Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees: Hair Metal Bands

Rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-sunsetIt’s hard to believe it but we’re only roughly 4-6 weeks until the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces the 2015 induction nominees. As I mentioned in my review of last month’s Tesla concert (read it here), they’ve been around for 27+ years. They, and pretty much all of the hair bands, are now eligible for induction. Given that none have gone in yet (I don’t consider Guns and Roses to be a hair metal band) and that they put in Nirvana last year, I hope they don’t plan on skipping this group of bands. Although, given how long they made Alice Cooper, Kiss and Rush wait, it may be a while before we see them rightly inducted.

Love them or hate them, they are significant in rock history. Beyond some great music and creating the fashion of the day, they were plastered all over MTV in their heyday when they actually focused on music. It was these screaming electric guitar bands that made Unplugged cool (given the idea was born through a Bon Jovi VMA performance and Tesla’s Five Man Acoustical Jam – if you believe the legends) before epic artists like Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney performed on the show.

Like any era in rock, there are the great bands and the horrible ones. Here are my thoughts on who should and shouldn’t make it into the Rock Hall.

Should already be in:

bon jovi wantedBon Jovi – They were hands down the biggest band during the hair metal era. The fact that they’ve gone on to be even bigger now than they were then only solidifies the fact that they should be inducted. They led the charge and when they needed to adapt, they did successfully.


def leppardDef Leppard – This band has never given up. Even through personnel changes, their guitarist passing away and their drummer losing an arm, Def Leppard has continued to rock on. Through the strength of Pyromania and the hugeness that is Hysteria, their status is cemented in rock history. Their longevity is a testament to the staying power of their hits. One side note: do you induct Mutt Lange with the band? I would.

No brainers:

motley crueMotley Crue – I’ll be honest. Based solely on music, I don’t think I put Motley Crue in. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got some good songs, but it’s been a long time since there was a Motley Crue conversation that focused only on their music. That’s not a knock on them and, luckily, the Rock Hall loves the drama and showmanship that Motley Crue delivers constantly. More style than substance, it suits them well and catapulted them to the status that they enjoy today.

full bandTesla – There aren’t enough people arguing for Tesla to be inducted yet. So, I’m going to start it because they may just be the best true band to come out of the era. Their timing may hurt them a bit because other than their long hair, they’re not really a hair metal band. They’re simply a kick ass, down and dirty rock band that continues to put out incredible music and constantly tour. It’s time they start to get the recognition they deserve.

whitesnakeWhitesnake – A gritty rock and blues band that is wrongly more remembered for Tawny Kitaen sprawled out on a car than for their music. It doesn’t help that David Coverdale changes the band with almost every CD. He’s played with some great guitarists including John Sykes, Adrian Vandenburg, Steve Vai, Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich. They continue to tour and make music. In fact, their last couple of releases have been easily their strongest since 1987’s self titled CD.

poisonPoison – Maybe the best example of the hair metal era. They combined everything that people love about the hair bands with the excesses that signaled the focus was more on their image than their music. They did have some good songs…actually improving ten fold when they replaced CC Deville with Richie Kotzen and Blues Saraceno. They’ve since reunited with CC and have carried on the full embodiment of all that is hair metal.

Borderline, but probably not:

skid rowSkid Row – With Sebastian Bach, they were one of the best bands to come out during the era. Without Sebastian Bach, they somehow continue to make music that no one pays any attention to…including me. It’s been said for years that a reunion tour could be the biggest tour anywhere…with the exception of a true Guns and Roses reunion. Unfortunately, it’ll likely never happen and Skid Row will continue to crush any chances they have of being relevant.

rattRatt – Granted with the success of “Round and Round” and Out of the Cellar, they helped lead the hair metal charge. However, while I like their songs, they don’t seem to have the depth of the better bands of their day. Good for nostalgia, but I don’t see them getting in.


cinderellaCinderella –
Another band that was just a great hard rock/blues band. See them live and you’ll see past their hair metal image. Unfortunately, Tom Keifer had very serious issues with his voice that took years to recover from. They continue to tour on and off now, but I don’t know if they’ll be taken seriously enough to make it in.


Not Gonna Happen:

warrantWarrant – Even with Jani Lane being from Cleveland, they’re not getting the support. It’s a shame because he was a very good songwriter. It also doesn’t help that while the original band had big hits, the musicality actually got better after replacing both original guitarists. Eventually, a full blown reunion was cut short when Lane’s substance abuse got him thrown out of the band. Similar to Skid Row, they continue to tour with a new singer…and few care.


Winger –
Beavis and Butthead ruined any chance of Winger being taken seriously for just about anything…enough said.



