The 10 best hair bands of the 1980’s had big hair and even bigger hits. Often referred to as “posers” because they seemed to care more about their image than the music, hair bands came onto the music scene in the 1980’s and took MTV by storm. Dressed in leather, spandex, and boots, these bands preened and posed, giving sultry looks right into the camera. The music they played was a mix of rock and roll and heavy metal-a very light"pop" metal. Because the musicians had long, flowing hair moussed and hair sprayed to the heavens, they became known as “hair bands”.
Here are ten of the best hair bands of the 1980’s.
Kip Winger and company hit the music scene in 1988 with the smash hit Madelaine. His smoldering good looks were perfect for music video. Along with band mates Reb Beach, Rod Morgenstern and John Roth, they toured the world with artists like ZZ Top. and heated up the charts from 1988-1994. They had several successful reunion tours during the 1990’s with a slightly changed line up, and released a new CD in November 2009 called Karma. This musical effort garnered Winger a list on the top 10 best album list of almost every rock website and magazine.
Led by Dave Coverdale of Deep Purple fame, Whitesnake actually got it’s start in 1977. The band’s line-up would change over the years, and widespread notoriety would elude them until 1987, when they released Whitesnake. Some hard core fans felt was a sell-out to the MTV crowd. Tawny Kitaen, who would later marry and divorce Coverdale, pranced about wearing very little in these memorable videos. As band’s are known to do, they broke up and reformed several times over the years. In 2011, Whitesnake released Forevermore and they once again toured the world. 
Lead singer Tom Kiefer had a wide vocal range-from high pitch to low and raspy. The blues inspired rock and roll songs they played made these Philly boys-Eric Brittingham, Jeff LaBar, and Fred Coury-a force to be reckoned with. They were discovered by Jon Bon Jovi and they released their platinum selling first album, Night Songs, in the summer of 1986.
Like many of the other top ten 80’s hair bands, Cinderella broke up, reunited, toured and repeated the process in the 2000’s. They are still touring and playing their many hits.
Brett Michaels, C.C. DeVille, Rikki Rocket, and Bobby Dall were Poison-a glam rock band from California. They wore more makeup than most women, and they looked good in it, too! Their monster hit, Talk Dirty to Me, from their smash album Look What the Cat Dragged In, helped them rise to the top of the hair band heap in 1986. They had several hit albums and popular MTV videos. Infighting, constant touring, and DeVille’s drug addiction eventually brought the band down and they never reached the same height of popularity again, even with new members.
Lead singer Stephen Percy founded Ratt back in 1977. Various line ups over the years eventually evolved into the group that hit the charts in 1984 with platinum selling Out of the Cellar. A cameo by Milton Berle in the Round and Round video was a hit with the MTV crowd. Ratt’s had consecutive four top ten albums, followed by a fifth album entitled Detonator, released in 1990. Sales were low and in 1992, the band went on hiatus. Different versions of the band went on and off tour in subsequent years. There was talk of a possible reunion and tour in 2012.
Next to Lita Ford, Vixen was the female top 10 hair band of the 1980’s. Finally, a musical group with hair longer than the guys! Vixen got it’s start in Minnesota with founder and guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, and eventually went to Los Angeles in the 1980’s. With band mates Jenna Sanz-Agero on lead vocals, Lynn Louise Lowrey on bass and Kat Kraft on drums, Vixen released two well received albums. They broke up in 1991, released a live album in 2005, and in 2012 they are planning a new tour.
Vocalist Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee have been together for 30 years, a rare thing in the music industry for any music genre. They are best known for their 1980’s MTV videos for Dr. Feelgood, Girls, Girls, Girls, and Home Sweet Home. While they have had their share of disagreements and personal troubles, Motley Crue continues to tour. Their fans cannot get enough of this top 10 1980’s hair bands.
This Jersey based band had it’s start in 1986. Lead singer Sebastian Bach had an extremely powerful voice that took the band to the top of the charts in 1989 with it’s self-titled platinum debut album, which contained the hits I’ll Remember You and 18 and Life.
Their second album, Slave to the Grind, debuted at the number one spot in 1991, but grunge had already started to overtake the radio airwaves. In 1992 they took a break and returned in 1995 with another album that charted, but received little airplay.
The band called it quits after that and reformed in the early 2000’s without Bach.
Jani Lane, Erik Turner, Joey Allen, Jerry Dixon, and Steven Sweet were Warrant, one of the top 10 hair bands of the 1980‘s. They began their career in 1984 in Los Angeles, and the final line up of the band signed with Columbia Records in January 1988. Their first album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich has three top ten hits, among them the power ballads Sometimes She Cries, Heaven, and their first smash hit, Down Boys.
Warrant’s second album, Cherry Pie, topped the charts at number two. Success would not follow a third time, as grunge had become the new favorite flavor of radio music. The band split, and several attempts at reconciliation failed. Jani Lane died of an apparent suicide in August 2011.
I saved my personal favorite-and best band-for last. Bon Jovi has done what most of the other top 10 hair bands have not-stayed together and rocked on for close to thirty years. Their line up has remained virtually unchanged since their 1984 self-titled debut album. Guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboard player David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres and Jon have been together for the whole ride. Bassist Alec John Such left the band in 1995 and was replaced by Hugh McDonald, who has played with Bon Jovi ever since.
Bon Jovi took breaks over the years to work on individual projects, like Broadway shows and movies, but always reformed and came back better with each release. Their style of music changed with the times, and today they continue to tour to sold out arenas around the world. This is why I believe they are the top 10 hair band of the 1980’s and of all time!