Most Underrated Hair Bands of All Time

Leather, spandex, acid washed jeans, and the scent of Aqua Net will always bring us back to our favorite decade, the hedonistic 1980's. And to the average person, this will evoke the canon of hair bands: Poison, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi.

But if you're me, or any person who sewed patches on your jean jacket, copied your favorite songs off the radio on to a mix tape, or owned your favorite album on vinyl, you will remember that there were dozens of hair bands. Yes, some of them were bad and came towards the end of the decade and into the late 90's, churned out by record labels to make a quick buck. However, the most underrated hair bands of all time maybe weren't as commercially successful or didn't quite fit into the hair band mold but got thrown in there anyway.

So here's my list of the most underrated Hair Bands and why, as well as my favorite song by them.


Like many bands that I loved, Cinderella started out more hair band (just look at Eric Brittingham for proof) and evolved into a more blues-rock style that's closer to Aerosmith than Poison. Another awesome New Jersey band with a lead singer with a voice unlike any I've ever heard (Tom Kiefer.) This band is one of the few that continues to rock hard into the new millennium and is still one of the best live bands I've ever seen.

They're probably best known for their upbeat songs like "Shake Me" and "Gypsy Road" and their ultimate power ballad "Don't Know What You've Got (Til It's Gone)" but I'd have to argue their best songs are "Shelter Me", "Coming Home", and "Heartbreak Station."

I had to go with "Heartbreak Station" because someone named thesawgrassraven commented on their YouTube video and made this devastatingly heartbreaking comment "I keep hoping I'll wake up and it'll be 1987 again." Trust me, man, me too.


Tesla didn't have the pretty-boy looks of most hair bands even though they opened for seminal bands of the genre like Motley Crue and Poison. But my god, did they have the musical talent that many (admittedly) lacked. Their cover of Five Man Electrical Band's "Signs" brought something new to a song about the prejudice none of us can escape. (And threw in a few lines about having long hair and rebelling against authority.) Their ultimate power ballad "Love Song" is both epic and awesome. Songs like "The Way It Is" and "What You Give" were unmatched by their peers. And best of all, Tesla continues to make new music which is both relevant and amazing.

Lita Ford

I am pretty sure I still wish I could be Lita Ford. While not technically a "band", although she did have one, Lita is too amazing not to include. She's best known for "Kiss Me Deadly" which not only kicks ass but features the line, "I didn't get laid, I got in a fight" which is too awesome for words. Lita was one of the few ladies who could stand her own in a haze of hair bands. Her duet with Ozzy Osbourne "Close My Eyes Forever" is also one of the canonical power ballads of the era, but her best song is without a doubt "Playin' With Fire".


Between "Up All Night" being my teenage anthem, "The Wild Life" being my college anthem, and Blas Elias's hair, how could I not include Slaughter on this list? They were from Las Vegas, Sin City - which is sort of the brother city of the decade of decadence, Los Angeles.

Slaughter could be tender with their power ballad "Fly To The Angels", and, man could they rock. And come on, Mark Slaughter is so much cuter than that guy with the red hair from Firehouse.

Yeah they could be cheesy, they could put an emphasis on hair over musical talent, but is that really so wrong?

Honorable mentions go to these amazing but forgotten songs:
~ Killer Dwarfs - "Doesn't Matter"
~ London Quireboys - "7 O'Clock"
~ Steelheart ~ "I'll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)"
~ Nelson - "(Can't Live Without Your) Love & Affection"
~ Danger Danger ~ "Bang Bang"

This is the kind of music video that makes me believe in music again...especially because it's from my favorite year in all of music history 1989!


Yankee Talk said…
Interesting stuff Muffin. Some of these bands and songs come on Pandora sometimes. I usually leave them on :)