Top 25 Hard Rock Albums Of The '80s

For this week's Ranked!, we decided to rank our 25 favorite glam/hair band/hard rock albums from the 1980s. See if your favorite made our list!

Quiet Riot, Metal Health
25. Aerosmith, Pump
24. Cinderella, Night Songs
23. L.A. Guns, Cocked & Loaded
22. Lita Ford, Lita
21. Junkyard, Junkyard
20. Motley Crue, Theater Of Pain
19. Hanoi Rocks, Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks
18. KISS, Unmasked
17. Faster Pussycat, Faster Pussycat
16. Twisted Sister, Stay Hungry
15. Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard Of Ozz
14. Skid Row, Skid Row
13. Def Leppard, Pyromania
12. Quiet Riot, Metal Health
11. AC/DC, Back In Black
10. Motley Crue, Dr. Feelgood
9. Whitesnake, Whitesnake
8. Motley Crue, Girls, Girls, Girls
7. Def Leppard, Hysteria
6. Poison, Open Up And Say... Ahh!

5. Ratt, Out Of The Cellar
I still remember going to a local restaurant/bar with my mom, aunt, and brother for lunch and discovering a machine that played something called videos. We were enthralled. We watched Herbie Hancock and ZZ Top in awe. When MTV came out, I could hardly believe how cool it was. It must have been a few years after MTV debuted before we had cable at my house, because one of the first few videos and songs that I remember watching on MTV is Ratt's "Round And Round" from their album Out Of The Cellar. If you're doing any sort of assessment of the best (and earliest) hair/glam rock bands, you pretty much have to include Ratt.

Sure, when I listen to the album **cough cough** years later (I'm not old... get off my lawn!) most of the tracks sound like the same song played slightly differently (by guys with lovely long locks), but I suppose that was part of establishing your "sound." Yeah. Has to be that.

Here's what I know for sure: when I hear the songs from this album, I'm transported back to the time that MTV was still new and cool, we wore horrible clothes that should never ever be worn again, and I had to have been just a fetus. (I'm not old... get off my lawn!) --Heather

4. Van Halen, 1984
The highlight of the '80s for me was, without a doubt, being part of the golden age of video games. In high school and college, a major chunk of my social life was spent hanging out in the video arcades. There were a half-dozen or so in my general area, and I spent a lot of time in all of them. One of the favorite hangouts for my friends and me was a restaurant/bar/arcade called Gadgets. It was close to where we worked, so a lot of Friday and Saturday nights after we clocked out we'd head over there and spend hours pumping tokens into the games.

Something that made Gadgets stand out was that they had a laserdisc video jukebox. It was something that I had never seen before (and have only seen one time since, at an arcade auction). We were fascinated with that thing. Music videos (these things they used to play on MTV back in the day) were still pretty new, and the ability to pick and choose which ones we saw was a pretty big deal, so we all pitched in and cued up a bunch of our favorite songs before we hit the games. They had all of the latest and greatest bands of the day represented, and our selections varied from visit to visit... except for one song.

"Hot for Teacher."

To a bunch of video game geeks in their late teens, that video was nothing short of awesome (none of us had ever had a teacher like the one in the video), and we just couldn't get enough. It was because of that video jukebox, and that video in particular, that I added my first Van Halen album to my collection.

Maybe it's that sense of nostalgia and the memory of that video, but I have always considered 1984 one of Van Halen's best. I was only casually interested in the band before 1984 and like so many of the classic rock bands--including The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Yes--it was my exposure to their music in the '80s that made me a lifelong fan. --Dave

3. Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet
Once upon a time, not so long ago...

Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet catapulted the boys from New Jersey from barely knowns to Uber-Mega-Superstars, spending eight weeks at #1 and selling an impressive 28 million copies worldwide. Propelled by number one hits "You Give Love A Bad Name" and "Livin' On A Prayer," the unlikely western-inspired "Wanted Dead Or Alive," and the heart-tugging '80s prom theme staple "Never Say Goodbye," Slippery When Wet was an album every teenaged girl - and whether they want to admit it or not, most of the boys - had in their collection. And thanks to their movie star good looks, posters of the band in their tight jeans and frosted hair became de rigueur for any self-respecting teen's bedroom walls. I mean let's face it, Jon Bon Jovi was* a stone-cold fox. Who didn't want to stare at all that sexiness while listening to the wah-wah of Richie Sambora's talkbox?

All heterosexual men can put their hands down. You know what I'm trying to get at.

But popularity aside, any true lover of Hard Rock will question whether Slippery When Wet really belongs in that category and not, say, in the Pop category. I consider myself a hard rock aficionado and I say, who the hell cares? Bon Jovi was languishing in relative obscurity even after two charting albums, the self-titled Bon Jovi and 7800 Fahrenheit, until hooking up with songwriter Desmond Child to write some of the most famous rock songs to date. And anyone who was lucky enough to see one of their live shows (Like, um, me. Three times.) could tell you Bon Jovi rocked an arena hard.

Regardless, let's give Jon and the boys some credit, Slippery When Wet earned its place in the Hard Rock Hall Of Fame. Not that they need our blessing; the album went not just Platinum but Diamond. Not too shabby. I hope they thanked Tommy and Gina with a nice gift. Maybe a fruit basket or something.

*For the record, Jon Bon Jovi is still a fox. Just had to clarify. --Tania

2. Poison, Look What the Cat Dragged In
In junior high there were two kinds of girls at my school: the girls who were into New Kids On The Block and the girls who were into Poison. I was a Poison girl. Why? Bret Michaels. C.C. DeVille. Rikki Rockett. The bassist. (Sorry Bobby Dall, I totally blanked on your name.) They had high cheekbones, sexy bandanas, were funny and raunchy, and had great hair - and very, very tight pants.

Look What The Cat Dragged In was Poison's debut album, and it is Poison at their most glam. It also has some insanely catchy tunes. "I Want Action" still gets stuck in my head from time to time. "Talk Dirty To Me" is classic hair metal rock. "I Won't Forget You" is the kind of 1980s power ballad that I still totally love, and I'm not ashamed to admit that.

And Bret Michaels is still the man - this dude should be dead. He's been through it all - a brain hemorrhage, a stroke, appendicitis, diabetes, and a hole in his heart, but he's still rocking and rolling and reality TV starring. And he can still rock the bandana like nobody's business. Guns N' Roses may have Slash and Axl, but Poison has the immortal (zombie?) Bret Michaels. Point to Poison. (Fun fact: Slash auditioned for Poison back in the day and made it to the finals, but C. C. DeVille beat him out at the end.) --Archphoenix

1. Guns N' Roses, Appetite For Destruction
When you heard the opening riff to "Welcome To The Jungle," you knew Appetite For Destruction was a new kind of beast poised to kick your ass.

This cassette was the soundtrack to my senior year in high school except at prom, like Tania pointed out above, where Bon Jovi's "Never Say Goodbye" reigned supreme. It was rebellion blasting out your car speakers. We knew every word and sang along as we hung out in parking lots, drinking, dumb enough to get in trouble, but smart enough to stay out of real trouble.

The pictures painted in Appetite's lyrics were of a world so foreign, it may as well have been written in ancient Greek. Our lives were more "Paradise City" then "Jungle." The girls we hung with were straight out of "Sweet Child O' Mine" and many of us never met a woman like the one in "My Michelle," but that doesn't mean we couldn't relate. Or at least want to relate and try our damndest to know and try and feel like Axl.

For some of us who came of age in the late '80s, Axl was our God and Appetite, our Bible. We have grown up since then, traded our black concert tees for ties, and have come to terms with the fact that Axl is pretty much a world class prick. But that doesn't mean we don't listen to Appetite on our iPods and, through its depraved lyrics, have it take us back to a simpler time. --Chag

We showed you ours, now show us yours! What's your favorite hard rock/glam/hair band album of the 1980s?


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