Favorite "Hair Metal" Albums


Ancient Mariner
Stupid bandname - check. Stupid, grammatically incoherent lyrics? Check. Awesome music? You bet.
Can't deny this @Maturin. I find it a pity that this band with such cool music does all this other crap, though. Music is mega important, it is most important, but when all other elements are so obstinately in service of wanting to be part of a genre that has no own musical identity I can't like them much. Wannabee sheep mentality.

The music itself is not different from other subgenres so the genre itself is a plastic fake (news) genre.

I also disagree with your negative view on metal bands and audiences. Largely exaggerated. Metal audiences are extremely relaxed compared to all other genres.

And I don't want to go to shows with bands who just look like average people
That's a very intolerant view. Sort of the world upside down. Dress up (very much please) or else you are not into your music. And don't make it worse: do not make your lyrics too complicated or poetic. Because you are not a poet.
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The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
While is disagree with the branding of "Hair Metal" I'd say my favourites of those classified would be:

Scorpions - Blackout
Scorpions -Love at First Sting
Def Leppard - Pyromania
Def Leppard Hysteria
Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet
Bon Jovi - New Jersey

... And seeing as some people are including GNR
Guns N Rose - Appetite for Destruction

Skid Row and Whitesnake I have hit and miss likes throughout their albums but never been a fan of one album more or less the singles


Out of the Silent Planet
Some of my favorite ''hair metal'' albums are:

all Krokus albums from the 80's, especially Headhunter 1983
almost all of the Kiss albums - the ones from the 70's are top-notch, but I especially like their music in the 80's
Def Leppard - Pyromania 1983

In fact, I like a couple of songs from albums of the other bands of that genre...


Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
Headhunter and Pyromania are excellent albums.
If they qualify, then how about Blackout?

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
It's weird - I absolutely love hair metal and all the related stuff, but unlike all the other genres of music I listen to, I prefer a broad selection of songs from many artists than having a more selective plate of it. Poison, Leppard, Cinderella - all of it is some great stuff.

IIRC, the only two hair metal albums I've heard in full are Queensryche's Empire and Bruce's Tattooed Millionaire, but these are anyway kinda more on the fence.


I have different take on this than a lot of you because I lived through the 80s.
Hair is a label that had nothing to do with music and everything to do with marketing.

Also, the term "hair metal" didn't really come into use until the genre was already tired and on its last legs in the early 90s -- it was a dismissive pejorative for a style of music & fashion that was being replaced by grunge & "alternative" rock.


I honestly find it hard to take this band [Poison] seriously.

You weren't supposed to take Poison seriously.

I admit, I hated them when they came out. OK, "Nothin' But A Good Time" wasn't a terrible song, but any other of their songs would make me dive for another radio preset button in my car if they ever came on. Especially "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" <cringe>. Their nickname was "Posin'."

But I saw them open up for Motley Crue many years later -- maybe 2010? -- and they kind of won me over as a fun live band with good energy. I did go to take a leak when they played "Every Rose," but I found myself enjoying the rest of their set a lot more than I expected to. Still wouldn't buy an album of theirs, but I give them a little more respect as entertainers than I did back in the day.

But take them seriously? That was never the point.


Skid Row from 89-95 is sadly labelled as hair metal quite often. I can see the debut being in that genre but both Slave To The Grind and Subhuman Race are nowhere near that. The latter is in fact almost as heavy (even heavier in places) than Bruce´s Accident... and Chemical...
But since they are often labelled as hair metal, those 3 are my favotites.


But it’s hard to decide what is and what isn’t considered hair metal. Is Van Halen hair metal? Their’ first few albums may not be, but 1984 might be. 1980’s Scorpions kinda is…but 1970’s Scorpions is not. Post 1988 Bon Jovi is not…but pre 1988 might be.

As I said in a post above, the term "hair metal" didn't really come into use until the early 90s when grunge & alternative were taking over the hard rock genre. In the 80s, we didn't really have one blanket term for "non-serious" hard rock that was kind of metal-ish, but with a lot of power ballads, radio-friendly pop hooks, and androgynous pretty-boy hairstyles & costumes. We called some bands "chick metal," "pussy metal," "poseur metal," and "glam," but "hair metal" was used mainly in retrospect, to describe a scene that was pretty much already dead.

