We live in a bit of a mixed up age. Many of the bands that you or I might consider vintage or at the very least classic are still around. Think of The Rolling Stones (early 60s) or Rush (late 60s), or AC/DC, Aerosmith and Van Halen (early 70s), or Bon Jovi and A-ha (early 80s). The “old guys” are still kickin’ it with the young guns, and in some cases they’re more relevant than many a one-hit-wonder, or artists that should’ve stayed one-hit-wonders (we’re looking at you, Britney Spears).
As such, finding 15 authentically vintage merch pieces is harder than you might think (that’s what she said). Way harder (ditto). Add to that the fact that bands didn’t really carry a variety of different merch items until the 80s, and you’ve got yourself a real rat’s nest. Nasty.
So the 15 items featured here don’t necessarily date back 30, 40, 50 or 60 years. Got it?
The Jimi Hendrix Purple Velvet Box Set
The prince of psychedelia kicks off this list with an awesome box set clothed in authentic purple velvet, 4 discs of previously unreleased studio and concert recordings, and an 80-page color booklet.
This would have been a cool idea for the 60s or even the 70s, but it first hit the shelves in 2000. It still looks vintage and most of the artwork and photography is from 1963 to 1970 when Hendrix was still active. And alive.
The Beatles Yellow Submarine Shaped Tin Tote
You knew that The Beatles had to be on this list somewhere, and there are few bands as heavily merchandised as the immortal mop-tops.
What could possibly be cooler than a tin tote shaped like a Yellow Submarine? I’m going to use one as my lunchbox! But please, don’t pack an octopus’s garden in there, even as a joke, okay?
The Doors Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story of L.A. Woman DVD
Despite the fact that the mysterious Mr. Morrison went on to join the 27 Club, his face and The Doors logo remains about as recognizable as it ever was.
Yeah, yeah, DVD technology wasn’t invented until 1995. But how cool is it that you can hear the living members talk about their last studio album, Mr. Mojo Risin’?
The Rolling Stones GRRR! Box Set
Speaking of recognizable, practically everyone has seen the lips-and-tongue logo the Stones popularized, even if they don’t know where it originally came from.
This 50-year anniversary box set includes four CDs, an exclusive 12 x 12 print, a 7″ vinyl, a poster, a hardback book and a five postcard set. Now that’s how you do a box set!
The Who Cuffed Target Cufflinks
Because even when you’re dressed up for that important dinner party, you still need to rock out!
The Who is another very identifiable band from the 60s, partly in thanks to the wind-milling Pete Townshend. The guy could play the electric guitar, and look cool doing it. Well, I guess that’s more or less a given.
The Monkees U.S. Tour 2013 Limited Edition Poster
After all these years, The Monkees are still kickin’ it, though they have had some rather lengthy absences.
The guitar-shaped Monkees logo is still quite memorable, so though there is a lot of merch to choose from, their 2013 tour poster is as vintage-looking as any of their classic merchandise.
Led Zeppelin USA ’77 Black T-Shirt
You would expect a band like Led Zeppelin to be more heavily merchandised, especially since their music gets butchered in pubs and clubs across North America every night. But no.
But hey, what’s wrong with a classic two-tone T-shirt from their ’77 tour? It’s simple and stylish!
Queen Brian May Special Antique Cheery
Now here’s a unique item. Certainly there are a lot of things about Queen that are remarkable, but how about a replica of Brian May’s custom-built, one-of-a-kind “Red Special” guitar that has become iconic in its own right?
Black Sabbath North American Tour ’75 T-Shirt
Before there was Ozzy, there was Black Sabbath; the forefathers of heavy metal.
One of the great things about vintage wear is that they often created simpler designs with fewer colors, and still made it look cool. This red-on-black shirt is a stunner!
Aerosmith Sterling Silver Logo Pendant
There is a lot to choose from when it comes to Aerosmith swag. This Boston blues-rock outfit still knows how to rock, and by their own admission they still know where to “steal” their riffs from too.
The silver logo pendant is beyond cool and would make for an incredible gift. For me!
Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Spoon” Chef’s Apron
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is considered by many to be a very important, iconic album. Especially substance-riddled Hippies who like to watch The Wizard of Oz.
Floyd has a variety of products available at any given time, but you have to appreciate the novelty of the play on words here.
The Eagles Limited Edition Six-LP Boxed Set
Towards the end of October, The Eagles will be releasing a monster box set featuring six 180-gram LP’s with replica artwork.
In case you missed it, vinyl is trending right now, though I’m not convinced that it really makes for the best Frisbee material.
AC/DC Back in Black Zippo
Here’s another neat merch idea (for pyromaniacs) featuring one of AC/DC’s most prominent albums.
By and large, the smartphone (and lighter apps) have extinguished the need for zippos and lighters, unless you’re a smoker of course.
You would be hard-pressed to find a band as greedy merchandised as KISS. You name it, they probably have it.
The comic book (the red ink contains blood from each band member) angle was an ingenious move for this larger-than-life cash-in band that already had well-defined personalities and matching makeup designs.
Undoubtedly these Canadian prog-rock intellectual goofballs have produced their fair share of memorabilia. After all, they’ve been around since 1968 and they’re still making music.
Each of their tourbooks features photos, stories and other information about that specific tour. It’s a brilliant idea for a band that was easily on the road for two-thirds of any given year, especially in the beginning.
What are your favorite vintage rock band items? Stop staring at the screen and start typing up your comment!