No band did the former like Guns’n’Roses (Mr. Brownstone). No band did the latter like Whitesnake (Here I Go Again), though Poison (Every Rose Has Its Thorn) and Mötley Crüe (Home Sweet Home) gave Whitesnake a run for its money.
80’s hair metal beginnings
The early 80s featured a mix of new hair bands on the scene, Mötley Crüe (1981), Bon Jovi (1983), bands evolving their sound, Def Leppard (1977), Whitesnake (1978), and bands evolving their members, Ratt (1976), and Dokken (1979). Beyond that, there were glam bands that zagged away from hair metal instead of zigging into it, like Pantera (1981), and even Skid Row on their second album, Slave to the Grind (1991) - both getting heavier.
But at that point, times were changing.
Glam rock roots
While many boast that Hair Metal takes its roots from 1970s glam rock, I think that’s just plain overselling it. It was more of a natural evolution of rock, starting with Led Zeppelin.
Kids wanted to be Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. They were like Joe Satriani, who upon hearing that Jimi Hendrix died, walked off the football field, got himself an electric guitar, and began surfing with the alien.
They saw Kiss in all their glory: face paint, leather, spitting blood, breathing fire, with a bass that looked like a real axe, and a New Hampshire fireworks store’s worth of pyro lit at the concert, and thought, “That! That is going to get me laid!”
They saw Steven Tyler strutting around in black fish nets and a white négligée and thought, “That! That is going to get me laid!?”
As the late Charlie Murphy said, “You know where you got that shirt from - and it damn sure wasn’t the men’s department.”
Flair and flamboyance works every time.
The pop metal evolution and the rock brigade
Hair metal had its fuel in classic and glam rock, all it needed was a spark to ignite. It got it with the late 1970s debut of Van Halen. You could say things … erupted.
A graduate of Glam Hair University, Diamond Dave was a male hair template of what a pop metal frontman should be. 80s hair metal rock singers now had the perfect triangle of influencers … the screechy vocals like Plant, the androgynous dress of Steven Tyler, and the dazzling stage moves of DLR.
Then there was Eddie Van Halen. Guitar god. Lord of the fretboard. Master of six string ceremonies. EVH turned the rock world (and the sunset strip) upside down with face melting solos and two-hand tapping. After Van Halen debuted, EVERY person on the planet wanted to learn how to solo on guitar.
Literally everyone. Dogs too.
Across the pond, bands like Def Leppard were earning a name for themselves by slowly moving their version of heavy metal music into the mainstream. A more melodic metal album, 1983’s Pyromania vaulted the band up the Billboard charts and into households across the U.S.
The stage was set. Sex-driven, spandex wearing, and coke fueled guitar heroism was on the rise. Hair metal had come alive.
What is hair metal?
Hair metal, or glam metal as some would have it, is heavy metal lite. And, we can all thank Lester Bangs for coming up with the term heavy metal. I mean, Bangs … what a fitting name for rock and roll. You can’t make this stuff up.
Why do they call it hair metal?
Anyway, hair metal is basically heavy metal with more upbeat lyrical content (getting chicks versus agony, pain and destruction), more overdrive than distortion (think Boss SD-1 instead of Metal Zone), and dollop upon dollop of mascara, foundation, and hair spray. Aquanet FTW!
Huge riffs, pop choral hooks, and lyrics to entice the ladies, hair metal was a genre of pure, unadulterated (but adultery), unabashed, hedonistic fun. Gronk was born just a bit too late …
Excess and leather, teased hair and pouty faces, bands like Poison and Hanoi Rocks really skirted the androgyny. To quote the wise prophet, Butthead, “These chicks look like guys” - speaking about the Nelson brothers of the eponymously self-titled band, Nelson.
He’s not wrong.
Nelson After the Rain video (youtube) - no thumbnail
Which bands were hair metal and which bands were not?
Bands like Aerosmith were not considered hair metal. They leaned on some elements of the genre (subgenre?), but ultimately remained entrenched in the classic rock realm. But if we were calling a dude a lady, Steven Tyler fit the bill.
Bands like Poison? 100% pure, (Colombian?) hair metal. Pardon the Medellin/Pablo Escobar/Power Flour pun.
Poison checked all the hair metal boxes. Eyeliner? Mascara? Look What The Cat Dragged In. Power balladry? Every Rose Has Its Thorn. Songs about good times? Nuthin’ But A Good Time.
To be fair, Poison’s band members had super awesome names: Bret Michaels, C.C. DeVille, Rikki Rockett (two T’s), and Bobby Dall (pronounced Doll).
Somewhere between Aerosmith and Poison lies 100+ bands who may or may not deserve the victorious or vilified moniker of being ‘hair metal’.
Five bands that come to mind are Van Halen, Guns’n’Roses, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Pantera. Yes, that very same Pantera.
Why? For various reasons, these bands, mostly due to quality songwriting, don’t always get lumped into the hair metal genre.
- Van Halen: party band that started in the 70s
- Guns’n’Roses: quality songwriting and showmanship somehow rises them above hair/glam metal and into the avatar of rock and roll itself
- Bon Jovi: Had the teased hair, but power pop metal crossed over into country on occasion to stay relevant.
- Def Leppard: was heavy metal early and never relied on makeup, gimmicks, and shenanigans for popularity
- Pantera: went heavy metal after starting glam (and a lineup change). And to be honest, not ever really considered hair metal
Was there a hair metal “sound”
The sound of the Sunset Strip. That is probably the best way to define it. Hair metal came a long way from the freebird guitar solo. Dive bombs, pinch harmonics, the finger tapping of a young Eddie Van Halen, needless to say, hair metal was guitar aerobics on crack, maybe quite literally.
Despite not being my favorite band, Mötley Crüe did it best. Babes. Beers. Blow. Bitchin’ tunes. Badder than Black Sabbath tunes. Brief dalliances with death (Nikki Sixx).
Sixx, Mars, Neil, and Lee rocked the hardest. Motley Crüe was hair metal’s personification of the power of a hurricane drinking a case of Strohs, and then driving matching Maserati’s down Sunset at 100mph while staring at the babes riding shotgun.
The sound of the Crüe
So, The Crüe’s sound is the sound of hair metal. Jovi was too pop. Def Leppard too synth. G’n’R too blues/dirt. Poison too prom-datey. Van Halen too disparate (Diamond Dave vs. Hagar). Skid Row too harsh on their second album (Slave to the Grind).
They talked the talk, walked the walk, drank the drinks, banged the babes, and snorted the snorts.
Don’t believe me? Check out the album titles:
- Too Fast for Love
- Shout at the Devil
- Theatre of Pain
- Girls, Girls, Girls
- Dr. Feelgood
- Mötley Crüe (self-titled)
- Generation Swine
- New Tattoo
- Saints of Los Angeles
Or as I call it … Ladies, Bad assery, More bad assery, Ladies, Drugs, How bad ass we are, F you, I kick ass, and we kick more ass than anyone in a city that kicks ass.
