Endearing Childhood Portraits Reveal the Lives of Iconic Musicians Before They Were Famous

Famous musicians can seem larger than life, like they’ve somehow transcended ordinary existence. It’s easy to forget that like the rest of us, they had childhoods that included puberty and awkward school photographs, long before they learned to hone their craft. 

Vintage Everyday reminds us of this humbling fact with a collection of images that show the “before” portraits of iconic rock stars. Celebrities like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, John Lennon, and Bjork are all pictured in their youth, and from these photos, you’d never realize that these people would eventually obtain massive fame. Divorced from their musical personas, they wear the same types of school uniforms and hairstyles as everyone else.

Seeing the side-by-side comparisons also makes one thing clear: some people developed their distinctive features from a young age—especially Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Even as a young boy he had those unforgettable pouted lips!

Above: David Bowie

Freddie Mercury


Debbie Harry

Steven Tyler

Mick Jagger

Jimmy Hendrix

Bob Dylan

Johnny Cash

Elvis Presley

John Lennon

Kurt Cobain

Courtney Love

via [Vintage Everyday]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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