Big Time Rush to Eminem: 100+ Examples of Hair Pulling in Music

Hi again BFRB friends! What do Big Time Rush, No Doubt, The Cure and Eminem have in common? They all have made music with hair pulling rep! Read on for 100+ examples :)

Intro & Goals

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This is my ongoing compilation of music lyrics with trichotillomania, also known as the hair pulling disorder, in them. I looked for the following types of terms: “hair,” “pulling,” “ripping,” and “tearing.” I managed to find 100+ songs with a few days of work.

For today, my goals in getting this list out there are twofold: to raise awareness about the prevalence of hair-pulling in pop culture media (trichsters, you’re not alone!) & to challenge misinformed stereotypes about hair pulling (which our silence about as a community has largely left unchallenged).

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Ongoing Song List

So, without further ado, I bring you 100+ songs with hair pulling rep in them, sorted by release year. The corresponding lyrics are below each release date, band and title.

Warning: If reading about hair pulling is triggering, do not read further.

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1950s -1960s

1956 Smiley Lewis – Someday (You’ll Want Me)

“You’ll be pulling out your hair”

1968 Fats Domino – So Swell When You’re Well

“Pull out your hair and wonder why”

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1970s

1975 John Entwistle – Cell Number 7

“The promoter’s tearing out his hair”

1976 John Cougar Mellencamp – Sad Lady

“Ain’t no use in screaming or pulling on your hair”

1979 Devo – SIB (Swelling Itching Brain)

“Gotta swelling itching pain, got me pulling out my hair”

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1980s

1980 Bob Welch – B666

“Rolling his eyes & tearing his hair”

1981 Was (Not Was) – Carry Me Back to Old Morocco

“I was really almost there, pulling handfuls of white hair”

1981 Swingers – Distortion

“Writing fingernails and pulling out your hair”

1985 Loreena McKennitt – Banks of Claudy

“And the tearing of her hair”

1985 Attacker – Dance of the Crazies

“Pulling hair from the root”

1986 Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Home Is Anywhere You Hang Your Head

“Here comes Mr. Misery, he’s tearing out his hair again”

1987 Breathe – Any Trick

“I can’t stand this tension, I’m pulling out my hair”

1988 The Four Tops – Loco in Acapulco

“You’ll be pulling out your hair, drowning in despair”

1988 Saint Vitus – The Creeps

“Pull out your hair”

1988 Iggy Pop – Easy Rider

“Tearing out my hair”

1988 Graham Parker – Don’t Let It Break You Down

“Tearing out your hair”

1988 The Pursuit of Happiness – Hard to Laugh

“‘Cause every time you see it, you want to pull out your hair”

1989 The Cure – Fascination Street

“So just pull on your hair, just pull on your pout”

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1990s

1990 Airport Convention – Claudy Banks (cover)

“And a tearing of her hair”

1992 Ella Mae Morse – 40 Cups of Coffee

“I drink a cup of coffee and start pulling out my hair”

1992 The Cure – High

“It makes me pull my hair all out”

1993 Terence Trent D’Arby – Turn the Page

“Pulling the roots from your hair”

1993 Gene Loves Jezebel – Voice in the Dark

“Tearing out your hair trying to make sense of it all”

1993 Insane Clown Posse – The Stalker

“Now I stress pulling out my hair”

1994 Various Artists – William Tell Overture

“And now they are tearing hair”

1994 The Proclaimers – Shout Shout

“Rant rave pull out your hair”

1994 Steven Curtis Chapman – King of the Jungle

“I’d be pulling out my hair if I could just get one hand free”

1994 The Kinks – Animal

“It was not all cuts and bruises or the pulling out of hair”

1994 The Black Crowes – Nonfiction

“While you pull your hair out”

1994 The Vibrators – She’s the One You Need

“The one who makes you pull your hair out”

1994 The Rugburns – Pitbull

“That it’s making me pull out my hair”

1995 No Doubt – Blue in the Face

“Oh, when you’re in a state of mind they call anxiety

and you find it very necessary to pull out your hair”

1995 The Rugburns – Lockjaw

“I stand in the mirror and I pull my hair out”

1995 Eve’s Plum – Sticky and Greasy

“I’ll pull out all my hair to find a way to get me out”

1995 The Lost Boyz – Keep It Real

“I’m ripping out my hairs”

1996 Spring Heeled Jack U.S.A. – Pigeon-Holed

“I pull my hair and figure out it’s all I got”

1996 Tenderloin – Shotgun Willie

“Biting on a bullet, and pulling out all of his hair”

1997 Future Bible Heroes – Hopeless

“You’ve been tearing out your hair”

1997 L7 – Must Have More

“He pulls his hair right out”

1997 Manbreak – Kop Karma

“Pull my hair out, these are the things that make me feel bad”

1998 Screeching Weasel – Only a Test

“Will I get locked up in the mental ward, am I headed for a straightjacket,

or am I just bored is it genetics or is it me pulling my hair out”

1998 Velvet Acid Christ – Exquisite Stench

“Twisting and pulling out your hair”

