Pop icons. It is not uncommon to see them emblazoned on a wide variety of apparels these days, and because of that, you’d see them at almost every corner of the street even though they have already passed away for decades or so. Drop in at any apparel shop along Far East or The Heeren and you’d see what I mean.
While the legacies of these icons have been further extended beyond music records through this, it is a tragic thing to note that most of those who don these clothes know little or nothing about them. The furthest their knowledge of these icons goes is something like – oh, Jimi Hendrix is supposed to have an afro hairdo and Marilyn Monroe somehow always has her hands neatly tucked in between her knees in a desperate attempt to conceal what lies beneath her skirt. That’s about it. And that, really, isn’t much at all.
I’ve attempted to uncover some of the lesser known things about 3 of my all time favorite icons in hope that after you’ve read it, these icons will no longer remain as mere pictures, portraits or words on cloth or paper.
Jimi Hendrix (1942 – 1970)
Do You Know That Jimi Hendrix was not the one who discovered or pioneered the technique of guitar feedback with overdriven amplifiers? The person who actually did was Buddy Guy – a blues guitar virtuoso whom Hendrix cited as a major influence. In fact, the influence was so great that Hendrix began to emulate Guy’s crazy stage antics and flamboyant dress sense throughout his career. Many have erroneously believed that Guy copied Hendrix, but it was really the opposite.
Do You Know That Jimi Hendrix played his guitar upside down? You see, Hendrix was left-handed and during his time, there weren’t many left-handed guitars around. To counter this, Hendrix acquired a normal right-handed Fender Stratocaster, flipped it over and restrung the guitar strings such that the 6th E string would not be at the bottom, but at the top, just as how it would be if the guitar was on the right side up. Hendrix’s friend, Eric Clapton, had planned to give him a left-handed Fender Stratocaster on his birthday, but unfortunately, Hendrix passed away one day after the guitar was purchased.
Do You Know That Jimi Hendrix belongs to a club called “The 27 Club” or “Forever 27 Club”? This club is for a group of famous and influential guitarists who passed away when they were 27 years old. Some of these notable guitarists are Jim Morrison of The Doors and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.
Sid Vicious (1957 – 1979)
Do You Know That though Sid Vicious was the bassist of the Sex Pistols, he never actually played the bass for them? His bass was actually left unplugged during live performances and his parts in albums were recorded by another member of the Sex Pistols. All of these happened largely because Vicious could not play at all! In fact, he was so desperate to learn that he even approached the bassist of Motorhead and asked that he taught him how to play. Vicious eventually died in 1979 without ever knowing how to play the bass.
Do You Know That Sid Vicious was believed to have killed his girlfriend while he was under influence of heroin? He claimed not to have any recollection of the event after waking up to find his partner dead in the room. Though there were many conspiracy theories that surrounded this, none have ever been established as true.
Do You Know That Sid Vicious died after a heroin overdose and not during one? After obtaining heroin on the night of his death, Vicious overdosed but survived it. He subsequently fell asleep and was found dead the next morning. The coroner who reviewed his case explained that a person’s heart will slow down with every REM phase if he falls asleep after an accidental overdose on heroin. It is also interesting to note that the purity of the drug that Vicious consumed was exceptionally high. It was nearly 99% pure as opposed to the common standard of 22% or less. Again, conspiracy theories surrounded Vicious’ death and the most famous of them all was one that actually linked his death to the purported murderer - Rockets Redglare – of his former girlfriend.
Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962)
Do You Know That the name Marilyn Manson was derived from Marilyn Monroe? I don’t know about you, but I think it is an insult to have such a creep named after her. Personal opinion though, don’t take it to heart. Anyway, as an interesting side note, Marilyn Monroe herself was named after a famous Broadway star of the 1920s and early 1930s, Marilyn Miller. If you pay attention to all their names, their initials are actually consistent – “M.M.” Now, I wonder if that’s a winning formula to stardom...
Do You Know That Marilyn Monroe’s beauty and elegance were not exactly natural? Many have questioned the authenticity of her breasts, eyes and jaws, but no one was ever able to give any solid evidence that they were fake – well, except for her nose. In 1946 when Monroe was signed to 20th Century Fox, she was advised to undergo rhinoplasty to reduce the size of her nose in order to make it look more delicate and feminine. Some have speculated that because of Monroe, plastic surgery eventually found its way into Hollywood and became one of the most vital aspects of the industry.
Do You Know That Marilyn Monroe was the first centerfold model to appear on the very first edition of Playboy in 1953? The issue was an instant success and was sold out within a matter of weeks. Some copies of the first issue in mint condition were auctioned off for over $5000 in 2002 – that is 10,000 times the original price which stood at about $0.50 in 1953!