5 Music Icons and Their Equally Iconic Sunglasses

5 Music Icons and Their Equally Iconic Sunglasses

 If you Google John Lennon, Bono, Elton John and other great artists from the past decades, chances are, the web will give you a plethora of images of them wearing their iconic sunglasses.

That’s because rocking a pair is just the easiest and most fashionable way to either conceal those under eye bags from late-night gigs, hide from the paparazzi, nurse an eye condition, or to simply look great!

And whatever sunglasses they wore during their career, those pairs certainly have become part of their identities. Sometimes, you can’t even imagine them not wearing one.

Which got us into thinking, what brand of sunglasses did they actually wear?

For sunglass connoisseurs, it’s easy for them to identify which one is which. But for some people who don’t have the eye for detail, knowing the brand, model, and year of a pair of spectacles is incredibly difficult.

That’s why we scoured the internet and combed through every Google page (so you don’t have to) to look for these iconic sunnies. You can use this as a reference if you want to recreate the look of your music heroes.

First up!

Elton John’s eccentric collection

elton john

You can’t talk about sunglasses and not mention Elton John. This legendary singer and his great collection of about 250,000 pairs of sunglasses is more than enough for an entry on this list!

His passion for over-the-top shades is unmatched which makes him the ultimate sunnies collector, at least unofficially. But he’s more than just a collector. He’s also a fashion icon. A wildly fabulous one, in fact. And his go-to accessory? You’ve guessed it, sunglasses!

His fashionable pairs that he wore in concerts, music videos, and magazine covers are as popular and iconic as his hits like Tiny Dancer, Your Song, and Rocketman.

But what brands of sunglasses did he wear exactly?

To be honest, Elton John’s pieces of eyewear are extremely rare and they’re not the type that you’ll chance upon in stores on a random day. There’s a great chance that most of them are custom-made only for the Rocketman himself.

But don’t worry, we found the closest match to some of the pieces in his flamboyant collection!

George Keburia GKS31

George Keburia GKS31

These oversized and full-rimmed spectacles look almost exactly the same as the pair that Elton John wore during a sold-out concert in the LA Dodgers Stadium in 1975!

It’s ivory white acetate frames and gradient blue plastic lens and larger-than-life frame size will definitely bring you back to that wild fashion of the 70s.

Gucci Heart Shaped Sunglasses

elton john heart shaped sunglasses

Elton John has a long-time affair with heart-shaped sunglasses. The specs that he wore in a music video for Don’t Go Breaking My Heart were heart shaped, and his shades that got stolen in a museum were also heart-shaped.

But this particular pair of heart-shaped Gucci sunglasses screams Elton John fashion more than anything else. It’s rose-tinted lens and bejeweled frame using Swarovski crystals make it the perfect pair that will help you channel that larger-than-life personality!

Elton John flaunted this pair during the premier of his biopic “Rocketman” at Cannes Film Festival in 2019.

While you can’t get your hands on these exact sunglasses, you can shop Gucci and Swarovski sunglasses with us here at Great Southern Sunnies.


Bono’s eye shields

Bono's eyeshields

Just like Elton John, it’s hard to imagine Bono without a pair of sunglasses. But unlike other artists, Bono wears sunnies not in the name of fashion, at least originally.

In 2014, Bono of U2 himself revealed that the reason why he doesn’t take off his sunnies is because he has glaucoma. He’s had it for almost three decades now.

Glaucoma is an eye condition that makes the eyes very sensitive to light. And if not treated properly, this condition can even lead to blindness.

That’s why he started wearing sunglasses back then. And he did it in true rockstar fashion. Just look at some of his iconic eyewear!

Viking 1973 Fly Glasses

Viking 1973 Fly Glasses

In the ‘92 and ’93 era of U2, Bono created this alter ego called The Fly, who donned a skintight leather suit and dark-tinted wraparound specs. And for a time, this character has become the defining image of U2. And that’s partly thanks to the iconic shape of the black Viking 1973 bug-eyed sunglasses.

You know what’s even more interesting? This category of wide-rimmed and wraparound sunglasses was not even called “fly sunglasses” before 1992. But thanks to Bono, the Viking fly shades is now a household name for sunglasses enthusiasts and avid collectors.

Emporio Armani 9285

Emporio Armani 9285

If you’re a die hard U2 fan, you probably know this pair from the 2005-2006 Vertigo tour. Since then, this silver-framed monocle with pink lenses has been part of Bono’s go-to style as he is seen rocking this Emporio Armani 9285 several times.

