclosure agreements) although I’ve never heard of anyone having to do that specifically to conceal the bald(ing) status of a performer. But word gets around because people tell you but you can use your eyes – you see these guys doing sound checks wearing hats or scarfs and then appearing one hour before the meet and greet with hair that doesn’t move or change over the course of like 4 hours (under very hot lights). And then after the show ? Back to the hats and scarves till the next day. Hair systems are better than they used to be so it is possible for them to be “blown back” or combed. As mentioned in the other post here – many of the richer rock stars have several wigs/extensions to simulate different looks. The people hired to maintain them are humorously referred to as “hair wranglers”. If you wanna see some of these guys freak – sometimes they wear base ball caps and watch what happens when fans grab at their baseball caps – they freak out ! Sometimes it’s after hair transplant surgery and they don’t want anyone to see evidence of surgery.

    2. I realize I’m literally YEARS late to reply, but you succeeded in passing off guys that you claimed had just their real hair, when in fact they wore hair extensions. And Matthias Jabs? When there’s been no hat or head hankie available, he indeed has been wearing a wig. He’s been trying to fool people for years with idiotic ponytail wigs.

      1. Klaus hung in there for a long time even when it was obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes that he was going totally bald in front and on top. Looking at Moscow gig from 1989 on youtube, Klaus wore a hat the entire time and Matthias’ hair was very thin on top and as the gig progressed it became more obvious. By 94 Matthias was in full on hat mode and off stage he was rarely found with out some type of cap or bandana.

    1. Hopefully it’s not the same one he started with ! In show biz towns like Hollywood, NYC, London, etc hair stylists can make a nice bit of change for themselves tending to the needs of the of balding celebrities. One acquaintance said she was paid excellent money to maintain the wigs of a number of musicians with each musician having various wigs and weaves for various occasions. As she explained it her job was to help the celeb to pick out wigs and help place them for a natural look. She also said that many of these guys were massively insecure about balding and they would agonize over selecting the “right’ wigs, weaves, and hair replacement systems as much as they did anything else in the career. Evidently one 80s type rock star actually had support for hair care services, (including transplants), written into his contract so he didn’t have to pay for it. Evidently lots of the 80s hair metal crowd were rocking weaves and wigs even in the 80s. She said that one guy would start telling his friends that he was going to get a hair cut over a period of a weeks. He would then disappear for a weekend and then show back up with a similar wig with a shorter cut.

      If you read Ace Frehely’s book he mentioned that KISS eventually hired a stylist to help members of the group needing “help” in the hair area. Their pre-show makeup room was off limits except for the group and the stylist presumably to preserve the dignity of Paul and Gene. Note that Ace didn’t say their names explicitly but it was pretty clear that even in the 70s both Paul and Gene were losing hair rapidly. So I gotta laugh when I see Paul showing up these days with a hair line that is thicker and more well defined than the one he had in 1975. And Gene continues to wear some kind of deceased animal on his head.

  3. Blackmore wasn’t wearing a wig in 1972 !!!! LOL, that’s just ridiculous. Nor was he during the “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” era – saw him very up-close at that time (and the Stormbringer show in Charlotte, NC – talked with him for a bit as I was working at the place.) Sometime during the 80’s is when this started.

    1. No, actually, they’re pretty close to being right, although 1972 is a tad earlier than when Blackmore started donning his fabulous assortment of wigs.

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