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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Letting Their Freak Flags Fly

James Taylor;Paul Simon

There comes a time in many a follicle-challenged pop-star’s career when the decision to conceal hair loss looms large. After all, for many of those ageing baldies, the seductions of marketing still pander to their roots in a culture where youth’s magic horn plays on. Check out, then, the Maginot Line in the career of James Taylor—a boundary where the hatless vagaries of youth give way to concealment by haberdashery and other wiles. Note the career tipping point below between his Dad Love’s His Work (1981) and That’s Why I’m Here (1985) albums. For Paul Simon, concealment came much earlier in the 1970s. Paul opted for hairpieces, which he finally traded in for hats in the mid-1990s.

Across the Great Divide:
Dad Loves His Work (1981); That's Why I'm Here (1985)

On album covers, both artists have sported a frolic of hats. And both have embraced additional concealments like cropping their heads/faces right where hairlines might have launched in younger days.

Finally, they’ve also dispensed entirely with their own images on album covers (including Simon’s latest). Is Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints a subliminal longing for plumage lost? Is JT’s Never Die Young a lusting for hair beyond the pale of his and our species?

It troubles Wig & Pen that both ageing boomers--true American artists--continue to duck and cover.  Can they reconcile their roles as tragic artists with membership by default in what Larry David celebrates as "the bald community."  Here's hoping they reconcile and let their 21st Century freak flags fly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well, Paul Simon on tour isn't wearing hats. I guess he's finally come to terms with it.