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‘I lived in this tee for six years’: readers remember beloved band T-shirts | Music

Band T-shirts have always held a special place in the hearts of music fans. Not only do they represent a favorite artist or band, but they also carry memories and stories. Recently, Yves Saint Laurent released a vintage Nirvana T-shirt for a staggering price of up to $4,450, further highlighting the desirability of these iconic garments.

The Guardian spoke to music fans about their cherished band shirts and the emotions they evoke. Here are some of their stories:

‘I lost a shoe at the Smiths gigs’ – Janet Sheppard

Janet Sheppard’s second Smiths tee
Janet Sheppard’s second Smiths tee. Photograph: Guardian Community

Janet Sheppard, 55, from France, shares her love for her green Smiths The Queen is Dead T-shirt. She bought it after seeing the band live in 1983 and wore it to their gigs all over the UK. She describes the atmosphere at their shows as electric and reminisces about losing a shoe and her innocence in the crowd. Despite her falling out with Morrissey, she still wears the T-shirt with pride, as the music is forever etched on her soul.

‘I lived in my Led Zeppelin T-shirt from 1979 to 1985’ – Del Singh

Del Singh wearing his Led Zeppelin shirt on holiday in Mallorca, 1984
Del Singh wearing his Led Zeppelin shirt on holiday in Mallorca, 1984. Photograph: Guardian Community

Del Singh, 60, from Peterborough, fondly recalls his Led Zeppelin T-shirt that he wore religiously from 1979 to 1985. He bought it at one of their legendary Knebworth gigs and even wore it to punk gigs. However, an errant red sock in the washing machine turned the white shirt into a shocking pink, not the ideal look for a Sikh guy into rock music. Del’s favorite shirt eventually fell prey to moths, but he still cherishes the memories associated with it.

‘I’ve managed to not lose this Waterboys shirt in 30 years’ – Jane Ovenden

Jane Ovenden wearing her Waterboys shirt in 1990
Jane Ovenden wearing her Waterboys shirt in 1990. Photograph: Guardian Community

Jane Ovenden, from Birmingham, proudly owns a Waterboys shirt that she has managed to keep for 30 years. Although it may not be as vibrant as it once was, the shirt holds sentimental value for Jane. It reminds her of the Room to Roam album and a memorable gig during which she sang her heart out. Despite the passage of time, Jane’s love for that Waterboys shirt remains unwavering.

‘I’ve had a late-start love affair with punk music’ – Richard Lamb

Richard Lamb in his Social Distortion shirt
Richard Lamb in his Social Distortion shirt. Photograph: Guardian Community

Richard Lamb, 43, from Lewisham, London, reveals how his late-start love affair with punk music began. Influenced by a friend’s enthusiasm for Social Distortion, Richard flew to Hamburg to see them live, and that experience ignited a passion for punk music. He now attends countless punk gigs with his friend and has amassed a collection of punk band T-shirts. Richard’s Social Distortion shirt is a cherished memento that reminds him of the friendship and exciting experiences that punk music has brought into his life.

‘I have 35 the Who shirts dating back to 1979’ – Tom Lawton

Tom Lawton’s The Who shirt collection
Tom Lawton’s The Who shirt collection. Photograph: Guardian Community

Tom Lawton, 60, from Boston, Massachusetts, proudly shares his collection of 35 the Who shirts. A dedicated fan since the 1970s, Tom has attended 62 shows and owns a variety of shirts from different eras. His favorite is The Who by Numbers shirt, which he found in a California shop. Due to its unique design, Tom reserves it for special occasions. Despite the wear and tear over the years, his collection holds immense sentimental value and represents his unwavering passion for the band.

‘An “if you know, you know” sort of tee’ – Kate Gard

Kate Gard, from Southampton, highlights her special connection with her Churnups (AKA Foo Fighters) shirt from Glastonbury. After discovering that the mysterious Churnups were, in fact, Foo Fighters, she attended their super fun set at the festival. To her amazement, she came across a man wearing a Churnups shirt, which she had previously mentioned to her friends. Kate immediately bought the shirt, considering it a unique and insider reference. She has since worn it daily, relishing the memories of that memorable festival experience.

These stories illustrate the emotional attachment and personal significance that band T-shirts hold for music fans. Whether it’s a reminder of a favorite gig, a symbol of fandom, or a token of friendship, these shirts become part of a person’s identity and a testament to their love for music.



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