Rock Stars Who Look Nothing Like They Did When They Were Young

Getting old happens to the best of us, and the worst of us. All of us, really. Wrinkles occur, it becomes increasingly harder to keep weight off, and hair becomes a hassle because any attempt to grow it out simply exposes how thin it's getting. Rock stars are human, too, so the same rules apply. If they don't die before they get old, they're eventually going to look old.

Some rock stars, however, don't just look like older versions of their younger selves. Instead, as they age they begin to look like completely different people. In many cases, they don't even look the same in the face, never mind the hair and gut. You can look at a picture of them from their youth, swear in a court of law they're two different people, and nobody would convict you of perjury.

Here are some rock stars who, for one reason or another, look almost nothing like they did when they were young and virile.

Courtney Love could've been a new wave princess

Love her or hate her, you know exactly who Courtney Love is. You also know exactly what she looks like, as she's sported roughly the same appearance since the '90s: messy blonde hair, lots of lipstick, and provocative fashion designed to make her look like a legal Lolita. Whether she's fronting Hole or performing solo, and whether she's sober or very much not, Courtney Love has almost always looked like Courtney Love.

If you want to see Love in a drastically different light, though, you need to go way back in time, before Hole and long before Kurt Cobain. In the early '80s, Love was a teenager and wannabe actress, looking for her big break. This being the early '80s, she attempted to get people's attention by looking like what was hip at the time. And so, for a spell we had Courtney Love as a new wave pop goddess. Her hair was dark, teased, and pixie-like, she wore loads of makeup (especially eyeliner), and her fashion was absolutely of the time. In the above picture, she's sporting pink tights and a zebra-striped dress, which definitely could've gotten her a gig dancing in the background of a Culture Club music video had she kept it up.

Obviously, she didn't keep it up. As Elle put it, moving to London in the '80s woke her up musically, as she found herself surrounded by rock and roll, particularly punk and goth. The real Courtney Love would soon shine.

Grace Slick went from 'White Rabbit' to white hair

Even Grace Slick's biggest fan, someone who dutifully followed her 25-year career from Jefferson Airplane to Jefferson Starship to Starship, would have trouble identifying her today. She has retained virtually none of her famous appearance, and she couldn't care less if anyone dislikes it.

Grace Slick's famous look was striking, to say the least. Between her supermodel looks, dark black hair, and champion eyeliner game, it was near-impossible to see her and not fall in love. Fast-forward to 2018, and she's a completely different woman. Her hair is white as snow, the makeup is minimal at best, and she's put on her fair share of weight. She looks good, happy, and healthy, to be sure, but she most certainly doesn't look like the "White Rabbit" lady.

The reason for such a drastic change is brutally simple: She's retired and likes it that way. She left music following a 1989 Jefferson Airplane reunion at the age of 50. According to her, that was the perfect age to retire because she feels "all rock-and-rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire." She's just as hilariously blunt when discussing her vegan lifestyle with USA Today: "If I see a big chocolate cake that is made with eggs, I'll have it." She may not be willing to hit the stage and rock "Somebody To Love" anymore, but Grace Slick is clearly good at parties.

Dexter Holland once had dreads for days

Since breaking out in the late '90s, Dexter Holland of The Offspring has looked largely the same: T-shirt, jeans, and spiky blonde hair. Aside from the usual extra few pounds one typically gains over 20 years, Holland has kept his look consistent his entire career. The man's a literal genius, after all, so he's certainly smart enough to stick with what works.

But before discovering his iconic punky cut, Holland's head sported a completely different look. Instead of short and spiky, he was crooning family favorites like "Kill The President" while sporting chest-length dreadlocks. It was certainly an interesting look, but perhaps not his best. His hair was, quite simply, far too thin to successfully pull off the dread look. He didn't really look stylish so much as he looked like he had just stepped out of the shower and hadn't yet begun to dry his hair.

But after he cut the dreads and embraced spiky gel, the band sold fewer albums. Whether that had to do with his new do or not is up for debate. But he can't change it back now, because Spiky-Haired Holland graces every bottle of his personal hot sauce, Gringo Bandito, making his signature look truly immortal.

Michael Stipe lost his religion but gained a beard

Michael Stipe, lead mumbler (and later lead singer) of alt-rock giant R.E.M, has basically been three different people throughout his career. Of course, when you rarely make appearances in your band's own music videos, you can get away with that.