They put Tommy Lee in a drum riser above the crowd in an arena. That is the most bad ass, in concert thing you could do. I mean, dude rolls out in a man thong. Not only that, they had blonde bombshells rolling the backing vox.
A decade of decadence: the life and death of hair metal
If we are to use Mötley Crüe as the basis for the sound of hair metal, than we should use their formation as the official start of the (sub)genre. Conversely, I feel safe in using the release of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit as the date of death. Hair metal’s tombstone would look a bit like this:
Born: January 17, 1981
Died: September 10, 1991 (official release, two weeks after radio release)
And to be honest, these timelines work. All of your favorite hair metal albums came out within these dates. Appetite for Destruction, Hysteria, Slippery When Wet, Dr. Feelgood, and Open Up and Say … Ahh! just to name a few.
Those five albums alone have crushingly good tunes, some of the best 80s hair bands had to offer. Welcome to the Jungle. Pour Some Sugar On Me. You Give Love a Bad Name. Kickstart My Heart. Nothin’ But A Good Time, and so, so much more. Glam metal satirists, turned originals like Steel Panther made an entire living by playing these songs while writing their own songs.
Hilariously enough, both Use Your Illusion I and II came out a week AFTER Teen Spirit, an astonishing thought.
When was hair metal’s pinnacle?
Hair metal had many, many triumphant moments. But, the pinnacle must have been July 27th-28th of 1987. Why? That is the exact midpoint of the release dates of Guns’n’Roses’ Appetite for Destruction and Def Leppard’s Hysteria. These two albums combined for 14 singles, 30 million albums sold in the United States alone, and THE best-selling debut album of all-time (Appetite for Destruction).
Even better, Appetite sold 30 million worldwide, while Hysteria sold 25 million. Think about that, two albums, 55 million plus albums. Stunning.
Everything leading up to that date was the righteous climb up. Everything after that point was the indecorous slide down.
MTV, Heavy Metal Mania, and Headbanger’s Ball, and WAAF Boston
MTV was the single greatest platform that the genre ever had. Beyond just showing the hair metal videos in rotation, it created Headbanger’s Ball, a follow-up to Dee Snider’s Heavy Metal Mania. Rabelaisian videos of scantily clad nubiles being gawked over by leather-studded bandmates were par for the course on Headbanger’s Ball, despite the verbal nod toward thrash and death metal.
Hair metal videos like Warrant’s Cherry Pie (Cherry Pie), Danger Danger’s Bang Bang (Danger Danger), and White Lion’s Wait (Pride) were all over the airwaves. Perhaps the most kick ass video of them all, not “the best hair metal video”, but most kick ass video was Skid Row’s 18 and Life (Skid Row), a story about Ricky doing hard time for squeezin’ off a few rounds.
Led by Riki Rachtman, Kevin Seal, Adam Curry, and a slew of others, Headbanger’s Ball was a weekly wardrobe walkthrough to Metal Narnia. Slaughter, Trixter, and Tesla all found a way to make appearances.
107.3 FM WAAF Boston was where I consumed the majority of my hair metal bands via radio. The only station that really rocked did a great job during the “Crank It Up”, “Non Stop Rock”, and “Untamed Radio” eras of playing unabashedly glam metal hits.
Movie montage hair metal in soundtracks
Movie soundtracks were opportunities for recording labels to test the viability of singers going solo. Young Guns II let Jon Bon Jovi release Blaze of Glory and The Iron Eagle Soundtrack (1986) showcased Mr. Big’s Eric Martin twice - These are the Good Times and Eyes of the World.
Better still, 80s movie soundtracks played out like tennis doubles champions, boasting songs you love by bands that couldn’t hack it solo on the court. For instance, Survivor, known for Eye of the Tiger, is all over the Rocky IV Soundtrack (1985) with Burning Heart, Eye of the Tiger, and Man Against the World. And, layered over triumphant scenes of Decepticons perishing at the hand of Optimus Prime, is Stan Bush’s The Touch and Dare, from the Transformers The Movie Soundtrack (1986).
Hair metal today
So where does that leave us? Not completely cut off. With 80s throwbacks, The Darkness and Steel Panther, the show goes on. Not to mention now-defunct (20) man-band, Bang Camaro (the greatest show on earth).
For now, Pants and I will just have to put I Believe In A Thing Called Love on repeat and wait for the annual 80s Day at Loon Mountain to teleport back to 1987.
Cause it sure as hell ain’t gonna be The Outfield’s Tony Lewis who brings us back.
He followed us on Twitter and then unfollowed us once we followed him. We aren’t bitter …
Hair Metal Bands
98 Hair Metal Bands, their albums, and a hit song of theirs, just for you. Consume at will. Learn a thing or two. If you disagree with anyone listed, or you wanna talk hair metal shop, let us know.
We have intentionally left Ozzy Osbourne and Queensrÿche off the list for being heavier metal.
Canadian rock group led by Freddy Curci and Steve DeMarchi. Other members included Roger Fisher, Steve Fossen, and Mike Derosier, formerly of Heart.
The hit: More Than Words Can Say
Lots of power ballad’ing going on at six o’clock in the morning.
Alice N’ Chains
The precursor to Seattle grunge band, Alice In Chains. Alice N’ Chains, and most notably, Layne Staley, were glam/hair metal before they went dirt.
- Demo 1
- Demo 2
The hit: …
Was there one? They had two demos, with 3 and 6 songs each, respectively.
9 albums, 1 hit. That hit is better than most bands with more “hits”. Still, 9 albums is impressive.
- Sign In Please
- That’s the Stuff
- Loud and Clear
- Missing Pieces
- More Missing Pieces
- The Anthology
- Get Off Your Ass
The hit: Turn up the Radio
Solidly bitchin’ tune. Pretty self-explanatory what you need to do with it.
Hair metal from The Bay Area, Babylon A.D. had a few worthwhile songs.
- Babylon A.D.
- Nothing Sacred
- American Blitzkrieg
- Revelation Highway
The hit: Bang Go The Bells
Derek Davis sounds a ton like Jeff Keith of Tesla.
Do they belong here? Don’t they …
I mean, some of their stuff? No, absolutely not.
But other songs … I don’t know, this is a tough one.
The hit: No Smoke Without a Fire
Total hair metal tune.
John Waite, some boys from Journey, and a few other guys. What could go wrong? Nothing.
The hit: When I See You Smile
When Diane Warren calls, you say yes.
Steve Vai (Guitar God) put together this quartet of glam rockin’ teenagers. One album, one single, and one (?) tour with Damn Yankees.
The hit: Nineteen
Some glam, some blues, some hard rock
The hit: Dreams in the Dark
What a name.
The hit: Someone Like You
Christian glam metal … sounds like something Pants would like
The hit: Imaginary Music
Nah, hair metal was real. All of it.
Beggars & Thieves
So hard to believe … Beggars & Thieves rolled out the Triple Name in Band/Album/Song.
That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for them.
