The ‘80s were a simpler time, when hair was high, rock was loud, clothes were minimal and ladies were plentiful. Nobody cared how much rain fell in Seattle and life was just one long party. At least that how the world looked viewed through the medium of hair metal videos. Here are 10 classics…
10) Bulletboys - Smooth Up In Ya (1988)
Disappointing on two counts. There’s very little hairspray being used on this 1988 video from LA’s next best thing that never was. And there are no identikit strippers cut into the ‘live in the studio’ performance. Never mind. Bulletboys more than make up for it, though, with the most insane amount of girly man posing ever seen on a soundstage. Four boys incessantly prancing around like little show ponies for four and a half minutes is clearly a visual must.
9) Danger Danger - Naughty Naughty (1989)
Starting with a sexy woman silhouetted in a window and a frankly creepily distorted voice encouraging her to “get naughty”, things only get more preposterous from thereon in. Sounding like Foreigner on Viagra, the band rocks out while vocalist Ted Poley reassuringly says, “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you.” He also lets the object of his affections know “That dress you’re wearing, makes you look so cute, but girl you’d look better, in your birthday suit.” Smooth.
8) Kiss - (You Make Me) Rock Hard (1988)
Given that (You Make Me) Rock Hard comes in at approximately number 312 in the list of greatest ever Kiss songs, you could easily be forgiven for not having seen this hair metal classic video. What do we learn from it? That Gene Simmons looks hilarious with or without a wig, and that Paul Stanley’s neither very good on the trapeze, nor very interested in the sexy girls in their underwear who are supposed to be making him “rock hard” here.
7) Winger - Can’t Get Enough (1990)
Sub-Jovi beefcake Kip Winger had clearly been listening to Whitesnake’s 1987 album before writing this mid-paced bump and grinder. The accompanying video features all sorts of sexy shenanigans, as a girl gets her kit off in a photo booth, while another ruins a perfectly good fruit bowl by roughly straddling her lover on top of it. Some folk have no decorum.
6) Helix - Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’ (1984)
Canadian hair metallers Helix used their video budget wisely, creating their very own ‘Third Annual Miss Rock Fantasy Rock Pageant’. This featured the band doing some unconvincing Quo-style formation boogie on a cover of a good time anthem by the band Crazy Elephant, but mainly tons of strippers and dancers doing their thing. That ‘thing’ somewhat surprisingly includes ‘smoking’ and ‘getting covered in pillow feathers’. But it takes all sorts – and who are we to judge?
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5) Britny Fox - Girl School (1988)
These Philly hair metallers didn’t waste too much time thinking about subtle video concepts. Not when there was plentiful rocking and loving to attend to. So after precisely 1.76 seconds of contemplation, the idea for Girl School was born. The end product features the Britny boys playing in front of, wait for it, a schoolroom full of girls. But here’s the twist: these girls are almost all blonde, sexy and, of course, ready to rock. And er, over 18. Obviously.
4) Nitro - Freight Train (1989)
Worth its place on the team for lead vocalist Jim Gillette’s ‘high hay bale’ hairdo alone, it’s hard to describe quite how awful Nitro’s music is. The vocals are hi-pitched hokum, the guitar solo is the sound of someone trying to tune their car radio in to a distant station, and the song’s melody is hiding under your sofa trying very hard not to be found. The video does, however, feature a four-necked guitar, which is absolutely, definitely not to be sniffed at!
3) Warrant - Cherry Pie (1990)
LA pretty boys Warrant went all out for the big MTV hit here, all muscular riffs, gang choruses and cheeky but not too dirty lyrics. The result is a classic hair metal song and video, with the band goofing around like their lives depend on it, and of course a very hot girl (in this case model Bobbie Brown) strutting her stuff throughout. Being a hair metal legend, lead singer Jani Lane only went and married her, didn’t he?! It didn’t last…
2) Mötley Crüe - Girls, Girls, Girls (1987)
In which the hair metal era’s shaggingest band reveal their intimate knowledge of all the best strip clubs the States have to offer. In a video featuring any number of long legged pole dancers, ‘da Crüe’ show that they’re very comfortable indeed in this sort of nightclub environment, especially when they can get some chubby fella to give up his prime seat by jamming a flick knife into the table he’s sitting at. Bad, bad boys.
1) Poison - Talk Dirty To Me (1986)
If you really want to know why hair metal was so big, then this is all you need. Poison’s breakout hit was based around a hoary old Eddie Cochran riff, but it was dressed up with such fun and style here that you can’t help but be sucker-punched by its charm. The band give it everything they’ve got, hamming it up for the cameras, but with enough tongue-in-cheek self-awareness to leave in the crap bits, like drummer Rikki Rockett falling off his drum stool. If ever a video made you want to be in a band…