1998 Bruce Hornsby – Listen to the Silence

“See my man go tearing his hair”

1999 10 Cents – Red Rubber Ball

“And you feel like pulling out all of your hair”

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2000s

2000 Dum Dums – Caught Me in a Trap

“Pulling out my hair, but it’s making it worse”

2000 The Explosion – Conniption Fit

“No I don’t care, I’m stuck here pulling out my fucking hair”

2000 2gether – I Gave My 24-7 to You

“I’m tearing out my hair”

2001 Canned Heat – Hair Pulling Blues

“Well I eat too much I pull a hair from my head”

2001 Bane – Release the Hounds

“As miserable as we have ever been, violent, mean, pulling our hair out”

2001 Diffuser – The Way That I Feel

“I’m pulling hair in despair”

2001 Snow Patrol – Batten Down the Hatch

“That I’ve been waiting here, pulling out my hair”

2001 Flaw – Reliance

“I’m on the verge of pulling my hair straight out”

2001 Melissa Ferrick – E-Mail

“You’re in a box pulling out your hair”

2001 Angie Martinez – Breathe

“Wanna pull your hair out cause the s*** don’t stop”

2002 Beth Orton – Thinking About Tomorrow

“‘Cause one of these days, I’m gonna pull out all my hair”

2002 Burnt by the Sun – Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom

“I’m pulling my hair out trying to figure out”

2002 The Used – Greener with the Scenery

“I’m pulling my hair”

2002 Milka – Anger Heals

“Pulling hair and I’m biting my nails, I pretend that I’m fine but I lie to myself”

2003 Jamelia – B.*.*.*.*.

“I got ‘em tearing out their hair”

2003 Superjoint – Sickness

“Sickness, pulling your hair out”

2003 The Working Title – The Mary Getaway

“Pulling out her hair to ease that she’s not sleeping again”

2003 Sole – Teepee on a Highway Blues

“I pull my hair out of my head and wait for bats to fill the room,

But all I get is a receding hairline and another s***-eating grin”

2003 Chimaira – Fascination Street (cover)

“So pull on your hair, just pull on your pout”

2004 Bloc Party – She’s Hearing Voices

“She’s tearing out her hair”

2004 The Coral – Migraine

“Migraine, doctor, doctor, tearing my hair out”

2004 Aberfeldy – Surly Girl

“Girl is tearing out her hair”

2004 Madcap – In My Head

“I’m pulling my hair out, one for every word”

2004 Mount Eerie – Great Ghosts

“So I spent my wilderness time rolling on the ground, pulling my hair”

2004 – Jimmy Buffett – Piece of Work

“I’m a dreadful sigh and I just don’t care, spent all morning pulling out my hair”

2004 Lil Wyte – Static Addict

“I’ll have you pulling out your hair”

2004 Ghostface Killah – Ghostface

“My b****es go crazy and pull they hair out when they can’t find me”

2004 The O.C. Supertones – Dream of Two Cities

“There was a woman there tearing out her hair”

2005 Blinded Colony – Selfobtained Paranoia

“Ripping my hair off”

2005 Melanie B. – Stay in Bed Days

“I ain’t doing nothing but tearing out my hair”

2005 Ruiner – Out Go the Candles

“Accusations, rolling eyes, reasons I’m still pulling my hair out”

2006 Kristin Hoffman – Rescue Me

“I’m tearing hairs out of my head”

2006 Tamia – Too Grown

“You make me wanna pull my hair out”

2006 Graham Coxon – Don’t Let Your Man Know

“Pull my hair out, going mad”

2006 Sunset Rubdown – Us Ones in Between

“Don’t pull your hair out; I won’t pull my hair out”

2006 Avant – Mr. Dream

“Look at you, pulling your hair out, losing sleep, cause he never comes through”

2006 Fergie – Wake Up

“Well, why do I keep pulling out the roots in my hair? I’m picking at my face”

2007 Martin Simpson – Lakes of Champlain

“Wringing her fingers and tearing her hair”

2007 Say Anything – Surgically Removing the Tracking Device

“Tearing out my hair on a bedroom floor”

2007 Harry Connick, Jr. – Someday

“Your nerves will keep you in despair, girl, you’ll be pulling out your hair”

2007 Soul Asylum – Little Too Clean

“Thought I heard you screaming and pulling out your hair”

2007 The Twang – Either Way

“I was at my wit’s end pulling my hair out”

2008 Ghostface Killah – Back Like That Remix

“Shorty mad, pulling her hair out”

2008 LL Cool J – Mr. President

“Makes you scream and wanna pull out your hair”

2009 The Noisettes – 24 hours

“I’m pulling my hair out, I can’t get to sleep”

2009 Third Eye Blind – Why Can’t You Be

“Tearing our hair out”

2009 Classified – Self Explanatory

“Got me pulling out my hair, yes pass the Rogaine”

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2010s

2010 Marina and the Diamonds – Are You Satisfied?

“I was pulling out my hair, the day I cut the deal”

2010 Jamey Johnson – Mental Revenge

“And you pull out that peroxide hair”

2010 Demi Lovato & Joe Jonas – Wouldn’t Change a Thing

“He makes me want to pull all my hair out”

2011 Trevor Hall – Fire

“Well she’s a crazy woman, I tell you hair pulling”

2011 The Curiously Strong Peppermints – Trichotillomania*

“picking at my thorny crown…pulling out my hair and watching shadows dance before my eyes”

2011 Big Time Rush – You’re Not Alone

“The days that you were stressed out, feeling like pulling your hair out”

2012 Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band – One of My Kind

“Are you pulling out your hair at night?”

