There was some big hair and rock & roll underneath all that hairspray, all the makeup, and the extreme slogan of sexual moves; there was some big hair and rock & roll.
What is a hair band?
It was a successful musical subgenre born in the late 70’s and early 80’s that went down in history for the millions of records sold in such a short time gap.
The 80’s hair bands embraced the heavy metal music style and mixed its characteristics with rock, punk, and even pop. Part of the success of these bands was welcoming a new, more generic audience, due in part to their lyrics about love and lust. Power ballads, those slow songs with marked harmony and great emotion, also became great successes.
Hair metal not only became a musical subgenre but a whole aesthetic: clothing, video clips, and visuals at concerts. The aesthetic was influenced by the long, voluminous hair of glam rock, the colorful clothes, guitars, and the quirky and eye-catching clothing and accessories.
The establishment of MTV coincided with the golden years of this subgenre, which took advantage of the millionaire pull they had and the striking visual aspect to reproduce it continuously on TV and collaborate in its huge mass success.
Here there are some of the most successful bands of the eighties:
Def Leppard (1977)
Def Leppard was born in 1977 in Sheffield, in the United Kingdom. It is one of the bands characterized by playing hard rock, heavy metal, and hair metal. It is one of the most sophisticated bands within the hair metal of the eighties, and it was one of the bands that most allowed to bring these genres closer to the radio and to the general public.
One of his most famous albums was ‘Hysteria’ (1987), known as the ‘Thriller’ of heavy metal. A complex album, full of layers of sounds, tricks, and hard rock.
Poison is an American band born in Pennsylvania. According to the VH1 channel they were classified in 2015 in the third position of their list “The Hair Metal 100: Ranking the ’80s Greatest Glam Bands”. They had two great musicians, Bret Michaels on vocals and C.C. DeVille on guitar.
They were characteristic for their bizarre style, like the other groups that preceded them, and with this, they gained great fame with which they carved their future.
In the single Talk Dirty To Me’ (1986), their style is more noticeable, tending towards hair rock than hair metal. It reached number 9 in sales in the United States.
Bon Jovi (1983)
Bon Jovi was a rock band born in 1983 in New Jersey. The name of the band takes the name of its leader and vocalist Jon Bon Jovi, but was accompanied by the rest of the band: keyboardist David Bryan, drums Tico Torres, bassist Hugh McDonald, and guitarist Phil X. It is one of the most successful rock bands in the world, having sold more than one hundred and thirty million records in all history.
Slippery When Wet’ (1986) is one of the albums whose songs are some the most successful in the world.
Mötley Crüe (1981)
Mötley Crüe was born in 1981 with the musical union of Nikki Sixx, the bassist, and Tommy Lee, the drummer. They were later joined by the guitarist and the vocalist. They are one of the bands considered most important within the hair metal or glam metal aesthetic, a pioneering subgenre in the eighties.
It was one of his first albums, Shout at the Devil’ (1983), that marked the history of glam metal.
Ratt is one of the best-known bands of this era. It was born early, in 1978, in San Diego. It was very commercially successful during the eighties, but its success declined considerably only the following decade, in the nineties. The band has sold more than thirty million albums worldwide and VH1 also listed it on its “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Artists” ranking.
With their hit song Round and Round’ (1984) they managed to reach 12 of the singles list of the best sellers in the United States, with one of their most sensual songs.
Cinderella was born in Philadelphia in the middle of the golden decade of hair metal. They did that with multiple singles and albums whose music videos were hugely successful on the MTV channel. The band had various influences: rock & roll, the fusion of blues and rock, and even southern rock. They worked together with great sponsors who helped them get their careers off the ground, including Jon Bon Jovi.
Two of their great songs are Shake me’ and Nothin’ for nothin”, great songs characteristic of the hair metal era.
Whitesnake was another of the bands born in British territory. It was founded in 1978 by David Coverdale (one of the greatest rock singers in history), who created it after breaking up from his old band Deep Purple. The first years the band was focused on the rock, blues, and soul genres, and little by little they were tending more to hard rock, heavy metal, and hair metal. His rock is very characteristic and famous, with that vigorous and sexy tone.
They continue to release new music nowadays, such as Flesh & Blood’ which came out this past 2019.
W.A.S.P. is another of the great groups in the history of hair metal. It was born in 1982 in Los Angeles, California, and was led by singer and guitarist Blackie Lawless. Although this band reached its climax that same decade, they continue to record albums and make tours to this day. They have sold more than twelve million copies worldwide throughout these long thirty years of career.
Their great song was I Wanna Be Somebody’ (1984), written in their early years, it was a great hit with an unforgettable chorus.
These were some of the best-known long hair, hairspray, and makeup glam bands of the eighties. They are not ordered by success, nor by their years of work, but all the bands are more or less part of the history of hair metal. And many were also successful in the rock world.