Mullet (haircut)

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A man wearing a mullet

The mullet is a hairstyle in which the hair is cut short at the front and sides, but left long at the back. It is usually worn by men.[1]


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, use of the term mullet to describe this hairstyle was "apparently coined, and certainly popularized, by American hip-hop group the Beastie Boys",[1] who used "mullet" and "mullet head" as epithets in their 1994 song "Mullet Head".[2] They expounded on the subject at length in a six-page article titled "Mulling Over The Mullet" in Issue 2 of their magazine Grand Royal, offering a selection of alternative names for the cut, including "Hockey Player Haircut" and "Soccer Rocker"[3]. The term "mullet head" had previously always or nearly always been used to refer to a person of dubious intelligence, e.g. as in the movie Cool Hand Luke, where defeated villains had been referred to as "mullet heads".

Fashion history[edit]

Early example of a "skullet" (long at the back and bald on top) worn by Benjamin Butler, 1870s.

Ancient mullets[edit]

In the sixth century, Byzantine scholar Procopius wrote that some factions of young males wore their hair long at the back and cut it short over the forehead. This non-Roman style was termed the 'Hunnic' look.[4][5]

Native America[edit]

In Mourt's Relation, author Edward Winslow described the Plymouth pilgrims' first encounter with the native Americans, Samoset of the Abenaki in 1621:

He was a tall straight man, the hair of his head black, long behind, only short before, none on his face at all[citation needed]; …


Mullets were worn by rock stars Rod Stewart, Keith Richards, David Bowie, and Paul McCartney as far back as the early 1970s.[6][7]


The 1980s was the high point of the mullet's popularity in continental Europe.[citation needed]

In the United States of the 1980s, the mullet became popular within lesbian culture, where it came to be used as a way of identifying oneself as a member of that culture in public.[8][9][10][11]


In the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania, United States, the mullet was glamorized by several members of the Pittsburgh Penguins, including Jaromír Jágr. The mullet remains popular to this day, even mocked to much acclaim by WDVE radio hosts in particular. Jágr in particular became so well-known with the hairstyle that it actually headlined the local news when he cut it off in 1999;[12][failed verification] likewise, he again made headlines in 2015 (by this point playing for the Florida Panthers, his seventh NHL team after the Penguins traded him in 2001) when he announced that he was regrowing his mullet.[13]

After the much-publicized 1992 DC Comics storyline in which Superman apparently died, the character returned in the 1993 follow-up storyline "Reign of the Supermen", in which he was depicted with a mullet.[14] He remained with that hairstyle until 1997,[15] and this look was depicted in an action figure released by Mattel in 2009.[citation needed] The cancelled Superman film, Superman Lives, depicted Superman with a mullet.[16]

Punk rock band the Vandals sang of the mullets worn by country music singers and guests of The Jerry Springer Show and listed regional names for the style in the 1998 song "I've Got an Ape Drape".[17]

Country music singers Billy Ray Cyrus, Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Tracy Lawrence, Aaron Tippin, Morgan Wallen and Blake Shelton were also known for their mullets.

Vocalist Wesley Willis wrote and released the track "Cut the Mullet" in 1998 and frequently performed it at live shows.[18]


The mullet and its associated lifestyle have been central themes in movies such as Joe Dirt "business in the front, party in the back" (2001) and the television show The Mullets (2003–2004). Christian ska band Five Iron Frenzy sang about the mullet in "The Phantom Mullet", a song off of their 2000 album All the Hype That Money Can Buy, referencing Billy Ray Cyrus and REO Speedwagon in the lyrics. The 2001 film American Mullet documents the phenomenon of the mullet hairstyle and the people who wear it.[19]

In 2003, Legacy Recordings released Mullets Rock!, a 2 CD collection full of mullet-wearing classic rock and hair metal bands from the 1970s and 1980s.

Indie rock duo Tegan and Sara sported mullets during their The Con album era.

Between 2009 and 2012, the mullet was in fashion among individuals of Lebanese descent in Australia. The style had already been popular with the bogan subculture.[20][21] The fashion trend quickly waned by late 2009. This was the type of a mullet that had a crew cut at the front, top, and sides and long hair at the back.[citation needed]

In 2009, Kate Gosselin, from the reality television show Jon and Kate Plus 8 made famous the tellum, or reverse mullet.


The mullet was banned in Iran as one style on a list of "un-Islamic", "decadent Western cuts".[22][23]

The mullet was returned to the spotlight in 2015 by K-pop idol G-Dragon during his band BIGBANG's Made World Tour.[24] Other K-pop artists who have worn mullets include Block B's Zico, Song Min-ho, Nam Joo-hyuk, Byun Baek-hyun, DEAN, Stray Kids' Chan and Han, VIXX's N,[25] B.A.P.'s Himchan,[26] Seventeen's Woozi and The8, BTS's V, [27] GOT7's JB, SF9’s Youngbin, NCT's Taeyong, ATEEZ's HONGJOONG and The Boyz's Hwall.

