Would voters have warmed to the homespun wisdom of Abe Lincoln for example, had he not worn that one-of-a-kind beard? And could a smooth cheeked John Lennon have demanded the world “Give peace a chance” with the same authority? Or would Che Guevara have sold all those T-shirts without that wispy beard of pure nonchalance? Probably not. So here is our salute to some of history’s more renowned facial adornments.
ABE LINCOLN (above)
Elected the 16th President of the USA in 1860, Lincoln is considered the man who ended slavery in America. It took an extremely bloody civil war that cost over 750,000 lives, but slavery and the Sothern secessionist movement was eventually defeated, largely by the political manoeuvring and soaring rhetoric of the president, his Gettysburg Address considered one of the finest examples of political oratory ever delivered. He was assassinated in 1865 by John Wilkes Booth, a famous stage actor and Confederate sympathiser.
JOHN LENNON (left)
John Lennon co-founded the Beatles, arguably the most successful band of all time, boasting album sales in excess of 2.3 billion. He enjoyed a successful solo music career following the band’s demise, penning “Imagine”, one of the most played and covered songs ever recorded. He also became increasingly political, powerfully advocating for peace and against the US military industrial complex, a stance which led to the creation of an impressive 281-page FBI file on him. He was gunned down, aged 40, outside his hotel by crazed fan David Chapman, who mysteriously cited the novel ‘A Catcher in the Rye’ as his motive for his crime.
ERNEST HEMMINGWAY (center)
Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six collections of short stories, and two works of non-fiction. Married four times, Hemingway chased adventure like a drug, covering the Spanish Civil War as a journalist, and being present at the beach landings at Normandy and the liberation of Paris during WWII. In 1952 he survived death twice in separate plane crashes in Africa, famously loved to hunt and fish, drank and womanised with legendary enthusiasm, before committing suicide in 1961. He is best remembered for novels ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, ‘A Farewell to Arms’ and ‘The Old Man and the Sea’.
CHE GUEVARA (right)
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was a Marxist revolutionary, physician, literacy advocate, military theorist, author, diplomat, guerrilla leader and subject of ‘the most famous photograph ever taken’. He cured the sick, led men into battle (defeating the US sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba), travelled the world spreading Marxist theories, wrote best selling memoirs, fought in numerous revolutions, before being executed by CIA backed forces in Bolivia. His early years are portrayed in “The Motorcycle Diaries” a film that features an unforgettable music score composed by Gustavo Santaolalla.