I’ve promised it forever and here it is–the Top 500 Hair Metal Songs of All-Time.
I grew up in the ’80′s addicted to so-called “hair metal” and even worked on the Sunset Strip from 1989-1991. I compiled more than 1000 “hair metal” songs on my iPod and learned a few years ago that you could easily shuffle them around without the computer. So, I began re-ordering a list based on preference, influence, how big of a hit and whatnot to produce this list.
As an aside, I define hair metal as a combination of look (yes, look had something to do with it) and a blending of pop and metal. I think it was largely created in 1981 on the Strip by bands like Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, etc. and died around 1993 when Aerosmith had their last big multi-platinum album (and yes, I consider Aerosmith “hair metal” from 1987-1993 and so did Joe Perry according to an interview). I know some will want to argue about who is on and who is off the list (I think Heart threw in with the hair metal movement in 1985 as did Ozzy, albeit briefly, in 1986 but I excluded Judas Priest even though a few songs and nearly all of Turbo may qualify).
Hopefully you will enjoy the list and find a few songs you may have missed (I was shocked at how many good songs I had to exclude because I didn’t have the room) and feel free to debate the list (that’s the whole fun of doing it) in the comments section.
Who knows, maybe one day I’ll get around to a list of the Top 1000! Have fun!
500. On Your Feet by Icon (1984)
499. Loud Guitars, Fast Cars, and Wild, Wild Livin’ by Contraband (1991)
499. Love Cries by Stage Dolls (1988)
498. Rock! Rock! Till You Drop by Def Leppard (1983)
497. Hold On to 18 by Black N’ Blue (1984)
496. Teenage Frankenstein by Alice Cooper (1986)
495. Fever by Aerosmith (1993)
494. Hardest Part is the Night by Bon Jovi (1985)
493. Trouble in Paradise by Princess Pang (1989)
492. Rock Soldiers by Ace Frehley (1987)
491. Love Don’t Lie by House of Lords (1988)
490. Prime Mover by Zodiac Mindwarp (1987)
489. Chain of Fools by Litte Caesar (1989)
488. Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper (1991)
487. Just Got Lucky by Dokken (1984)
486. Hot & Bothered by Cinderella (1992)
485. Hangman’s Jury by Aerosmith (1987)
484. Where You Going Now by Damn Yankees (1992)
483. Louder Than Hell by Motley Crue (1985)
482. Flesh & Blood (Sacrifice) by Poison (1990)
481. Motor by Circus of Power (1988)
480. Heaven is a 4 Letter Word by Bad English (1990)
479. Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad by Def Leppard (1992)
478. Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Sammy Hagar (1982)
477. You’re All In Need by Motley Crue (1987)
476. Sword and Stone by Bonfire (1989)
475. I’m On To You by Hurricane (1988)
474. Half the Way Valley by Sea Hags (1990)
473. 7 O’Clock by London Quireboys (1990)
472. Rock & Roll Junkie by Motley Crue (1991)
471. This Could Be The One by Bad Company (1992)
470. Price of Love by Bad English (1990)
469. Falling in and Out of Love by Lital Ford (1988)
468. Noise Level Critical by Tigertailz (1990)
467. Tears of Fire by Keel (1986)
466. Beat the Bullet by Vain (1989)
465. Estranged by Guns N’ Roses (1991)
464. Forget Me Not by Bad English (1988)
463. Simple Man by Junkyard (1989)
462. After the Rain by Nelson (1990)
461. Forever Young by Tyketto (1991)
460. Sweet Little Sister by Skid Row (1989)
459. Let’s Get Rocked by Def Leppard (1992)
458. Best of What I Got by Bad English (1990)
457. You Think You’re Tough by RATT (1984)
456. Knock ‘Em Dead by Motley Crue (1983)
455. Eagles Fly by Sammy Hagar (1987)
454. Cry Tough by Poison (1986)
453. Rocket by Def Leppard (1987)
452. Stayed Awake All Night by Krokus (1983)
451. On with the Show by Motley Crue (1981)
450. Blackout by Scorpions (1982)
449. Some Lie 4 Love by L.A. Guns (1991)
448. Lady Red Light by Great White (1987)
447. Sleeping All Alone by Bonfire (1987)
446. Crying in the Rain by Whitesnake (1987)
445. What Love Can Be by Kingdom Come (1988)
444. Piece of Your Action (1981) by Motley Crue
