Her name and face might not be instantly recognizable to many, but no doubt Ola Hudson was a stunning afrobella of note in her day. Check out her style in that vintage Dewars ad. That hair, those earrings. Ola Hudson was a certified show stopper.
She was a popular costume designer who clothed John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Diana Ross, and David Bowie, specifically for The Man Who Fell To Earth. Ola had two sons — Saul and Albion Hudson. Albion’s nickname is Ash, and Saul… well, his nickname is Slash.
“Slash, whose real name is Saul Hudson, has been a resident of Los Angeles since his parents moved to America from England in the early Seventies. Slash’s mom, a professional costume designer named Ola Hudson, tailored outfits for such acts as John Lennon, Diana Ross and the Pointer Sisters, while his artist father, Anthony Hudson, created album covers for clients that included Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Raised in the neo-hippie environs of Laurel Canyon — which he still calls home — young Saul’s own creative instincts were nurtured early on. He was an enthusiastic artist and even contributed a series of animal illustrations to The Bestiary, an unpublished book of verse written by Joni Mitchell, who was a neighbor.
“He was drawing from the time he could pick up a pencil,” says Ola Hudson, who adds that he was weaned on her Led Zeppelin albums and raised in a very loving household. “I’ve been shocked at a lot of things I’ve read where it sounds like I left him on somebody’s doorstep in a basket. They make it seem as if he never had a family and grew up on the streets like an urchin, but that’s not true. It’s just part of his image. He’s not all leather and tattoos.”
So there you have it — Slash’s mom was all kinds of awesome, and her style directly influenced rock n roll as we know it. Ola Hudson passed away, succumbing to lung cancer on Friday at age 62. On his Twitter page, Slash confessed that he’s back in the studio, but having trouble concentrating. Thoughts and commiserations to the whole Hudson family. RIP, Ola Hudson.
Click here for one of my favorite G&R videos, Don’t Cry. It seemed fitting to end this post with one of Slash’s most poignant solos, even if YouTube won’t let me embed the video.