Before the Seattle grunge movement nailed the coffin firmly shut on the bloated corpse of ‘Hair Metal/Cock Rock’, there was a golden era that came to pass, never to be repeated. This narrow niche in time between 86 & 89 produced some of the best 80’s rock we’ll never likely see, nor hear again.
Thankfully though, we still have some survivors of this era and we can be grateful for that. The reformation of GNR, new records from Alice Cooper, Def Leppard & Bon Jovi. But although going strong, neither of these bands are likely to capture that ‘lightning in a bottle’ moment like they did between the golden age of 86/89.
Back then it was a time when Motley Crue, Skid Row, GNR & Alice Cooper t-shirts were legion. Black printed tees often seen in abundance down the school corridors, & right before the Nirvana and Pearl Jam t-shirts replaced them. I can remember so clearly like it was only yesterday.
Then along came the upcoming trends of the age time which heralded in a new breed of Alt Rock and Nu Metal. These new sonic rumblings were quick to dispense with the dead wood & start a wild scramble for survival. Only the biggest arena rockers managed to adapt to newest trends & make it out of the 90’s intact.
So now in act of tribute, I’ll open up my old cassettes that haven’t been spun in a long, long time. I’ll slacken up the tape, unfold the inlay card & take a Nostalgic trip back to that glorious age to see what is was about ’em?
Heres 7 heavenly Hard Rock albums that we’ll never likely hear again.
- Bon Jovi – New Jersey.
- Skid Row – Skid Row.
- Alice Cooper – Trash.
- Def Leppard – Hysteria.
- Motley Crue – DR Feelgood.
- Aerosmith – Pump.
- Guns n Roses – Appetite For Destruction.
Bon Jovi – New Jersey.
Already massively popular from its predecessor Slippery When Wet, when the New Jersey album came out it sounded massive. The production had that slick yet powerfully raw appeal that made the guitars sound amazingly abrasive.
First track ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’ with its stadium reverb and wailing guitar set the tone for a good ole fist-pumping album that we’ll never likely hear again. Bon Jovi’s New Jersey closed the lid & captured the spirit of 80’s rock before the stripped down affair of their next album ‘Keep The Faith’.
Skid Row – Skid Row.
Favored by Bon Jovi who had given them a helping hand in early their career, this debut album was all killer and no filler. The vocal talents of Seb Bach and the gritty stories like ’18 & Life’ and ‘Youth Gone Wild’ made these accessible hard rocking earworms.
Highly commendable was the fact that their next move was to shed away the formula and come back with a darker, heavier and more complex album ‘Slave To The Grind’. I loved it, however, many fans must’ve been disappointed who bought into their previous rock radio friendly anthems.
Alice Cooper – Trash.
Tracks like ‘Poison’, ‘Trash’, ‘Bed Of Nails’, ‘House Of Fire’, ‘Spark In The Dark’, & ‘This Maniac’s In Love With You’ made this a rip-roaring rocker from beginning to end. There’s also the obligatory subtle 80’s ballad moments like ‘Only My Heart Talkin’ & ‘Hell Is Living Without You’.
Now primed ready to go on to the release of his excellent ‘Hey Stoopid’, Trash was my gateway album to A.C’s shock rock theatrics, and looking back it was a good place to start. Good to see the old Vincent Furnier is still around touring with his band, hosting a radio show and not away too busy playing golf.
Def Leppard – Hysteria.
The most closest to me this side of the Atlantic & hailing from Sheffield 25 miles north of my town, the Leps were a bygone favorite . I remember many repeated spins of ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ & ‘Armeggedon it’ . Just like GNR’s ‘Nightrain’ crossed over onto the raging ‘Out Ta Get Me’, it was a perfect coupling & a well-spun combo on my battery eating personal stereo.
This was a time when the steel city boys retained their darker, rockier moments like the excellent ‘Gods Of War’ & ‘Run Riot’. I think a large part of Def Leppard died along with the riffs of the late Steve Clark.
Motley Crue – DR Feelgood.
From the admittance to the hospital Emergency Room intro, but keeping their lyrical content set on the sexier, sleazy side of life, DR Feelgood was a sure fire hit. That Bob Rock production made every track stand well above, or at least rub shoulders with their peers. ‘Kick Start My Heart’ still sounds exciting and fresh as it did years ago. ‘Same Old Situation’, ‘She Goes Down’ never bettered.
This was prior to the ensuing break ups and the grungey self-titled ‘Motley Crue’ album with John Corabi. Now dearly departed after coming back together to say their goodbyes on the farewell tour, this record is firmly cemented in the golden years.
Aerosmith – Pump.
The oldest, the wisest and more seasoned band on the block, Aerosmith’s ‘Pump’ was the first alIum I got into. Copies of this cassette were passed around school and labeled as sounding like GNR. Ironically it was in fact, the other way round, since Aerosmith were a major influence on guitarist slash, who described the band in his biography as, ‘There was no cooler band than Aerosmith’.
It took me a while to get into ‘Pump’ with its bluesier feel and blaring horns in their material, but this was close to GNR & the album duly got its hooks into me.
Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction.
This album always reminds me of clear blue summer skies as I’d get off the school bus, head home & switch the cassette from Walkman & Hi-Fi. Then I would just CRANK this album! I just loved the segue of ‘Nightrain’ to the ‘Out Ta Get Me’ riff. Just like Los Angeles, this record sounded dangerous.
Listening to it was like being privy to those 18 certified videos your dad used to bring home from the rental shop & let you watch. A.F.D was the soundtrack to the pissed stained back alleys out of sight from a roving cop patrol prowler looking for Axl.
Well rockers, there we have it, my 7 Favorite records from the 80’s. I reckon every one of us must have that perfect moment in time when the music was firing on all cylinders, how about you?
So, got a ‘Golden Era’ in your Rock n Metal collection? Then hell fire, let me know in the comment box below o.k? Cheers!