History of Metal-1987 80s Hair Metal, The Big 4 and Did 80s Metal Run Out Of Gas

podcast the history of metal May 27, 2022


By 1987 the hair explosion is completely out of control. Aqua net is moving off the shelves. The boutiques on sunset strip are making, generational money and we're here to share all the nitty gritty of 1987.

We ended the 86 episode with the changing of the guard as the sunset strip bands and the east coast bands, the ones we call the hairbands, are at the top now. 1987 is very fast paced. Get ready for the fun.

And you can see that the bands coming in an 87, such as DEF LEPPARD, AEROSMITH and WHITESNAKE they just follow that same top 40 format.

The legend and previous arena rock heavy weights were getting long in the tooth, while the thrash and underground harder metal was quickly becoming almost mainstream.

There's hundreds and hundreds of bands at this point. It's such a task to whittle this down to what are we going to talk about and we've done our best. So, we've come up with about 20 bands that we're going to profile.


AEROSMITH- PERMANENT VACATI0N. The comeback album they were riding the success of the collaboration with run DMC.  It was, it was their comeback album and this was the first of the second part of their career. Great Tracks included Hangman Jury, Rag Doll and the title track. It was refreshing to see a healthy AEROSMITH.

RUSH - HOLD YOUR FIRE. A return to a little bit more guitar involved. Rocking CD. Reception to Hold Your Fire has been mixed to positive. While the album has been criticized for its 1980s pop sound and overused synths, some, including the band members felt it was better than their previous studio projects with praises of the album's production, composition, and lyrics.

Hold Your Fire was initially deemed a commercial disappointment in comparison to other Rush albums. It stalled at number 13 in the billboard top album chart, the first time a Rush studio album failed to reach the Top 10 since 1978's HEMISHERES. Although Hold Your Fire was certified gold in the United States shortly after its release, it failed to reach platinum status according to the RIAA becoming the first Rush studio album to not do so since 1975's CARESS OF STEEL


BLACK SABBATH -THE ENTERNAL IDOL. The album was originally to be recorded with vocalist Ray Gillian. According to bassist Bob Daisley, Gillen had struggled with the lyrics, and also management wasn't paying him leading to Gillen quitting shortly after their return to England

Tony Martin was hired and reconstructed the vocals under the guidance of Chris Tsangarides at Battery Studios shortly before production ended. Most tracks were written by Tony Iommi and Bob Daisley Martin said he "only sang on, and had no part in writing" The Eternal Idol, but nonetheless "thought was one of the better albums of the band."

 DIO -DREAM EVIL. Released on July 21, 1987 this was the fourth studio album by DIO. It features former Rough Cutt members Craig Goldy and Claude Schnell, and includes the singles "All the Fools Sailed Away" and "I Could Have Been a Dreamer". 

OZZY-TRIBUTE. The album was released in memory of Randy Rhoads, guitarist for Osbourne's band between 1979 and 1982 who died in a plane while on tour in Florida in 1982. The album also includes studio outtakes of Rhoads recording the classical-influenced acoustic guitar piece “DEE” which Rhoads wrote for his mother Delores and which was originally included on Osbourne's debut solo album Blizzard Of OZZ.

 A live album consisting entirely of renditions of Black Sabbath songs was originally planned to be recorded at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens in mid-1982 with Rhoads. Rhoads and drummer Tommy Aldridge a step backwards artistically, and they refused to participate.


ACE - FREHLEYS COMET. Frehley's Comet is just as good (perhaps even better) than Kiss albums from the same era like Asylum and Crazy nights but is a letdown when compared to 1978's far superior Ace Frehley, because "Ace was often swayed into replicating the then-flourishing keyboard-sweetened pop-metal (which) reigned supreme in 1987" instead of retaining his robust "guitar-fueled heavy metal" sound

 KISS- CRAZY NIGHTS. A relatively high number of songs from Crazy Nights were performed live during its supporting tour, but during and especially immediately following the tour, most of those songs were dropped and were never performed again. Only the song "Crazy Crazy Nights" would not return for nearly 20 years until the Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour. This makes the album one of the least represented in the bands' entire catalog throughout their career in their setlists. 

JOE SATRIANI- SURFING WITH THE ALIAN. Pretty much reshaped how a lot of the instrumental guitar rock albums are done. It contains fast and complex songs such as the title track and "Satch Boogie", which helped to further popularize shred guitar during that time. The album was recorded on a budget of $13,000.

Y & T CONTAIGIOUS. It is the first Y&T studio album to feature a different line up since their debut album, with Jimmy Degrasso replacing Leonard Haze on drums after he left the band in 1986. The record company had kind of directed Y N T to be a little bit more Pop centric, as a result the band used outside co-writers on many songs for the album.

WHITE LION- PRIDE. These guys were not a hair metal band. These guys were just a good, fucking solid hard rock band. The album's first single, "Wait", was released on June 1, 1987, but did not make waves until MTV began airing the music video. In August 1988, more than a year after the album's release, the second single “Tell Me” Hit #58. Pride's third single, a gentle acoustic ballad titled "When the Children Cry", made it all the way to #3.. Pride would remain on the top 200 Billboard album charts for a full year.

