Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Glam Metal 101: Cock-Rock for the Musically Challenged

Glam Metal, Sleaze, Hair Metal, Pop Metal, call it what you will, but it’s probably the most derided, but one of the most popular forms of rock in the 1980’s and early 90’s.
This is what you have to do if you want to join the club:

1. Grow your hair long, bend over so it touches the ground, apply a whole can of hair spray. Then stand up.

2. Make your stage uniform out of scraps of denim and leather, mesh stockings and spandex

3. Watch Spinal Tap and don’t get it

4. Take all the good bits out of metal and replace them with pop choruses

While glam-metal artists took their leads from the New York Dolls, Marc Bolan and the Sweet, the first true glam metal act was probably the Finnish band, Hanoi Rocks in the early 80’s.
In America the movement started at the Sunset Strip, LA, thanks to Motley Crue.
The first British glam-metal artist of the 80’s was probably Wrathchild, who have faded into obscurity.

One of the reasons for the rise of Glam was the development of MTV, making rock a more visual genre and therefore spawning outlandish looks.
By 1983 MTV and the radiowaves were awash with glam: Cinderella, Warrant, Twisted Sister, Def Leppard all striking a blow for hard rock fans everywhere.
Bon Jovi and Europe where to follow a couple of years later, as were a second wave of Sunset Strip bands, Poison (maybe the worst), Faster Pussycat and LA Guns

Decadence on the road was another core ingredient: (see the Book Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal for details)

“Sleaze” is a sub-category of Glam, headed up by Guns N’ Roses in the late 80’s and returning with Buckcherry, Vains of Genna, the Darkness and many more in the 00’s.

For the most part, though, Glam Metal was killed off by Grunge in the early 90’s.

Here’s Rock Revival’s Top Ten tracks

1. We’re Not Gonna Take It: Twisted Sister
2. Kick Start My Heart: Motley Crue
3. What You Give: Tesla
4. Shake Me: Cinderella
5. DRFSR: Warrant
6. Fastback 69: Buckcherry
7. She’s Only 17: Winger
8. Dream Warrior: Dokken
9. Photograph: Def Leppard
10. Shut Up Baby I Love You: Skid Row

Image: Courtesy Atlantic

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