Hats In Music
Exclusive Link: The Hat Generation
This occurred to me Saturday at Savalas as my white friends and I were dancing (ironically) to hip-hop: With the exception of party shirts, and nipple rings that double as keychains, and the neckties girls wear around their waists when they can’t afford real belts, there is no greater musical accessory than the hat.
In a largely provable way, the history of music is a history of hats. Pythagoras, Beethoven, the Church Fathers, Beethoven the dog–all of these musicians have seen at least five hats. More importantly, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the first musician to successfully wear a hat, was also the first hat wearer to successfully compose the song “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.” The lyrics accompanying that song are often characterized as sad and a bit forlorn, which over the years has led several rock critics to believe Mozart wrote the song completely hatless.
Now everybody wears hats, even Stefan Doroschuk, guitarist of Men Without Hats. But that doesn’t mean everybody who wears hats is in the band Men Without Hats–to say nothing of Niggas With Hats, or Hats With Hats, my Niggas With Hats cover band from junior high.
Things are tricky, in other words. The question, I think, is: Do people wear hats for different reasons? The answer is yes. There are two reasons why a person might wear a hat. The first reason, perhaps he is a musician! That ought to do for now.
Here are some famous musicians who have worn or at least could recognize a hat if prompted to do so:
Miles Davis (Third Quintet-Era)
Kid (but not Play)
And “hats off” to these musicians who use their headgear in clever ways:
Talented Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars secretly died thirty years ago, but that didn’t keep scientists from putting a top hat on his head and a life-supporting Quatto-like “Mini-Mick” robot inside Mars’s chest cavity. The robot also has a hat.
Talented J from power-funk band Jamiroquai credits the writing of “Virtual Insanity” entirely to his big, fluffy hat he wears in the “Virtual Insanity” music video. “I call it ‘Virtual Insanity’,” says J, “Because without that hat, I would be sitting in my flat, moving furniture around by hand, while Susan Powter keeps appearing outside my window, yelling ‘stop the insanity’, and raising her eyebrows as if I didn’t hear her the first four-hundred times. God I hate that fucking woman.”
Before Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage commissioned the design of his green leather cowboy hat, the wrestler-rapper behind Hulk Hogan diss rap “Be A Man, Hulk” unsuccessfully asked five different WWF stars to sit on his head as makeshift hats, until his new one was completed. Texas Tornado, it is reported, bit the bullet.
Reggae star and weed advocate Sizzla openly brags he uses his hat as a third lung.
Dizzy Gillespie has eaten over 500 hats.