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The biggest celebrity hair of the 80s

Defying the laws of physics

The biggest celebrity hair of the 80s
03 November 2011

The 80s was not a decade for understatement. Clothes were loud, styles were garish, and above all, you weren't a real man unless you had more hair than a salon floor at the end of a day.

We take a look at 20 of the biggest barnets of the 1980s; stop and stare, and beware the hair.

Images: Rex/Allstar

David Coverdale

Attributes: Blonde, curly, big.

Heritage of the hair: Lead singer of 80s rock titans Whitesnake, this magnificent effort from Coverdale displays almost perfect radial symmetry. Remarkably similar to what you'd expect your hair to look like if you did actually see a white snake in your living room.

Jon Bon Jovi

Attributes: Brunette with blonde streaks, curls, big, long, basically everything

Heritage of the hair: Really, any explanation of this totem of big hair is superfluous. Just look at this thing of beauty, it's like a separate, living, breathing organism on top of Jon's head. Truly a blaze of glory.

Kevin Keegan

Attributes: Brunette, curls, perm

Heritage of the hair: Kevin was a true trailblazer for the bubble perm style, wearing it with sheer elegance at all times, particularly when holding a bunch of pink flowers. Wear with Brut aftershave for optimum results.

Lionel Richie

Attributes: Dark brunette, tight curls, length, shine

Heritage of the hair: The man, the legend, the Lionel. Few men in this world can rock a tache, a tux, those sunglasses and that hair. Richie is one of them. A sumptuous silky mountain of Lionel locks; Hair-Lo, is it me you're looking for?

David Hasselhoff

Attributes: Brunette, lustrous, volume

Heritage of the hair: A hero of so many aspects of the 80s, Hasselhoff doesn't disappoint on the hair. A thick and heavy effort, with more than a hint of some serious hairspray going on, the Hoff gets extra points for accessorising it with a sturdy chest rug.

Michael Bolton

Attributes: Blonde, wavy, good length

Heritage of the hair: Adored by middle-aged women everywhere, Bolton was an ultimate big-haired hero. Like Samson, he later cut his locks, lost his power and the hits dried up. A sobering lesson to all of us tempted to go short.

David Gower

Attributes: White-blonde, curly

Heritage of the hair: A forgotten hero of 80s hair, Gower's effort may not match up in the pure size stakes of his competitors, but it more than makes up for it with silky curls and general hair-helmet-ness. Much like his cover drive, a classy effort.

Tommy Lee & Vince Neil

Attributes: Blonde/brunette, curls/straight, volume/length

Heritage of the hair: Those of a nervous disposition look away now, because this is not for the faint-hearted. Mötley Crüe legends Neil and Lee display a yin and yang of massive hair, accessorised with gloves, tattoos and frills. Astonishing.

John McEnroe

Attributes: Brunette, curl, hint of mullet

Heritage of the hair: Borrowing heavily from the Keegan school of bubble perm, McEnroe sports a superb barnet. So out of control that it needed a hairband to tame it, we are deadly serious when we say this is big.

Joan Collins

Attributes: Big, dark, and perfectly round, like a bowling ball

Heritage of the hair: Whilst the world of big 80s hair was largely a male domain, the girls were far from forgotten, and in particular the ladies of US megasoap, Dynasty. The shoulderpads were big, the clothes bright, and the hair permed and crimped to within an inch of its life. So big and bouncy that small children could have played in it for days.

Pat Sharp

Attributes: Blonde, long at the back, party on top

Heritage of the hair: Whilst some may class Sharp's barnet as being purely from the mullet school, we feel it has enough volume and size to qualify in the 'generally big and massive' area. A spectacular effort, put into context by the fact that he managed to have more hair than Melanie and Martina, the Fun House twins, combined.

Axl Rose

Attributes: Ginger, straggly, large

Heritage of the hair: As befits a fiery character such as Mr. Rose, his hair in his 80s pomp was vivid, angry, and big. Looking like a modern day braveheart, and producing lyrics like the ones in Get In The Ring, you'd be advised to think twice before hiding his hairspray for a laugh.

Daryl Hall & John Oates

Attributes: Oates (left) showcases shiny, shiny dark curls, Hall (right) goes for big, lustrous ginger

Heritage of the hair: Whilst big hair was usually synonomous with the rockier end of the musical spectrum, Hall & Oates showed that even the smooth MOR pop boys could cut it in the large locks stakes. Much like their musical partnership, a perfectly complimentary pairing; one curly and voluminous, the other wavy and long. We can go for that.

Whitney Houston

Attributes: Curly, ginger/brown, hint of a mullet, massive

Heritage of the hair: Houston strode like a musical colossus over the 80s, and as hits were huge, so was her hair. Her high point, musically and follically (literally) was the video for I Wanna Dance With Somebody where, coupled with some truly lairy makeup, Whitney's hair took on a life of its own.

David Lee Roth


Heritage of the hair: As lead singer of rock titans Van Halen, there was never any chance that Roth was going to let the likes of Jovi or Coverdale get one over on him. He responded with the purest form of big hair; no particular style, just as much of it as humanely (or manely) possible. A silky show of sheer strength.

Cyndi Lauper

Attributes: Yellow, orange, red, assymetric, big

Heritage of the hair: Lauper spent most of the 80s sporting a variety of crazy hairstyles, in between the tiresome matter of having the odd huge hit. This is our favourite, purely as, much like Cyndi herself, it makes absolutely no sense whatsover, but is big, brash and strangely intriguing. It also strongly resembles a Macaw Parrot sitting on her head.

Carlos Valderrama

Attributes: Ginger, pure curls, big

Heritage of the hair: Unfairly described by one commentator as a 'human floor mop', we prefer to dwell on the sheer aesthetic beauty of Carlos', erm, mop. In 2006, a 22-foot tall bronze statue of Valderrama was placed by the stadium in his hometown of Santa Marta; the hair alone must have cost the equivalent of the Colombian national debt, and one can only have respect for that.

Pete Burns

Attributes: Brunette, frizzy, very, very long

Heritage of the hair: Long before he went into the jungle, and before all of that slightly ill-advised plastic surgery, Burns was still something of an exhibitionist. To put it mildly. Sporting enough hair to sink a battleship, and with a pirate's patch to match, this is a fearsome display of follicle flair.

David Bowie

Attributes: Blonde/grey, with locks emanting from a central fulcrum, like a firework made of hair

Heritage of the hair: Bowie has performed many services to adventurous hair over his career, but surely his peak was during his appearance in fantasy epic Labyrinth. He played the role of Goblin king Jareth, and looked just like a goblin king should, a bit scary and a bit ridiculous. And just look at that shirt. Glorious.

Bonnie Tyler

Attributes: Two tone blonde/brunette, enormous volume

Heritage of the hair: Fearsome-voiced Welsh warbler Bonnie Tyler had a massive voice, and hair to match. Using so much hairspray that she was effectively a one-woman fire hazard is a move that deserves nothing but respect. "She's holding out for a hair-o 'til the end of the night. It's gotta be sure, and it's gotta be soon, and gotta be larger than life" - job done there Bonnie, job done.