. Old School Tees Blog: The Top 10 Hair Bands of All Time

The Top 10 Hair Bands of All Time

The 1980s are known for many different things, and rock n' roll almost tops the list.

The decade of decadence owned big hair, big voices, big sound, and was the pinnacle of rock star excess.

Some of the biggest and best rock stars of the era fall squarely into what are collectively known as "hair bands."

You've heard all the names, even if the genre might sound unfamiliar. Twisted Sister, Poison, Bon Jovi and the like rocked the decade with teased hair and glamor abundant.

There's always a debate when hair metal come up. The sunset strip produced so many bands that choosing the best always causes arguments.

That's why we're here. When you sell rock memorabilia, you tend to know your hair bands. We're counting down or picks for the top 10 hair bands of all time.

We're counting down or picks for the top 10 hair bands of all time.

Top 10 Hair Bands

#10: Warrant

Did somebody say Cherry Pie? Heavy metal rockers, Warrant, gained fame for their ballads "Heaven" and "Sometimes She Cries," but the band also knew how to shred an axe.

Coming straight out of Los Angeles' metal scene, Warrant is a shining example of big hair rising through the LA clubs to hit it big.

The Rainbow, Whiskey A GoGo and Viper Room were all part of Jani Lane and co's rise to superstardom.

Jani Lane especially was hair metal personified with a vocal range that could scream out the metal or sing you a lullaby.

#9: Cinderella

Cinderella grabs a spot on our list for rising to hair metal stardom far from the Los Angeles club scene.

In an era dominated by LA decadence, the rockers from Philly brought outside influence into the homogeneous metal scene.

The band certainly looked the part of hair metal. Flowing locks and glamor shot music videos cemented them firmly in the genre.

However, Cinderella brought an edgier sound than most hair bands. "Night Songs" was different enough to stand out and propel the Philly nobodies firmly into the MTV music video rotation.

#8: Whitesnake

Whitesnake is another band forged away from the LA club scene. The rockers got their start in England after former Deep Purple member, David Coverdale, moved towards a modern sound.

The band saw success in the early 1980s, drawing on their blues roots to establish a following. Their image then caught on enough that the Middlesbrough rockers procured an invite to the Monsters of Rock Festival in the UK.

Whitesnake's hair metal years came in the later eighties, which gave us the infamous Tawny Kitaen music video "Here I Go Again."

The band's ability to adapt wins them the number eight spot on our top 10 hair bands list.

#7 Bon Jovi

No hair metal list is complete without the inclusion of everyone's favorite rockers to hate, Bon Jovi.

Despite their, um, less than creative music, and willingness to embrace every cliche in the book, Bon Jovi ruled the eighties with the voice of an angle.

Their early hit, "Runaway" helped throw the band into superstardom. Offers to open for acts like Scorpions and Kiss started rolling in.

Big hair, a big voice, and countless screaming women help establish Bon Jovi as hair metal greats. After all, how many hair metal bands can you point to that still make music?

#6 Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister wasn't your average hair band. Oh, they had the hair, and the clothes, and even the sound, but the guys from Jersey also had agendas.

Dee Snider, the group's front man, was instrumental in fighting the PMRC's push to include warning labels on heavy metal albums.

Mr. Snider testified before the U.S. Senate in what went down as one of the most rock n' roll performances of all time.

Dee showed the world that rock n' roll was more than sex and drugs. His testimony blew away opponents with a mixture of real world experience and unexpected intelligence.

For this, and their music, Twisted Sister grabs our sixth spot.

#5 Quiet Riot

Quiet Riot marked the transition from Van Halen hard rock grit to glam rock. The LA-based rockers showed the world that big hair and metal could co-exist, which paved the way for thousands of hair metal bands to come.

The band saw early success thanks in part to lead guitarist, Randy Rhoads. Rhoads was so respected that he consistently ranks among the best axe men of all time.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck when Rhoads died in a plane crash. Quiet Riot soldiered on and eventually went on to record their hit single "Cum On Feel The Noise."

They earn our fifth spot for bridging the gap between new and old.


If Quiet Riot paved the way, RATT finished the road. The Hollywood rockers were one of the first on the scene of the early eighties sunset strip.

Their rough sound, teased hair, and propensity for leather drew in club owners and helped make The Whiskey A Go Go and The Rainbow the "it places" for hair metal.

Strong singles like "Round and Round" and "Lay It Down" helped push the hard partying band into the spotlight.

Any band named after a rodent that can also drive women crazy deserves a spot on our top 10 hair bands list.

#3 Poison

Love em' or hate em' you can't think of hair bands with picturing Brett Michaels and co. The heavy makeup-wearing rockers blazed their way into the late eighties metal scene with good looks and better ballads.

"Nothin' But A Good Time", "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", "Unskinny Bop", and the list goes on and on. The band pumped out ten top 40 singles, and six top ten singles.

Musically, they owned the late eighties charts. Socially, well, they owned the sunset strip too. Rock bands attract women, but Poison might as well have owned a brothel.

Sex, drugs and rock n' roll embodied, these hair metal rockers earn an easy spot on our top 10 hair bands list.

#2 Motley Crue

There's not much about Motley Crue that hasn't been said, but we'll repeat it all anyway. The Crue was unlike any other eighties hair band.

They embodied excess, and not only destroyed themselves, but their fans as well. A Motley Crue concert was notoriously unpredictable, but sure to include onstage debauchery of all kinds.

Albums titled, "Girls, Girls, Girls" showcased the band's love for women, while songs like "Kickstart My Heart" chronicled band member Nikki Sixx's heroin overdose.

There wasn't anything about the Crue that wasn't full throttle. Glam and excess rolled into one, the true eighties hair band.

#1 Guns N' Roses

Guns N' Roses didn't just define hair metal, they defined a generation of rock n' roll that had lost its way.

The band started from a mashup of LA hair bands, Hollywood Rose and LA Guns, before forming into the original line-up.

Vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler, would shake the foundations of rock.

Their debut album, Appetite For Destruction, took the metal world by storm.

The hard-partying rockers held glam cred with frontman pretty boy Axl Rose, and gained hard rock fans with Slash holding down the axe.

Countless singles, whiskey bottles, coke lines, women, and heroin balloons later, and Guns N' Roses had conquered rock n' roll.

Are they real glam rock? It's debatable. But they are one of the best-selling, genre defining, hard rock bands of all time. Top 10 hair bands? Top ten bands period.

Now if they could only become friendly enough to tour again...

That wraps up our list. Hopefully you enjoyed our picks, (we know you're yelling about at least one already).

Make sure to check out our store to snag some t-shirts from the bands on our top 10 hair bands list.
Until next time, keep banging your head.

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