443. That Time of Year by Vinnie Vincent Invasion (1988)
442. Unskinny Bop by Poison (1990)
441. The Hunter by Dokken (1985)
440. One More Reason by L.A. Guns (1988)
439. VOA by Sammy Hagar (1984)
438. Mama Weer All Crazee Now by Quiet Riot (1984)
437. Blondes in Black Cars by Autograph (1985)
436. Dressed to Kill by Lita Ford (1984)
435. No Easy Way Out by Roxx Gang (1988)
434. Love Walked In by Thunder (1990)
433. Wanna Be Loved by House of Lords (1988)
432. Radar Love by White Lion (1989)
431. Dead, Jail or Rock & Roll by Michael Monroe (1989)
430. Inside Out by XYZ (1989)
429. Heaven by Tigertailz (1990)
428. The More Things Change by Cinderella (1990)
427. Be Chrool to Your Scuel by Twisted Sister (1985)
426. Me & My Wine by Def Leppard (1984)
425. Take Her by Rough Cutt (1985)
424. How Much Love by Vixen (1990)
423. Walkin’ Shoes by Tora Tora (1989)
422. The Girl Gets Around by Sammy Hagar (1984)
421. Life Goes On by Poison (1990)
420. Tear It Down by Def Leppard (1992)
419. Come Again by Damn Yankees (1990)
418. Ride the Wind by Poison (1990)
417. The Real Me by W.A.S.P. (1989)
416. Contagious by Y&T (1987)
415. Rip and Tear by L.A. Guns (1989)
414. Loud & Clear by Autograph (1987)
413. Tell Me Why by Poison (1992)
412. Who Will You Run To? by Heart (1987)
411. Show A Little Love by Lillian Axe (1989)
410. Give It To Me Good by Trixter (1990)
409. Thrill My Gorilla by Alice Cooper (1986)
408. Scratch My Back by Roxx Gang (1988)
407. Down on Me by Jackyl (1992)
406. Sex Action by L.A. Guns (1988)
405. Miss Mystery by Black N’ Blue (1985)
404. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark by Y&T (1990)
403. Twilight Hotel by Quiet Riot (1986)
402. Give to Live by Sammy Hagar (1987)
401. Anytime M.S.G. (1989)
400. Mista Bone by Great White (1989)
399. Scared by Dangerous Toys (1989)
398. The Wild Life by Slaughter (1992)
397. Breaking Up A Heart of Stone by Bang Tango (1989)
396. Nobody Rides for Free by RATT (1991)
395. I’ll Fall in Love Again by Sammy Hagar (1982)
394. Same Jane by Kix (1991)
393. Shoot the Preacher Down by Bulletboys (1988)
392. You Can’t Stop Rock & Roll by Twisted Sister (1983)
391. Burning Heart by Vandenberg (1982)
390. Hunger by King Kobra (1985)
389. Helluva Time by Slik Toxik (1992)
388. Where There’s A Whip, There’s A Way by Faster Pussycat (1989)
387. Gotta Let Go by Lita Ford (1984)
386. Winner Takes It All by Sammy Hagar (1987)
385. Tease Me, Please Me by Scorpions (1990)
384. Never Enough by L.A. Guns (1989)
382. Don’t Be Cruel by Cheap Trick (1988)
381. Stranger Than Paradise by Sleeze Beez (1990)
380. Real Love by Slaughter (1992)
379. Give Me All Your Love by Whitesnake (1987)
378. Live and Let Die by Guns N’ Roses (1991)
377. Best of Both Worlds by Van Halen (1986)
376. Monkey Business by Skid Row (1991)
375. Creatures of the Night by KISS (1982)
374. Face the Day by Great White (1987)
373. Ghost Town by Cheap Trick (1988)
372. Top of the World by Van Halen (1991)
371. Blow My Fuse by Kix (1988)
370. Live Wire by Motley Crue (1982)
369. Wicked Sensation by Lynch Mob (1990)
368. I Can’t Explain by Scorpions (1989)
367. Tonight It’s You by Cheap Trick (1985)
366. Big Talk by Warrant (1988)
365. Holy Water by Bad Company (1990)
364. F#9 by Bulletboys (1988)
363. I Am (I’m Me) by Twisted Sister (1983)
362. Everybody’s Crazy by Michael Bolton (1985)
361. Rock the Night by Europe (1986)
360. Now You’re Gone by Whitesnake (1989)
359. Don’t Tread On Me by Damn Yankees (1992)
358. The Two Sides of Love by Sammy Hagar (1984)
357. The Wild and the Young by Quiet Riot (1986)
356. Wild Thing by Sam Kinison (1988)
355. God Gave Rock & Roll to You Part II by KISS (1991)
354. (Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection by Nelson (1990)
353. Send Me an Angel by Scorpions (1990)
352. Madalaine by Winger (1988)
351. To Hell with the Devil by Stryper (1986)
350. Big Goodbye by Great White (1992)
349. He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) by Alice Cooper (1986)
348. Walk Away by Dokken (1988)
347. Love Ain’t No Stranger by Whitesnake (1984)
346. New Thing by Enuff Z’nuff (1989)
345. Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody by David Lee Roth (1985)
344. Jelly Roll by Blue Murder (1989)
343. Domino by KISS (1992)
342. Lipstick & Leather by Y&T (1984)
341. Hold on to My Heart by W.A.S.P. (1992)
340. Old Rose Motel by Great White (1992)
339. Can’t Wait for the Night by Brighton Rock (1986)
338. Just Like Paradise by David Lee Roth (1988)
337. Love’s A Loaded Gun by Alice Cooper (1991)
336. Waiting for the Big One by Femme Fatale (1988)
335. I Hate Kissing You Goodbye by Tuff (1991)
334. Bathroom Wall by Faster Pussycat (1987)
333. Too Fast for Love by Motley Cure (1982)
332. Dance by RATT (1986)
331. Summer Nights by Van Halen (1986)
330. Burning Like a Flame by Dokken (1987)
329. Paris Calling by Shark Island (1989)
328. Can’t Get Enough by Winger (1990)
327. Feel the Shake by Jetboy (1988)
326. Heartbreak Blvd. by Shotgun Messiah (1991)
325. How About That by Bad Company (1992)
324. Armegeddon It by Def Leppard (1987)
323. I’ll See You In My Dreams by Giant (1989)
322. Long Way to Love by Britny Fox (1988)
321. Sweet Sister Mercy by Lynch Mob (1990)
320. New Girl Now by Honeymoon Suite (1984)
319. Rest in Peace by Extreme (1993)
318. Never by Heart (1985)
317. Easy Come Easy Go by Winger (1990)
316. Hot Cherie by Hardline (1992)
315. I Just Wanna by KISS (1992)
314. Bang Bang by Danger Danger (1989)
313. Slick Black Cadillac by Quiet Riot (1983)
312. House of Broken Love by Great White (1989)
311. We’re an American Band by Autograph (1985)
310. Scream Until You Like It by W.A.S.P. (1987)
309. Hell on My Heels by Bulletboys (1988)
308. Body Talk by RATT (1986)
307. Love is on the Way by Saigon Kick (1992)
306. Women by Def Leppard (1987)
305. Slip of the Tongue by Faster Pussycat (1989)
304. The Way It Is by Tesla (1990)
303. When I’m With You by Sheriff (1989 re-release)
302. Yesterdays by Guns N’ Roses (1991)
301. Runaround by Van Halen (1991)
300. Ballroom Blitz by Krokus (1984)
299. My Oh My by Slade (1984)
298. 5150 by Van Halen (1986)
297. Eat the Rich by Aerosmith (1993)
296. High N’ Dry (Saturday Night) by Def Leppard (1982)
295. All Hell’s Breaking Loose by KISS (1983)
294. Me Against the World by Lizzy Borden (1987)
293. Deep Cuts the Knife by Helix (1985)
292. Hungry by Lita Ford (1990)
291. Ten Seconds to Love by Motley Crue (1983)
290. Let it Go by Def Leppard (1982)
289. Like a Knife in the Back by Twisted Sister (1983)
288. Never Let You Go by Steelheart (1991)
287. What about Love by Heart (1985)
286. Drinking Again by Neverland (1991)
285. All Over Now by Great White (1987)
284. Switchblade Serenade by Spread Eagle (1990)
283. Break Down the Wall by Stone Fury (1986)
282. Harder Faster by W.A.S.P. (1987)
281. 10,000 Lovers in One by TNT (1987)
280. Don’t Treat Me Bad by Firehouse (1991)
279. Poundcake by Van Halen (1991)
278. The Lumberjack Song by Jackyl (1992)
277. Everything about You by Ugly Kid Joe (1992)
276. Tokyo Road by Bon Jovi (1985)
275. Save Your Love by Great White (1987)
274. Heaven Sent by Dokken (1987)
273. Don’t Cry (alt. version) by Guns N’ Roses (1991)
272. L.O.V.E. Machine by W.A.S.P. (1984)
271. Living in Sin by Bon Jovi (1988)
270. Hang Me Up by War Babies (1992)
269. Don’t Change that Song by Faster Pussycat (1987)
268. Everything You Do (You’re Sexing Me) by Fiona with Kip Winger (1989)
267. Heartbreak Station by Cinderella (1990)
266. Livin’ on the Edge by Aerosmith (1993)
265. Can’t Stop Falling in Love by Cheap Trick (1990)
264. Hole Hearted by Extreme (1991)
263. When It’s Love by Van Halen (1988)
262. It’s Over Now by L.A. Guns (1991)
261. Foolin’ by Def Leppard (1983)
260. My Michelle by Guns N’ Roses (1987)
259. Gimme Your Love by M.S.G. (1987)
258. Little Fighter by White Lion (1989)
257. Kiss My Love Goodbye by L.A. Guns (1991)
256. Mad About You by Slaughter (1990)
255. Goin’ Crazy by David Lee Roth (1986)
254. Poison by Lita Ford (1991)
253. Tell Me by White Lion (1987)
252. Action by Def Leppard (1993)
251. Tattooed Millionaire by Bruce Dickinson (1990)
250. Hot Love by Twisted Sister (1987)
Halfway through! Way to go!
