Were Roger McGuinn’s Little Square Shades Actually Pat Boone Licensed Sunglasses?

Roger McGuinn sporting Pat Boone sunglasses with the Byrds, circa 1965

Roger McGuinn sporting Pat Boone sunglasses with the Byrds, circa 1965

One thing hardly anyone knows is that not only were the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn’s little rectangular sunglasses probably made in Japan, they were very likely branded as “Pat Boone” sunglasses. Here are some originals, which folded up into the little pen-style case with Pat’s signature on it. McGuinn nixed the visor. I wonder if he kept the case?

Pat Boone Sunglasses, circa 1960.   The attached visor would fold flush with the frame to fit inside the pen shaped pocket case.

Pat Boone Sunglasses, circa 1960. The attached visor would fold flush with the frame to fit inside the pen shaped pocket case.

One could argue this was the genesis of the Granny Glasses fad of 1965-68. It was also likely the influence of the Victorian/Western Dandy look of a band called the Charlatans on San Francisco hippy fashion played a role.

This is the cover of Love's first album.   Note Arthur Lee front and center wearing diamond shaped granny glasses.

This is the cover of Love’s first album. Note Arthur Lee front and center wearing diamond shaped granny glasses.

Either way appropriate eyewear was needed to go with hippy fashion and mod wraps weren’t going to work as well with fringed jackets and granny dresses. It’s possible those who pioneered the look wore real vintage from 120 years earlier. But soon manufacturers like A Sutain and Foster Grant were all over the trend.

Various 1960s Granny Glasses from Moss Lipow's book Eyewear

Various 1960s Granny Glasses from Moss Lipow’s book Eyewear

But still I wonder… Would the Byrds have even cracked the charts if teens had known McGuinn was wearing Pat Boone sunglasses?

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4 Responses

  1. McGUINN told me he picked them up in a little shop in Greenwich Village and had prescription lenses made for them. I am amazed they were ever associated with Pat Boone in any way. It was McGUINN who made them popular and was copied by everyone from John Lennon to The Monkees.

    • Moss Lipow says:

      You’re right. McGuinn was the first big star to wear them. He should have gotten that licensing deal, though in those days selling out to the Man might have hurt his career.

  2. Zenobia says:

    How can I buy the Pat Boone sunglasses. I had a pair in the 1990’s but have’nt seen a pair since. Thanks

    • Moss Lipow says:

      You can probably find some at the Great American Garage Sale, AKA eBay. For some reason I’d like to think Pat Boone, himself, has a large cache in his home. Maybe reach out to his booking agent?

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