One universal truth is the fact that everyone looks hilarious in their high school yearbooks. Dated fashions, bad hair, goofy expressions – no one is immune. That’s why we love to look at the old yearbooks of rock legends. Let’s check out a few.
The year is 1976 and Madonna Ciccone, a high school senior, is an innocent schoolgirl with short brown hair and a pretty smile. This Adams High School yearbook from Rochester, Michigan, features a young Material Girl a few years before she takes over the world of pop music. How many of the guys in these pages have lied about dating her? That guy in the upper left corner is probably sitting in a bar right now saying, “Madonna? Yeah, she was into me. I had to dump her.”
Ten years before Madonna’s senior yearbook, a beardless Billy Gibbons (upper right corner) gives a sly grin in his junior year. Two years later his band, the Moving Sidewalks, would tour with Hendrix. A year after that, he’d form ZZ Top and rule the world. Check out the dude in the bottom right corner. He just might have had a few Elvis records.
This one from 1958 features a bunch of straight-laced squares and one super-cool guy with a soul patch right in the middle of the first page. His name is Frank Zappa and he’s plotting to subvert the western world. In this he was successful.
Here are some good-looking folks. It’s Lubbock, Texas’ class of 1955. First page, second row, center – that’s Buddy Holly sans glasses. How many of these girls had classic Buddy Holly songs written for them? There isn’t a “Peggy Sue” in this group, but there are a few fine fifties foxes.
Before she unleashed her inner rock chick on the world, Alanis Morrisette was an apparently normal Canadian teenager.
Ah, the ‘80s – worst decade ever for fashion. Here’s Gwen Stefani‘s senior yearbook. She was already a member of No Doubt by this point. In a few short years, she’d be a superstar.
Check out Jim Morrison in this 1961 yearbook. He looks completely pissed off. When you’re done looking at Jim’s scowl, check out the pearl necklaces the girls are wearing – they’re all sporting the exact same necklace. Not similar ones – the same exact one. It was provided by the photographer. There’s an exceedingly bad joke here, but we’ll spare you.
Kurt Cobain, 7th grade. First page, bottom row, second from left.
Kurt Cobain, 8th grade. Second page, upper left corner.
We’ve saved the best for last. This is the 1971 yearbook from The Walton School – a prestigious private institution that was in Panorama City, Ca. That’s a 13 year old Michael Jackson on the left wearing the extra-groovy and oh-so-seventies hat. By this point, Michael was already a huge star, so he attended this school with other children of privilege. Check out the kids in this book – especially the cool guy in the lower right corner. Yes, he is smoking a cigarette in his elementary school yearbook. He also looks suspiciously like Joey Ramone. When you can upstage Michael Jackson simply by taking a photo, you’re the man.
NOW GET BACK TO CLASS!