249. Love of a Lifetime by Firehouse (1991)
248. Let’s Put the X in Sex by KISS (1988)
247. No Smoke Without A Fire by Bad Company (1989)
246. Get It On by Kingdom Come (1988)
245. Dreams by Van Halen (1986)
244. The Deeper the Love by Whitesnake (1989)
243. Let it Rock by Bon Jovi (1986)
242. The Kids are Back by Twised Sister (1983)
241. Blind in Texas by W.A.S.P. (1985)
240. Mr. Brownstone by Guns N’ Roses (1987)
239. Nothin’ at All by Heart (1986)
238. Love in an Elevator by Aerosmith (1989)
237. Black N’ Blue by Van Halen (1988)
236. Hard as a Rock by Bulletboys (1988)
235. Rhythm of Love by Scorpions (1988)
234. Hide Your Heart by KISS (1989)
233. Boyz are Gonna Rock by Vinnie Vincent Invasion (1986)
232. Run Run Away by Slade (1984)
231. Surrender to Me by Robin Zander and Ann Wilson (1988)
230. Sweet Soul Sister by The Cult (1989)
229. Wait for You by Bonham (1990)
228. High Enough by Damn Yankees (1990)
227. Edge of a Broken Heart by Vixen (1988)
226. Animal by Def Leppard (1987)
225. Coming Home by Cinderella (1988)
224. Sometimes She Cries by Warrant (1988)
Fallen Angel by Poison (1988)
222. These Dreams by Heart (1985)
221. Beggars & Thieves by Beggars & Thieves (1990)
220. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Guns N’ Roses (1991)
219. Lil’ Devil by The Cult (1987)
218. Love Walks In by Van Halen (1986)
217. In and Out of Love by Bon Jovi (1985)
216. Call it Rock N’ Roll by Great White (1991)
215. Can’t Find My Way Home by House of Lords (1990)
214. Hey You by The London Quireboys (1990)
213. Forever Free by W.A.S.P. (1988)
212. The Price by Twisted Sister (1984)
211. Girl Money by KIX (1991)
210. Babylon by Faster Pussycat (1987)
209. There’s Only One Way to Rock by Sammy Hagar (1982)
208. I Want Action by Poison (1986)
207. Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job by RATT (1990)
206. Into the Fire by Dokken (1984)
205. Last Mile by Cinderella (1988)
204. A Lil’ Ain’t Enough by David Lee Roth (1991)
203. Lack of Communication by RATT (1983)
202. The Right to Rock by Keel (1985)
201. Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out) by Tesla (1989)
200. Givin’ Yourself Away by RATT (1990)
199. Why Can’t this Be Love by Van Halen (1986)
198. Fly High Michelle by Enuff Z’nuff (1989)
197. Hysteria by Def Leppard (1987)
196. Carrie by Europe (1986)
195. Coma by Gun N’ Roses (1991)
194. Amazing by Aerosmith (1993)
193. Sleeping My Day Away by D.A.D. (1989)
192. I Don’t Need No Doctor by W.A.S.P. (1986)
191. Back for More by RATT (1984)
190. Crazy by Aerosmith (1993)
189. Rocket Queen by Guns N’ Roses (1987)
188. Heavy Metal by Sammy Hagar (1981)
187. Come of Age by Damn Yankees (1990)
186. I Wanna Be Your Man by L.A. Guns (1989)
185. Look What the Cat Dragged In by Poison (1986)
184. Reason to Live by KISS (1987)
183. I’ll Be There For You by Black N’ Blue (1986)
182. Lay Your Hands on Me by Bon Jovi (1988)
181. Animal by W.A.S.P. (1983)
180. Somebody’s Waiting by Keel (1987)
179. Anarchy in the U.K. by Motley Crue (1991)
178. Bad Seamstress Blues/Falling Apart at the Seams by Cinderella (1988)
177. Fool for Your Loving by Whitesnake (1989)
176. Rag Doll by Aerosmith (1987)
175. Yankee Rose by David Lee Roth (1986)
174. Heaven’s on Fire by KISS (1984)
173. Naughty, Naughty by Danger Danger (1989)
172. Too Young to Fall in Love by Motley Crue (1983)
171. If You Needed Somebody by Bad Company (1990)
170. Edie (Ciao) by The Cult (1989)
169. I Want a Woman by RATT (1988)
168. You Could Be Mine by Guns N’ Roses (1991)
167. Someone Like You by Bang Tango (1989)
166. Midnight Maniac by Krokus (1984)
165. It’s Not Love by Dokken (1985)
164. Big City Nights by Scorpions (1984)
163. What Does It Take by Honeymoon Suite (1986)
162. Just Take My Heart by Mr. Big (1991)
161. What It Takes by Aerosmith (1989)
160. Never Say Goodbye by Bon Jovi (1986)
159. Big Guns by Skid Row (1989)
158. Wanted Man by RATT (1984)
157. Cold Blood by KIX (1989)
156. Your Love is Driving Me Crazy by Sammy Hagar (1983)
155. You’re So Vain by Faster Pussycat (1990)
154. Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) by Motley Crue (1989)
153. Nightrain by Guns N’ Roses (1987)
152. Wild in the Streets by Helix (1987)
151. Miles Away by Winger (1990)
150. Crazy, Crazy Nights by KISS (1987)
149. Fire Woman by The Cult (1989)
148. Edge of a Broken Heart by Bon Jovi (1987)
147. I Saw Red by Warrant (1990)
146. Something to Believe In by Poison (1990)
145. Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Hanoi Rocks (1984)
141. Wild Child by W.A.S.P. (1985)
140. Rise to It by KISS (1989)
139. Green-Tinted Sixties Mind by Mr. Big (1989)
138. Breaking the Chains by Dokken (1983)
137. Slide It In by Whitesnake (1984)
