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200 Greatest Hard Rock Albums of the 80s and 90s

Updated on March 21, 2018

A new wave of hard rock emerged in the 80s. The heavy sound was an amalgamation of rock n’ roll influences from the 60s and 70s. Hard rock acts of the 80s started being associated with the AOR scene in the 80s. Unlike the raw sound incorporated in hard rock bands in the 70s, the 80s witnessed aesthetically crafted melodic elements in hard rock. The sound was a breath of freshness that mesmerized the world. Glam metal and hair metal bands came into their own in the 80s. Hair metal bands, glam metal bands, and AOR bands started being described generically as a umbrella term with the Hard rock genre.


Hard Rock Albums of the 80s and 90s

A number of hard rock bands made their debuts in the 80s, bringing a fresh unadulterated sound in the realms of rock and heavy metal. Some of the finest hard rock albums were released by bands with major record labels in the 80s. The hard rock sound defined the charisma of rock in the 80s and early 90s. What’s noteworthy is the number of guitarists and vocalists from various rock bands that released solo albums. A number of vocalists from hard rock bands embarked on solo careers in the 80s. Similarly a number of guitarists from rock bands released their solo guitar albums displaying a plethora of guitar styles associated with metal, shred, rock, jazz fusion, and neo classical.

While few hard rock bands had tremendous success globally, certain bands did major record sales in U.S. and Europe. A number of hard rock bands toured Japan often in the 80s and 90s. Japan is considered by many purists as the hard rock capital of the world. Melodic hard rock has a huge following in Japan and some Scandinavian countries. The record sales of hard rock albums in the 80s and early 90s were astounding. A number of bands released albums that achieved Gold, Platinum, and Multi-Platinum certification in terms of record sales. Hard rock anthems, power ballads in particular became exceedingly popular at college festivals and prom nights.


A number of emerging hard rock bands along with established rock acts got a great deal of coverage on MTV. Furthermore, radio stations promoted album oriented rock heavily helping varied forms of hard rock reach far corners of the globe. The 80s was dominated by a diverse blend of hard rock bands. Some memorable hard rock albums came about in the early 90s. Few hard rock bands that formed in the early 90s released critically acclaimed debut albums, but failed to achieve commercial success.


While it seemed the dominance of hard rock would continue in the 90s, the tide suddenly turned in favor of the grunge and alternative. The grunge and alternative phenomenon in the 90s led to the decline of glam metal bands and hair metal bands. Only few major hard rock and hair metal bands survived the grunge and alternative onslaught in the mid-90s. The world witnessed a magical era in music succumb to a new sound. While hard rock continues to spread its wings as a subgenre of rock, the days of glory have passed.