The sunglasses have become so iconic that Emporio Armani made a special pair  just for Bono called the Emporio Armani 9592. This model retained the silver monocle frame, used a rose-coloured lens and had carved-out star emblems on each temple. For a rockstar like Bono, what could be more fitting than that?


John Lennon’s granny glasses

john lennon's granny glasses

John Lennon is arguably the most famous and recognizable artist on this list. And when we talk about him, we picture the late 60s Lennon, donning a messy, shaggy shoulder-length hair and wearing wire-rimmed round sunglasses.

That look was so iconic that it’s the first image that most of us think of when we hear John Lennon. Not the smooth-faced and mop-top Lennon from the Beatles’ early days, nor the long-haired and full-bearded hippie Lennon from his activism era.

We think it’s mainly because of the round sunglasses that was a recurring theme in his personal style. These types of shades are often called the granny glasses, or in a more formal terms, panto glasses or tea shades.

He first wore these kinds of specs when he was filming “How I Won the War.”  Fortunately, he didn’t drop the look right after filming. He decided to keep these small and round sunglasses and even made them his trademark!

The Oliver Goldsmith prop sunglasses

The Oliver Goldsmith prop sunglasses

This pair of golden wire-framed sunglasses shocked the world in 2019 when it was sold in an auction for about $183,000.

According to Sotheby’s website, the owner was Alan Herring, who was the chauffeur of the Beatles at the time.

This pair with green-tinted lenses was a prop in the movie we were talking about. They were given to John in 1966 before filming – you know, just to try it out, get a feel for it while preparing for the role.

The story was that this pair was mistakenly left by John and the rest of the Beatles in the “Beat-mobile”, with loose temples and minor scratches. Alan Herring offered Lennon to have it fixed, to which he replied, “No need to worry, it’s just for the look, anyway,” or something to that effect.

Alan Herring decided to keep it, and the rest was history.

Savile Row panto glasses

Savile Row panto glasses

These sunglasses made popular by John Lennon were 100% hand-made with a thin metal frame and lenses of varying tints. They’re relatively smaller than the more popular sunglasses of that time like the aviators and wayfarers.

During the heydays of rock and roll, wearing these pieces of eyewear is very unlikely for a rockstar. Until John Lennon started rocking on with these beauties. And thank God, he did! These custom-made pieces had become one of the most iconic sunglasses in the history of rock and roll.

Both the Oliver Goldsmith and Savile Row pieces were specifically made for Lennon, so it’s almost impossible to own one. Unless, you’re Elton John who always seems to get a hold of even the rarest sunglasses.

So if you’re looking to pull off that vintage Lennon look, you can always opt for great alternatives. They may say you’re a dreamer, but with the Ray-Ban 3447, you can definitely achieve the style you’re gunning for.

With its off-round shape, green-tinted lenses, golden wire-rimmed frame, and the recognizable bend on the bridge, you’ll know that it’s heavily inspired by the original Lennon spectacles.

Biggie’s custom Versaces

Biggie’s custom Versaces

If you’re a fan of hip-hop music, you probably know and love Biggie Smalls, or Notorious B.I.G, or simply Biggie, and his full discography. And if you’re not, you might need to shake things up in your Spotify and iTunes playlists and start listening to this hip-hop legend.

But we’re not here to talk about his music or why everyone should at least listen to his rhymes. We’re here for his eyewear game!

We’ll start by saying that he’s not like the first three artists on our list who are, in different ways, obsessed with sunglasses. Because if there are fashion accessories that Biggie loved to wear and collect, they’re the chains, blings, and diamonds.

So, why did he even make the cut?

Well, the Notorious B.I.G was certainly not your typical eyewear aficionado known for collecting sunglasses here and there. But he’s notorious for owning and wearing a single pair of custom sunglasses. Which is arguably the most iconic sunglasses in all of hip-hop.

Versace 424

Versace 424

There’s nothing really special about the Versace 424. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not trying to knock the Versace brand. It’s just that there isn’t much back story on this pair of Versace sunglasses when it was first released in the 80s.

We would go as far as saying that the model was somewhat irrelevant during that time. But not until Biggie decided to wear them.

