37 Best 80s Hair Bands

Best 80s Hair Bands

The 80s included diverse musical offerings such as electronic music, dance-pop, and a new wave of rock. But perhaps one of the most stand-out trends 80s music brought was the rise of the ‘hair bands’; musicians, often male, who had long hair.

These hair bands used heavy guitars and pounding drums, but they stood out compared to other heavy metal bands because of the members’ appearance.

Let’s take a look at the best hair bands of the 80s.

1. Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, the birthplace of many hair bands. Many critics credit their debut album for starting the hair band revolution. The four core members are singer Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx, and drummer Tommy Lee. The band’s 1989 album, Dr. Feelgood, hit number one on the charts, cementing their place in rock history.

The band’s first two albums were heavy metal, but by their third release in 1985, they had a glam sound to match their over-the-top teased hair and rock clothing style. They released five albums in the 80s and produced two in the 90s and two in the 2000s.

2. Ratt


Ratt was a band founded as Firedome in 1973. They went through several lineup changes before becoming known as Ratt in 1981. They sold 100,000 copies of their independently-released debut album in 1983 and constantly played in Los Angeles clubs to build a die-hard fan base.

Their work ethic and popularity impressed Atlantic Records, who released their first full-length album in 1984. Their first and second label releases reached number seven on the Billboard charts, and several singles reached the Top 40. The band periodically reunites to perform live shows but hasn’t released a new album since 2010.

3. Quiet Riot

Quiet Riot

Quiet Riot was a hair band founded by Randy Rhoads, later known for playing with Ozzy Osbourne. The band initially started in 1973 and had a rivalry with Van Halen before either group had a record deal. Quiet Riot’s biggest single, “Cum On Feel the Noize,” was actually a cover song. Slade released it in 1973, and Quiet Riot covered it a decade later.

The band released its debut album in 1983 and went on to produce a total of four albums during the 80s. They’ve released eight more albums since the 80s, but their popularity reached its biggest heights along with their hair.

4. Van Halen

Van Halen

Brothers Alex and Eddie formed Van Halen in 1972. However, they made a major musical impact with their album 1984, with singles like “Jump,” “Panama,” and “Hot for Teacher.” Frontman David Lee Roth stole the show with his long blond hair and skin-tight jumpsuits.

The band later went through lineup changes, with Sammy Hagar taking over on lead vocals in the late 80s, changing the overall sound of the band but only boosting its popularity.

5. Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi is a band based out of New Jersey, formed in 1983. They’re one of the biggest hair bands to bridge the divide between rock and pop, amassing a huge following for their catchy songs with hard rock guitars and drums. The band’s debut album came out in 1984, and they released additional records in 1985, 1986, and 1988.

While Bon Jovi’s biggest hits came from their albums in the 80s, they continued recording music and touring.

6. Poison


Brett Michaels, Rikki Rockett, Bobby Dall, and C.C. DeVille formed the band Poison in 1983 in Pennsylvania. Their single “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” hit number one, but they’ve had nine Top 40 singles in their career. The band started touring in 1986 to promote their debut album and stayed on the road consistently until 2012.

Though Poison has reunited for tours in 2017, 2018, and 2022, they haven’t released new music since 2007. If you want to hear them play your favorite 80s hits, that’s what you’ll hear during a live show.

7. Dokken


Dokken formed in 1978 but didn’t release their first album until 1981. However, they didn’t have mainstream success until releasing their second album in 1984, which sold more than one million copies in the United States. The band opened for many big touring acts during that time, such as AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Judas Priest.

The band broke up in 1989, signaling the end of their hair band phase. They reunited in 1993 and have played live shows off and on since then, sometimes with all the original members.

8. Stryper


Stryper is a unique hair band because they play Christian metal. Despite their religious lyrics, the band had mainstream success, toured extensively, and enjoyed radio airplay. The band was popular in the mid-80s after their 1986 album, To Hell with the Devil, went platinum. The band played rock songs and rock ballads, with “Honestly” being the song that reached the Top 40.

The band shed its Christian image in 1990, and broke up soon after. They released greatest hits albums to fulfill their obligations but reunited in 1999 to play rock festivals.

9. Cinderella


Cinderella is another Pennsylvania hair band, forming around the same time and location as Poison. Their 80s albums were glam rock, reaching triple platinum status and soaring to the top of the Billboard charts. The band opened for Poison on their first tour, then played with Bon Jovi.

By the 90s, Cinderella tried to shift their sound more towards blues rock to follow the trend. The band reunited in 2006 to tour again with Poison, both celebrating their 20th musical anniversaries.

10. Warrant


Warrant started in 1984 but didn’t see mainstream success until 1988, when it signed with Columbia Records. Their debut album had four singles which got them spots opening for Mötley Crüe, Poison, and Cinderella on tour. Their second album came out in 1990 but still harnessed the signature sound of 80s hair bands.

The band reunited in the early 2000s to record more albums and continues to tour, though Jani Lane, the original lead singer, died in 2011.

