Wearing your favourite band’s t-shirt feels like an act of support and comradery with other fans. It’s a badge of honour and a way to display your taste in music. While many bands have come and gone over the years, some t-shirt designs have stood the test of time and can still be seen on fans today. These are ten of the coolest band t-shirts to have ever existed.
1. Daniel Johnston
The iconic ‘Hi, how are you?’ t-shirt was made famous by Kurt Cobain, frontman of grunge band Nirvana, who was a big fan of Johnston’s work. He wore the t-shirt on several occasions, and it made Johnston’s cult work exponentially more popular.
Everyone from Harry Styles to Fergie have been seen wearing the classic Ramones t-shirt that was designed by New York City artist Aturo Vega back in the 1970s. It’s one of the best-known band t-shirts of all time, despite its fairly simple design.
Nirvana influenced people the world over and certainly in the style stakes. Their acid house smiley face t-shirt was worn by seemingly everyone back in the 1990s and is still popular today. It was created by Kurt himself during the Nevermind sessions.
4. Smashing Pumpkins
The Pumpkins’ frontman Billy Corgan wore the famous zero t-shirt extensively back in 1996 when they were on tour. It was originally made by a skate company, but the band actually bought the rights to it themselves when they hit the big time and it’s still a classic over 20 years later.
5. Joy Division
Simple but classic, the Joy Division ‘Unknown Pleasures’ design is one of the best-known band t-shirts of all time and depicts radio waves from pulsar CP 1919. The image was selected by the band’s drummer Stephen Morris when he saw it in the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy.
6. Frankie Goes to Hollywood
‘Frankie Say Relax’ was designed by journalist and the co-founder of ZZT, which was Frankie’s record label, Paul Morley. It’s actually a rip-off of another iconic design, the ‘Choose Life’ design worn by Wham!
The AC/DC logo is one of the greatest of all time and was an ideal fit for a t-shirt, which has inspired many variations over the years.
8. Rolling Stones
Inspired by Mick Jagger’s famous mouth, the Rolling Stones’ t-shirt was designed in 1971 by art designer John Pasche and originally appeared on the Sticky Fingers album cover.
9. Led Zeppelin
Legendary rock band Led Zeppelin created this t-shirt for their eleventh and final concert tour in North America, at the high point of their career, and authentic originals from that tour are priceless now.
In the 1990s, you’d struggle to find any Britpop fan who didn’t own this t-shirt. The Brian Cannon designed-logo was placed on a pale blue background and is synonymous with the band during their Definitely Maybe era, when it felt like everyone in the world was listening to Oasis.