136. Primal Scream by Motley Crue (1991)
135. Jet City Woman by Queensryche (1988)
134. Cryin’ by Aerosmith (1993)
133. Slip of the Lip by RATT (1986)
132. It’s So Easy by Guns N’ Roses (1987)
131. Mean Man by W.A.S.P. (1988)
130. Piece of Me by Skid Row (1989)
129. Dirty Love by Thunder (1990)
128. Hungry by Winger (1989)
127. When I See You Smile by Bad English (1989)
126. Hollywood by Junkyard (1989)
You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come) by Vince Neil (1992)
124. Smoking in the Boys Room by Motley Crue (1985)
123. Girl Nation by D.A.D. (1989)
Wasted Time by Skid Row (1991)
121. Slow and Easy by Whitesnake (1984)
120. Civil War by Guns N’ Roses (1991)
119. Bringing on the Heartbreak by Def Leppard (1982)
118. After Midnight by Fastway (1987)
117. Long Stick Goes Boom by Krokus (1982)
Dreams in the Dark by Badlands (1989)
Looks that Kill by Motley Crue (1983)
114. Way Cool, Jr. by RATT (1988)
113. Riot Act by Skid Row (1991)
112. I Won’t Forget You by Poison (1986)
111. Wild in the Streets by Bon Jovi (1986)
110. The Final Countdown by Europe (1986)
109. Wild World by Mr. Big (1993)
108. Two Steps Behind by Def Leppard (1993)
107. S.O.S. (Same Ole’ Situation) by Motley Crue (1989)
106. Angel by Aerosmith (1987)
105. Spinning Wheel by Love/Hate (1993)
104. Blaze of Glory by Jon Bon Jovi (1990)
103. War Machine by KISS (1982)
102. Love Removal Machine by the Cult (1987)
101. Quicksand Jesus by Skid Row (1991).
100. Down Boys by Warrant (1988). I have no idea what this song is about but it was love at first listen.
99. Tears Are Falling by KISS (1985). Gene & Paul struggled to get through the 1980′s but this track was an exception to their otherwise forgettable work…the video however was awful!
98. Somebody Save Me by Cinderella (1986). The third single from their debut and the best written of the bunch.
97. Still Loving You by Scorpions (1984). The closing track from their multi-platinum album Love at First Sting. It supposedly took six years to write and went to #1 in France.
96. Is This Love? by Whitesnake (1987). The third hit from their self-titled ’87 hit album and the third video to feature the lovely Tawney Kitaen.
95. Lay It Down by RATT (1985). The first single from a great follow-up to their debut. RATT was a great band.
94. Runaway by Bon-Jovi. The debut single from the band when it still boasted Dave “Snake” Sabo on guitar (although Jon does the six string work on the record).
93. Screaming in the Night by Krokus (1983). A great ballad from a rockin’ album. It is a crime that Krokus wasn’t bigger.
92. Wait by White Lion (1987). This is a wimpy “please don’t leave song” but the guitar work helps make up for it.
91. I Love It Loud by KISS (1982). One of the last songs from the make-up era and the last great album before Revenge in 1992. I still love this Demon for President track.
90. Cats in the Cradle by Ugly Kid Joe (1992). They chose their name as the anti-Pretty Boy Floyd who was a glam staple on the Strip at the time. Their cover of the Harry Chapin song was a standout. Then they all went to earn teaching degrees, I guess.
89. Panama by Van Halen (1984). One of the 2-3 rockers on an album that was too synthesizer heavy (even if I love “Jump”). I have no idea what it is about but I love it.
88. Headed for a Heartbreak by Winger (1988). In many ways Kip Winger was everything that was wrong with the 1980′s but, to be fair, he was a good musician he put together a tight band and this power ballad was a hit because it was well-written.
87. Little Suzi by Tesla (1986). The cut that sold me on Tesla that was supposedly dedicated to an adult dancer the band members knew…regardless a great track.
86. Smooth up in Ya’ by Bulletboys (1988). Not much substance to this song but the band was talented and it is shame they couldn’t soldier on past the dull Seattle tripe that dominated the early 1990′s.
85. Summertime Girls by Y&T (1985). It seems this song was everywhere in 1985 but still failed to really storm the Billboard charts–such an under rated band.
84. Slave to the Grind by Skid Row (1991). While their debut scored most of the hits, Skid Row’s 2nd album was superior in many ways and the title track was a true metal classic.
83. When the Children Cry by White Lion (1987). I was never a huge White Lion fan and I always thought that “Wait” was wimpy and “Tell Me” was a better track but this cut stands the test of time well and I can’t deny how talented they were.
82. I Wanna Be Somebody by WASP (1984). WASP deserved to be bigger than they were. Blackie was a great songwriter and performer and his band was always tight. This anthem to success encapsulated the ’80′s well.