When R.E.M. began in the early '80s, Stipe had just so much hair. He sported dark, curly locks all the way down to his shoulders, and rocked the look pretty dang well. But hair doesn't last forever, and Stipe's gradually disappeared. By 1987, when the band broke big, Stipe's hair was far shorter, and beginning to thin. It was the end of long, luxurious locks as he knew them, and by the early '90s he was completely bald. However, no matter what graced his skull (or what didn't), he kept his face mostly smooth and clean-shaven, save for the occasional scruff.

No more. Today's Michael Stipe, largely retired since R.E.M.'s split in 2011, has embraced his inner Santa Claus. He's grown a humongous, white, bushy beard while also keeping his head shorn. That plus a shiny new nose ring should ensure Stipe remains as alternative and non-mainstream as he was when topping the pop charts with catchy musings on the Vietnam War and Agent Orange.

Ozzy Osbourne didn't always dress like Satan

While Ozzy Osbourne's always been the Prince of F'n Darkness, he didn't always look the part. As you can see, when Ozzy started out with horror-blues-metal pioneers Black Sabbath, he looked like just about any other longhair you'd find walking the streets of 1960s Birmingham, England. He dressed in pleasant earth tones, rocked feathery brown hair, wore either no makeup or just a hint of it for the stage, and had a laid-back, welcoming look in his eyes. He did have his O-Z-Z-Y knuckle tattoos, one of the few signs this pleasant chap who looked like he would be a delight at afternoon tea also wrote "Iron Man."

Fast-forward to today, and Ozzy has completely altered his look to reflect his legendary reputation. He has way more tattoos now, and they're all super-cool and super-metal. Just about everything he wears now, especially on stage, is jet black. He wears a ton of eyeliner to further make himself look spooky and evil. Then, of course, there's the aging process, which in Ozzy's case actually works perfectly for his on-stage character. It's a lot easier to look like a harbinger of death when you're not terribly far away from it yourself.

Currently, Ozzy's embarking on what he tells Rolling Stone is his retirement from world touring. He'll still make music and perform gigs, but won't constantly be on stage anymore. Don't expect him to abandon his look in favor of a typical "old man" one, though. His all-black-everything gimmick is simply too "him" to toss away.

Keith Richards added 200 years to his face over 50 years

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones is a textbook example of what can happen if you take rock 'n' roll excess to its logical extreme. He doesn't look like an old version of himself so much as he looks like a completely different human being.

This may surprise a lot of you, but Keith Richards used to be young. What's more, he looked young, with smooth skin and hair that hadn't yet been ravaged by years of drugs and alcohol. Decades later, you can see that's no longer the case — his wrinkles are deep, his eyes sunken and tired, and while he still has plenty of hair, it's not nearly as luxurious as it was in the '60s mop-top days. It's not just simple aging, either — even in 1983, Stones frontman Mick Jagger still looked pretty young, while Richards (with drink and smoke in hand, naturally) was already looking far older than he should at age 40.

You can also see the difference today. Jagger is Richards' age, and certainly looks the part, but his aging seems more natural. Old Mick Jagger looks, quite simply, like Young Jagger, only old. Paul McCartney, meanwhile, is two years older than both and looks at least ten years younger. If that isn't incentive to take care of yourself and your body, what is?

James Hetfield looked (and sounded) like he couldn't kill anybody

Metallica frontman James Hetfield has aged fairly gracefully, but that doesn't change how he could go back in time, stand next to his early '80s self, and nine out of ten people would probably insist they were unrelated.

Hetfield, like most '80s metalheads, had super-long hair, but he certainly didn't tease it to death like his more glammy counterparts. He was also thinner and clean-shaven, not electing to grow a beard until later in the decade. Today, we have a Hetfield whose hair is far shorter, not to mention extremely white. He's definitely put on weight, not to mention muscle (something you need to play guitar as long and heavily as he has). Plus, his facial hair (whether it be a full beard, a wraparound, or a soul patch) makes his face look completely different from that of the crazy young kid screaming out the lyrics from their hot new album Kill 'Em All.

Perhaps even more jarring than the change in Hetfield's appearance, however, is the change in his voice. Like it or not, you recognize James Hetfield's signature gruff vocals, but you may not recognize what he originally sounded like. In this early demo for "Hit The Lights," he sounds like a completely different person — his voice is thinner, his pitch higher, and his aggression nearly at zero. It doesn't fit the thrashing music behind him, and luckily for Metallica (and music history) he changed courses quickly.