It was in 1995 when the Notorious B.I.G first rocked the Medusa-adorned sunglasses in his “One More Chance” music video. Back then, Biggie was wearing the custom-made Versace 424 spectacles that were modified by a local tailor to fit his large head.

Thanks to Biggie, the then oblivious, black-framed sunglasses with the golden Medusa logo on the temples were taken to the stage and to the world. And the world took notice.

What’s interesting is that Biggie didn’t even wear the specs all the time. But when he did, he made sure everybody paid attention. By wearing these Versace sunglasses, the hip-hop artist had elevated himself into the glitz and glamour of the music industry, which is far from the grit and grime that hip-hop is often associated with.

In 2018, the luxurious brand paid homage to the rapper by bringing back the Versace Medusa Biggie sunglasses with several modifications. This move only goes to show that Biggie really played a big part of the success that Versace has right now.

Donatella Versace even mentioned in an interview that a lot of people started to know about Versace because of him. So if you own a pair, you have Biggie to thank!

Bob Dylan’s good ol’ Ray-Bans

Bob Dylan’s good ol’ Ray-Bans

Bob Dylan is a man of many genres. His artistry is deeply rooted to the country, rock, blues, folk, and gospel music which he mixed together to create a one-of-a-kind musical experience for his loyal fans.

But when it comes to fashion, you could say that he likes to keep things simple. In fact, you can even summarize his personal style into just three iconic fashion accessories: the baron hat, the 1964 Fender Stratocaster, and a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Unlike other musicians and celebrities, who love to try things out and see what worked and what didn’t, Bob Dylan knew from the start what he loved and stuck to it. Especially with his shades.

Although he shook things up a bit from time to time, Mr. Tambourine Man is tangled up in these Ray-Bans. For life!

Ray Ban Original Wayfarers

Ray Ban Original Wayfarers

Wayfarers are probably one the most common styles of sunglasses until now. Almost all brands of sunnies have their own take of the classic shape. But like they always say, nothing beats the original. Especially if it’s worn by an icon like Dylan.

Just to be clear, the Ray Ban Wayfarers were not popularized by Bob Dylan as he only started wearing them in the mid-60s. The sunglasses were made famous by James Dean and Johnny Cash after the model was patented in 1953.

But one could argue that no one rocks it like Dylan. Two reasons for it were his loyalty to the brand and how the Wayfarers embody Bob Dylan’s character: simple, classic, and most definitely, iconic.

He was so loyal to his specs that he even refused to remove the Ray-Ban Wayfarers inside a studio during the recording of his hit “Like a Rolling Stone.” We know this sounds totally normal right now, but back then, that gesture screams going against the grain!

Ray Ban Aviators

Ray Ban Aviators

It was in the early seventies when Dylan woke up one day and just realized, “It’s probably too much for the Wayfarers. Let’s go full-on vintage this time.”

That’s when we started seeing more of him rocking the Ray-Ban Aviators. He was even seen partying with the more eccentric personalities in the music scene of that era, namely the Rolling Stones, while wearing the Aviators.

Fast forward to 2012, during the Medal of Freedom ceremony that was awarded to him by the former USA President Barack Obama, he was seen rocking a pair of aviators. Unfortunately, though, it was a Randolph Engineering Aviator and not his trusty Ray Bans.

Dylan’s Ray Ban legacy would’ve come full circle had he donned the original aviators. But that’s all good! No matter what he wears from now on, he’s still the wayfaring folk musician that we know and love!

Create your own iconic look!

To be honest, replicating the style of the iconic musicians that we’ve just mentioned is a pretty tall order. That’s because it’s the character and musical influence of the artists that made the sunglasses iconic and easily recognizable.

While there’s nothing bad with emulating the style of your music heroes, there’s also nothing wrong with creating your own! Establishing your personal style will allow you to bring out your character more. Which is better if you’re aiming to be a force of fashion in your own way.

If you’re sold on that idea, picking the right shades is a great way to start. And with our great collection of stylish sunnies, you’re on the right track to find your own style.

You can go full-on classic and vintage with Ray-Ban sunglasses. Or if you want to look posh and elegant all the time, going with luxury brands like Vogue and Gucci is an easy choice. But if you’re looking to bring out your rebellious side, wearing Police sunglasses or Dragon eyewear is one of the best ways to go against the grain.

There’s just so many choices! So before we totally geek out with the collection of specs that we have, we’ll let you shop around here and let you decide which pair will fit you the best!


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