81. Heaven by Warrant (1988). The big ballad from their 1988 debut that was a make-out staple of 1988.
80. Love Kills by Vinnie Vincent Invasion. (1988). The second metal song to be used in a Nightmare on Elm St. movie and the combination of Mark Slaughter, Vinnie Vincent, Dana Strum and a creepy feel make it work.
79. For the Love of Money by Bulletboys (1988). The cover of the soul classic sounded sweet thanks to a tight band and incredible vocals from Marq Torien.
78. Close My Eyes Forever by Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford (1988). The second single from Lita’s platinum comeback and it was as dark as a metal ballad should be!
77. Dream Warriors by Dokken (1987). Stupid lyrics but a chiller of a tune for an otherwise forgettable horror movie. I miss Dokken!
76. California Girls by David Lee Roth (1985). DLR screwed his solo career up by not using his band’s full arsenal for the follow-up to Eat ‘Em and Smile and he may have felt he could because he did so well with this cover tune, which is great but he should’ve seen it for what it was and let Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan pen the music while he MC’d the party.
75. Shake Me by Cinderella (1986). The lead single from Cinderella’s debut. Pretty straight forward “Chick really wants me” tune but the Stones influenced Philly boys played it well.
74. Right Now by Van Halen (1991). I originally thought this Van Hagar tune was made solely by the music video but it holds up well.
73. Signs by Tesla (1990). A 1970 hippie anthem that Tesla sold to metal heads and the neo-hippies of the late ’80′s when the Grateful Dead made a resurgence.
72. Alone by Heart (1987). The Wilson Sisters will deny it but they bought the pop-metal movement hook, line and sinker and this was the biggest hit of their venture, which I loved!
71. Fly to the Angels by Slaughter (1990). Mark Slaughter’s multi-octave range sells this ode to a lost love. The dude had the chops.
70. Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue (1989). A nod and wink to Nikki Sixx’s near death experience. It still rocks harder than anything on “modern rock” radio thanks especially to Mick Mars’ mean guitar work.
69. Kiss Me Deadly by Lita Ford (1988). The former lead guitarist for The Runaways struggled through most of the ’80′s but hit it big with this pop-rocker and, as a 16-year old at the time, I thanked the heavens for the music video.
68. Shot in the Dark by Ozzy Osbourne (1986). Ozzy reportedly hated this album and blamed guitarist Jake E. Lee for leading him in to hair metal territory but it was still one of his best songs.
67. To Be With You by Mr. Big (1991). A band packed full of talent that ironically made it big thanks to simple ballads.
66. Lick It Up by KISS (1983). Vinnie Vincent was a gift to Gene & Paul as he was a truly great guitarist and songwriter that made the loss of two original members and the make-up easier to swallow. Unfortunately, his ego and eccentricities were too much and both of them (and the fans) suffered for it.
65. The Ballad of Jayne by L.A. Guns (1989). The biggest hit from a great rock & roll band that produced three awesome albums in a row between 1987-1991.
64. Poison by Alice Cooper (1989). A great comeback from rock’s greatest showman. He partnered with Desmond Child (his name will pop up several times in this list) and produced a hit.
63. Gypsy Road by Cinderella (1988). A great follow up to their multi-platinum debut featuring buzz saw Les Paul’s and Tom Keiffer’s growl.
62. Wild Side by Motley Crue (1987). A great tune about the other side of the tracks that the Crue haunted once and still lived as if they owned when this song dropped.
61. You’re in Love by RATT (1985). Stephen Pearcy and his band mates cranked out one great hard rock song after another and this is one is second only toRound and Round.
60. Hot for Teacher by Van Halen (1984). A true Van Halen track from an album that was somewhat un-Van Halen-esque. The video was a lot of fun as well.
59. Silent Lucidity by Queensryche (1990). I thought this was a little boring at first but on reflection after their recent break-up, this was a great band with an amazing vocalist that I wish had rose to greater heights.
58. Nothing But A Good Time by Poison (1988). The party anthem of the year I turned sixteen…’nuff said.
57. No One Like You by Scorpions (1982). A great riff from the greatest rock & roll band Germany ever produced. I may sound like an old curmudgeon but they don’t make riffs like these anymore.
56. In My Dreams by Dokken (1985). Dokken had a unique sound and they utilized it well for this haunting track.
55. Love Bites by Def Leppard (1987). The syrupy ballad from the overly poppyHysteria still holds great nostalgic value because it was the soundtrack to nearly every teen break-up from ’87 on.
54. Girlschool by Britney Fox (1988). A very Cinderella sounding band from the same stomping ground as the Night Song boys. Unfortunately, they apparently couldn’t stand each other long enough to produce a decent follow-up to their debut which went gold.
53. Love Song by Tesla (1989). My favorite song from a great rock & roll band. Unfortunately, radio cut the acoustic solo intro which was fantastic!
52. I Remember You by Skid Row (1989). Baz and the boy’s obligatory power ballad made special by the unbelievable vocals of the lead singer the rest of the band couldn’t stand.
