Graveyard Shift
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The Goths Who Defined Gothdom, Ranked By How Goth They Are

Updated February 10, 2021 2.1k votes 270 voters 7.9k views19 items

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When someone hears the word "goth," they may only think of the common stereotype of a black-clad, sullen teenager who obsesses over unhappiness and all things beyond the grave, typified by Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice and later mocked on South Park. But while there are some truths embedded in this stereotype, being goth is far more multifaceted than one might expect. The following figures from across literature, film, and music helped shape and define this rich and varied subculture. 

  • Photo: W.S. Hartshorn / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Goth Contributions: The author of numerous stories and poems of torment and ennui, perhaps Poe's most significant contribution to goth subculture is his seminal (and oft parodied) work "The Raven."

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    • Goth Contributions: As the singer of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Siouxsie's dark lyrics and fashion sense (heavy eyeliner, fishnets, and gravity-defying hair) heavily influenced gothdom as we now know it.

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      • Goth Contributions: As the main visionary behind the Cure, Smith's songs range from the macabre to the angry, the emotional to the romantic. His androgynous makeup and hair also became a staple for men's goth fashion. 

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          Peter Murphy

          Goth Contributions: Bauhaus's "Bela Lugosi's Dead" might be the most recognizable goth anthem of all time. Singer Peter Murphy's deep intonations and macabre lyrics echoed Ian Curtis, while his clothing and hair were reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux's fashion sense. 

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