Sunday, 22 May 2011

10 Great Hair Metal Songs

Perhaps one of the most mocked and shunned genres at the moment is the lost genre of Hair Metal. Once on the top of the mountain reveling in it's glory and fame, it came crashing down to Earth faster than any other genre before or since. Where did it go wrong? Was it the image? The style over content? Maybe it was the big hair associated with "glam rock" bands of the 80's. Some say the emmergance of Grunge in the early 90's was the perverbial nail in the coffin, but whatever the case, most people never looked back with fond eyes on hair metal again. There was a reason why it was everywhere in the 80's though, people did like it, they weren't making it up. If you looked hard enough it produced some very good songs, and these are the songs I salute today.

1. Slade - "Run Runaway"

Slade were Britain's pride, and were way ahead of the curve even for the Hair Metal scene. They began a trend in music that saw them intentionally misspelling their song titles and had their most popular songs covered , horribly. "Cum On Feel The Noize" by Quiet Riot and this one, "Run Runaway" by Canada's Great Big Sea. Neither version captured the mood and youthful energy of Slade's compositions. Slade's popularity grew in the early 80's but as predicted, they never recaptured their early successes, especially in America.

2. Skid Row - "Sweet Little Sister"

Probably most known for their ballad-y tune "18 and Life", Skid Row were among the most well known bands in the 80's. 'Sweet Little Sister' exemplifies their song craft and abilities as musicians. Also lead man Sebastian Bach's excellent vocals are center stage here, it's no wonder he later found success on Broadway.

3. Krokus - "Stayed Awake All Night"

Krokus were a band from Switzerland who unfortunately were really only known in North America due to their covers of already popular songs, namely "American Woman", "Ballroom Blitz" and "School's Out". Their song "Stayed Awake All Night" never garnered them much attention, which is unfortunate because it's great. It has almost a "Whole Lotta Love" vibe to it and some great heavy power chord chugging. Nothing wrong with that.

4. Y&T - "Don't Stop Runnin'"

I Really don't understand how this song never made it bigger than it did. I think it still stands up even to today's standards, oh well. Originally named Yesterday and Today, Y&T were a part of the California music scene in the late 70's but saw their longest reign of fame in the 80's when glam rock really became a juggernaut. Very enjoyable and typically hilarious 80's style video to go with it as well.

5. Motley Crue - "Dr. Feelgood"

Motley Crue embody glam rock to a tee. Not much to their songs, all about partying and drinking instead of creating art. This is typically why I don't like much glam rock, especially Motley Crue, that and because most of their songs are terrible. Yeah I said it. When they picked Canadian producer Bob Rock to produce their next album however, he got the best songs out of them he could. "Dr. Feelgood" sounds unlike anything the Crue has done before or since. This actually lives up to being called Heavy Metal. Rock would go on to produce albums for Bon Jovi, Metallica and Our Lady Peace to name a few.

6. Harlequin - "Innocence"

Speaking of Canadians, here's Harlequin from Winnipeg, Manitoba. I'm not sure how well they did outside of their native land, but here in Canada this song is still played on Rock radio stations. It's got a nice vibe to it, not trying to shove anything to forcefully down your throat and not trying to be anything they're not. Harlequin lasted until around 1987 before calling it quits.

7. Sweet - "Block Buster!"

Britain's Sweet had a unique sound and vocal styling that has never really ever been duplicated since. "Block Buster!" was one of many hits from the group in the 70's and 80's but like most rock bands of their day they faded to obscurity, thankfully leaving behind a great song or 2.

8. Mr. Big - "To Be With You"

Much like Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Extreme's "More Than Words" i'm predicting this song to be making a resurgence soon! You read it here first. Mr. Big came about just as the 80's were winding down and their first hit "To Be With You" was actually released in 1991. They were soon forgotten about amongst the grunge bands of the time, but as I said, I have a feeling we'll hear more from them soon.

9. Zebra - "Tell Me What You Want"

Who is Zebra? A band from Louisiana. This is "Tell Me What You Want". That is all

10. Twisted Sister - "I Wanna Rock"

I can't have a list about hair metal groups without including the mighty Sister. Yeah the song is not very deep and Dee Snider and the boys look like cross dressing mannequins from hell, but fuck it! This is what the genre was all about, sadly most bands that tried to capture this vibe missed the point by being conceited assholes. Dee Snider famously stood beside his music and once even delivered a well written defense to Al Gore who was accusing his band of being too indecent for the poor American public. Deep down we all want to rock, admit it.

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