The best rock song in the world doesn't amount to a hill o' beans if you botch the presentation.

The biggest and best rockers in history have taken this truth to heart, and they've made their image an integral component of their artistry. Sometimes the only thing needed to rehabilitate a floundering career is a radical wardrobe change and perhaps a flashy video to document it.

The artists who had the most radical and successful fashion reinventions treated them as more than just a frivolous change of clothes. They were changing the very fabric of their being, molding new characters to embody. David Bowie didn't just slip into a striped jumpsuit and dye his hair fire-engine red during the Ziggy Stardust era for fun — he was transforming into an androgynous rock star sent to Earth to warn of an impending apocalypse.

Other fashion reinventions may have seemed more subtle on the surface, but they carried great weight nonetheless. When Freddie Mercury grew a mustache in 1980, he wasn't just disappointing his adoring female fans with an unsavory bit of facial hair; he was making a direct nod to the fashion trends of the contemporary gay club scene in San Francisco. When Ozzy Osbourne and Eddie Van Halen shaved their heads at different points in their careers, they were both acting out of frustration and desperation as their personal and professional lives crumbled around them.

Meanwhile, Metallica fans considered the band members cutting their hair and donning makeup in the mid-'90s an act of treason, a disavowal of their head-banging roots that further hammered home their pivot from breakneck thrash toward commercial hard rock.

We've accounted for those and more in the below list of the Most Shocking Rock Star Fashion Reinventions.

The Most Shocking Rock Star Fashion Reinventions

From David Bowie to Metallica, these are the most shocking rock star fashion reinventions.

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