As classic rock evolved from the 40s/50s to the 80s, several elements and symbols were adopted and became increasingly synonymous with the music and bands. The most popular symbols and signs that are most acquainted with rock and roll include: the electric guitar, Elvis’ microphone, the “Tongue and Lip Design” of the Rolling Stones, the lightning bolt and the hand horn symbol.
The electric guitar can be dated as far back as the 30s, but its prominence and widespread use became dominant during the 50s. The electric guitar quickly became a major instrument of rock and roll, and Les Paul’s adoption of the guitar in the 1952 did very well to sell the idea of pure electronic sounds as basis for rock music.
Unlike Les Paul who created the Gibson Les Paul electronic guitar, the legendary Elvis microphone was not invented by the superstar but got the tag due to Elvis’ frequent use of the mic. The iconic microphone is actually the 1955 Shure Unidyne microphone which has since become an enduring symbol of rock and rollers, as well as standard pop crooners, over the years. Long hair has also been strongly associated with rock and roll; although many bands wore a long hairstyle such as Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and many others, its Elvis’ curly hair that has been mostly associated with the music.
The lightning bolt was first synonymous with the Australian rock band AC/DC. The bolt has been used to depict the enormous amount of vibe and energy that classic rock music oozes to the awe-struck fans of the album-oriented rock format. This symbol is also popular due to the biblical-sounding title of AC/DC’s Let There Be Rock album.
For classic rock and roll, the “Tongue and Lip Design” is one of the most memorable and widely familiarized band symbol ever. The logo that has been dubbed as “hot lips” that was first created in the 1970s by John Pasche, the British graphic designer who came up with the logo after spending a few minutes with Mick Jagger. The logo was initially to be made to resemble the Hindu goddess of energy – Kali, but Pasche used Mick Jagger for the inspiration painting a not-so-discrete logo of what surely looks like Jagger’s mouth. The symbol has since been the Rolling Stone’s logo and has also been popularly associated with rock and roll.
Put your index fingers up and the middle fingers down. Let your pinky up and leave the thumb in and you’ve got yourself doing the hand horn. The hand horn has become so popular that it is regarded as a standard salute between rock artists and their fans. The concept was taken off at concerts where Ozzy Osbourne had flashed double peace signs, which was further popularized by Ronnie James Dio who thought the band would never be the same after Ozzy’s exit. Nowadays, this hand gesture simply indicates a kind of musical ecstasy to which what one would describe as “Hell yeah!” in today’s modern English vocabulary.