Beastie Boys Allegedly Coined the Term ‘Mullet’

The classic Australian mullet may not have always been ours, because the Beastie Boys claim to have invented the term.

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If there is one thing in Australian culture that we hate to love, it is the ‘mullet. A male haircut that is short at the front, long at the back and screams ‘I sink beers at the local after work with the boys’. The haircut is often a vivid reminder of a testosterone fuelled hairdressing extravaganza.

However, this symbol of our culture has not always been ours. In the 1970s, mullets were rocked by Rod Stewart, David Bowie and Paul McCartney, but there was never really a name for a haircut that was a number one on the sides, and number six on the top. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, the word ‘mullet’ in reference to a hairstyle was coined by American hip-hop group Beastie Boys.

The three piece group from New York are thought to have popularised the word on their track ‘Mullet Head’, which was released on their ‘Sure Shot’ single vinyl in 1994. An entire song dedicated to slamming the guys who rock mullets with lines like: “You want to know what's a mullet? Well I got a little story to tell about a hairstyle, that's a way of life. Have you seen a Mullet wife?” And more explicitly “Cut the sides don’t touch the back”.

The group started a magazine in 1993 called Grand Royal, and devoted an entire issue to bad haircuts. One article was ‘Mulling Over The Mullet’, and was a public criticism of the hairstyle and those who wore it. The Beastie Boys wrote "There's nothing quite as bad as a bad haircut. And perhaps the worst haircut of all is the cut we call ‘The Mullet.” And from that moment on, Oxford English Dictionaries have the Beastie Boys down as the first publication to print the use of the word ‘mullet’ when describing a hairstyle.

So whilst the actual origins of the word are still up in the air, the Beastie Boys have made history either way.

Keep reading. Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.

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