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10 Greatest Hair Metal Songs of All Time
Hair today, bald tomorrow.
I am a man still stuck in the 80s. Despite realizing how silly the decade's music and fashion were, I can't seem to let it go. And my music of choice during those silly times was hair metal. I am a little embarrassed to admit that, but I feel I'm among friends here. So, for those of you like me (are there any?) I've compiled a list of what I feel are the ten greatest hair metal songs of all time. First, let me lay down a couple of ground rules. I didn't include any ballads (because I want to save those for an entirely different blog. I am aware of how selfish that is, thank you.), and I didn't include bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden or even Guns -n- Roses because my definition of hair metal is music that was very poppy performed by androgynous men in make-up. Also, I limited it to songs from the 80s, so unfortunately there are no Darkness songs on her. And, for the record, I'd like to say that "Cold Blood" by Kix is actually my favorite hair metal song, but I couldn't justify putting it on the list since I tried to stay somewhat impartial. Ok, now that I have all the legal mumbo jumbo aside, if you are indeed ready to rock, here we go:
10. "Final Countdown" by Europe. Nothing like starting off with a controversial choice since so many people seem to hate this song, but I have a soft spot for it. I even like the annoying keyboard intro. Sorry. And does anyone pout into the camera as well as Joey Tempest?
9. "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi. You couldn't have this list without Bon Jovi on it somewhere, and I feel this is the best choice. And yes kids, I am talking about Jon Bon Jovi who does pseudo-country songs now. Hey, it worked for Ron Keel right? No? Not ringing any bells? Ok, next...
8. "Photograph" by Def Leppard. What Def Leppard lacks in make-up they more than... um... make-up for in pop brilliance. Sure, Hysteria was Thriller-like in its abundance of singles, but this is the song I will always associate with Def Leppard, and I believe it's the song that has the best chance of standing the test of time. My apologies to "Let's Get Rocked".
7. "Yankee Rose" by David Lee Roth. While David Lee Roth is the model by which most hair metal singers measure themselves (wait what?), Van Halen was just a good old fashioned rock band and not a candidate for this list. But, when David Lee Roth went solo for "Eat ‘Em and Smile" he went all out glam with copious amounts of eyeliner and fabulous perms (or perhaps a wavy wig judging by photos of Mr. Roth's constantly ebbing hairline). Backed by an all-star band highlighted by guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, this is David Lee Roth at his butt-less spandex best.
6. "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake. Before she became a tabloid and reality TV fave, Tawny Kitaen dated Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale and "starred" in the video for "Here I Go Again" which became a genre favorite because of limber Tawny's splits across the hood of a Jaguar (wow were we easily amused). Whitesnake was a decent, bluesy, Zeppelin rip-off band before succumbing to the clichés of 80s rock, and this song is the best example of their 80s phase.
5. "Talk Dirty To Me" by Poison. You could choose a number of songs from Poison, the band that I feel reached the zenith of glam excess before Nirvana blew that mountain to smithereens, but you might as well choose their nastiest song and the one that started it all long before Brett Michaels thought he was actually a serious blues musician. Sure, Brett, pretty rich boys can have the blues too.
4. "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister. A recent countdown on a television station that used to be about music said that "I Wanna Rock" was a better song than "We're Not Gonna Take It", but come on. This was everyone's anthem for at least a year or two while "I Wanna Rock" was a nice follow-up. Plus, you have to give "We're Not Gonna Take It" bonus points for having a drum beat that was actually catchier than most guitar riffs.
3. "Round and Round" by Ratt. This is the song that started my descent into juvenile delinquency. After watching the classic (that's right, I said classic) video for this song and seeing Stephen Pearcy for the first time, I had to grow my hair long and part it over half of my face. My parents and eye doctor still thank you, Mr. Pearcy. This is just a great song that established the fact that Warren DeMartini was one of the best guitarists of the genre.
2. "Shake Me" by Cinderella. This is a perfect hair metal song. The drum beat sucks you in, and then the crunching guitars drive it home. Tom Keifer's vocals were like nothing we'd ever heard (until Dizzy Dean Davidson of Britny Fox came along and stole them screech for screech), and did anyone have hair as beautiful as Eric Brittngham's? I don't think so. And let's not forget the guitars being swung over everyone's shoulders. Who else received a concussion trying that move? Huh? Huh? Really, nobody?
1. "Metal Health" by Quiet Riot. "Shake Me" came an Aqua Net sprayed hair away from topping this list simply because I felt Quiet Riot was closer to Judas Priest than Poison as far as being a tad too heavy. I mean, Randy Rhodes was their original guitarist. Surely he elevates them above the moniker of hair metal band, right? Maybe, but then I remembered Kevin Dubrow's hair extensions in the "Wild and the Young" video and all my concerns were laid to rest. In addition to just being an awesome song, the success of the "Metal Health" album was the single biggest reason that so many record companies signed all those bands in the 80s, including some that are probably on this list. This song has it all: a fist pumping chorus, killer guitars and best of all... it's not a Slade cover.
Well, there you have it. And yes I can already hear you asking, "What, no ‘Cherry Pie'?