Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Union Jack Boys

Form The Who to David Bowie via Johnny Rotten, the Union Jack has been a prominent symbol of Brit rockers for five decades. Bowie's frock coat was designed in collaboration with Alexander McQueen. John Lydon wore the Keanan Duffty flag shirt for the Sex Pistols 2003 American tour.

A distressed Union Jack Flag image appeared on promotional posters and adverts for the Sex Pistols debut single on EMI Records in November 1976, but did not actually appear on the 7" single sleeve. The single was originally issued in a plain black sleeve.
The screen print of the flag is taken from a color photograph of a torn Union Jack held together with safety pins. Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK is attached by Bulldog stationery clips. This was first Pistols design to use a Union Jack flag and was created by Jamie Reid.

The roots of the Union Jack in pop music goes back to the 60’s when Pete Townshend and John Entwhistle wore Union Jack coats during the Who’s late 60’s pop art days. Those garments have become synonymous with The Who. The Jam re-created this look in 1977 in an homage to 60’s pop fashion

However Flying the flag doesn’t always work in the artist’s favor-Morrissey famously draped himself in the Union Jack at a Madness concert in Finsbury Park in London, only be accused of overt Nationalism by the media. Some say he was misguided, others say it was a joke, but for anti-racists everywhere Morrisey had gone too far.

Yet it seems that every generation of Brit rockers adopts a new permutation of the Union Jack as a style statement. Yes, even Geri Halliwell of the spice girls had a flag moment.

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