Music’s ultimately about the recorded product, but being handsome certainly doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to launch a career in entertainment. While a woman’s attractiveness might keep her from being taken seriously, a man’s handsomeness is nothing but an asset.
Here are ten male musicians whose music I enjoy, and whom I consider to be notably good looking – bear in mind, as a heterosexual male, my judgement may be questionable.
I’ve tried to keep the discussion classy, but please let me know if I’ve crossed a line in any of the descriptions.
Ten Sexiest Men in Music
The front man of Blur chose to represent himself as a cartoon in virtual band Gorillaz, although it seems an unnecessary move:
If I still consider myself handsome? Do I have to do the false modesty thing? No? OK. Do I find myself beautiful? Yes, clearly. But not every day! (laughs) With the right angle and the right light, I am still pretty handsome.”Damon Albarn, 2017
David Bowie looked good in a dress, as on the cover of 1970’s The Man Who Sold The World; he was a naturally handsome man. He dabbled in acting with roles like squeezing into the tight pants of The Goblin King in Labyrinth. Part of Bowie’s unique look came from an incident at school; he was punched in the face during a fight over a girl, permanently damaging his eye, and giving the impression that his eyes were two different colours.
Jeff Buckley aced the gene pool – with his soaring voice and fantastic guitar chops, he had limitless potential as a musician. This potential that was lost when he accidentally drowned in a Memphis river after only one album, 1994’s Grace. His good looks certainly didn’t stand in the way of his musical career. Buckley’s piercing eyes and exquisitely long lashes, in tandem with sensitive songs like ‘Hallelujah’, presumably boosted his female fan-base. Jeff’s father, the more avant-garde Tim Buckley, would have been a solid inclusion in this list too.
It has always interested me how Nirvana broke through to the mainstream, when their talented alt-rock forbears failed. In practice, what separated Nirvana from bands like Pixies, The Replacements, and Hüsker Dü was that they produced that one magical mega song. It was Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ that vaulted them into the public consciousness. But Cobain’s nonchalant good looks, blue eyes and blond hair, certainly didn’t hurt either.
All of the big four grunge bands featured handsome lead singers – along with Cobain in Nirvana and Chris Cornell’s Soundgarden, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Alice in Chains Layne Staley were also good looking men. Chris Cornell’s lyrics on songs like ‘Black Hole Sun’ and ‘Fell on Black Days’ were dark and brooding, but people who met him talk about how tall and handsome he was. In the liner notes to Chris Cornell retrospective compilation, Tom Morello writes of the subject’s “ridiculously beautiful hair”.
Donald Glover started his career in TV – first as a writer, then landing iconic film roles like Simba and Lando Calrissian. He’s also branched into music under the name Childish Gambino, and he’s best known for his 2018 song ‘This is America’ and its accompanying video. He looked great with his shirt off during his recent Coachella performance.
Not content with merely being one of the greatest soul singers of all time, Marvin Gaye was also extremely handsome. Not every man can rock a woolly hat the way that Gaye could, and it’s not surprising he wound up marrying his boss’s daughter.
McKenzie rose to prominence as half of “New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo”, Flight of the Conchords. But before musical fame, McKenzie had already gained a following for a cameo in Lord of the Rings, where he played an elf escort. Despite not having a speaking part in The Fellowship of the Rings, McKenzie was given the name Figwit by fans, standing for “Frodo Is Great, Who Is That?”. The founders of the first Figwit fansite, http://www.figwitlives.net, dubbed McKenzie “Legolas for the thinking woman”.
Sam Phillips, boss of Sun Records famously stated, “If I could find a white man with the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.” Elvis Presley bought the crossover appeal that Phillips was searching for, but he was also devastatingly handsome into the bargain, becoming the biggest star of 1950s rock and roll as well as a movie career.
Many established stars from the 1970s faded from the limelight as MTV redefined the pathway to commercial success in the early 1980s. But Bruce’s rugged good looks translated well to the new medium, and his best-selling album, 1984’s Born in the U.S.A., took full advantage, with popular videos and a shot of Springsteen’s butt on the cover.
Those are my picks for the ten sexiest male musicians of all time. Any favourites? Any names to throw into the hat?