Robert Plant, Axl Rose, David Lee Roth — did your favorite crotch make the cut?
Elvis Presley could carry a tune, but it was his pelvis that made him famous. Looking for the heart of rock and roll? Start in the groin region. Whether pouring their hips into leather pants or gyrating their scantily-clad torsos in bondage gear, rock legends have long made a focal point of their nether regions. I investigated the phenomenon in my new book, Every Rose Has Its Thorn: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Field Guide to Guys, and I’ve distilled this list of ten VIP packages that hold a very special place in rock history.
1) David Lee Roth
If your average crotch is a sensible gray sedan, Roth’s is a tricked-out yellow Ferrari. Never has a male member been so accessorized… or so athletic. Whether posing for pin-up mags in assless chaps or jumping spread-eagle off trampolines, Roth’s lower body is fifty-percent West Texas pageant girl, fifty-percent coked-up peacock. The result? One-hundred percent pure magnificence.
Most of us grew up with Madonna’s crotch. It’s as American as McDonald’s apple pie or tech support from India. We’ve seen it all — in everything from leotards to peek-a-boo skirts to gold lamé Gaultier onesies. Is it time for Madge to give it a rest? Why don’t you spend that much time getting in shape and then see if you’re not tempted to flaunt your nethers up and down every available street?
It’s the crotch that launched a million fans and an equal number of tacky collector plates. Elvis swiveled his lower half with such aplomb that Florida lawmakers threatened to arrest him for indecency. Note that he performed fully clothed, singing lyrics like, "I wanna be your teddy bear." Racy!
Whether he’s strutting around in bikini underwear or using his guitar as a makeshift phallic prop in front of a Super Bowl audience of millions, this pocket-sized sex symbol has never had a problem when it comes to below-the-belt self-esteem. His crotch looks better in lingerie than most women’s.
5) Robert Plant
Loopy songs about hobbits aside, Plant’s contribution to the jean-boner genre ranks among rock’s most notable achievements. Witness the taut interplay of denim and flesh, the bold belt, the undone shirt casually thrown about the shoulders, all of it carefully choreographed to draw attention to that one vital organ: "What, this old thing?"
6) Lady Gaga
Poor Lady Gaga and her gaga. Not since Rod Stewart’s belly full of protein shake have asinine rumors run this wild and free. What’s going on under there? Is she male? Female? Some type of mystery meat? Here’s hoping the rumors continue their slow fade so we can get back to the business of loving or hating her music, respectively.
7) Axl Rose
Dear Axl’s Crotch,
It seems like only yesterday that you caught our eye in the Welcome to the Jungle video. Hypnotic, you were. Like a cobra in a pair of leather pants. And even though cobras can’t really wear pants, we think you know what we mean. White bicycle-shorts phase be damned — a lower torso like that means never having to say you’re sorry.
8) Courtney Love
Long before celebrity upskirts came into vogue, Love was doing her own take. With torn-up granny panties, bruised upper thighs, and freewheelin’ pubic hair, the look was anything but mainstream-ready. Nice girls are taught to "keep their legs closed" and "sit like a lady." Courtney’s crotch seems to say, "Fuck off, I’m a rockstar, and you can’t make me."
9) Steven Tyler
Music fashions come and go. (Remember when Dr. Dre looked like an extra on Star Trek?) Tyler’s dick-hugger jumpsuits, many of them handmade by his ex-wife, have been a pelvic trademark since the early ’70s. You could argue that, at sixty-two, Tyler is getting a little old to be showing off his package. Maybe so, but some dangly bits deserve our respect. You don’t throw a cover over the Mona Lisa.
10) Michael Jackson
Yeah, we know. But to not write about the man who made the crotch-grab a de rigueur dance move feels strangely revisionist. All we’re saying is, everyone from five to fifty can do at least part of the Thriller dance some thirty years after the album’s release. Not since the invention of the bikini wax has someone so altered the course of pop-culture crotch history.