Harley-Davidson Turns 120 This Year & the Celebs Who Love Them
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider (1969)
Harley riders around the world can rejoice again as the motorcycle giant turns 120 this year. Once again, bikers will come roaring in from near and far to the city that started it all, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the big party that is thrown in honor of this cherished American iron horse. Many celebrities throughout the company’s long history have also enjoyed the loud rumble of those pipes. There are many well-known Hollywood HOG lovers: Peter Fonda, Bruce Springsteen and Jay Leno, just to name a few. Let’s take a look at some of the other celebs who have donned the black leather look.
Elvis collected not only cars but also specifically Harley-Davidson motorcycles. He often bought them for friends, too. Electra Glides seemed to be his favorite model, as he owned many of them. Some can be found at Graceland or the Harley Museum.
The French film actress did a song called “Harley Davidson” in 1967; here she is perched on one for the music video. If you know French, you can sing along with the video below; otherwise it’s just good eye candy!
Believe it or not, Liz was a big motorcycle enthusiast; here she is pictured with friend and entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes, sitting on a purple bike that he gifted her. She reportedly named it “Purple Passion,” probably because purple was known to be her favorite color.
American singer, songwriter, musician, and founding member and leader of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman was no stranger to motorcycles; here he is pictured in Macon, Georgia, sitting on his custom chopper, circa 1977. It was no secret that the Southern rock outlaw band loved Harleys, and their megahit “Midnight Rider” was about a bandit on the run. Sadly, Gregg lost his brother Duane to a motorcycle accident in 1971. One year later, the band’s bassist suffered the same fate a few blocks from where Duane died. Allman continued making music and was a staple at many biker rallies through his career.
While Cher may be most well known for her variety shows and pop hits, it is no shocker that she is also a biker babe, as she was married to Gregg Allman for a few years and they had a son together. Here, she leads the pack at a Beverly Hills charity event in 1994.
Tina Turner, dubbed the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” was another biker babe music icon. She loved to ride bikes in her downtime. Her favorite, like Elvis. was the Electra-Glide model.
David Crosby, of the music group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (and the Byrds), was also quite public with his love of the open air. In 1990, he was in a tragic accident that left him pretty scuffed up.
Of course, the Terminator and former governor of California loves to ride; here he is cruising on Venice Blvd. with his pal Sven-Ole Thorsen in 1989.
Before there was Tommy, there was Poison singer Bret Michaels. The two dated in 1994 and supposedly had a sex tape scandal of their own. Here they are at the 11th Annual Motorcycle Rider’s Fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in 1994, held at a Harley-Davidson dealership in Glendale, California.
Rob Halford of the heavy metal, leather-clad British biker band Judas Priest has been known to come on stage while riding the iron horse; for decades he did this as the intro to the song “Hell Bent for Leather.” Of course, he too has had some brushes with falling off motorcycles. In 1990, he was knocked unconscious and broke his nose, resulting in him immediately leaving the band. However, after a long hiatus, he came back, and during what was supposed to be their final tour in 2011, he fell off again. Thankfully, this time it was not as serious of an injury.
The Dallas and I Dream of Jeannie alum was a longtime Harley enthusiast and attended many charity rides that donated to causes such as B.A.D. Ride (Bikers Against Diabetes) and Muscular Dystrophy, along with pals Willie G and Peter Fonda.
Last, but not least, the man who broke more bones than can be counted as a daredevil stunt rider.
Of course there are many more, but we need to save that list for the 125th.
Happy Birthday, Harley-Davidson!