(Up To) Eleven Of The Greatest British Rocker T-Shirts

Sarah and her Clash T-shirt (Orphan Black, BBCAMERICA)

Sarah and her Clash T-shirt (Orphan Black, BBCAMERICA)

See this pic? That’s Sarah from BBC AMERICA’s Orphan Black rocking a particularly iconic Clash teesh. The kind of teesh you could convincingly pretend you’ve had since you were tiny, after it was handed down by your roadie dad or something. It’s the kind of teesh you wear if you want people to know you take no nonsense, you’re a person of spirit and determination, you’re fierce and independent. It’s the kind of teesh you wear if you’re (or you want people to believe you are) a ROCKER.

But it’s not the only shirt she could have worn for a similar effect. Here are eleven other examples:

Joy Division

This, the cover of Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures,” depicting radio waves from a pulsar, is an image that needs no introduction or explanation to those in the know, and yet remains bafflingly obscure to everyone else. Just perfect.

Pink Floyd T-shirt

Whereas, you’d have to be some kind of culture refusenik not to be aware of the prism rainbow on the cover of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.”

Iron Maiden T-shirt

Any Iron Maiden teesh would do. They’re all good, but “The Number of the Beast” might just be the most popular, as Satan is in it. The tattier the better, mind.

Judas Priest T-shirt

This one is just scary, think of the fingertips! And the aftershave burn! What manner of giant needs a razor blade that big, Judas Priest?

Motorhead T-shirt

Ah, the classic snotty metaller teesh. No nonsense, just a logo and a boar-faced dog looking angry.

Beatles T-Shirt

There are countless iconic Beatle designs out there: “Abbey Road,” “Sgt Pepper’s,” “Revolver,” but this one created its own spinoffs. The only slight irritation being they’ve got George and Ringo the wrong way around.

Def Leppard T-Shirt

Ah! The mighty ‘Flep! Granted, a teesh like this might send a message that you’re occasionally a little style-over-substance compared to, say, a Motorhead fan, but should anyone ask you to tidy your room, you can at least answer, with some authority: “C’mon get real!”

Black Sabbath T-shirt

I’m not entirely sure why this design is so popular. It’s not even a very good album cover. And yet, countless rock buffs have chosen to express their individuality by wearing a teesh with a visibly refreshed yellow Ozzy Osbourne on the cover, offering peace signs while some sideways text advertises his band’s fourth album.

Sex Pistols T-shirt

At the other end of the scale, a design masterpiece from Jamie Reid. The Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen” cover, given a bit of a Union Flag makeover.

Rolling Stones T-shirt

And another, Mick Jagger’s lips turned into the rude, crude Rolling Stones logo.

The Who T-shirt

And finally, nothing says “stuff you, society!” than an RAF target and the Who’s special rising arrow.

Who did we miss or otherwise fail to find room for? Tell us here:

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 13 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Music.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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