Hairstyle: the Story Behind the Beatles Mop Top Haircut
The Beatles Cut
Since I'm a Beatles fan, it makes sense for me to write on the hair style that still gets associated with them.
The mop top hairstyle gets its name because it reminded the older generation of a wet mop. For me, I associate the mop with Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, but you decide which looks more like a mop.
The moptop was started by Beatle-friend Jurgen Vollmer in the 1950s. One day Jurgen left his hair hanging over his face after he had gone swimming. The Beatles met Jurgen when they were in Hamburg, Germany.
At the time, Jurgen was a student at Hamburg's Institute of Fashion. Jurgen became one of the Beatle's photographers. So, technically, the "Beatle Haircut," should really be called the "Jurgen Vollmer Look".
Prior to the moptop, the Beatles sported the popular hairstyle of the day which was known as the Tony Curtis cut or the d.a (duck's arse) haircut.
The "official story" (from the Hunter Davies Biography) was that Stu Sutcliffe was the first Beatle to get the moptop, followed by George, and then Paul. John Lennon and Pete Best stayed with their d.a.'s. Unfortunately, the story is not true. When the Beatles returned from Hamburg, they still had their original cut.
In September, 1961, Paul and John traveled to Paris to visit their friend Jurgen Vollmer whom they had met in Hamburg. The first "Beatle haircut" of Paul and John happened in Paris. George got his haircut when Paul and John returned.
The Moptops come to Amercia
The moptop became a symbol of youth and being cool. Today, it is also a symbol of the 60's and the Beatles.
In fact, there was a rumor that the Beatles got so sick of the publicity of their moptop that they went to a crew cut. Of course, it wasn't true.
The moptop haircut made its big splash in 1964 when the Beatles came to America. Soon, it was possible to buy Beatle wigs. In other countries, the mop top had different names. In Sweden, it was the 'Hamlet' cut. In Germany, it was called the 'mushroom' cut.
I think that the Sweden name is very suspect. Yes, Hamlet was a Dane which is very close to a Swede but at least judging by Laurence Olivier, I am not sure that Hamlet was a moptop.
The mop top has remained a staple in hairstyle possibilities. Recently, Javier Bardem took on this hair cut to portray the villain in No Country for Old Men. In this case, the hair style was selected by Paul LeBlanc who was very proud of its choice.
Jon Stewart remarked that the haircut mixed "Hannibal Lecter's murderousness with Dorothy Hamill's wedge-cut."
Jurgen Vollmer no longer wears a mop top. Paul McCartney has recently returned to his moptop look.