The 1980s are well known for giving us some incredible, over the top fashion choices, and one of the most memorable is the mullet. This distinctive style contrasted short front and sides with often eye-popping length at the rear, leading to it often being described as ‘business in the front, party in the back’. The look has, perhaps unexpectedly, enjoyed a bit of a comeback recently, but few can hold a candle to the mullets from back in the day.
Below are 10 of the most majestic mullets we ever set eyes upon back in the 80s.
10. Pat Sharp
We begin with possibly the greatest mullet of them all, which was carried off fantastically by the legendary radio DJ and TV presenter Pat Sharp, best remembered by children of the 80s for hosting game show Fun House.
While he’s still a DJ today, Sharpe’s iconic haircut is sadly long gone. He remarked in 2020, “it’s a cool thing to look back on but I couldn’t have it now. I’d look like Joe Exotic.”
9. Michael Bolton
When Michael Bolton first rose to superstardom in the late 80s, the American singer-songwriter was every bit as famous for his luxuriant mullet as he was for his silky, soulful voice.
When he finally snipped it all off in 1997, there were fears that it would ruin his career; Bolton has described the experience as “really traumatic,” but he’s never grown it back since.
8. Mel Gibson
A number of our favourite Hollywood males made the mullet look great during the 1980s, but we really do believe that one wore it far better than all of the others: Mel Gibson, as loose cannon cop Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon movies.
There’s very little mystery as to why 1998’s Lethal Weapon 4 was nowhere near as big a hit as the first three: Gibson cut his hair short for that one!
7. Andre Agassi
Like one or two of the other celebrities on this list, hair loss meant that former world number one tennis player Andre Agassi eventually had to say goodbye to his marvellous mullet.
As well as being an eight-time major champion, Agassi was a sex symbol who once dated Barbra Streisand, despite her being 28 years his senior.
6. Richard Dean Anderson
Famed for being the favourite TV star of Patty and Selma on The Simpsons, Richard Dean Anderson found small screen superstardom in the title role of hit 80s action series MacGyver, supported by his magnificent head of hair.
The late 90s saw a shorn, greying Anderson went on to enjoy further TV success on Stargate SG-1 as Colonel Jack O’Neill (a role previously taken in the movie by another sometime mullet wearer, Kurt Russell).
5. Billy Ray Cyrus
Long before he was known primarily for being Miley’s dad, country rock superstar Billy Ray Cyrus conquered the world with his hit record Achy Breaky Heart, and wowed audiences with his lionesque mane.
These days he wears a more balanced head of long hair, but clearly Billy Ray is sometimes nostalgic for the old days; in 2006 he released a single entitled I Want My Mullet Back.
4. Patrick Swayze
Patrick Swayze was one of the definitive leading man actors of the 80s, and his mighty mullet was definitely a big part of it. The sadly missed star wasn’t actually a fan of the look, however; on 1989’s Road House, he called his hair cut “the bane of my existence.”
This didn’t stop Swayze from rocking yet another mullet for his 1991 classic Point Break.
3. Chris Waddle
Many of our favourite 80s footballers wore wonderful mullets, but pipping the likes of Kevin Keegan to the (goal) post is former Newcastle, Spurs, Marseille and Sheffield Wednesday winger Chris Waddle.
Once described by a journalist as “one of the finest attacking midfielders in Europe,” Waddle now works as a football commentator and pundit, with a sadly much shorter barnet.
2. George Clooney
George Clooney found small screen stardom as the short-haired Dr. Ross on E.R., and soon afterwards embraced the grey to became the quintessential big screen silver fox. Long before that, however, Clooney slowly clawed his way up the Hollywood ladder equipped with a very different, less restrained haircut.
The younger Clooney worked his mullety magic in such 80s classics (ahem) as Return to Horror High and Return of the Killer Tomatoes.
After starting out as the frontman of pop band Kajagoogoo, Limahl became a legend thanks to his iconic theme song to 1984 movie The NeverEnding Story – but equally legendary was the English singer-songwriter’s haircut.
Spiky-topped with vast quantities of bleach and hairspray applied, Limahl’s mullet was a bona fide work of modern art.