Why Did Hair Get So BIG?

In 1977 hair went short. Long hair was over, hopefully forever.

Siouxsie Sioux, Michelle Brigandage and Steve Severin show off their short locks outside the 100 Club Punk Festival September 1976. Photo by Caroline Coon

Gone were the happy hippy flicks and over done flourishes that had defined the previous years, and back came the short and the sharp. Siouxsie, an early adopter of the no nonsense short back and sides prowled the stage of the 100 club punk fest with nothing much more than stuck up tufts of dyed black, inch long hair, which had been cut over the ears, and she wasn’t the only one. The previous era’s love of all things Farrah Fawcett, and fussy longer tresses were obviously enough to send first wave punks like Soo Catwoman, Jordan or Poly Styrene running for the clippers.

In the US things were a little different. The Ramones still hung onto their locks but being boys, they hung onto them in perhaps a more defiant way – by just refusing to get them cut!

However by the early 1980s it seemed that some people had forgotten all about that liberating trip to the barbers just a few short years before….


So where did all the hair suddenly come from?? And it wasn’t just Debbie…

1fb604d2e9b8a9fb67cb6b844699bfd5Too early for the 1980s loadsamoney boom? Maybe it the influence of American TV shows like Dynasty and Dallas? Or even the improvement of spray and styling products? But by the 1980s and even in the post punk world, hair had suddenly gone all big again.

Mid 1970s men’s hairstyling ideas

In 1926 a professor called George Taylor from the University of Pennsylvania invented what he called the hemline index. Based on the theory that womens hem lines rise and fall in relation to stock prices. The stronger the economy, the shorter the skirt, the weaker the economy, the longer the skirt.

Maybe we could apply similar rules to hair? Except in 1977, there was an econmic downturn, so using the professor’s hemline theory would mean that hair would be long, and then get shorter as the world economy grew into the age of Thatcher and Reganomics into 1980s. Which it evidently didn’t. So, back to the drawing board….

By 1980 many of the pop punk bands had been subsumed into the world of major record companies, hectic tour and recording schedules and ….stylists. The featured images of Blondie (above) are taken from the cover of their 1982 release The Hunter. Way past their peak in the eyes and ears of many of their original fans, the Mike Chapman produced album still sounds slick and expensive, it still sounds like Blondie, but it sounds like a tired Blondie… possibly brought on by the extra weight of the enormo-hair and wooziness from hairspray fumes.

Obviously this post is not a serious one, but maybe there’s a lesson somewhere in all this light-hearted buffoonery – to any bands reading this…if you’re signed to a major label and are struggling with your 6th album…maybe just go and get a haircut!

3 thoughts on “Why Did Hair Get So BIG?

  1. Brilliant post,I was a shaved headed punk rocker ,our generation was the last youth movement that was free to exspress how we felt , feel sad for the kids of 2022 and onwards ” fear , control

  2. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come back!

  3. True. Blondie had passed their sell-by date in 1982. Maybe it was the hair. It couldn’t have been the drugs, right? I’ve also written about the horrifying rise of the mullet in the mid-80s, which was [mostly] a male phenomenon of equal horror! Click if you dare! https://postpunkmonk.com/2014/05/08/redux-and-ye-shall-know-them-by-their-mullets/

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