Axl Rose was eating when he should've been recording

In the late '80s and early '90s, rock star Axl Rose was on top of the metal world, and looked the part too. Prime Axl had everything going for him physically: He was thin, had piercing eyes, and rocked long, red hair harder than anyone except maybe Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. Aside from his knack for fighting fans and onstage temper tantrums, there wasn't much about Axl Rose that didn't scream "awesome."

The years, many of which were spent in semi-seclusion, have not been kind to Mr. Rose. His hair, while still fairly long, isn't nearly as red as it used to be, and his faded eyes don't pierce the soul anymore so much as gently poke at it. What's more, he gained a fair bit of weight while hammering away at Chinese Democracy, and hasn't really shed much of it at all. He honestly looks like Meatloaf nowadays, because you are what you eat.

Still, he looks better today than he did even a few years ago, when he was even bigger, and sported facial hair that simply made him look messier than usual. When your picture inspires memes like "Welcome to the jungle / we got tons of cake," that's a sign to eat more vegetables. He's fronting AC/DC and looking better now, but it's safe to say the days of Axl rocking booty shorts to show off his toned, athletic legs are long past.

Bob Dylan's next dream should include a razor

Bob Dylan is proof that facial hair, especially if it's not altogether flattering, can completely alter someone's appearance for the worse.

Dylan's '60s look is perhaps his most iconic, probably because that's when he too became an icon. He was clean-shaven, with dark hair teased into a puff, looking every bit like the young, hip, musical beat poet he was. Several decades later, not a whole lot has changed, save for time obviously. Dylan's hair is white, to be sure, but it's still fairly puffy. He still largely dresses the same, and his face looks mostly like it did way back when, only with many more lines. And yet, he still looks like a different person, and for one reason: that famous, and possibly infamous, mustache.

Since sometime in the '90s, Bob Dylan has been rocking a wispy mustache — often just two lines dripping diagonally down from his nostrils — and even that little bit of lip hair changes his look drastically. Whether the mustache looks good or not depends on who's looking at it, but he definitely doesn't look the same. That's probably the way he likes it, though. After all, this is the same guy who keeps playing his own songs differently, so why wouldn't he play with his looks the same way?

Linda Ronstadt's famed look and voice barely exist

Famed singer Linda Ronstadt got famous while looking a particular way, but not only has she not looked that way in decades, she currently looks absolutely nothing like she used to.

Ronstadt's most famous look was that of one of the most beautiful women in music history. Everything about her, from her face to her bangs to her fashion choices, caught people's attention. That, combined with her ability to expertly sing just about any style of music — rock, country, jazz, opera — earned her millions of dollars and, according to her 1980 interview with Playboy, made her influential enough that her simply wearing roller skates could kick off "a national craze" for skating. But that was nothing compared to the national craze for Ronstadt herself.

Her current look, however, hints at none of that. She's put on a lot of weight, especially in the face, and her haircut is more a medium bob than her previous long flow. But without question, the biggest change in Ronstadt is her singing voice. Namely, she doesn't really have one anymore. She's been retired since 2009, and a case of Parkinson's disease has completely robbed her of the ability to sing. As she told AARP in 2013, "No one can sing with Parkinson's disease. No matter how hard you try. And in my case, I can't sing a note." No one expects youthful looks to stick around forever, but losing such a powerful voice is infinitely sadder.

Neil Young is a walking fashion don't

Legendary country/grunge/nu-wave/whatever-the-hell-he-wants-to-be musician Neil Young has never been what most would call "an attractive man." That said, the years have certainly hit him hard and left us with what almost seems like two distinctly unattractive men.

Young Neil Young had a thin, scraggly look to him, with scraggly dark hair to match. Old Neil Young, meanwhile, is still scraggly, though in as unflattering a manner as possible. His hair, now lighter and wispier, is complemented with big, white, bushy sideburns that barely fit his face (literally and figuratively). He's quite a bit heavier than he used to be, and his already-wrinkled face looks even older thanks to his ever-present scowl. In his case, the wrinkles most certainly aren't laugh lines.

Young's look isn't helped much by his choice of fashion, which can hardly be called fashion at all. He's always been a T-shirt and jeans type of musician, but old flannel and wrinkled shirts, not to mention the frayed guitar straps he sports more often than not, give off the look of a hobo rather than a rock star with decades of experience. It's possible he looks this way on purpose, to give off as much of an everyman vibe as possible, but that doesn't really work if hardly any man wants to look like him.