51. Rock Me by Great White (1987). A great blues rock track from an underrated band that should’ve outlived the ’80′s.
50. I’ll Be There For You by Bon-Jovi (1988). The big ballad from New Jersey. The lyrics are kind of lame but the tune was catchy. It still could’ve used a sprinkle of songwriter Desmond Child who helped make Slippery When Wetsuch a hit.
49. Don’t Close Your Eyes by Kix (1988). A haunting anti-suicide ballad that hasn’t received the attention over the years it deserves and neither has the band, which was an awesome straight ahead rock act.
48. Shout at the Devil by Motley Crue (1983). The first single from the band’s breakthrough album. Nikki Sixx claims he suffered through paranormal activity while writing the songs for their second release but denies it is about Satanism. All I know is that it still holds up well and sounded a lot meaner than nearly everything else at the time.
47. Patience by Guns N’ Roses (1988). The song that truly kicked the unplugged movement into high gear. A song that Axl should’ve dedicated to his fans who he makes wait for hours for him to hit the stage.
46. Youth Gone Wild (1989) by Skid Row. A great fist pumper from a band that I wished was still around.
45. Seventeen by Winger (1988). A catchy tune but, in retrospect, Kip Winger singing about a 17-year old girl is creepy.
44. Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone by Cinderella (1988). Man, for dudes with cash surrounded by hot chicks, they sure sang about a lot of heartache. Oh well, few did ballads better than Cinderella.
43. Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Great White (1989). Great White was a great blues-rock band but strangely enough their best song was a cover of an English pop song. The music video debuted the considerable talent of video vixen Bobby Brown.
42. Alone Again by Dokken (1984). Dokken’s big break was a haunting ballad that contained a signature sound that made the band sound meaner (and more unique) than others and anything with George Lynch’s great guitar work is always awe-inspiring.
41. More Than Words by Extreme (1991). This acoustic gem was a little too languid for me at the time it was released but twenty-one years later it holds up well. Gary Cherone had a great voice.
40. Bad Medicine by Bon Jovi (1988). The band’s follow-up to Slippery When Wetwasn’t as tight but this one was cheese at its finest.
39. I Can’t Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar (1984). Oh, Sammy if only you were Secretary of Transportation!
38. I Wanna Rock by Twisted Sister (1984). Is there a better song to define hard rock fans in the 1980′s?
37. Up All Night by Slaughter (1990). A party song that sounds like the soundtrack to a really lame party but it stuck in our heads and was one of the last bands to sneak success in under the wire before grunge hit a year later.
36. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Warrant (1990). A well-written track by a band not known for great writing and one of the few “story songs” from the genre.
35. The Cult of Personality by Living Color (1988). Speaking of well written songs, this one has a killer riff and great lyrics. Too bad the boys in neon couldn’t repeat the feat.
34. Dude Looks Like a Lady by Aerosmith (1987). Asong reportedly about the members of the band seeing Vince Neil for the first time. Was there a better song from the genre that lampooned it at the same time?
33. Talk Dirty to Me by Poison (1986). The song that broke the “hot chicks from Poison.” I was so embarrassed to own a tape (Google it) with what appeared to be four trannies on the cover that I left the cassette in a clear plastic case but no one could doubt how catchy the tunes were and this was the finest of the bunch.
32. Rock of Ages by Def Leppard (1983). An early example of the simple foot stomp, hand clap anthem that was a staple of the genre but no one did it better than Joe Elliot and the boys.
31. Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses (1987). An anti-utopian song that is a damn near perfect blend of metal and southern rock. One of my favorite tracks from my all-time favorite band.
30. Winds of Change by Scorpions (1990). A song about the peaceful downfall of the Soviet Empire and the end of the Cold War. I didn’t like it much at the time but I now see that it fits the time perfectly.
29. House of Pain by Faster Pussycat (1989). One of the few songs from the genre that truly struck a nerve with an entire generation of young men with daddy issues. A great track from a band that should’ve been much, much bigger.
28. Why Can’t This Be Love? Van Halen (1986). The debut single from “Van Hagar” clearly demonstrated that they didn’t need Dave even if the band wasn’t as much fun without him. Yet, even if they weren’t America’s #1 party band without DLR, they still produced a number of great albums with 5150being the best of the lot.
27. Metal Health (Bang Your Head) by Quiet Riot (1983). If memory serves, this was the first single off of the album of the same name and it prepared the way for their smash hit Cum on Feel The Noize. It appeared as though the band was headed for superstardom but infighting, egos and a push to get back into the studio too quickly ultimately doomed QR to the “where are they now” category.
26. November Rain by Guns N’ Roses (1991). Some feel this is the greatest power ballad of all-time. I disagree but it is still epic and only Axl seemed to know how to end a ballad with a dark tinged ambiguity that we fear in any relationship.
25. Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue (1989). A post-clean and sober song about a drug dealer. Once again, the Crue write what they know!
