There’s perhaps no haircut more loathed than the mullet, the short-in-the-front, long-in-the-back ‘do that’s synonymous with the 1970’s and 80’s. But it wasn’t always so hated! There was a time when having a mullet made you the coolest dude or dudette in your neighborhood. So, how did we get here?
The name “mullet” is relatively recent, but the haircut itself goes way back. There’s evidence that ancient cultures had mullets, from the ancient Mesopotamians to the Ancient Greeks. And it makes sense–cutting it short in the front keeps the sun out of your eyes, and keeping it long protects your neck from the elements. Mullets stuck around in one form or another for thousands of years, but they didn’t really become popular until the 1970’s, when David Bowie rocked one.
Bowie’s look inspired entertainers everywhere to copy it, from Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse to country singer Billy Ray Cyrus to Macguyver star Richard Dean Anderson.
But then, in 1994, it all fell apart, thanks to the Beastie Boys and their song, “Mullet Heads.” Simultaneously, the song gave the haircut a name–“mullet head” is slang for “idiot” that goes back at least as far as Mark Twain–and destroyed its popularity. Just look at the first two lines from the song:
You’re coming off like you’re Van Damme,
You’ve got Kenny G, in your Trans Am
And that was that. Soon, mullets became an object of ridicule.
Like everything else, the mullet will have a comeback some day. But until it does, here are 15 photos from the mullet’s golden years.
1. Behold, the mullet’s majesty.
2. The mullet is also known as “The Ape Drape”
3. Or a “Squirrel Pelt”
4. Or an “Arkansas Waterfall”
5. Or a “Tennessee Top Hat”
6. There are several variations on the classic mullet, like the “permullet.”
7. The spiky mullet
8. The flat-top mullet
9. His haircut came with a free pair of parachute pants.
10. He’ll see you in the boys’ room after 4th period for a smoke.
11. He just got done fixing up his El Camino in the driveway.
12. The look that says, “Waterbed salesman.”
13. Cobra Kai forever.
14. Just scored two tickets to see Foreigner at The Meadowlands.
15. Warning: the amount of awesome in following photo below far exceeds FDA recommendations.
h/t: Vintage Everyday