Well, there you have it. My thoughts on the hair metal chances for the Rock Hall. I know, I know. There are a ton of bands I didn’t message…Extreme, Kix, Wasp, LA Guns…we can go on and on. I’ve got to cut it off somewhere though. The only other band I’ll mention is The Scorpions. They saw huge success in the ’80’s, but they actually started out in the ’70’s, so I don’t consider them a hair band. But, they should definitely be in there already.

What do you think? Am I right on? Full of crap? Tell me who you want to see in. That’s the fun of these discussions! I look forward to hearing from you.

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  1. Tesla still kickin ass 30 plus years later. Just saw them again this summer and they are still as strong as ever. I agree they will likely never be nominated which would follow along with their whole career which was always being overshadowed. But they have stayed true to themselves and always pit out quality in your face hard rock. And live they are top notch

  2. Cinderella FTW !!! Ive seen them 3 times never gets old!!!! also met Keifer… great guitarist and all around person

  3. I just visited the Hall this summer and took my 17 year old son. What a great visit but bummed to learn “my music” was basically blackballed. I was appalled to learn of 4 groups that were not in the Hall (3 of which are mentioned in this blog). The fact that Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, and Journey are not in strips the Hall of credibility for recognizing musicians that shaped generations of music lovers. I have worked with teenagers for over 25 years and when living on a prayer, pour some sugar on me, and don’t stop believing are played the building erupts (blacks, whites, and hispanics). These groups and their songs are timeless and should be in the Hall.

    • The only 3 that will ever get in are Bon Jovi Deff Leppard and Motley Crue(Probally last even though they really invented the Genra) You forgot Dokken & Twisted Sister & Quiet Riot there in that Ratt/Cinderella level & Helped influence many of the later 80s bands! Green day Is in the Hall and Def Leppard is not?? What a Joke!

      • Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Motley Crue were the 3 I mentioned due to their overall success in the number of their album sales. There are others that deserve consideration such as Cinderella, White Snake, and Skid Row but if 3 groups that were huge cannot get a vote then the 2nd tier won’t even be considered.
        Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, and Motley really gave a voice to this genre and deserve a vote, but to ban nominations due to “shallowness” is ridiculous and shows the Hall’s intolerance of all genres.

  4. what about van halen ? or ozzy osboune
    they started the hair metal before any of the bands.

    • Van Halen was inducted in 2007.
      Ozzy was inducted as a member of Black Sabbath in 2006.

      • Tesla needs to be in there … I just a figured out who they were when a friend of mine posted them doing Thank you , and I absolutely fell in love w then .. Took my iPad to show my best friend and she said that led Zeppelin , I said no it Tesla , I had no idea , then I started looking on you tube at old videos and remember hearing all these songs … I’m 52 … The sincerity of Jeff keith and really all of them blew me away … Absolutely yanked my heart out for keeps .. All of them are really gifted and true masters of their art .. But Jeff Keith oh my goodness! You just can not fake the realness of him performing … They deserve it . I respect that they are still original band members too … So my friend Max Baker says … Good luck Tesla , and Jeff keith you are a doll , I love you guys and save that goodness for your self is so perfect ! Love Angela kaderabek , okc.

        • I just realized all that Tesla the Band has done when I saw the Thank you video about a year ago … They rock , and the classical guitar on Love will find a way is beautiful .. I cry just watching them , I never seen them live , I missed a huge opportunity recently in Durant Ok. And received picture from friends that were there Coop. And Baker of course but I feel it in my heart they need to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

  5. Thanks for reading and for the comments. I wrote it from the perspective of what I think could happen, not on what I personally would do. I agree that Cinderella should go in. They’re one of the truly talented bands of the era and are very much underrated. As for Slaughter, sorry, but I put them in the Winger/Warrant group. What did they win a grammy for? I couldn’t find any reference to them winning one on Google.

    • Would like to see some love for WASP, Stryper, Motley Crue and Whitesnake! Each of these bands brought alot to the table. Crue ruled the 80s and are still going strong today! Whitesnake had incredible lineups and monster songs and videos!

  6. Hello! The Grammy Award winning Band SLAUGHTER!!!!!!

  7. Cinderella should definitely be inducted into the Hall of Fame! Their music has moved and touched so many people!

    • Def Leppard is number one on my list! Just an incredible band with a ton of personality!! Great albums, songs , tours videos! They melted alot of faces and were one of the elite bands of the great 80s decade! Will never forget Pyromania and the monster songs! The Hysteria tour in the round and going to Wheeling to see them after seeing them in Pgh! Just a great , great band!!

  8. Love all these bands..but Cinderella is my best choice!!!

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