Legend has it that Heavy Metal started with Black Sabbath, while another rumour suggested Led Zeppelin. Whichever the case, Heavy Metal grabbed metalheads by the balls and became one of the most important genre of music history.
The Story of Rock presents: 80's Hair Metal
I decided to do this sub genre first because although it was considered one of the most average Metal period in the history, it marked the peak of Heavy Metal, consumption and popularity - wise (i.e. record sellings, radio-audio airplay, fans, etc.)Although claim to be influenced by variety of 70's Hard Rock bands (more on the in coming months), the most compelling was from the bands like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Kiss, and the New York Dolls. The music is ranged from heavy riffed to soft ballad but one thing is for sure, Metal fashion was at its peak. (Don't believe me? Ask one of your average mainstream pop music listener friend about Bon Jovi or Guns n' Roses, oh they love it!)
So who started it all? Was it Van Halen? They were at their peak during this period of time but they surely did not dress like their peers, or did they? One fact that cannot be argued was that most if not all of guitarists who came out during the 80's Hair Metal period somewhat used the same styles and techniques Eddie Van Halen used as he was the one who created his innovative ways of playing guitar.
But The bands that claim to have really started it all cannot argue the fact that the first band to bring it to the mass population was the dude-look-like-a-lady inspring Motley Crue. Their efforts proved crucial to influenced (sometimes co-influenced alongside bands like Ratt and Hanoi Rocks) many upcoming bands. They were the first to gave Heavy Metal glamness and certainly the epitome of "sex, drugs, and rock n' roll" concept. They undoubtedly gave the later bands the need to dress like girls but have sex like beasts. Their music, though, cannot be left out. Songs like Live wire, Shout at the devil, Looks that kill, Home sweet home, Girls girls girls, and Dr.Feelgood still rock like they did back in the old days. If their first LP too fast for love did not reach the wide audience, shout at the devil, their second album certainly shocked the world both musically and fashionably.
Apart from Motley Crue, there were many bands like Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., Ratt, Twisted Sister, Stryper (Chirstian Metal? What!!!!), and many more bands that musically fell into the grey area between the old school heavy riffed Metal and soft ballad Pop Metal songs, and fashionably between man/women shock looks. But in the middle 1980's the world of Hair Metal was introduced to even more bands that captured the concept of competing to dress like girls the most (i.e. Glam Metal) and made the cachiest ballad (i.e. Pop Metal).
Poison was certainly one of the if not glammiest of them all while Bon Jovi seemed to be putting out ballad hit after hit after hit. But make no mistake about it, songs like Talk dirty to me, Every rose has its thorn, You give love a bad name, and I'll be there for you still captured the heart of sensitive metalheads today. But more successful bands like Warrant, Cinderella, Europe, Whitesnake, White Lion, Faster Pussy Cat, or Tesla mastered the great combination of dressing like girls while also having great ballads. This proved crucial as bands like Firehouse, Extreme or Mr.Big were commercially mediorce at best (great ballads but looked like dudes! Nah).
But talking about Hair Metal cannot be completed without the bands that took the mix of Punk, Blues, and heavy riffs and hit the world so hard at the turn of the decade; Skid Row and Gun n' Roses. Skid Row came into the scene very late but they were undoubtedly one of the most succesful and beloved band of that period (It certianly helped when Sebastian Bach was the frontman). While I remember you and 18 and life won the hearts of sensitive metalheads, Slave to the grind and Youth gone wild made hardcore metalheads go headbanging-crazy. But the success of Skid Row cannot even be in the same league as those guys who really marked the peakest of the peak (and also the end) of 80's Hair Metall: Guns n' Roses.
Guns n' Roses was so popular because they reached out to virtually everyone: from Glam haters to Glam lovers, from ballad lovers to heavy riffed fanatics, from mainstream to underground, from U.S.A. to Thailand, from business owners to Texas farmers. Everyone loved it. Although use your illsion double cds marked the end of the era and a very short life span of the band, Axl's screech and songs like Sweet Child o' mine, Welcome to the jungle, Don't cry, Paradise City, November rain, and many more will be forever remembered and embraced by every Rock fans.
Love it or hate it, every Metal fans must once paid attention to those bands that made Metal music so popular and worldwide. Without the 80's Hair Metal era, Metallica would came out average, Nirvana would never be as popular (more on these later), and Disco music may dominate the world today! Yaaaack.
MUNSON, friday, monday, tuesday