The lines below showcase an epic list of Hard Rock albums of the 80s and 90s


200 Greatest Hard Rock Albums of the 80s and 90s

  1. AC/DC- Back In Black (1980)
  2. Guns N’ Roses- Appetite For Destruction (1987)
  3. Quiet Riot- Metal Health (1983)
  4. Scorpions- Love at First Sting (1984)
  5. Motorhead- Ace of Spades (1980)
  6. Skid Row- Skid Row (1989)
  7. Van Halen- For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1981)
  8. Guns N’ Roses- Use Your Illusion 1 (1991)
  9. Whitesnake- Whitesnake (1987)
  10. Bon Jovi- Slippery When Wet (1986)
  11. Queensryche- Empire (1990)
  12. Dio- Holy Diver (1983)
  13. Judas Priest- Defenders of The Faith (1984)
  14. Motley Crue- Girls, Girls, Girls (1987)
  15. Ratt- Detonator (1990)
  16. AC/DC- The Razor’s Edge (1990)
  17. Twisted Sister- Stay Hungry (1984)
  18. Aerosmith- Permanent Vacation (1987)
  19. Blue Oyster Cult- Fire of Unknown Origin (1981)
  20. Van Halen- 1984 (1984)
  21. Guns N’ Roses- Use Your Illusion 2 (1991)
  22. Motley Crue- Dr. Feelgood (1989)
  23. Jane’s Addiction- Nothing’s Shocking (1988)
  24. Black Sabbath- Mob Rules (1981)
  25. Yngwie Malmsteen- Rising Force (1984)
  26. Def Leppard- Adrenalize (1992)
  27. The Black Crowes- Shake Your Moneymaker (1990)
  28. Danzig- Danzig (1988)
  29. Ozzy Osbourne- Blizzard of Oz (1980)
  30. Poison- Open Up and Say…Ahh! (1988)
  31. Rush- Moving Pictures (1981)
  32. The Michael Schenker Group- Michael Schenker Group (1980)
  33. Def Leppard- Hysteria (1988)
  34. Cinderella- Long Cold Winter (1988)
  35. Kiss- Creatures of the Night (1982)
  36. Tesla- Mechanical Resonance (1986)
  37. Black Sabbath- Heaven and Hell (1980)
  38. Ozzy Osbourne- No More Tears (1991)
  39. Motley Crue- Shout at the Devil (1983)
  40. Living Colour- Vivid (1988)
  41. Whitesnake- Saints & Sinners (1982)
  42. Ozzy Osbourne- Diary of a Madman (1981)
  43. Motorhead- Iron Fist (1982)
  44. Deep Purple- Perfect Strangers (1984)
  45. Motley Crue- Too Fast For Love (1981)
  46. Van Halen- 5150 (1986)
  47. David Lee Roth- Eat ‘Em and Smile (1986)
  48. Judas Priest- Screaming For Vengeance (1982)
  49. Lynch Mob- Wicked Sensation (1990)
  50. The Cult- Electric (1987)
  51. Firehouse- Firehouse (1990)
  52. Dokken- Tooth and Nail (1984)
  53. Pearl Jam- Ten (1991)
  54. Poison- Look What The Cat Dragged In (1986)
  55. Rush- Permanent Waves (1980)
  56. King’s X- Dogman (1994)
  57. Coverdale/Page- Coverdale/Page (1993)
  58. Ozzy Osbourne- The Ultimate Sin (1986)
  59. Def Leppard- High ‘n’ Dry (1981)
  60. Extreme- Extreme (1989)
  61. Scorpions- Crazy World (1990)
  62. Aerosmith- Get a Grip (1993)
  63. Cinderella- Nightsongs (1986)
  64. Mr. Big- Mr. Big (1989)
  65. Pink Cream 69- One Size Fits All (1991)
  66. Krokus- Metal Rendez-vous (1980)
  67. Black Sabbath- Tyr (1990)
  68. Faith No More- The Real Thing (1989)
  69. Foo Fighters- The Color and the Shape (1997)
  70. Living Colour- Time’s Up (1990)
  71. Van Halen- Women and Children First (1980)
  72. Alice Cooper- Hey Stoopid (1991)
  73. Judas Priest- Painkiller (1990)
  74. Bruce Dickenson- Balls to Picasso (1994)
  75. Yngwie Malmsteen- The Seventh Sign (1994)
  76. Riot- Fire Down Under (1981)
  77. Y&T- Earthshaker (1981)
  78. AC/DC- Ballbreaker (1995)
  79. Steelheart- Steelheart (1990)
  80. Def Leppard- Pyromania (1983)
  81. White Lion- Big Game (1989)
  82. Pearl Jam- Vitalogy (1994)
  83. Europe- The Final Countdown (1986)
  84. Dream Theater- Images and Words (1992)
  85. Saxon- Wheels of Steel (1990)
  86. Rush- Roll The Bones (1991)
  87. The Black Crowes- Amorica (1994)
  88. Robert Plant- Now and Zen (1988)
  89. Scorpions- Blackout (1982)
  90. Uriah Heep- Sonic Orgami (1998)
  91. Mr. Big- Lean Onto It (1991)
  92. Def Leppard- Slang (1996)
  93. Motorhead- March Or Die (1992)
  94. Rush- Counterparts (1993)
  95. Judas Priest- British Steel (1980)
  96. Van Halen- Fair Warning (1981)
  97. Winger (1988)
  98. Robert Plant- Manic Nirvana (1990)
  99. Gary Moore- Corridors of Power (1982)
  100. Cinderella- Heartbreak Station (1990)
  101. ZZ Top- Eliminator (1983)
  102. Saigon Kick- The Lizard (1992)
