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Glam Metal 101

Love it or hate it, it's here to stay


Glam Metal 101

Queen's Brian May (center) joins Def Leppard at the 'VH1 Rock Honors' show in 2006.

Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Glam Metal, Sleaze, Hair Metal, Pop Metal. Call it what you will, it's probably the most derided, but one of the most popular forms of rock.

This is what you have to do if you want to join the glam metal club:

1. Grow your hair long, bend over so it touches the ground, apply a whole can of hair spray. Then stand up.

2. Make your stage garb out of scraps of denim and leather, mesh stockings and spandex

3. Watch Spinal Tap and don't get it

4. Take all the good bits out of metal and replace them with pop choruses

While glam metal artists took their lead from the New York Dolls, Marc Bolan and The Sweet, the first true glam metal band was probably the Finnish band, Hanoi Rocks in the early 80s.

In the U.S. the movement started on the Sunset Strip in los Angeles, thanks to Motley Crue. The first British glam metal artist was probably Wrathchild, who have faded into obscurity.

One of the reasons for the rise of glam was the development of MTV, making rock a more visual genre and therefore spawning outlandish looks. The unlikely massive success of KISS and Alice Cooper was also crucial.

By 1983, MTV and the radio airwaves were awash with glam: Cinderella, Warrant, Twisted Sister, Def Leppard all striking a blow for hard rock fans everywhere. Bon Jovi and Europe were to follow a couple of years later, as where a second wave of Sunset Strip bands, Poison, Faster Pussycat and LA Guns.

Decadence on the road was another core ingredient: (see the book Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal for details)

Sleaze is a sub-genre of glam metal, headed up by Guns N'Roses in the early years, and returning with Buckcherry, Vains of Genna, the Darkness and many more today.

For the most part, though, Glam Metal was killed off by Grunge in the early 90s.

Top 10 Glam Metal Tracks

1. "We're Not Gonna Take It" - Twisted Sister

2. "Kick Start My Heart" - Motley Crue

3. "What You Give" - Tesla

4. "Shake Me" - Cinderella

5. "DRFSR" - Warrant

6. "Fastback 69" - Buckcherry

7. "She's Only 17" - Winger

8. "Dream Warrior" - Dokken

9. "Photograph" - Def Leppard

10. "Shut Up Baby I Love You" - Skid Row

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