The success of "When the Children Cry" would eventually push sales of Pride over the two million mark in the US, achieving double platinum status. In addition, guitarist Vito Bratta was recognized for his instrumental talents by racking up Best New Guitarist awards with both Guitar World magazine and Guitar for The Practicing Musician magazine.

 SAVATAGE- HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING. This is the fourth studio album released in 1987 under the direction of producer Paul O’Neill It is their first album produced by O'Neill, who was assigned to the band after the tour in support of Fight for The Rock. Through Paul O'Neill's connections, he brought in Ray Gillian of Badlands fame (credited as Ray Gillian), to perform a vocal duet at the end of "Strange Wings". This was the launch pad that would inevitably become Trans-Siberian orchestra.


 MOTLEY CRUE- Girls, Girls, Girls. This received mixed but generally positive reviews and continued Mötley Crüe's commercial hot streak.

The album peaked at No. 2 and was also the band's third straight album to go quadruple platinum after Shout at The Devil and Theatre of Pain. Metal Hammer placed the album on their list of The Top 20 Best Metal Albums of 1987, and called it "an arena-rock juggernaut".

 FASTER PUSSYCAT- Not much to say, you know. The band performed "Cathouse" and "Bathroom Wall" in the film The Decline of Western Civilization: Part 2.

 DOKKEN- BACK FOR THE ATTACK. 1987 finds the band sounding "tighter than they ever have before", with front man Don Dokken and guitarist George Lynch being "at the top of their game." 

Canadian journalist Martin Popoff praised the album, which "offers length, variation and a sense of ambition as never before", and called it "one of those lost records brimming with bravado" but not so unique to be "one's life soundtrack".


 EXODUS- PLEASURE OF THE FLESH. Trying to follow up the classic Bonded by Blood. Good Luck.

 TESTAMENT- The legacy This was thrash metal right to its core, it was full of passion and integrity that was starting to drift away from those bands which had become more established and signed to major labels. Even now, The Legacy sounds great with tracks like 'Apocalyptic City', 'The Haunting' and 'Burnt Offerings' leading the charge and although the production wasn't fantastic, thrash never needed that to create some spectacular.

 OVERKILL -TAKING OVER” Jerzy” all the way. All metal! Killer album. The album is Overkill's last to feature drummer Rat Skates, who left the band later in 1987 and was replaced by Sid Falck. It was also the first to be released through Atlantic, who would release all of the band's albums up to W.F.O (1994). In 2005, Taking Over was ranked No. 450 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.\

 KING DIOMOND- ABIGAIL. Abigail is "widely recognized as King Diamond's solo masterpiece" and "is also unquestionably one of heavy metal's greatest concept albums".

 DARK ANGEL -ULTRA VIOLENCE. They’re all under 20 when they made this album.

 The “BIG 4”

 METALLICA- 5.98 EP, all covers as they dip back into the new wave of British heavy metal stuff, Diamond Head, Budgie, Misfits, a couple other ones.

 ANTHRAX- AMONG THE LIVING. A must have stapled thrash album. There’s nothing about it that I don't love.



WHITESNAKE- The album was generally met with positive reviews. The album "wasn't just the best Whitesnake album, it was one of the best rock albums of its era

In 2019, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album 12th among "50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All Time". In 2020, Metal Hammer included it among Top 20 best metal albums of 1987. Its success in the US boosted its predecessor, Slide It In (1984), from Gold to double Platinum status by RIAA  It would see the band receive a nomination at the American Music Awards  for Favorite Pop/Rock album.

 DEF LEPPARD -HYSTERIA. Hysteria received generally positive reviews “Pyromania’s slick, layered Mutt Lange production turned into a painstaking obsession with dense sonic detail on Hysteria.

In 2005, Hysteria was ranked number 464 in Rock Hard magazine's book of the 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All TimeHysteria got the same placement on Rolling Stones list of the 500 best albums of all time. Loudwire placed the album at No. 2 on their list of the top 30 hair metal albums. The Ringer  called Hysteria "the greatest hair-metal album ever made". One of the biggest albums ever. Statistically It's number 51 all-time album sold across every type of music in the history of recorded music.

"I can say objectively – because I wasn't in the band then – that Hysteria is one of the greatest records of all time," remarked Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell.


GUNS N ROSES- APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION. The album was released to little mainstream attention in 1987. It was not until the following year that Appetite for Destruction became a commercial success

Although critics were originally ambivalent toward the album, Appetite for Destruction has since received retrospective acclaim and has been viewed as one of the greatest albums of all time.

Singer Axl Rose stated that many of the songs on the album were written while the band was performing on the Los Angeles club circuit, and a number of songs that would be featured on later Guns N' Roses albums were considered for Appetite for Destruction.

Guns N' Roses "produced a unique mix of different rock values", such as "speed and musicianship, flash and dirt", on an album that "changed hard rock's sensibilities at the time."

Many viewed it as a "turning point for hard rock. Axel Rose's singing and songwriting are enhanced by Slash and Izzy Stradling’s dual guitar playing, which helped make Appetite for Destruction "the best metal record of the late '80s".

What made them great was they they're sincere, struck lightning in a bottle though and the Songs are great songs. essentially a greatest hits album.


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