- Beggars & Thieves
- Look What You Create
The hit: Beggars & Thieves
An almost power ballad.
Theatrical, heavy, glam(ish), female-fronted, and quite the name … you tell them, Betsy!
The hit: Turn You Inside Out
Somewhere between Pat Benatar, Dream Theater, and Europe.
Black ‘n Blue
The hit: Hold On To 18
Standard hair metal. Power chord chugging. Not knowing how to get what they want. Shreddy fills.
Total 80s hair metal move to go from The Dirty Blondes to Blonz, with a z.
The hit: Bright Lights, Big City
Definitely a hair metal intro with gang vocal chorus.
Back, with more Christian metal. More metal than hair.
- Metal Missionaries
- Rock In a Hard Place
- Out of the Darkness
- Alive In America: Live Volume One
- Shakin’ the World: Live Volume Two
- All Stand Together
The hit: Crucify
Wow. That’s something.
Hey, John Sykes! Former Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy guitarist puts together a metal band.
The hit: Jelly Roll
Was … uhh … was it a hit? I’m not sure. Got a 12 string in the video though, so that’s bad ass.
2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, Bon Jovi, released some of the very best hair metal tunes of all time, including You Give Love a Bad Name and Livin’ on a Prayer.
They had the identity, they had the look, they had outrageous talent, and they crushed it.
- Bon Jovi
- 7800 Fahrenheit
- Slippery When Wet
- New Jersey
- Keep the Faith
- These Days
- Have a Nice Day
- Lost Highway
- The Circle
- What About Now
- This House Is Not for Sale
The hit: Livin’ on a Prayer
Just a phenomenal song.
Son of the legend, Jason Bonham puts together a crew for rockin’.
The hit: Wait for You
Is that Robert Plant on vox? Sounds it.
Oh look at that, back to Christian metal.
The hit: Troubled Times
Maybe? I have no idea who these guys are. But that is a mighty wail, so I’m giving it to Troubled Times.
Much like your Canadian girlfriend, the band was born in Niagara Falls
The hit: We Came to Rock
I think? Either way, SLOW MO stick flips in the video. SUPER tough looks from the band. And they say Canadians are a good type of folk. I’m scared of the bad boys from Brighton Rock.
That’s some harsh keyboard playin’, fella!
Who says Philly doesn’t rock … they had Rocky.
The hit: Long Way to Love
Yeah. I mean, Yeah.
Strong band name. Solid tunes.
The hit: Smooth Up In Ya
What. A. Title. To. A. Song.
Really. Cmon, you were thinking it too.
Candy Harlots was Australian for Hair Metal.
- The Tease Tapes
- Five Wicked Ways
The hit: Danger
Sure, let’s go with Danger.
Baltimore … nothing says the Sunset Strip like Baltimore. How did they make it onto Headbanger’s Ball!?
The hit: Rat Race
A crappy version of Play With Me by Extreme!? I don’t know.
Philly, again! But better Philly, I think?!
The hit: Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)
So whiney, it’s unreal. It’s also unreal cause it’s great.
Circus of Power
- Circus of Power
- Still Alive EP
- Live at the Ritz EP
- Magic & Madness
The hit: Motor
Sounds a bit like AC/DC Thunderstruck in the breakdown. Let’s, uhh, check the dates …
L.A. Guns, Vixen, Ratt, Shark Island, and Michael Schenker … need we say more!?
Contraband was essentially an excuse for some friends to get together and party … with some contraband.
The hit: Loud Guitars, Fast Cars, and Wild, Wild Livin’
Just because it was on the If Looks Could Kill soundtrack
Why do ladies of the 80s have to read band’s minds!?
I don’t know … should we include him? Sure?
- Flush the Fashion
- Special Forces
- Zipper Catches Skin
- Raise Your Fist and Yell
- Hey Stoopid
The hit: Feed My Frankenstein
Guitar heros, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, appear out of nowhere to guest star on this track. Enough said.
Not to mention Wayne’s World.
Cry Wolf sounds like a band from San Fran.
The hit: Back To You
Standard hair metal tune.
Cycle Sluts from Hell
Cause why not. I applaud them.
- Cycle Sluts from Hell
The hit: I Wish You Were a Beer
Not a bad thing to wish for.
Disneyland After Dark is a Danish glam band.
I wonder if they ever played the Peach Pit After Dark.
The hit: I Want What She’s Got
Quite the video. I imagine that is sorta what Disneyland is after dark.
American Hair Metal supergroup, with Tommy Shaw, Ted Nugent, Jack Blades, and Michael Cartellone.
The hit: High Enough
Coming of Age was a fun tune, but High Enough is the hit.
Danger Danger is known for high high vocals, cheesy cheesy lyrics, and lots of fun fun.
The hit: Bang Bang
I love Bang Bang. It’s so bad and so amazingly awesome at the same time. Ted Poley rocks his trademark sleeveless blue denim jacket with black leather pants look.
Not a bad name for a glam metal band.
The hit: Teas’n, Pleas’n
You can hear the Austin roots of Teas’n, Pleas’n … until Jason McMaster starts singing.
One of the best to ever do it. In contention for best hair metal band ever. Just a magnificent band with righteous tunes.
- The Def Leppard EP
- On Through the Night
- High ‘n’ Dry
- Songs from the Sparkle Lounge
- Def Leppard
The hit: Pour Some Sugar On Me
If we are only choosing one of the MANY Def Leppard hits, then I guess it’s Pour Some Sugar On Me. We could have easily gone with Photograph, Rock of Ages, Bringing on the Heartbreak, Hysteria, Animal, Rocket, Let’s Get Rocked … you get the point.
Dirty Looks has more ex-members than Bang Camaro, which is impressive.
- Dirty Looks EP
- Dirty Looks
- In Your Face
- I Want More
- Cool from the Wire
- Turn of the Screw
The hit: Nobody Rides For Free
Hey, the video made it on to Headbanger’s Ball.
Bitchin’ hair metal tune though.
The lead singer sued Poison, so there’s that.
The hit: 777
Billy Squier meets Nelson. That is 777 in a nutshell.
Ahh, the infamous Dokken, the hair metal band eponymously named for lead singer, Don Dokken. Another band where tons of members subbed in and out over the years.
The hit: Alone Again
Righteously hair metal in all ways, from the lyrics, to the vocals, to the music video.
Good name for a band. Nice work, Sweden.
- Easy Action
- That Makes One
The hit: We Go Rocking
Yeah, this qualifies. Funny story, they sued Poison as well. Multiple bands sue Bret Michaels and crew, yet Poison is global and they are not.
This song is better than Poison’s I Want Action. So there’s that.
Hurray for Sweden. They really dug their glam metal. Dope album names as well.
- Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride
- Groovus Maximus
The hit: All Lips N’ Hips
Another tune that made it onto Headbanger’s Ball. Dope sitar intro.
I dig All Lips N’ Hips.
Chip Z’Nuff … it’s a real name.
