Hussars were some sort of a light cavalry widely used during the 18th-19th centuries in Central Europe. The word itself has come from Hungarian language around the 15th century, but found its recognition only a couple of centuries later. Back then hussars have played a very important part in the armies of almost all European countries. France, Russia, Polish Kingdom, Dutch Republic, Spain, Hungary, Serbia and many others had their own hussar regiments, usually well-known for their unexpected slashing attacks which often could make all the difference and win the crusade.
Putting the history aside and getting closer to the subject, I have to state the hussar image is still alive and well, which can be explained quite easily: the classic hussar outfit looked really cool! As distinct from many other old military uniforms that nowadays seem to be way too much over the top or just plainly boring, the classic hussar jacket still has a certain sort of romantic magnetism. All those laces, decorations, copper buttons, fringed epaulets appear as something very epic, and the slim cut makes it even sexy. The whole idea behind this garment is a hard mix of elegance and power. No wonder musicians love it so much :)
The king of pop Michael Jackson was probably the one we should “blame” for bringing the hussar jackets back to the spotlight. Being one of the most openly pacifistic musicians in the world, he was known for his love for various glamorous military jackets, many of which were partly influenced by hussar fashion.
Another musician whose classic pictures in his hussar jacket can be found in literally every book about rock music is the guitar maestro Jimi Hendrix. Good example of this garment looking hip and bad-ass at the same time.
And what about the infamous Adam Ant of ADAM AND THE ANTS? This man can be honored for rocking the flamboyant half-hussar-half-pirate clothes into the 80’s.
SCORPIONS were never known for any history-related songs (not counting “Wind of Change”, which was a pure modern history hymn), but around 1989 you could notice Klaus Meine and Matthias Jabs wearing on stage some kind of historically inaccurate, but still valid hussar-influenced jackets. Klaus Meine still wears a similar black leather one from time to time… depends on which decade of their Farewell Tour we’re speaking :)
A less known, but still very good example is the German metal band RUNNING WILD whose guitar player and singer Rolf Kasparek has performed a lot in various hussar-like jackets during the 90’s. Thought it wasn’t really a surprise from a band that has been often found drawing the inspiration from the European war and conquest history.
More recent illustration – the German dark scene band MONO INC and the singer Martin Engler whose red hussar jacket is a part of his stage outfit for the 2017’s tour “Together Till The End”.
Hold on, here’s another hussar jacket admirer and it’s Adrian Hates from DIARY OF DREAMS. You could see him wearing it on stage pretty often during 2009-2010. This era is long in the past, but I still think it was something.
Sweden has its very own very theatrical hussar jacket fans – the band metal band AVATAR. Don’t those guys look fantastic? Hell yeah!
There’s actually one more story I could remember, this time from 1985, when Gary Moore and his former bandmate (THIN LIZZY, anyone?) Phil Lynott recorded a great single “Out In The Fields” (with “Military Man” on B-side) and played it live wearing some sort of vintage military jackets. Not quite the hussar kind, but still nice, right?