Purple Toupee

From This Might Be A Wiki
Music video for "Purple Toupee"
Press release

song name Purple Toupee
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Lincoln, Lincoln Sampler, Purple Toupee (EP), Then: The Earlier Years, Best Of The Early Years, Direct From Brooklyn, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants, A User's Guide To They Might Be Giants: Melody, Fidelity, Quantity, 50,000,000 They Might Be Giants Songs Can't Be Wrong
year 1988
first played November 12, 1986 (178 known performances)
run time 2:40
sung by John Linnell; John Flansburgh sings back up vocals during the chorus, and sings lead on the bridge.


  • John Linnell, from In Their Own Words: Songwriters Talk About the Creative Process by Bill DeMain:
['Purple Toupee' uses] a couple of Prince songs as a springboard, 'Purple Rain' and 'Raspberry Beret'. I guess part of the idea was that, at the time, it seemed like there was this '60s revival in the works. It reminded me of all the other revivals that had taken place that were reviving times that I wasn't around for. They must have been complete shams based on what the '60s revival was. It seemed like it was based on this utterly one-dimensional caricature of the time that it was supposed to [be] representing or reviving. That still goes on now. That's sort of what 'Purple Toupee' is about.
  • In early live performances of the song, Linnell sang "meanwhile on the West Coast it was trouble for the blacks" rather than "heard about some lady named Selma and some blacks."
  • The music video for the song, directed by Helene Silverman, was filmed at Astroland Park on Coney Island in Brooklyn.
  • On the Lincoln Sampler, there is a stray accordion note in the right channel at the very end of the song.
  • British songwriter Al Stewart has a song called "Red Toupee." After performing it in a concert on July 18, 1999, he said, "That song was going to be part of a concept album about toupees. They Might Be Giants have a song called 'Purple Toupee', and we're just looking for another 10 songs and then we can release it."
  • The Nelories, who released a CD for the Hello CD Of The Month Club, released a song (intended to be a tribute to this song) called "Hell Toupee" on their EP Indie Pop Car Baby.

Song Themes

1964 World's Fair, Age, Artificial Body Parts, Bells, Cities, Clothes, Colors, Death, Forgetting And Remembering, Hair, History, Places (Real), Precious Metal, Presidents, Puns, Reading, Size, Trade Names, Violence


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Current Rating

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Purple Toupee is currently ranked #34 out of 910. (217 wikians have given it an average rating of 9.06)