The hit: The New Thing
Not to be confused with the continent, Europe is best known for The Final Countdown, a way overplayed anthem about … well, final countdowns.
The hit: The Final Countdown
Anthemic. Huge synth. Powerful chorus. Bitchin’ tune. Overplayed, but still great.
Plus, half a billion views on youtube. Pretty insane.
Every Mother’s Nightmare
Gotta hand it to Nashville’s Every Mother’s Nightmare for getting a few tunes on Headbanger’s Ball. Their band name is totally on-brand for hair metal, even if it was a bit too college rock band.
- Every Mother’s Nightmare
- Wake Up Screaming
The hit: Love Can Make You Blind
Somewhere between Tesla’s The Way It Is and Collective Soul’s Shine.
Writers of Play With Me, the outrageous, and classicly inspired hair metal hit from the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure soundtrack, Boston’s own, Extreme, were purveyors of the decadence dance.
The hit: More Than Words
313 million views on youtube should tell you everything you need to know. If all you heard from Extreme was More Than Words, you’d never understand how triumphant some of their work truly is/was.
Japan, coming in hot!
- Fire Fire
The hit: House of 1,000 Pleasures
House of 1,000 riffs!
A few parts hair metal, a few parts glam punk, a dollop of sleaze … that’s Faster Pussycat for ya.
The hit: House of Pain
A pretty decent hair metal power ballad.
A portmanteau of founders, “Fast” Eddie Clarke and Pete Way (though Way didn’t stick around), Fastway did it’s British Metal thing on hits like Say What You Will and All Fired Up.
The hit: Say What You Will
Brit metal and blues!
Originally from Albuquerque, they too joined the Sunset Strip scene. They even appeared on the License to Drive soundtrack, a “Two Coreys” flick.
The hit: Waiting For The Big One
Cause ladies should be allowed to be metal too. AMAZING choreography in the video.
She’s looking for a shocker, an all-night rocker!
The hit: Love of a Lifetime
Mega power ballad. Love of a Lifetime is not the best song on their debut self-title album, but it’s the most popular.
One of the baddest babes in rock and roll of all time. Superb talent, legendary music, and epic rock stories, Lita Ford had it all.
The hit: Kiss Me Deadly
Everything a bodacious 80s rock song should be. Lita kicks all ass on Kiss Me Deadly.
Ace Frehley going solo.
The hit: Into The Night
Dudes rock hard into the night in the video, amongst other things.
Boring name for a band. Another hair metal band out of Nashville. I don’t think I realized that so many hair metal bands came from Nashville growing up. Country with distortion pedals really.
The hit: I’ll See You In My Dreams
Greg, pick a better band name than Giuffria. At least Jon Bongiovi had the good sense to change to Bon Jovi.
The hit: Call To The Heart
This song has all the makings of a song layered over an important scene for an Andrew McCarthy flick.
The only reason I know of Gorky Park is that the Scorpions name dropped in the song of the same name.
Anyway, let’s thank Mother Russia for Gorky Park.
The hit: Try to Find Me
Here is Try to Find Me being performed at The Moscow Music Peace Festival (1989).
Switzerland getting in on the hair metal band action.
The hit: Hush
Hush. Shhh. Just enjoy.
Los Angeles blues rock and hair metal band, best known for a cover (Once Bitten, Twice Shy) and a nightclub fire (officially as Jack Russell’s Great White).
The hit: Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Tame for hair metal.
More Christian rock!
The hit: Never Say Goodbye
Like a cover of a cover of a cover of a hair metal power ballad. There are luminary talents like Elton John and Billy Joel, and then there is Guardian, alone at the top of lyric mountain.
Guns N’ Roses
Of all of the hair metal bands, perhaps the least deserving of the title.
Sunset Strip legends. Pure and simple, like the illicit drugs they were doing.
- Appetite for Destruction
- G ‘N R Lies
- Use Your Illusion I
- Use Your Illusion II
- The Spaghetti Incident
- Chinese Democracy
The hit: Sweet Child o’ Mine
I hate, HATE to give it to Sweet Child o’ Mine, but it won an American Music Award. Not their best song, but, it is what it is.
712 million views on Youtube helps solidify that.
The Red Rocker!
- [Nine on a Ten Scale]()
- [Sammy Hagar]()
- [Musical Chairs]()
- [Street Machine]()
- [Danger Zone]()
- [Standing Hampton]()
- [Three Lock Box]()
The hit: I Can’t Drive 55
Weak name. Detroit Rock City could do better.
The hit: I Want Out
Probably a bit more metal than hair, but oh well.
- Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks
- Oriental Beat
- Self Destruction Blues
- Back to Mystery City
- Two Steps from the Move
The hit: Tragedy
Hanoi Rocks gives us Tragedy, which isn’t exactly hair metal, but it is close enough. The real tragedy was Vince Neil killing one of the Hanoi Rocks guys in a car wreck.
Neil Schon was all over the place. Crazy that he was part of Hardline.
The hit: Hot Cherie
A little bit prog, and I am ok with it.
Harem Scarem shouldn’t have a piano rock intro in their hit. For real.
The hit: Honestly
Honestly? I am not sure how they got Judge Reinhold to appear in the video. Crazy.
High vocals, shreddy solos … they had what it took to be on any list of hair metal bands, though they might have had a slightly harder edge. no pun.
- Heaven’s Edge
- Some Other Place, Some Other Time
The hit: Skin to Skin
Like they are a new mother … Skin to Skin!
Their metal, like their bones, was heavy.
- Heavy Bones
The hit: 4:AM T.M.
Nothing bad about 4:AM T.M. and nothing memorable about it either. It’s just a song.
Hey kids, look, a band from the Iron Eagle Soundtrack.
Canada knows how to rock! Another band that has a thousand ex-members.
- Breaking Loose
- White Lace & Black Leather
- No Rest for the Wicked
- Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge
- Long Way to Heaven
- Wild in the Streets
- Back for Another Taste
- It’s a Business Doing Pleasure
The hit: Gimme Gimme Good Lovin
more AC/DC riffs, please! more Diamond Dave riffs!
Their music appears on G ‘N R Lies. Why?
Why do you think? It’s in the name!
The hit: Reckless Life
Christian rock! Huzzah!
Forgettable hair metal bands should just go away. That’s Holy Soldier.
- Holy Soldier
- Last Train
- Promise Man
The hit: See No Evil
Check the video for See No Evil, dudes just being tough in the desert.
The final credits of One Crazy Summer. That’s how you (and I) know Honeymoon Suite.
The hit: What Does It Take
Duder plays a Steinberger in the video. That’s all you need to know.
That and the chorus is powerful.
I’m edging out Feel It Again because of One Crazy Summer. Sue me.
House of Lords
A Greg Giuffria vehicle.
The hit: I Wanna Be Loved
So many sounds of so many hair metal bands wrapped up in the intro of I Wanna Be Loved.
Glam and hair metal bands go hand in hand. Just like Hurricane and mediocrity.
Who are these guys?!
The hit: I’m On To You
Yup. Hair Metal. Whatever.