  103. White Zombie- La Sexorcisto (1992)
  104. Motley Crue- Theatre of Pain (1984)
  105. Winger- In The Heart of the Young (1990)
  106. Jane’s Addiction- Ritual de lo habitual (1991)
  107. Motorhead- Bastards (1993)
  108. Sammy Hagar- Marching To Mars (1997)
  109. The Black Crowes- The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992)
  110. Guns N’ Roses- Use Your Illusion (1998)
  111. Damn Yankees- Damn Yankees (1990)
  112. Alice Cooper- The Last Temptation (1994)
  113. Rush- Test For Echo (1996)
  114. Kix- Blow My Fuse (1988)
  115. The Melvins- Houdini (1993)
  116. Kix- Midnite Dynamite (1985)
  117. White Lion- Pride (1987)
  118. Billy Idol- Rebel Yell (1983)
  119. Europe- Europe (1983)
  120. Ratt- Out of the Cellar (1984)
  121. Kix- Hot Wire (1991)
  122. Billy Idol- Charmed Life (1990)
  123. White Lion- Mane Attraction (1991)
  124. Steelheart- Tangled in Reins (1992)
  125. Foreigner- 4 (1981)
  126. Europe- Wings of Tomorrow (1984)
  127. Twisted Sister- You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll (1983)
  128. Extreme- 3 Sides to Every Story (1992)
  129. Warrant- Cherry Pie (1990)
  130. Faster Pussycat- Wake Me Up When It’s Over (1985)
  131. Steelheart- Wait (1996)
  132. Kingdom Come- Kingdom Come (1988)
  133. Aerosmith- Nine Lives (1997)
  134. Giant- Last of the Runaways (1989)
  135. Night Ranger- 7 Wishes (1985)
  136. Motorhead- Sacrifice (1995)
  137. Nelson- After The Rain (1990)
  138. Y&T- Black Tiger (1982)
  139. Firehouse- Hold Your Fire (1992)
  140. Kiss- Revenge (1992)
  141. Slaughter- The Wild Life (1992)
  142. Warrant- Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (1989)
  143. Danger Danger- Danger Danger (1989)
  144. Trixter- Trixter (1990)
  145. Night Ranger- Big Life (1987)
  146. Extreme- Pornograffitti (1990)
  147. Sheriff- Sheriff (1982)
  148. Faster Pussycat- Whipped! (1992)
  149. Y&T- Meanstreak (1983)
  150. Ratt- Reach for The Sky (1988)
  151. Skid Row- Slave To The Grind- (1991)
  152. Queensryche- Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
  153. April Wine- Power Play (1982)
  154. White Lion- Fight to Survive (1985)
  155. Enuff Z’Nuff- Strength (1991)
  156. Aerosmith- Pump (1989)
  157. Tesla- Psychotic Supper (1991)
  158. L.A. Guns- Cocked & Loaded (1989)
  159. Night Ranger- Midnight Madness (1983)
  160. Cheap Trick- Lap of Luxury (1988)
  161. Tyketto- Strength in Numbers (1994)
  162. Great White- Once Bitten (1987)
  163. Firehouse- 3 (1995)
  164. April Wine- Nature of the Beast (1981)
  165. Trixter- Hear! (1992)
  166. Ratt- Invasion of Your Privacy (1985)
  167. Danger Danger- Screw It! (1991)
  168. L.A. Guns- L.A. Guns (1988)
  169. Uriah Heep- Abominog (1982)
  170. Triumph- Never Surrender (1982)
  171. Winger- Pull (1988)
  172. Motorhead- Orgasmatron (1986)
  173. Golden Earring- Prisoner of the Night (1980)
  174. Night Ranger- Dawn Patrol (1982)
  175. Enuff Z’Nuff- Enuff Z’Nuff (1989)
  176. Foreigner- Agent Provocateur (1984)
  177. Badlands- Badlands (1989)
  178. Tesla- The Great Radio Controversy (1989)
  179. Nazareth- 2XS (1982)
  180. Bang Tango- Psycho Café (1989)
  181. Triumph- Thunder Seven (1984)
  182. Warrant- Dog Eat Dog (1992)
  183. Tesla- Bust a Nut (1994)
  184. Slaughter- Stick It to Ya (1990)
  185. XYZ- XYZ (1989)
  186. Damn Yankees- Don’t Tread (1992)
  187. U.F.O.- The Wild, The Willing and the Innocent (1981)
  188. L.A. Guns- Hollywood Vampires (1991)
  189. Tangier- Stranded (1991)
  190. Giant- Time To Burn (1992)
  191. Bulletboys- Bulletboys (1988)
  192. Vixen- Vixen (1988)
  193. McAuley Schenker Group- Save Yourself (1989)
  194. Tyketto- Don’t Come Easy (1991)
  195. Europe- Out of This World (1988)
  196. Great White-…Twice Shy (1989)
  197. Nazareth- Cinema (1986)
  198. Vinnie Vincent Invasion- Vinnie Vincent Invasion (1986)
  199. Loudness- Thunder in The East (1985)
  200. Bulletboys- Freakshow (1991)

Which is your Favorite Hard Rock album of the 80s and 90s?

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© 2018 Ansel Pereira


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