It’s the genre that critics loved to hate and fans have kept around to this day: hair metal. The label in and of itself is limiting and loathed by those involved, but it’s the easiest way to describe the kind of hard-rocking, meticulously-produced, guitar solo-infused music that took off in the early to mid ‘80s and stuck around the top of the charts until the early '90s.
Bands like Warrant, Ratt and White Lion appealed to almost everyone who grew up in their era. Guys wanted to be them and girls wanted to be with them. These are not each band’s biggest songs, just music that deserves to be revisited. Most of the tracks on the list were singles though, while others were deep cuts that only die-hard fans had the privilege of listening to on cassette.
1 Warrant - Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Banjo and acoustic guitar start the song off before it explodes into a hard-rocking epic, complete with a dramatic made-for-MTV video. It may not be the best-known track from 1990's Cherry Pie, but it's the best.
2 Great White – Once Bitten Twice Shy
The video for the Ian Hunter cover was a hit with teenage boys everywhere. The band has since split into two factions with frontman Jack Russell performing with his own version.
3 Ratt – Way Cool Jr.
The second single from 1988’s Reach for the Sky solidified Ratt as better songwriters and musicians than their imitators. Honorable mention goes to "Nobody Rides for Free" from the "Point Break" soundtrack.
4 Cinderella – Coming Home
The Philly-area band didn’t stay "hair metal" for long after their 1986 debut, Night Songs, but the image stayed with them forever. This track comes from 1988's Long Cold Winter.
5 Enuff Z’Nuff – Mother’s Eyes
Like Cinderella, they looked more hair metal than they actually sounded. This track from their sophomore album features one of their catchiest choruses.
6 L.A. Guns – The Ballad of Jayne
The band that took the Guns from Guns N' Roses wrote a power ballad as good as any for 1989's Cocked and Loaded. Frontman Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns reclaimed the L.A. Guns name in 2016 and are still recording and touring.
7 White Lion – Lady of the Valley
Vito Bratta might have been one of the most underappreciated guitarists in the genre. The band is perhaps best known for their hits "Wait" and "When the Children Cry."
8 FireHouse – Don’t Treat Me Bad
C.J. Snare might have been one of the most underappreciated vocalists in the genre. "Love of a Lifetime" and "When I Look Into Your Eyes" are still played at weddings everywhere.
9 Slaughter – Street of Broken Hearts
The band had a slew of hits, including “Up all Night” and “Fly to the Angels,” but this track from 1992’s The Wild Life holds up just as well with its harmonies and warm rhythm guitar tone.