24. In the Still of the Night by Whitesnake (1987). A great blues track with monster vocals from the ageless David Coverdale. Too bad he couldn’t make it work with songwriting partner John Sykes. Without him, he couldn’t really make Whitesnake work.
23. You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon-Jovi (1986). The song that took Jon & Richie to another level after two previous albums failed to truly take off. The key was partnering with songwriter Desmond Child who had help pen “I Was Made for Loving You” for KISS.
22. The Flame by Cheap Trick (1988). Cheap Trick hoped to make an Aersomith type comeback and looked to be on track with this Top 40 hit but, unfortunately, they faded after this one. I thought the tune sounded out-of-place when played alongside their classic songs and, indeed, it was chosen by the record company rather than written by the guys themselves.
21. Photograph by Def Leppard (1983). A standout track from a standout album. A great rocker from when the band still played hard rock instead of dreaming in vain of being a teen pop act.
20. Nobody’s Fool by Cinderella (1986). One of the best of the “up yours” songs of the decade that felt grittier thanks to Tom Keifer’s gravel and whiskey soaked vocal chords.
19. Turn up the Radio by Autograph (1984). A top 40 track for a one hit wonder whose message was simply that after working hard, you have to play hard and you can’t play hard without a song from the Strip cranked to 11!
18. Forever by KISS (1989). It is odd that KISS, who struggled for most the ’80′s, scored their biggest hit with a song co-written with the “no talent butt clown” Michael Bolton but it was a great track regardless.
17. 18 and Life by Skid Row (1989). A song about a kid who accidentally shoots someone and ends up in prison for life but everyone, including me, took it to be something different. Man, can Sebastian Bach sing!
16. Cherry Pie by Warrant (1990). Is it sexist? Is it dumb? Absolutely but who said the decade was subtle and that rock anthems have to be deep?
15. Rock You Like A Hurricane by Scorpions (1984). Is there a better song to watch the Blue Angels fly overhead or to witness monster trucks roll over buses to? ‘Nuff said.
14. Living on a Prayer by Bon-Jovi (1986). A tribute to blue-collar couples The song was co-written by hair metal ace Desmond Child who based the story on himself and his girlfriend when he was driving a cab and she was waiting tables in NYC.
13. Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses (1987). The best ballad of the decade–an ode to love with a dark ending. The bass line to this one is amazing.
12. Girls, Girls, Girls by Motley Crue (1987). Was there a song better suited to a band than this one?
11. Janie’s Got A Gun by Aerosmith (1989). I rank this one so high because it is one of the best written and produced tracks of the time. The video as amazing (and disturbing) as well.
10. We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister (1984). The best of the “Don’t you dare try to stop me from rockin’!” tracks of the ’80′s. It is still one of the best music videos. Give it a listen and notice how much it sounds like “Come All You Faithful.”
9. Round and Round by RATT (1984). Hair Nation picked this as the biggest hair metal song of all-time. It certainly helped solidify the genre as more than a flash in the pan after the success of Quiet Riot and Def Leppard in 1983. Unfortunately, the guys from RATT also made fashion as important as sound.
8. Every Rose Has It’s Thorn by Poison (1988). Probably the biggest hit ballad of the decade in a time that was filled with them. Bret Michaels reportedly wrote the song in a laundromat on the road after suspecting that his girlfriend at the time was cheating on him. The meaning behind the title? The Rose is his career taking off and the thorn is that it cost him his relationship with his girl…or maybe she was just a tramp? Brett doesn’t exactly date Rhodes Scholars now does he?
7. Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard (1987). The gents from Sheffield took a line late in the sickeningly sweet pop hit “Sugar, Sugar” from The Archies and smutted it up for their overly produced but ginormous hit follow-up to Pyromania. Iconic.
6. Jump by Van Halen (1984). Probably the biggest hit of the genre and the song that, for better or worse, made it acceptable for hard rock and metal bands to use synthesizers.
5. ‘Cum on Feel the Noize by Quiet Riot (1983). QR labored for nearly ten years before scoring this top ten hit that shot the Metal Health album to #1 and arguably kicked open the door for the whole genre. Ironically, lead singer Kevin Dubrow hated the song to the day he died.
4. Here I Go Again by Whitesnake (1987). Perhaps the finest anthem of the decade and it doesn’t hurt that this re-boot of the song featured the most iconic video of the age. Oh, Tawney, how I pined for thee!
3. Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon-Jovi (1986). The boys from Jersey helped make acoustic guitars, cowboy gear and “we’re road weary but rockin’” a mainstay with this one and can anyone from the ’80′s forget the two-man acoustic VMA performance?
2. Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue (1985). There were power ballads before this one, but after it hit MTV and ruled the request line for months, it became mandatory for every band to have one.
1. Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses (1987). Oddly enough, this song was both the pinnacle of songs from the Sunset Strip and the death nell of the whole hair/pop/glam metal movement. After GNR, everything else in Hollywood sounded tinny, safe and…well…lame. This monster ode to urban life has aged very well (as has the rest of AFD). How and when the song was written depends on which account you read but who cares…it rocked then and it rocks now.
Grace, peace and metal to you all!