Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top 10 Hair Metal Tracks from Stuck In The 80s

Sean and Steve from over at the Stuck In The 80s podcast http://blogs.tampabay.com/80s just did a hair metal show which really seemed like it would never happen. You see Steve is known for not liking very much hair metal at all but he finally succumbed to overwhelming fan pressure (and maybe Sean's hover dance) and gave us what we want. I thought I'd comment on their choices but I want to let it be known that I understand that these are their personal choices and that mine might differ. Being different doesn't make it wrong. So here we go.

First off I need to say that their definition of what they were looking at for hair metal and some of what they chose were a bit contradictory. They wanted the L.A. Sunset Strip, West Hollywood vibe which means that Poison, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, AC/DC and Metallica do not fit in their category. Now I never considered Bon Jovi to be hair metal myself. They were close but not quite there musically. I'd put them down as a hard rock/melodic band. Ac/DC and Metallica really don't need any comments as there is no way you can consider either of them to be hair metal. Metallica was thrash and AC/DC is/was hard rock bordering on metal, but not hair metal at all. Def Leppard are very close but have changed styles many times over the years. When tehy started out I would say that they were metal but then morphed into a hard rock band and then into a slick, poppy rock band. Lastly we have Poison. To me they are the epitome of hair metal however many people state that they were not a true Sunset Sunset Strip kind of band so I guess I can see their point. You'll see what I mean as we go along.

First we have Sean's top 5:

1. Motley Crue "Same Old Situation" This is not even close to my favorite but then again it's not my list is it? Motley are clearly in the criteria listed above and are one of the most well known bands from the era.

2. Twisted Sister "I Wanna Rock" No problems with the song but Twisted Sister are definately not a Sunset Strip sounding band.

3. Skid Row "Youth Gone Wild" Another East Coast band that doesn't seem to match the criteria but it is a great song. Sebastian Bach can really whail but he's become almost as much of a reality show whore as Bret Michaels.

4. Cinderella "Don't Know What You've Got (Til' It's Gone)" Another band that didn't have the prerequisite sound, theirs was more of a bluesy metal type. They were from Philly but in order to get their dream the label made them get rid of their drummer and guitarist. IN recent years vocalist Tom Kiefer has had numerous throat problems which has held the band back from touring.

5. Ratt "Lay It Down" Great song from a great L.A. band. I saw them at Rocklahoma 2007 and vocalist Steven Pearcy sounded horrible but supposedly he sounds better now. The band sounded amazing.

Now we have Steve's top 5:

1. Motley Crue "Home Sweet Home" No complaints here. One of the best hair metal ballads out there.

2. Vixen "Edge Of A Broken Heart" I liked this song at the time it came out. The idea of attractive females who could really play their instruments was an exciting one. Hey, I was young and horny, forgive me. The band of course imploded and now has regrouped with one original member.

3. Whitesnake "Here I Go Again" A British band that doesn't seem to meet the criteria but really they were the definition of hair metal in the mid to late 80s. It was mentioned on the podcast that there was a different version of this song on their greatest hits release. It was horrible to say the least. Most of the guitar was taken out and replaced by even more cheesy synthesizers. I recommend you stay away from it.

4. Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford "If I Close My Eyes Forever" This ballad partially meets the criteria and was a huge hit for this unique pair. Ozzy did go kind of glam in the 80s and Lita definintely was hair metal. She came out of retirement last year for Rocklahoma and is now toruing again. Ozzy recently put out a very good cd titled "Black Rain" but his tv career has severely hurt his legacy.

5. Kiss "Lick It Up" I completely agree with the inclusion of this song. I was never much of a fan of Kiss but after they took off the makeup (and put on a different kind) they went hair metal in a big way. I can remember getting this cassette and then driving to a regional fraternity meeting (think Animal House in Oklahoma) in Oklahoma City with 3 of my pledge class brothers. We played this song almost the entire way down there. I'm actually surprised we didn't break the rewind button.

Sean also mentioned on the podcast that so-called country artist Carrie Underwood likes to do cover versions of hair metal songs. Now I've heard several of them and while she isn't as bad as Celine Dion I have to say I don't care for her cover attempts at all. It's her Pat Boone like vocal cleansing in her delivery that just turns me off musically. I can only hope and pray that she'll stop soon. There was also a discussion about female metal and Steve posed the question of whether Joan Jett could be included as hair metal and I have to emphatically say NO to that! In my opinion Joan Jett's music is more of a bar rock but it isn't metallic at all, not even light metal. So there is my review and added comments. Take them for what you will and remember it's just my opinion. Don't get worked up over it.

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