The hit: Night Of The Crime
The full album! Who knows WHAT?! their hit was. I don’t. You don’t.
So here is the full album.
How many Swedish hair metal bands are there?!
- It’s Alive
- Earthquake Visions
The hit: Earthquake Visions
The full album! It’s Alive doing Earthquake Visions is worth a listen.
How many hair metal bands out of Kennesaw, Georgia? Not many? Yeah, sounds about right.
The hit: The Lumberjack
The Lumberjack is a standard blues riff disguised as hair metal.
The chain solo though is money.
Lotta San Fran hair metal bands on this list.
- Feel the Shake
- Damned Nation
The hit: Feel the Shake
Feel the Shake is musically AC/DC and vocally … I don’t know, pretty much every other band.
Glam sleaze rock at it’s second best (behind AC/DC).
The hit: Hey Kid
Gang vocals … Hey Kid! That’s about the best part of this track off Neighbourhood Threat.
The one and only. That said, running a bit loose by slotting Judas Priest into a list of hair metal bands.
But hey, why not.
- British Steel
- Point of Entry
- Screaming for Vengeance
- Defenders of the Faith
- Ram It Down
The hit: Breaking The Law
LA band and compared to Guns N’ Roses. Fairly common for the time.
All The Time in the World wasn’t too shabby.
- Sixes, Sevens and Nines
The hit: Simple Man
Piano, slide guitar, not total sleaze.
Fun fact, Marc Ferrari, guitar player for Keel, went on to be Cassandra’s guitar player in Crucial Taunt, the fictional band in Wayne’s World.
Fun fact two, Keel covers oft-covered Because the Night, a song written by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith. You should also check out The Protomen’s version.
The hit: The Right to Rock
Saskatchewan’s finest hair metal band? Maybe.
They even got themselves onto the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack, appearing as Spectre General.
The hit: On the Road to Rock
WHAT an intro! Next Kick Axe storms the halls of Degrassi. Then the leader singer throws down some stylin’ parkour moves. Can’t make this up.
They found a way to get on Headbanger’s Ball, so let’s give them that. Plus No Rules made it onto Rolling Stone’s 50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All Time list.
- No Rules
- Field Trip EP
- Center of a Tension
The hit: You’re So Strange
It’s as if Stephen Shareaux was the child of Geoff Tate, Kip Winger, Axl Rose, and Royston Langdon.
Hey, if Stix (Steel Panther) is vouching for ya, you must have done something right.
I love your band. I’ve been a fan forever. Just wanted to tell ya.— Stix Zadinia (@Stixzadinia) August 11, 2018
- Killer Dwarfs
- Stand Tall
- Big Deal
- Dirty Weapons
- Method to the Madness
The hit: Dirty Weapons
Just going with it and choosing Dirty Weapons.
Singer’s of the theme song to Iron Eagle. And, like most other hair metal bands, from LA.
The hit: Hunger
Written by members of Kick Axe, recorded by King Kobra, then recorded again by Spectre General (Kick Axe) for Transformers, Hunger has quite a life.
Some say they sounded exactly like Led Zeppelin. And they did. No more or less than Greta Van Fleet.
The hit: What Love Can Be
Glam metal goes sultry with the erotic power ballad What Love Can Be. Who knew!?
And is that Paula Abdul in the video? I can’t tell.
Sure, let’s toss them in here.
Too many albums - check out the entire Kiss Discography
The hit: Lick It Up
Just rolling the dice and using 1983’s Lick It Up.
Not much to say, Kix was a band, they had some songs, had enough gumption to make a hit. Kudos.
The hit: Don’t Close Your Eyes
Perhaps the most annoying vocals in a power ballad ever. Don’t Close Your Eyes is definitely “the hit” for Kix.
This song doubles as a GI Joe style anti-suicide PSA. Yo Joe!
Krokus is the answer every time we don’t know the actual answer in the Hair Nation Game.
The hit: Screaming In The Night
A history intertwined with Guns N’ Roses.
The hit: The Ballad of Jayne
Loved this tune growing up. The Ballad of Jayne might be one of the most simple songs ever created in the entire genre.
Plus, the acoustic bass in the video is so harsh.
More Swedish Metal. More Christian Metal. More Swedish Christian Metal.
Sure, let’s include Leviticus.
- I Shall Conquer
- Let Me Fight
- The Strongest Power
- Setting Fire to the Earth
- Together With Friends
- Knights of Heaven
The hit: I Shall Conquer (entire album)
Cause why not. The vox actually sound a bit 90s in places.
Tons of lineup and sound changes. But the early days of Lillian Axe would label them squarely in the genre.
The hit: True Believer
Oh, no doubt here. True Believer was such a righteous tune.
Transformers soundtrack. The Wraith Soundtrack. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter soundtrack. And only two studio albums (plus one EP).
The hit: Power Love
The real hit is the theme song to Transformers: The Movie. But let’s use Power Love instead.
Nothing like being better known for having your singer be the biker that gets thrown through the window in the bar in Terminator 2.
- Name Your Poison
- Little Caesar
The hit: In Your Arms
So much glam.
- Demo ‘83
- Give ‘Em the Axe
- Love You to Pieces
- Ultra Violence
- The Murderess Metal Road Show
- Menace to Society
- Me Against the World/Den of Thieves
- Terror Rising
- Visual Lies
- Master of Disguise
The hit: Me Against the World
Another band that had a bunch of people before they got famous elsewhere, including Nikki Sixx and Izzy Stradlin.
The hit: Ride Through The Night (as D’Priest)
Headbanger’s Ball! Nice work.
Lord Tracy didn’t take themselves too seriously. And the public didn’t either.
- Deaf Gods of Babylon
The hit: Out With The Boys
Out With The Boys feels more Jeff Healey Double Deuce blues Roadhouse than hair metal.
Absolutely bitchin’ bass solo!
- Just a ton of albums, check them out: the Loudness discography
The hit: Crazy Nights
Crazy nights … it is exactly that.
I’m not sure whether I love or hate Love/Hate.
- Blackout in the Red Room
- Wasted in America
- Let’s Rumble
The hit: Blackout In The Red Room
Just what the hell is this?!
Of COURSE you would call your band Lynch Mob when you have a last name like (George) Lynch.
The hit: Wicked Sensation
A co-ed hair metal band (2 guys 2 girls). They didn’t make too many of those. Madam X is probably best remembered for being a stepping stone for the Petrucci sisters and Sebastian Bach, joining Vixen and Skid Row respectively.
The hit: We Reserve The Right To Rock
Hilarious video. Fun solo. Total power move by the band to end the We Reserve The Right To Rock video.
Members of tier 4 hair metal bands, Shout and House of Lords, made up Magdallan, who later changed their name to Magdalen and released a few more albums.
I’m sure they are good people, but whatever, who cares about Magdallan other than their mothers.
The hit: Big Bang (Full Album)
Some strongly paced drumming and some screechy vocals. Ok, it’s growing on me. Here is the whole Big Bang Album for ya.