The mullet has also experienced a revival within American sports. After winning back-to-back Stanley Cups, Phil Kessel was spotted in Pittsburgh Penguins training camp in September 2017 bringing the mullet back to its native roots of Pittsburgh Hockey. Similarly, Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy wore a mullet starting in early 2017; the popularity of his mullet supposedly earned Oklahoma State millions of dollars in marketing revenue.[28] In addition, from 2010 to 2015, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks popularized the "playoff mullet," an alternative to the traditional NHL playoff beard.[29] Current Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner began sporting a mullet in 2018, continuing the Yinzer tradition of the hairstyle in Western Pennsylvania.[30]


  1. ^ a b ""mullet, n.9"". Oxford University Press. OED Online. September 2013.
  2. ^ "Mullet Head Lyrics". Metro Lyrics. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  3. ^ Grand Royal Issue 2, (1995) p. 44
  4. ^ Toner, J. P. (2013). Popular Culture in Ancient Rome. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0745654908.
  5. ^ Heather, Peter (4 July 2013). The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes & Imperial Pretenders. ISBN 0230772307.
  6. ^ Wilson, William (2011). Gobbledygook. p. 166. ISBN 1440529256. David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust rocked a mullet, and so did Wings-era Paul McCartney.
  7. ^ Andrew Grant Jackson (2012). Still the Greatest. ISBN 081088223X. he sported the mullet that Bowie would as Ziggy Stardust; cousin to the shag popularized by David Cassidy, Florence Henderson, and Rod Stewart. It almost looks cool in those early days, but when McCartney added the mustache ...
  8. ^ Bianco, Marcie (5 February 2015). "9 Ways Lesbians Have Given Straight Women A Fashion Edge". Curve.
  9. ^ Johnson, L. A. (7 October 2003). "For 'mulletheads,' it's not just a hairstyle, it's a lifestyle". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  10. ^ Weitz, Rose (12 January 2005). Rapunzel's Daughters: What Women's Hair Tells Us About Women's Lives. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  11. ^ Bennett, Conswella (6 June 2011). "Mullets, Flannel, and Hipster Jeans: Lesbian Fashion Now and Then". Edge Media Network.
  12. ^ Kovacevic, Dejan (5 September 1999). "Jagr cuts his hair, ready to get down to business as Penguins open camp". Post-Gazette. PG Publishing. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  13. ^ Fialkov, Harvey (6 October 2015). "Panthers' Jaromir Jagr bringing back his famous mullet". South Florida Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  14. ^ Kesel, Karl (w), Grummett, Tom (p), Hazelwood, Doug (i). "Reign of the Superman!" The Adventures of Superman 505 (October 1993), DC Comics
  15. ^ Kesel, Karl (w), Immonen, Stuart (p), Marzan, Jose Jr. (i). "Dead Man Walking" The Adventures of Superman 544 (March 1997), DC Comics
  16. ^ The Editors of GQ (25 July 2014). "The Nicolas Cage Superman Documentary Reminds Us Of the Man Of Steel's Bad Hair Days". GQ. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  17. ^ "I've Got An Ape Drape lyrics". Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  18. ^ Loux, Brian (14 September 2001). "Wesley Willis Live". The Tech. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  19. ^ "American Mullet (2001)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  20. ^ Passmore, Daryl (13 November 2010). "Bogans of today evolved beyond stunned mullets". The Sunday Mail. Queensland: News Corp Australia.
  21. ^ Stark, Jill (19 December 2015). "Bogan Bingo! Get your mullet and flannies ready, it's bogan time". The Age. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  22. ^ Shahid, Aliyah (6 July 2010). "Iran launches crackdown on Western hairstyles, Culture Ministry bans mullet, ponytails, long hair". Daily News. New York Daily News. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  23. ^ Dweck, Jessica (10 July 2010), "Whence the Mullet? The history of Iran's forbidden haircut", Slate
  24. ^ BIGBANG Official Facebook (11 October 2015), M.A.D.E Tour in Newark, NJ, retrieved 25 September 2017
  25. ^ yckim124 (11 July 2017). "Netizens are afraid the mullet hairstyle is becoming a trend due to idols". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  26. ^ J. K (21 August 2017). "Update: B.A.P Drops Another Beautiful Trailer For "Honeymoon" - Soompi". Soompi. Viki Inc. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  27. ^ bts fancafe (16 April 2018). "My hair is like this because I want to do it~😊🐯 Please cheer for me and support me. I love you and good night 👍🏻💜". Twitter. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  28. ^ Sherman, Mitch (19 July 2017). "Gundy: Mullet worth 'millions' in OSU marketing". ESPN. Frisco, Texas. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  29. ^ Skrbina, Paul (12 May 2015). "The man behind Patrick Kane's mullet". Chicago Tribune.
  30. ^ Fowler, Jeremy (13 September 2018). "Steelers' James Conner embraces unique haircut, planning more styles". ESPN. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hoskyns, Barhey (2000). The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods. Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 1582340641
  • Henderson, Alan (2007). Mullet Madness!: The Haircut That's Business Up Front and a Party in the Back. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 1616088605

External links[edit]