It was the best of times... it was the worst of times... of course we're talking about 80's music. Nothing beats the heavy metal, hard rock, and hair bands of the 80's. Here's our list of the top 10 best metal / hard rock CDs from that decade (of course, most of these were first purchased on vinyl):
10. Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry: Twisted Sister introduced a whole new generation to anthem rock. Their videos had us cracking up and their music got the adrenaline pumping. Sure they looked pretty freaky in their drag-like outfits and makeup, but they knew how to write songs that kicked ass. We're Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock had parents everywhere shaking in their boots. Burn in Hell was even featured in Pee Wee's Big Adventure in a memorable scene. They even got us going with the power ballad The Price.
9. Poison - Look What the Cat Dragged In: Poison?!? What the hell are they doing on this list? I don't know about you, but my friends and I had the greatest parties and this CD was always playing. They were a total party band, which was captured on this release. Songs like I Want Action, Talk Dirty to Me and Look What the Cat Dragged In were perfect for drinking and picking up girls. They still go on tour and bring a couple of the 80's metal acts with them. The shows are always fun although I could do without C.C. Deville's guitar solos. When you wear a ton of makeup and frizz up your hair, you're not going to be taken seriously as a guitar player.
8. Virgin Steele - Noble Savage: Dave Defeiss has such a distinct voice that you either think it's really cool or it's really annoying. This release has a lot of catchy songs and even makes keyboards sound good. Songs like We Are the Night, I'm on Fire, and Noble Savage still hold up today. The band is still around although I wouldn't recommend any of the new stuff that came out after Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
7. AC/DC - Back in Black: The songs on this release have been so overplayed that I'm almost reluctant to put this on the list. But it is one of the greatest hard rock CDs of all time. Angus Young has more energy than a 5 year old on a sugar high. His guitar playing incorporated a nice touch of blues during the solos while his brother held down the tight rhythm. Brian Johnson always sounded like his vocal chords were shredded, which really worked on songs like Hells Bells, Shoot to Thrill, Back in Black, and Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution. Of course, we can't forget about You Shook Me All Night Long. All classics.
6. Teeze - S/T: What? You never heard of this band? They released one of the best independent albums, then signed with a major label, changed their name to Roughhouse and released one of the crappiest CDs. If you go to http://www.roughhouse-teeze.com/, you can pick up the self-titled CD that's listed here. You won't go wrong with songs like Party Hardy, Midnight Madness, When the Moon Is Full, and Going Away.
5. Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast: "I am not a number... I am a free man!" The band still sounds awesome and they still put on great live shows. And they still play three songs from this release - Number of the Beast (with the classic Vincent Price intro), Run to the Hills, and Hallowed Be Thy Name. Bruce Dickinson took over the vocals for Paul Di'anno and took this band to the next level. He provided a melodic voice that matched the distinctive guitar and bass sounds.
4. Motley Crue - Shout at the Devil: I already had worn through my copy of Too Fast for Love when Shout at the Devil was released. When I saw the video for Looks that Kill, I was blown away. This looked like a bunch of the biggest bad asses at the time. They became bigger than life with their stories of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, and this CD captured it all perfectly. After Vince got out of jail from the car accident that killed Razzle, they just didn't have the same sound any more. They released some catchy songs but I don't think they ever released another CD where all the tracks were memorable.
3. Metallica - Ride the Lightning: Metallica knew how to write kick ass songs in the 80's. They followed up Kill 'Em All with Ride the Lightning, taking their sound to the next level. Their song writing got better and the production really helped capture their crunching guitars and Hetfield's powerful voice. These were serious head banging songs - Fight Fire with Fire, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Trapped Under Ice, and Creeping Death still hold up today. I could do without The Call of Ktulu but that's only a minor complaint. If you ever want to get the adrenaline going, put this CD on and put the stereo to 11.
2. T.T. Quick - Metal of Honor: Not only are all the songs memorable on this release, but the production is amazing. With songs like Metal of Honor, Child of Sin, and Come Beat the Band, this band had so much potential. The release just wasn't promoted properly and the band never really hit it big like they should have. They've released a couple CDs since then and play live shows every once in a while.
1. Guns and Roses - Appetite for Destruction: Let me start off by saying that I can't even listen to this CD anymore. It's been so overplayed on the radio and MTV (when MTV used to play music). But when this came out, I couldn't get enough of it. The big discussion was whether Axl's voice sounded better on a song like It's So Easy and Mr. Brownstone or Welcome to the Jungle and Nightrain. Didn't matter though because every song was amazing. And it took about a year for this CD to become huge so we were able to see the band play at a 1000 seat venue. They put on a great live show and even went on on time. Too bad they just couldn't get along off the stage.
W.A.S.P. - S/T
TKO - I Wanna Fight
Killer Dwarfs - Big Deal
Tesla - Mechanical Resonance
Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force - Marching Out
Craig A. Neal runs the web site [http://www.metalfromthe80s.com] which is dedicated to the best hard rock, heavy metal, and hair bands of the 80s.
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