Consume that Christian Metal!
Michael Monroe, the lead singer of Hanoi Rocks went solo! He even plays saxophone. Such a talent.
Probably wouldn’t have happened without drummer Razzle dying in a car wreck with Vince Neil.
The hit: Dead, Jail Or Rock’N’Roll
Dead, Jail Or Rock’N’Roll is a pretty bitchin’ tune. Check it out.
So much can (and has) been said about Mötley Crüe. They are THE hair metal band of all hair metal bands.
They walked the walk and talked the talk. 100 million records sold, arrests, drugs, near death experiences. They did it all.
- Too Fast for Love
- Shout at the Devil
- Theatre of Pain
- Girls, Girls, Girls
- Dr. Feelgood
- Mötley Crüe
- Generation Swine
- New Tattoo
- Saints of Los Angeles
The hit: Kickstart My Heart
You could take your pick, they had a ton of hits. But perhaps none so fun and kick ass as Kickstart My Heart.
Sammy Hagar was once in Montrose. That said, their glam metal days featured Johnny Edwards, Ronnie Montrose, Gleen Letsch, and James Kottak.
The hit: Pass It On
No idea here. Not sure what their hit was on Mean, but Montrose was winding down in the 80s.
Mr. Big was an all-star team of performers. The late Pat Torpey played with Robert Plant, Montrose, The Knack, and more. Eric Martin had exceptional pipes. Billy Sheehan has sat in with Steve Vai and David Lee Roth. And, Paul Gilbert is one of the most heroic of all guitar heros.
And yet they are known for an acoustic ballad (not even a power ballad).
The hit: To Be With You
Winners of the greatest album title of all time, Gigolos on Parole, Nasty Idols were Swedish glam metal
The hit: Cool Way Of Living
Would be cooler if it was the Cool Ranch Way Of Living, cause Cool Ranch Doritos are dope, but Cool Way Of Living works.
Paging Mr. Wharton! Vincent Neil Wharton!
The hit: You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)
Straight from the Encino Man soundtrack, You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come) is righteously excellent. Pauly Shore even appears in the video.
Whoa whoa whoa, stop the record. THEY wrote Two Heads are Better than One from the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure soundtrack with Dweezil Zappa?!
The list of outrageous Nelson facts include:
- First unsigned band on Saturday Night Live
- The only family to reach number 1 on the charts in three generations
- And they were on the Bill and Ted’s soundtrack as Power Tool.
Additionally, the infinitely quotable, Butt-Head, said, “These chicks look like guys!”
And they do. They absolutely do.
The hit: (Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection
Oh my gosh, you need to watch the Love and Affection video. Beavis and Butt-Head weren’t lying. All in all a catchy pop metal tune.
Actually, not much metal to be found here. Just cowboy boots and white leather.
If a Michael J. Fox movie (Secret of My Success) calls and says we need a song, you say YES!
The hit: Sister Christian
Night Ranger revels in power balladry with the hit, Sister Christian, a song written by drummer, Kelly Keagy, about his sister.
SOLID gold in the name department. Instead of excessive Aquanet, they had excessive talent. Lead singer, Jim Gillette, could hit incredibly high vocal notes.
The hit: Freight Train
The quad guitar. More than the shredding solo, the air raid vocals, the punishing rhythm section, is Batio’s quad guitar.
Freight Train is an absolutely righteous song.
Glam metal until they weren’t, starting with Cowboys from Hell.
The hit: All Over Tonight
They rock as hard as the Pantera you know, they just look and act a bit different in the All Over Tonight video.
Bret, C.C., Rikki, and Bobby are OG Glam gangstas. And, if you are ranking hair metal bands, you need to include Poison near the top of the list.
- Look What the Cat Dragged In
- Open Up and Say … Ahh!
- Flesh & Blood
- Crack a Smile … and More!
The hit: Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Legendary enough to be quoted in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Every Rose Has Its Thorn power balladry at its finest.
Pretty Boy Floyd
Of COURSE Pretty Boy Floyd would be from Hollywood, CA.
The hit: I Wanna Be With You
Nothing original to see here. Just your run of the mill glam metal song.
These Danish fellas were not exactly Pretty Maids. Tons of ex-members, touring members, guests on records, with only two original members of the band.
The hit: Future World
I don’t know enough about the Pretty Maids, so I picked out of a hat. Future World sounds pretty decent.
Phenomenal band name. A major hit in the 80s with Cum On Feel the Noize. Put out tons of albums.
Skipping Quiet Riot and Quiet Riot II as they were Japan releases.
The hit: Cum On Feel the Noize
Quiet Riot didn’t exactly put the “quiet” in the riot, with mega hair metal hit, Cum On Feel the Noize.
Tramps and Thieves they were, The Quireboys that is. Nothing too outstanding, otherwise you would have heard of them.
The hit: Hey You
Slide guitar in hair metal is rare. Hey You gives The Quireboys a glam Black Crowes feel.
Hair metal bands like Ratt had a bit more dirt and grit to both their sound and image. They too partook of the glory of hosting Ms. Tawny Kitaen in their music videos, an A+ move.
The hit: Round and Round
Round and Round is a crushingly good tune.
Norweigan metal > Norweigan wood. Just saying.
- To the Top
- Straight Down the Line
The hit: Bye Bye Johnny
Keytar! All in all, Bye Bye Johnny is a decent cut of off 1988’s Attitudes.
Rock City Angels
You would only remember the Rock City Angels for having Johnny Depp on rhythm guitar before his hollywood star rose.
- Youn Man’s Blues
The hit: Deep Inside My Heart
A sleaze rock glam blues song.
David Lee Roth
The consummate frontman. Diamond Dave is everything you want as the frontman of a hair metal band, lacking only exceptional vocal power.
The hit: Just Like Paradise
Because Just Like Paradise is more fun than California Girls and Just a Gigolo. Diamond Dave slays on Just Like Paradise. Well, he and guitar god Steve Vai.
Not many people can replace EVH … but Steve Vai can.
Another band where its members went on to greater fame elsewhere, including Jake E. Lee.
The hit: Piece of My Heart
Like a Billy Madison birthday party, Rough Cutt covers Joplin’s Piece of My Heart with all of the drama, bravado, deep camera stares, and power chords that Janis left out.
St. Petersburg, Florida’s own, Roxx Gang. These guys are definitely the type to spend more time at Club Lust than the Mandarin Hide.
- Things You’ve Never Done Before
The hit: No Easy Way Out
Average tune. The video was straight ouf of the glam template, babes, leather, eyeliner, etc.
Back to back Floridian metal.
The hit: Love is on the Way
Love is on the way has a Dream Theater feel to the verse, before a glam gang vocal chorus.
Sleaze glam at its best, if it had a best.
The hit: Half The Way Valley
Dirty hair metal, as evidenced by the smoke machines in the junkyard.
Members of the prestigous Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure Soundtrack club AND the Point Break soundtrack.
