A brief history of band T-shirts




Thanks, Josh from Cambridge, New Zealand, for supplying a little book-learning:

Really enjoyed AMT294 and was intrigued by your segment on the first rock T shirts.

I thought you might be interested in the following timeline for the development of the rock T shirt, as we know it, as recorded by authors Amber Easby and Henry Oliver in their book The Art of the Band T-shirt (Simon & Schuster).

1956 Elvis Presley’s record company produces a shirt to promote four of his singles.

1964 The Beatles commemorate their US tour with a special T-shirt for fans.

1967 The Monkees produce T-shirts for their tours.

1970 The Allman Brothers make a T-shirt, not as merchandise but for family, band members and crew.

1971 Grateful Dead produce their tie-dye shirt – starting a 40-year tradition.

1973 Concert promoters produce a shirt for a festival, promoting three bands at once – The Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead and The Band.

1973 Promoters bring out a T-shirt for a Yes tour, and make $250,000 profit from them.

The T-shirt as merchandise is up and running!

Here’s a sweet gallery with people’s anecdotes about their band T-shirts; readers, which one do you treasure? I’ll come clean: I’ve never had one. But I do have a Pixies shopping bag.

PS For sweet AMT merch, visit our Cafepress store. My dad is a big fan of his AMT apron in yellow.


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