11. Whitesnake


As a change from all the hair bands that formed in Los Angeles, Whitesnake is a band from London. They formed in 1978 when singer David Coverdale left Deep Purple and signed with Geffen Records. Their self-titled album was their biggest success, though it was actually the band’s seventh release.

With the popularity of the singles “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love,” along with the accompanying videos, the band’s earlier albums started to sell more copies. They played major rock festivals and toured with Mötley Crüe. They continued to release albums in the 90s and 2000s.

12. Def Leppard

Def Leppard

Def Leppard is another English hair band, formed in 1976 but not finding significant success until the 1983 release of Pyromania. Hysteria, released in 1987, cemented the band as one of the best 80s hair bands.

Between the release of these two albums, their drummer, Rick Allen, lost one of his arms in a car accident. Allen still plays with the band, using a custom drum set with extra foot pedals. Def Leppard released their 12th album in 2022.

13. Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister

Many people picture Dee Snider’s signature blond locks when they think of hair bands. The Twisted Sister singer dressed in attention-grabbing glam outfits when he belted out the band’s hit songs, like “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.”

Metallica opened for the band on their 1984 tour, helping them find a hard rock audience despite wearing over-the-top makeup onstage.

14. Faster Pussycat

Faster Pussycat

Faster Pussycat is another Los Angeles-based hair band formed in 1985. Their first album came out in 1987 with Elektra Records, but their 1989 release Wake Me When It’s Over solidified their popularity. They toured with KISS and Mötley Crüe before going through several lineup changes in the early 90s. The band reunited in 2001 and toured again in 2008.

15. Skid Row

Skid Row

Skid Row formed in 1986 but didn’t release their debut album until 1989. The band started in New Jersey, and the members were friendly with fellow hair band Bon Jovi, who helped them get their first record deal. Their most successful singles featured Sebastian Bach on lead vocals, but he left the band in 1996. The band continues to perform with new singers.

16. L.A. Guns

L.A. Guns

L.A. Guns started in Los Angeles in 1983, getting its name from the lead guitarist Tracii Guns. Guns, however, was only in the band until 1985. The new lineup helped the band make a name for themselves, but there have never been consistent members in L.A. Guns. Members from other hair bands, like W.A.S.P. and Faster Pussycat, have played in the band over the years.

17. Hollywood Rose

Hollywood Rose

Axl Rose formed Hollywood Rose in 1983 and recorded a demo in 1984. The band went through many lineup changes in a short period, so the band stopped playing for a while. They reunited for a New Year’s Eve show in 1985 and later hired a new singer for an album recorded in 1989 that was never released.

18. Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses

While the previous two bands enjoyed success on their own merit, they’re best known for forming one of the biggest hair bands in history, Guns N’ Roses. Tracii Guns and Axl Rose combined their names and musical talents, along with Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan, and Steven Adler. The lineup has changed over the years due to arguments and addictions.

At the peak of their popularity, Guns N’ Roses opened for bands like Aerosmith, The Cult, and Alice Cooper. Though the band hasn’t released a new album since 2008, they continue to tour.

19. Lita Ford

Lita Ford

Hair bands were a male-dominated genre, but Lita Ford was a woman who demanded attention in the 80s. She played guitar for the Runaways in the 70s, along with rocker Joan Jett. Her solo career took off in 1982, and she had several Top 10 hits on the Billboard charts. She played songs with rock stars like Nikki Sixx, Ozzy Osbourne, and Tony Iommi.

20. W.A.S.P.


W.A.S.P. was initially a heavy metal band in the Los Angeles area, but they changed directions in the early 80s to achieve mainstream popularity. Their third album, released in 1986, brought them to the attention of the hair band audience. They released four albums in the 80s before shifting back to a general rock genre to continue making music into the 2010s.

21. KISS


KISS is a rock band ahead of its time. They formed in 1973 and wore face paint, elaborate stage costumes, and teased black hair. They started as a rock band, but in the early 80s, they took off the face paint and started an unmasked period, keeping their wild hair. While going without makeup was a change for the band, the new KISS style fit in with hair bands perfectly.

22. Hanoi Rocks

Hanoi Rocks

Hanoi Rocks stand out from the hair band crowd because they’re not from Los Angeles, New Jersey, or England. The band formed in Finland and became popular in the United Kingdom and Japan before touring the United States. Their Los Angeles shows sold out in 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the drummer died in a wreck when Mötley Crüe’s singer Vince Neil drove drunk.

The band formed with a new lineup in the 2000s, billing themselves as Hanoi Revisited. They recorded new music but still played the hits from their five 80s albums during live performances.

23. Night Ranger

Night Ranger

Night Ranger started in 1979 and had several popular albums in the 80s. Their ballad, “Sister Christian,” reached the number five spot on the Billboard charts, but they have many hits reaching the Top 40.

The band split in 1989 but reformed in the late 90s with a new lineup. Their five albums released in the 80s remain their most popular, though they’ve recorded eight more since then.