- S’cool Buss
- Law of the Order
The hit: Paris Calling
Richard Black throws the first shocker ever at the beginning of the Paris Calling music video.
Shotgun Messiah is a bad ass name for a band. Stixx Galore is an amazing name for a drummer.
Swedish sleaze glam is where it’s at. That and Heartbreak Blvd.
The hit: Heartbreak Blvd.
Heartbreak Blvd. conjures the spirit of the Sunset Strip.
A Ken Tamplin vehicle to evangelize his west coast Christian glam metal to the masses.
- It Won’t Be Long
- In Your Face
- At the Top of Their Lungs
The hit: Shout
It’s got the riff, the harmonizing, the vocals, and the song structure.
Not sure why Shout wasn’t more famous.
Sebastian Bach, Dave “The Snake” Sabo, Rachel Bolan (a dude), Scotti Hill, and Rob Affuso made excellence on their self-titled debut album.
Youth Gone Wild and 18 and Life were the epithome of bad ass in a world filled with fluffy, teased, pretty boy hair metal bands.
The hit: I Remember You
Amazing that I Remember You is the major hit. They were so harsh and bad ass. Slave to the Grind was even more harsh and bad ass.
Along with Winger, members of the Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack club.
Slaughter is/was a reformation of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, sans Vinnie Vincent.
The hit: Fly to the Angels
Mark Slaughter vocally lifts to some altitude on Fly to the Angels.
Sleeze Beez are from the Netherlands! Yes!
- Look Like Hell
- Screwed Blued & Tattooed
- Insanity Beach
The hit: Stranger Than Paradise
Power chord chugging verses and a power vocal belting chorus. Stranger Than Paradise rocks.
Love the nylon strung classical guitar pre-solo solo, into the shredding solo.
The first incarnation of Alice N’ Chains.
Played mostly cover songs.
The hit: None
Sure, you could argue Slik Toxik shouldn’t be included in a list of hair metal bands because their two albums came out in 1992 and 1994, but, they were Canadian and Canada is a few years behind.
- Doin’ the Nasty
The hit: White Lies/Black Truth
The right look, the right sound, White Lies/Black Truth is lighter fare hair metal.
Sally Cato led Smashed Gladys on the mic, with Bart Lewis, J.D. Malo, and Matt Stelluto on drums. They even convinced Ozzy to do some backing vocals on a song. Impressive.
- Smashed Gladys
- Social Intercourse
The hit: Legs Up
Time, Bottoms, and Legs … all things that can be up.
Legs Up off of Social Intercourse has got plenty of attitude.
Sons of Angels
More Norweigan metal. Cowgirl made it onto Headbanger’s Ball. So there’s that.
- Sons of Angels
The hit: Cowgirl
Wow … Just a masterclass in song titling, if you’re a hair metal band.
No doubters on a list of hair metal bands … sayyyy the Top 200. SouthGang was a lesser Warrant, Poison, Trixter mix.
- Tainted Angel
- Group Therapy
The hit: Tainted Angel
Tainted Angel is definitively a hair metal tune. Gang vocals, glam riff, leather, denim, probably a stick twirl or two in the video.
A New York/Boston mashup of a band. Spread Eagle is just like a bunch of other failed hair metal bands. At least they tried.
- Spread Eagle
- Open to the Public
The hit: Switchblade Serenade
Switchblade Serenade isn’t bad by any means, just feels creatively licensed from Sebastian and the boys from Skid Row.
Norway had more hair metal bands than you and I remember.
The hit: Love Don’t Bother Me
Amazingly enough, Kate Moss appears in the Love Don’t Bother Me music video.
Not to be confused with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Steeler consisted on Ron Keel (Keel) and guitar superhero Yngwie Malmsteen, Mark Edwards, Rik Fox (not ex-NBA), Bobby Eva, Tim Morrison, and a host of others.
The hit: Cold Day in Hell
Standard shreddy guitar parts, falsetto, and power chorus lines … it’s a COLD DAY IN HELL!!!
Hailing from the very first flyover state, Norwalk, CT’s own, Steelheart, hits some unbelievable vocal notes across their catalog of work.
I mean, Miljenko Matijevic could really belt it out.
The hit: I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)
SUPER high vocals on Steelheart’s 1990 hit, I’ll Never Let You Go. Just an amazing final note.
That’s what I remember most, and you should too.
More Christian metal from Austin, TX.
- First Strike
The hit: Rock On
Rock On … actually has a little bit of a Justin Hawkins / The Darkness thing happening.
Even more Christian metal, now from the O.C.
I didn’t listen to Stryper then, not going to start now.
- The Yellow and Black Attack
- Soldiers Under Command
- To Hell with the Devil
- In God We Trust
- Against the Law
The hit: Always There For You
Hair metal dedicated to the Christian message. You know, if that’s the case, why are they walking on an image of what looks like a hundred dollar bill in the Always There For You music video?
Takara is from Los Angeles and formed in 1987. And there ya go.
The hit: When Darkness Falls
When Darkness Falls has a good sound, so I’m picking it.
Evansville, Indiana Christian metal band, Tempest, wrote the same songs that every other Christian hair metal band out there.
- A Coming Storm
- The Eye of the Storm
The hit: Eye of the Storm
Actually, Eye of the Storm is not too bad.
Jeff Keith’s excellent, Steven Tyler inspired vocals really helped solidify Tesla’s place in hair metal history. Combine that with the tasty riffage of Skeoch and Hannon and you’ve got instant success.
The hit: Love Song
Another song where the band could shred, but they end up being known for the ballad.
The one problem with the Love Song music video is they cut Tesla’s amazing acoustic intro.
Could there be a more metal band name? No. Thunder is it.
The hit: Backstreet Symphony
I really dig this tune. Backstreet Symphony’s got a lot going for it.
Welsh hair metal!
Tigertailz weren’t ladies, they were Love Bomb Babies!
The hit: Love Bomb Baby
Wow! What an intro! Super huge gang vocal chorus. I love every party of Love Bomb Baby.
YOU’RE NOT A LADY, YOU’RE A LOVE BOMB BABY!
TNT! Stellar name for a band. Norway really reallllly loved their glam metal.
The hit: 10,000 Lovers (In One)
Just an amazing concept … 10,000 Lovers (In One)
Because “Free Beer” was taken, the guys in Tora Tora went with … uhhh … Tora Tora.
- To Rock To Roll
- Surprise Attack
The hit: Wild America
Powerful intro. Wild America is rock club gold.
Treat had some songs that were a treat.
The hit: World of Promises
Living in a World of Promises … and mountains of blow.
Funk glam metal from The Bay Area.
The hit: Zombies From Hell
If Faith No More was a hair metal band, it would be T-Ride.
Triumph, the rock of Canadia!
Canadian hair metal is always a treat. Especially when it calls back to the 70s like Triumph did/does.
Choirs, crowd chants, synths, keyboards, gang vocals, all used to effect for Triumph.
Even Sebastian Bach did a stint in Triumph.