2012 Shaggy 2 Dope – Bazooka Joey

“Pull out my hair, screaming and laughing”

2013 Eminem – Rhyme or Reason

“Now they’re ripping out their f***ing hair again”

2014 Oh Land – Earth Sick

“All this time I didn’t know how, pulling your hair out”

2014 Fireworks – Woods

“Your sister started pulling her hair out”

2014 Breathe Carolina – Sellouts

“I’m pulling hairs tryna cope with this bull****”

2014 One Day – Love Me Less

“Or pulling on your hair like you’re stressed out”

2014 Gingerale800 – Dragonfly (Original Song About Trichotillomania)*

“The urge to pull beats strongly from my head… I find my hand reaching for my hair, strand by strand… My bald spots reappear…”

2015 Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats – S.O.B.

“I’ll start pulling out my hair”

2015 Lil Dark – Higher

“No one was there, stressed, and pulling out hair”

2015 ZZ Ward – Love 3x

“While I’m pulling out my hair, I do for hours at a time”

2016 Hank Williams, Jr. – Mental Revenge (cover)

“And you pull out that peroxide hair”

2016 Roy Woods – Got Me

“Ripping out my hair”

2017 Denzel Curry – Skywalker

“I’m ripping out my hair follicles”

2018 This Wild Life – Hold You Here

“At my best now, been feeling stressed out

Obsessive compulsive, pulling my hair out in bunches”

2.5 Songs About Trichotillomania, Specifically

I don’t know if you noticed, but two songs up above are marked with * signs. Those songs are specifically about trichotillomania while the rest mention hair pulling variations.

The Curiously Strong Peppermints – Trichotillomania // They even named the song after its real, scientific name. *tears up* Check them out on Youtube.

Gingerale800 – Dragonfly // I found Gingerale800 on Youtube while researching TTM music. She wrote this lovely song after attending a TLC conference in 2012 and hearing another young woman’s story. The lyrics are amazing. I’m not crying, you’re crying! Listen to her original trichotillomania song out on Youtube.

Trophy Dad – Trichotillomania // I found them because of their song title. Unfortunately, I can’t find their lyrics and it isn’t immediately obvious from the singing if rep exists or not. I listened so many times! Let me know if any of you out there know. Their Youtube vid is there for perusal.

Analysis: Why Hair Pulling in Music Lyrics Is Important

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The most common emotion the singers use “hair pulling” variations to express is high stress levels, often tinged with sadness, anxiety or fear. The singers vary in whether they’re singing about themselves or in relation to someone else. When the singer is singing about a second person, the hair puller, the emotions can also range to jealousy and anger.

While some of the depictions seem to speak from personal experience, or as if the lyric writer knew that hair pulling was a serious disorder (Group 1), other instances are unclear in whether the singer/lyrics writer knew about trich, or was just using the somewhat incorrect cultural symbolism of high anxiety or anger (Group 2).

Group 1 (possibly have experience/know about TTM) Examples:

“At my best now, been feeling stressed out, obsessive compulsive, pulling my hair out in bunches” (This Wild Life – “Hold You Here,” 2018)

“The days that you were stressed out, feeling like pulling your hair out” (Big Time Rush – “You’re Not Alone,” 2011)

Group 2 (probably using hair pulling stereotype) Examples:

“He makes me want to pull all my hair out” (Demi Lovato & Joe Jonas – “Wouldn’t Change a Thing,” 2010)

“I was pulling out my hair the day I cut the deal” (Marina and the Diamonds – “Are You Satisfied?” 2010)

Really looking at what type of cultural representation trichotillomania—a serious medical disorder—gets is important. Unless more people become aware of what trich is and isn’t, then hair pulling stereotyping will just continue on. The general populace will remain completely unaware while the trichsters listening cringe on every chorus.

I really believe that informing more of the general population about trich won’t be too hard to do. Clearly, there’s a lot of representation out there which many people have listened to. The crux of the matter lies in making that connection for people. So, share this if you found it helpful, insightful or interesting! Get the conversation about trich going with those around you. Let’s make more people realize the connections between the content they consume and the connotations it has for people with the medical conditions mentioned. We can do it!

Help Add Songs to the List

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As with my ongoing trich rep in books list, I would love to hear from you if you’ve got any media (music, books, movies, TV shows, etc.) with hair pulling rep in it. If you can think of any, input it below for me to add it to a list. Also, if you agree or disagree or have any comment at all, I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Follow on Facebook and Twitter for more BFRB-related goodies. Thanks so much for reading and take care. xx Rexie

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