That said, we knew what bands we considered "real metal" (Maiden, Priest, Scorpions, Metallica, Motorhead) and what bands we thought were not real metal but just using metal fashion to sell poppy hard rock (sometimes with fucking keyboards, ew) to "chicks" and "poseurs" (Warrant, Winger, Poison, Bon Jovi). And then there were borderline bands that we mostly accepted as metal because they had songs that genuinely rocked hard and heavy, but maybe went a little overboard with the hair & makeup (Cinderella, Ratt, Vinnie Vincent's Invasion) or had a few too many pussy power ballads (Dokken, Extreme).

So applying the "hair metal" label in retrospect to our metalhead standards at the time, and applying it only to the "poseur" and borderline bands: Scorpions & Van Halen were not "hair metal" -- they had proven themselves as rockers. Same for Guns N Roses (their only "hair metal" nod was Axl's hairstyle in the Welcome to the Jungle video). Def Leppard were kind of borderline, but only on Hysteria and afterward. Crue was borderline only because of "Home Sweet Home" - they were legit metal on Shout at the Devil -- and they did have the hair & fashion, but then again they were the band that all the other "hair metal" bands copied their visual style from and expanded on. Y&T was mostly not "hair metal," except for maybe "Summertime Girls" with the keyboards. Ratt was borderline - they didn't have a power ballad, but they had the hair & fashion and the pop hooks. Tesla didn't have the visual style, and their first album was great hard rock all the way through, but they did go a little pussy-metal with "Love Song."

One vastly underrated "hair metal" album is Ratt's Dancing Undercover, from 1986. "Dance," "Slip of the Lip," "7th Avenue," and a few other very good songs.

One of the weirdest concert bills I remember from those days was Warrant (on their first album tour) opening for Queensryche, toward the end of the the Operation Mindcrime tour in May 1989. It was not a good fit at all. The crowd reaction to Warrant ranged from indifferent to hostile. I kind of felt sorry for the guys -- even though I wasn't digging the music I half-respected them for making an effort to win over a difficult crowd (they didn't succeed).
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Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
I saw Bon Jovi open for Judas Priest, their first concert on the Slippery tour. Don't think the album was even out yet.
Priest fans did not treat them well at all, but I remember my buddy and I turning to each other and saying "these guys are going to be huge."
Even in that atmosphere, those slippery hooks were undeniable.


Ancient Mariner
I saw Cinderella (Long Cold Winter tour) open for Priest (Ram It Down tour) and they did well until.. Tom introduced special guest Jon Bon Jovi on stage for one song (forget which one). That did NOT go over very well...


Ancient Mariner
Seeing some classic hard rock/heavy metal albums like "Blackout" by the Scorpions hurts, as they had nothing to do with the empty "hair metal" scene.

On a related note, Europe have always been a great hard rock band. Sure, the perms were quite prominent in "The Final Countdown", but again they are on a completely different league to the empty "hair metal" scene.


Ancient Mariner
Saw Lynch Mob open for L.A. Guns last night in Houston at Warehouse Live. When LM started, they were okay, but once they switched from LM songs to Dokken songs, the crowd became much more involved and upbeat. I saw Dokken four years ago, and even though Don Dokken's vocals were horrible, his bassist saved the day with his background vocals. Few weeks later, Don fired him because he does not use a pick?! His loss is Lynch Mob's gain because Sean is LM's current bassist. During the last song, Wicked Sensation, Sean and the shredder George Lynch surprised everyone by going into an extended impromptu jazz jam straight out of Miles Davis territory! Throughout the show, it was great to see George play his solos. What a player.

That was just the warm up for what was to come. Been years since I saw L.A. Guns live and I forgot two things: 1. just how good a player lead guitarist Traci Guns is an 2. how HEAVY they are live. It was like a wall of sound. Never a dull moment and every song was high energy. They even debuted a song from their forthcoming lp next year called The Devil You Know. The first half of the song was ok but the 2nd half had a killer break and got heavy. Also cool when they play Malaria and we get to see Traci play the Theramin. Highly recommend not missing this band.




My sins are many
Some that immediately come to mind:

Dokken - Tooth And Nail
Dokken - Under Lock And Key
Dokken - Back For The Attack
Dokken - Erase The Slate (their only album with Reb Beach on guitar)
Europe - The Final Countdown
Lynch/Pilson - Wicked Underground
Lynch Mob - Wicked Sensation
Mötley Crüe - Shout At The Devil
Ratt - Out Of The Cellar
Ratt - Infestation
Scorpions - Love At First Sting
Sweet & Lynch - Only To Rise

There are other bands, songs, and albums in that general space that are good, of course — but these are the albums that I regularly come back to.


Why they can't just make a proper Dokken album is beyond me...

Don at 10% vocal capacity is still more interesting than this.