10 More Essential Albums for Fans of 80s Hair Bands

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Aldo Nova, by Aldo Nova (1981) 

Canadian musician Aldo Nova unfortunately isn’t remembered a lot today in the U.S., though he’s still recording albums. His first album, Aldo Nova, had a hit song with “Fantasy,” but it also had several other good tunes, including “Ball and Chain” and “See the Light.” While Aldo Nova might not strictly be a hair band musician, his style of music and guitar playing was definitely a precursor of what was to come in the next few years with the hair bands.

Diver Down, by Van Halen (1982)

Van Halen started back in the 1970s, but these rockers still had a major influence over the hair bands. Not only did the David Lee Roth and gang have the hair back in the day, but Dave also sported the spandex and their songs sported the attitude. This band probably came closest to the hair band phenomenon with their album 1984, but everyone knows that album and I wanted to feature something a little different. Diver Down was the album before 1984, and it included some greats songs such as “Cathedral,” “Intruder” and the hilarious cover of the old song “Happy Trails.”

Lick it Up, by KISS (1983)

Even though KISS started back in the early 1970s, you have to include them as a hair band, at least as a glam band (if you don’t know the difference … learn). This was the band‘s first album without the trademark makeup, and it comes smack dab in the middle of the hair band craze, so I decided to include it here. Solid songs are “Lick It Up,” “Not for the Innocent” and “All Hell‘sBreakin’ Loose.”

Frontiers, by Journey (1983)

Journey is another band that’s a holdover from the 1970s, and while they’re not exactly a hair band, they had more power ballads than just about anybody from the 80s. Who can forget all the great songs on this album, such as “Send Her My Love,” “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” and “Faithfully?” If that’s not hair band music, then I don’t know what is.

Headhunter, by Krokus (1983)

Krokus was strictly more of a heavy metal band, but this 1983 album had its influences on harder-edged hair band stuff to come. If you like early 80s metal, you’ve got to give this record a listen. Songs include “Night Wolf,” “Ready to Burn” and “Eat the Rich.”

Vital Signs, by Survivor (1984)

Before this band hit it big with the song “Eye of the Tiger” for the Rocky III movie soundtrack, they were a big ballad band. Survivor was kind of a mix of hair band and pop band with all the hair but more mainstream 80s clothes, sort of like the band Asia and somewhat like The Outfield. Still, you can’t deny the power of their ballads, especially the ones on this album like “High on You,” “I Can’t Hold Back” and “The Search is Over.”

Out of the Cellar, by Ratt (1984)

Now we are deep into hair band territory. Ratt’s career didn’t have the longevity of other bands, like Motley Crue or Def Leppard, but back in the day they were big stuff. Especially with this album, the band‘s first full-length recording. “Round and Round” was the huge hit here, but other great tunes were “Wanted Man” and “The Morning After.”

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Hysteria, by Def Leppard (1987)

Def Leppard’s fourth album, Hysteria, was a big comeback recording for this band after having not put out an album since 1983‘sPyromaniaand coping with drummer Rick Allen‘s car accident in 1984 that cost him an arm. Still, these British rockers showed they had the stuff and they proved it with strong tunes like “Women,” “Animal” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” This album has produced a shift in the direction of Def Leppard as the band‘s songs were a little less metal and more radio friendly. The shift worked, however, and Def Leppard is still going strong to this day.

Faster Pussycat, by Faster Pussycat (1987)

Coming in toward the end of the 1980s, Faster Pussycat was never the most popular of hair bands, but they had their following and they knew how to rock real hard. Strong songs from this, the band‘s first album, include “Don’t Change That Song,” “Cathouse” and my favorite, “No Room for Emotion.”

Lap of Luxury, by Cheap Trick (1988)

This was a bit of an unusul album for the great Cheap Trick. For one thing, it was the band‘s most radio friendly album, and remains so to this day. Cheap Trick had always been a weird mix of rock and pop music, sometimes bordering on the edge of punk. They’d never truly been a hair band, but Lap of Luxuryis the closest they ever came to a hair band album. The big hit song here, “The Flame,” is obviously a hair band ballad. But there are other decent songs here, such as “Ghost Town” and “Space.” Worth checking out whether you are a true hair band afficianado or a fan of Cheap Trick.

Other music links

10 essential albums for fans of 80s hair bands

25 Albums that Helped Define the 80s

10 Often Overlooked Albums of the 1980s

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