- Progressions of Power
- Allied Forces
- Never Surrender
- Thunder Seven
- The Sport of Kings
- Edge of Excess
The hit: Lay It On The Line
Lay It On The Line lays down 70s hair metal.
Paramus, New Jersey’s own, Trixter. Trixter brought flannel to glam metal, making it not as glam. Or as metal.
Steve Brown was a bad ass though.
Rumor had it that Trixter appears on the Richard Greico opus, If Looks Could Kill.
The hit: Give It To Me Good
Hey hey baby! Always a good intro to a lady before demanding she “Give It To Me Good”.
These fellas definitely changed their sound over time. But, they were good enough to get on Headbanger’s Ball.
The hit: The Name is Love
The Name is Love is more punk hair metal than true glam.
Best known for rock ballad I Hate Kissing You Goodbye.
- Knock Yourself Out
- What Comes Around Goes Around
- Fist First
The hit: I Hate Kissing You Goodbye
Solid yacht rock intro. I Hate Kissing You Goodbye is sooooo Tuff.
Great name (Twisted Sister), good songs (I Wanna Rock), ass kickin’ frontman (Dee Snider).
The hit: We’re Not Gonna Take It
An 80s anthem if there ever was one. We’re Not Gonna Take It embodies the true spirit of rock and roll.
The music video even had Mark Metcalf, famous for many things, including being Mr. Beckersted in One Crazy Summer.
Ugly Kid Joe
Sporting original hits like Neighbor and Everything About You, and a near chart topping version of Cats in the Cradle, Ugly Kid Joe gained a fair share of popularity in the early 90s.
Perhaps they don’t belong here. They looked grunge, they sounded a bit more grunge, but they opened for plenty of hair metal bands.
So they stay.
The hit: Everything About You
Ugly Kid Joe wrote the anti-hero of glam tunes in Everything About You. Instead of wanting to get in good with the ladies, they openly (and deeply) expressed their distaste of whomever the song was about. Presumably ladies.
Perhaps a little more heavy metal than glam, Vain still had all of the hair, bracelets, eyeliner, and crane kicks required of the (sub)genre.
- No Respect
The hit: Who’s Watching You
So many risers, so much scaffolding for the lights. Who’s Watching You is formulaic glam.
The kings of the sunset strip. Van Halen isn’t reallllly a hair metal band, but whatever, they fit the genre they pretty much created.
Whether it was Diamond Dave or Sammy Hagar, this band tore apart clubs and arenas with their Jack Daniels fueled stage show.
Plus, they had excellent album covers.
- Van Halen
- Van Halen II
- Women and Children First
- Fair Warning
- Diver Down
- For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
- Van Halen III
- A Different Kind of Truth
The hit: Jump
Whhhhhoooooooooooooaaaaa! Jump is fun. Jump is a blast. Jump is a damn good time.
They have so many hits that the band’s midpoint just felt right.
Perhaps a bit more Iron Maiden than any hair metal band should be. Italy needed some representation though.
- Metal Rock
- A Race with the Devil
- Game Over
- Born to Fight
- Corruption of Innocence
The hit: Run Too Fast
Shredding nicely here. Even some keyboard shredding.
Vandal probably rocked. Probably.
- Better Days
The hit: Whole Lotta Love (live)
Only video I could find.
A Adrian Vandenberg vehicle.
The hit: Burning Heart
This burning heart of mine!!! Weak verse (lyrically) into a halfway decent chorus.
Vinnie Vincent Invasion
Vinnie Vincent and a crew of all-stars teamed up for invade the Sunset Strip.
The hit: Boyz Are Gonna Rock
Tons of hair, tons of tapping, tons of power chords, tons of intensity, and teasingly fun vocal riffage by Robert Fleischman.
These chicks actually look like chicks, cause they are chicks, unlike Nelson.
Edge of a Broken Heart and How Much Love were bad ass tunes.
The hit: Edge of a Broken Heart
Just good ol’ rock and roll. Vixen wrote a bitchin’ tune in Edge of a Broken Heart.
Seattle, right before the big grunge takeover. War Babies does display some grunge tendencies.
The hit: Hang Me Up
A bit more grit than your typical glam song.
Let’s give it up for Germany for getting on the act. Warlock went on tour with harder acts like Judas Priest, Dio, and Megadeth. But shows with Def Leppard, Scorpions, and Bon Jovi pulled them a bit more toward the middle.
The hit: All We Are
Pretty strong rock vibe. All We Are has a confusing chorus though, it requires some mental punctuation.
Warrant had 5-6 solid hits, including the power ballad Heaven, the nuanced blues heavy Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the arena rock anthem, Cherry Pie.
The hit: Cherry Pie
Cherry Pie is everything you want it to be and more.
W.A.S.P. went for it and made a whole career.
The hit: Wild Child
Desert toughness! Wild Child is W.A.S.P. and W.A.S.P. is a wild child.
Whitecross should be left in the past.
Who cares … not even going to list it.
The hit: In The Kingdom
This song sucks.
Whitesnake possesses perhaps the most powerful of all power ballads … Here I Go Again.
- Ready an’ Willing
- Come an’ Get It
- Saints & Sinners
- Slide It In
- Slip of the Tongue
The hit: Here I Go Again
Vitto Bratta was a bad ass. White Lion had some crankin’ tunes too.
The hit: When The Children Cry
All in all a pretty good ballad. When The Children Cry got them some notoriety.
“Let’s be Whitesnake!” Taken
“Let’s be White Lion!” Taken
“Ok, any other White animals left?!”
- White Tiger
The hit: Rock Warriors
White Tiger can’t speak for the other guy, but they themselves are Rock Warriors.
Wildside recorded at Van Halen’s 5150 studios. Kinda cool.
- Under The Influence
The hit: Hang On Lucy
Hang On Lucy made it onto Headbanger’s Ball. Rad.
Interesting, the vocals don’t start until after a minute into the song.
Kip Winger took a lot of flak, but I’m not totally sure why. The band could play.
The hit: Seventeen
Seventeen is quite a tune. Quite a music video too. Quite a lot of things … lyrically.
Wrathchild is total glam.
The hit: Stakk Attakk
Stakk Attakk, Zack Attack.
France gets repped in XYZ, before their move to LA.
Fun fact, Don Dokken was their producer.
The hit: Inside Out
Inside Out is a song any hair metal band could have written, except maybe Guns N’ Roses.
Originally Yesterday and Today, then shortened to just Y&T.
The hit: Summertime Girls
Summertime Girls is a rollicking good time. There is even homage paid to 80s flick Splash in the video. Or, maybe just mermaids were cool then.
Besides, who doesn’t love Summertime Girls!?
Love the bazooka, so 80s!
This song could easily have been in an Cusack movie in the 80s.
I think Zebra just wanted to be found at the bottom of our (future) list of hair metal bands.
The hit: Who’s Behind the Door
Got a happy Zeppelin intro. Who’s Behind the Door takes a long while to get going.