WARNING: The mullet appears set for a return

For those new to the hairstyle, the mullet was asymmetrical: short in the front and sides and shaggy and long in the back, In New Wave times, it was perfectly acceptable for women to have a mullet. For guys, though, it’s a different story. The whole “business in front, party in the back” style may be timeless in some regions of the world, it’s not always in style when it comes to music.

No one seems to know where the term “mullet” came from. There’s one theory that the word had its originals in the 1967 movie, Cool Hand Luke.  There’s a scene where a bunch of men with long hair are called “mulletheads.”

Then if you look at David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust haircut, you can see that it has mullet-like attributes, but as far as I know, the word was never applied to that look.

Another etymological theory that has serious credence can be traced back to Mike D of the Beastie Boys. In the middle 90s, he wrote about this hairstyle in the Beasties’ official magazine, Grand Royal. I quote: “There’s nothing quite as bad as a bad haircut. And perhaps the worst of all is the cut we call The Mullet.”

Whatever the case, the mullet (or “hockey hair” to some of us Canadians) has become completely entrenched in Western music culture. Chances are if you’re a guy of a certain age, there was at least one point in your life when you may have sported something mullet-like on your head.

Now the mullet, the most-maligned of all hairstyles is set to make a comeback. Sort of.

British hairstylist John Vial has revealed his interpretation of the classic mullet in a series of Instagram photos. This is what he’s working on at his salon in Chelsea.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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