Actually, I feel pretty good about my picks for my Top 25, though the order can be debated ad nauseum. But who cares?!?! This is MY blog, so I’m sticking to it! [My apologies to the great Colin Quinn for stealing his Weekend Update sign-off!]. And, even though I found the majority of the artists of this genre repugnant, when you look at it as a singles genre, much like bubblegum music or the majority of new wave, then it becomes quite fun. So, for every lame hit by White Lion or FireHouse, there’s a gem by Autograph or Lita Ford. So, let’s get this party started!
20. “Girls, Girls, Girls” – Mötley Crüe. This ode to strippers everywhere happens to be one of the first songs that my year-old granddaughter “danced” to in her highchair. It has me a bit concerned, but then her daddy asked Santa for a Bon Jovi tape at age two-and-a-half, getting that out of his system early.
19. “Just like Paradise” – David Lee Roth. This is Diamond Dave’s finest moment as a solo artist, even though he is teetering on Huey Lewis turf.
18. “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” – Great White. This is an instance when the cover is actually better than the original, even when it’s an Ian Hunter song.
17. “Panama” – Van Halen. Honestly, Van Halen just stumbled upon this sound in the mid-Eighties, much like REO Speedwagon stumbled upon their arena rock classic Hi Infidelity. But, “Panama” is just so much damned fun!
16. “No One like You” – Scorpions. I saw Scorpions in 1979 opening for Ted Nugent and AC/DC. I thought they were a joke, but they got better and recorded this classic three years later.
15. “Welcome to the Jungle” – Guns N’ Roses. Okay, it’s a little unfair to lump GNR with the Hair Metal bands since they were so much more. But, then, you remember how big their hair was in those early videos, and you just have to throw them in the countdown.
14. “Photograph” – Def Leppard. One of the two songs that kicked this whole thing off on MTV. It’s a great pop song, even if you can find the influences in the verses (Styx), chorus (Journey) and middle-eight (Judas Priest). But, they did it so well.
13. “Sister Christian” – Night Ranger. Weeks before I met my wife, I was asked by Ball State’s quarterback to take his girlfriend out with some friends and “show her a good time.” Now, I was pretty good friends with him and didn’t want my skinny butt kicked by him, but I did slow dance with her to this song at a club. That might have be a high point for me dancing with a girl who looked like her. I was out of my league. Now, I still wonder how I got my wife, for that matter.
12. “Kiss Me Deadly” – Lita Ford. Ford is an all-timer in my book since she had been a member of The Runaways. Then, she released this song with one of the greatest opening lines in rock history, “Went to party Friday night, Didn’t get laid, Got in a fight.” What?!?! Yep, she sang that.
11. “Wanted Dead or Alive” – Bon Jovi. The one time Bon Jovi was not pandering to the female audience. Too bad they couldn’t write more songs like this one.
10. “Rock of Ages” – Def Leppard. This song made me re-evaluate my initial opinion of the band. I loved that they counted down in Swedish or Norwegian or whatever language it was just to provoke adults into thinking it was a backmasked Satanic message.
9. “Livin’ on a Prayer” – Bon Jovi. I rank this one higher than “Dead or Alive” only because of the memory I have of my older son, with his little play guitar around his body singing into the handle of his Fisher Price vacuum cleaner as if it were a microphone, singing this song and reaching out to his mom as he sang “Take my hand we’ll make it I swear!” But, best of all, he thought the lyrics were, “Shot through the heart and your toupee.” Classic!
8. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake. The band with the most racist AND sexist name in history actually created a great power ballad. And, I didn’t need to see Tawny Kittaen writhing on the hood of a car to this song was pretty good. But, the visual was pretty provocative indeed.
7. “Look That Kill” – Mötley Crüe. Remember when the Crüe began as a lightweight KISS? Expect this song rocked!
6. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Twisted Sister. Ah, this takes me back to the days of the PMRC. Come on people! The video was a cartoon come to life. People can be so stupid! Still, it’s a great song about teen rebellion, no matter how far the band’s tongues were in their middle-aged cheeks.
5. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot. This song just took off like a Roman candle on the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, few knew the song was a Slade cover here in the States. But, I knew it was a hit the first time I heard it. Unfortunately, it opened the floodgates for every other two-bit Sunset Boulevard hair band to get signed and release some pretty crappy music.
4. “Jump” – Van Halen. I don’t think this song has even aged over the years, even if I have heard it nearly every day for 35 years now.
3. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses. Arguably, the guitar riff of the Eighties is also one of the greatest songs ever. Nuff said.
2. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” – Def Leppard. Once again, my older son came to the rescue of this song for me. Every week day, my wife would leave home for her aerobics class. And, every day, right before Remote Control came on MTV, it seemed like this video was playing. One day, he turned to me and said, “Dad! Here’s our song!” Still makes me smile today.
1. “Talk Dirty to Me” – Poison. I know! I badmouth Poison all the time! But, for one shining moment, they created the best Cheap Trick song since “She’s Tight,” containing all the sexual innuendo that made Cheap Trick’s songs so great. Plus, Poison sounded an awful like Trick. Still, this is hair metal’s finest moment, for what it’s worth.