FT5: Rock Moves

0924top5coverThroughout the history of rock music, musicians have left a legacy of legendary (and sometimes forgettable) signature moves. Today I try to tackle some of the more memorable ones, from the eccentric to the face melting. Follow the jump for the full list.

angusyoung5. The Angus Young

We all remember the famed lead guitarist of AC/DC who always wore the black shorts and sports coat, Angus Young. Angus was new, fresh and weird. He danced across the stage with guitar in hand, feet together, toes pointed. Since then, Young has inspired many a young upstart. His moves have been repeated by Billy Jo from Green Day, Jack White from White Stripes and countless youngun’s.


davegrohldrumming4. The Drum Twirl

No one knows where this one began. The drummer sits in the back and because of this, has to be highly expressive. The best way to do that is to toss the drumstick straight up in the air and drum major it. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stone Temple Pilots, Queens of the Stone Age, Boston, Zeppelin and more recently What Made Milwaukee Famous have all traded the sleeper hold of boring drum work for the flash and surprise of the drum twirl.


crowdsurfing3. The Crowd Surf

Legend has it that one day a lead singer collapsed on stage, rolled off and the crowd carried him all around the park while the band played on. I could be making it up, but that brings us to the next rock move … the crowd surf. We’ve seen this a countless number of times, repeated even more. Not that I’d like to admit it, but I remember Scott Stapp from Creed crowd surfing in “Are You Ready.” For the repetition, validity and recognition, the crowd surf has secured the number 3 spot.


dlr_splits2. Diamond David Lee Roth’s On- Stage Mid- Air Splits

Holy Crap, ‘nuff said.


petetownsend_windmill1. Pete Townshend’s Windmill

Townshend, as a young guitarist for one of the most prolific and amazing bands of all time, saw Muddy Waters stretching out after a show one time. He took that to heart and while on stage, gave the audience a performance they would never forget. Since that moment, it’s a signature of the great rockers to give the Windmill a whirl. Quiet Company, Collective Soul, Dave Matthews … there are just too many artists to count that have been struck by the Windmill. This move in all-time rocker recognition, repetition, inspiration and virtue of rockerdom move it to Number One. Hats off to you, Pete.


  • You guys put David Lee Roth on this list without a mere mention of the duck walk? Come on!


  • How about the Elvis Presley pelvic thrust?

    Or the mother-fucking moonwalk (maybe not a rock move, but come on)

  • Good list. I’m a little bummed the Mick Jagger Walk didn’t make the list.

  • Blindside – index finger held up in front of you while you sing… wait for it .. wait for it…. POWER KICK!

  • I’m with you folks on the 3 obvious ones that were mentioned (The Elvis hip shakin’ shimmy/lip curl, Michael Jackson moonwalk/crotch grab, the Mick Jagger chicken strut/put hands on your hips and look super gay maneuver).

    Here are more that should be on the list:
    1. Jimmy Hendrix playing guitar with his teeth/setting his guitar on fire (Holy fuck! That was some mind blowing shit!)
    2. The James Brown get on his knees while someone from the band puts a cape on him (Come on!)
    3. The Tommy Lee playing drums while being rotated upside down (Rock and fuckin’ Roll bitches!)
    4. Chuck Berry deserves credit for the duck walk, but can share the honor with Angus.
    5. The Thom Yorke goofy ass manic tourettes dance (That shit is hilarious and kind of awesome. . .if you’ve seen it you know what I’m talking about).
    6. The Ozzie Osbourne bite the head off a bat move (this one doesn’t really get repeated, but still).
    7. The Who should also get props for destroying their instruments.
    8. The Marky Mark drop your pants for no good reason move (Okay, this one should definitely not be on any list, but you gotta admit that shit is awesomely stupid. This guy is a credible actor now!?)

    I’m pretty sure I could come up with about 17 more.

  • brett. yes.

    spot on.

  • My favorite is when Bob Pollard performs most of the moves mentioned above in a 30 second time frame.

  • I tend to go with Joey Ramone’s non-movement mic stance and slamming of said mic stand. Iconic.

  • what about that little feet shuffle thing dave matthews does?

  • It’s official: DMB is applicable to every subject!

    DMB is ATH’s Godmwin’s Law.

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