In their heyday, they had it all: looks, fame, money, talent. Now, no one can take away their genius (however faded), often their purses have grown fat with royalties, and though their fame may have wavered at times, they’re still household names. As for their looks, well that’s another story. Rock n roll lifestyles, creeping neuroticism and band member conflicts have taken their toll, and while once these icons of 60s soared high in the stratosphere of stardom, today spring chickens they most certainly are not. So here are seven stars you might have trouble recognising, in view of their former glory.
The made-for-TV pop quartet of Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Englishman Davy Jones may have spent the mid-60s monkeying around to their bubblegum tunes (then valiantly trying to deny their industry roots) but the ‘pre-fab four’ ain’t so sprightly anymore. After a string of reunions through the 80s and 90s, 2001 saw Dolenz, Jones and Tork tour the US – though the latter’s constant complaining soon got him fired by his band mates. Long gone are the cheeky comic book personae of these erstwhile pop primates, and false teeth and monkey peanuts don’t mix.
Is that a senator smiling an elect-me-please smile? Close, it’s a shot of Neil Sedaka that accompanied a 2009 interview with the singer of “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do”, “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen” and other, erm, classics. Although Sedaka’s popularity had plummeted by the end of the 60s, the cunning multi-lingual crooner made a comeback in the 70s, working with Elton John and tour supporting the Carpenters, who later fired him – allegedly for stealing the show. Sedaka continues to perform today, and even after a career spanning 50 years that tan shows no signs of fading.
Arguably the 60s’ sexiest star, actress, singer, fashion model and, later, animal rights activist Bigitte Bardot was everything good about France, dressed in a bikini – the garment she helped popularise. Then, everyone loved Bigitte, and with good reason; though latterly matters have taken a turn for the worse. In 1989, she landed in hot water for castrating a neighbour’s donkey due to its “sexual harassment” of her own mare, and more recently for five counts of “inciting racial hatred”. Controversy aside, her looks bring to mind a prune in the sun, but she is 75 and doesn’t look like she’s been under the knife either.
Crosby, Stills and Nash
Folk rock supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash may be legends, but behind those false teeth smiles and the band’s elaborate vocal harmonies lies a history of acrimonious discord. Born from the ashes of The Hollies and The Byrds, the sweet-sounding hippy activists with the suspect facial hair recorded their debut hit album in 1969, and went on to recruit Neil Young as a fourth member. Egos, bickering and substance abuse saw the band implode several times through the 70s and 80s, but the good old boys have been gigging again in recent years, including a 2009 show at Glastonbury Festival.
Most famous for their oft-covered hit single, “Wild Thing”, The Troggs formed in 1964, but had disbanded by ’69, with major success eluding them. After largely fruitless attempts at reviving their career over the decades, peddling various versions of their most famous hit (one of them with notorious booze hound Oliver Reed), two of the original members passed way in 1992 and 2008 respectively. Still, these proto-punkers – never the greatest players – left a lasting legacy, and as pics show, grizzled lead guitarist Reg Presley can still rock the mic with the best of them on stage. Well, sorta.
In the light of that scene from Dr. No, where she emerges from the Caribbean Sea in a white bikini, sexiness personified as shell diver and Bond bed notch Honey Ryder, today Ursula Andress looks a bit scary. The movie entrance that made her the quintessential Bond girl – catapulting her to stardom and into the male fantasies of a generation – is often voted cinema’s sexiest moment. So hot was Andress in her day that the bikini she wore sold for £35,000 at auction in 2001. We’d definitely have bought it for our personal collection if it was fresh off her firm flesh in 1962, though maybe not nowadays.
Simon and Garfunkel
School chums turned folk songwriters Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel rose to stardom with “The Sounds of Silence”, and soon made noise as one of the most popular artists of the 60s. Success followed, but so too rising tensions, and the ironically titled album, Bridge Over Troubled Water signalled the duo’s second major breakup. Reunions occurred in the 80s and 90s, before the Noughties saw the old timers reunited for more touring and gigs. The singers with the choir boy voices may not have aged quite as well Mrs. Robinson, but they’re still proof that age is no barrier for partnership able to sing tunes like “I Am a Rock”.