24. Great White

Great White

Great White formed in 1977 in Los Angeles but gained popularity in 1987. Singles from their two 80s albums hit the Top 40 charts, and the videos got frequent MTV airplay. The band opened for Guns N’ Roses, Whitesnake, and Twisted Sister during their peak.

Though they didn’t remain in the mainstream, the band continued to release new music in the 90s. In 2003, the band was playing at a small club, and their pyrotechnics show ignited the soundproofing material. The guitarist and 99 other people died in the fire, and over 100 were badly burned in the accident. The band continued touring and releasing new music.

25. Europe


Like Hanoi Rocks, Europe stands out for starting in a foreign country. The band is from Sweden and won a 1982 musical competition. Their 1986 album that skyrocketed them into hair band fame was actually their third release. After they achieved popularity, the guitarist left because he thought their sound was more pop than rock.

Europe disbanded in the early 90s but, like many other hair bands, reunited in the 2000s for nostalgia tours and to record new music. However, no other song has reached the success of “The Final Countdown.”

26. Winger


Winger started as a heavy metal band based on sound alone, but their glam appearance made them popular with the hair band audience. They released their first album in 1988 and toured with KISS, Slaughter, and ZZ Top. Their next two albums still captured the 80s hair band sound, but it was the early 90s and tastes favored grunge, so Winger fell in popularity.

27. Tesla


Though Tesla began in 1981, its most famous lineup wasn’t finalized until 1984. Their first album came out in 1986, but their Top 10 song, “Love Song,” wasn’t released until their 1989 second album. They were a spark in the pan and quickly pivoted to acoustic but were unable to recapture their early fame. Tesla broke up in 1996 but made new music in 2022.

28. Pretty Boy Floyd

Pretty Boy Floyd

As you might expect from their name, Pretty Boy Floyd embraced glam rock. They teased their long hair and wore makeup onstage. Their first album came out in 1989, at the tail end of the hair band craze. Two singles got heavy MTV airplay, but they became involved in legal disputes because there was a Canadian band with the same name. They broke up in the mid-90s.

29. Enuff Z’Nuff

Enuff Z’Nuff

Enuff Z’Nuff started in 1984 and had a song on a movie soundtrack before they released their first record in 1989. Their 1991 album didn’t have a single, but MTV played their self-titled album singles frequently. Even though they never had mainstream success like in the 80s, the hair band has continued to release new music every few years.

30. Slaughter


Slaughter is a Las Vegas hair band that formed during the height of hair metal but didn’t release their first album until 1990. The band started performing live in 1988 and had a hit single on the soundtrack for Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Three singles hit the Top 40, and the album went gold, but they didn’t get much MTV airplay, which was crucial during that time.

31. Danger Danger

Danger Danger

Members of the band Hotshot formed Danger Danger in 1987, but the lineup changed several times over the years. They recorded an album for Epic Records in 1988 and had two hits that mirrored the repetition of their name: “Naughty Naughty” and “Bang Bang.” They opened for KISS, Warrant, and Alice Cooper before disbanding in 2009.

32. Britny Fox

Britny Fox

Britny Fox formed in 1985 in Pennsylvania and had ties to Cinderella, who helped them get a record deal. They released their first two albums in 1988 and 1989, both reaching above the top 100 of the Billboard chart. Their 1991 release didn’t chart because the band held too tightly to the hair band sound, which was already falling out of favor.

The band’s last album came out in 2003, but the band continues to tour. The lineup changes almost every year, with bassist Billy Childs as the only regular member through the band’s 30-year career.

33. BulletBoys


BulletBoys started as something of a supergroup, with the singer of Ratt joining other successful musicians to create a popular hair band. Their first two singles, “Smooth Up In Ya” and “For the Love of Money,” broke the Billboard Hot 100. The band members went their separate ways in the early 90s but reunited in 1998, touring with Faster Pussycat, Enuff Z’Nuff, and Bang Tango.

34. Bang Tango

Bang Tango

Bang Tango started in 1988 but immediately got a record deal and released their first album. They already had a loyal fan base due to playing at every club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Their first album was an MTV hit and gave them a chance to tour the country with other hair bands.

35. Vixen


Vixen is a hair band that stands out on this list because they formed in Minnesota, and all members were women. The band started playing live in 1980 but didn’t get a record deal until 1988, when they moved to Los Angeles. Fans called the band “female Bon Jovi” because of their catchy singles.

36. The Cult

The Cult

The Cult blurred the line between goth and hair metal. The English band rose to popularity in the early 80s when their dark videos gained MTV airplay. They had long hair and wore heavy eye makeup, so they looked like other hair bands but sounded very different.

37. Mr. Big

Mr Big

Mr. Big is an 80s hair band that became most popular due to their ballads, giving them a unique position in the genre. Their video got heavy MTV airplay and was a big hit for unplugged acoustic sets. The band continued to make music throughout the 90s and into the 2000s, with information and tour dates still listed on their website.

Top 80s Hair Bands, Final Thoughts

You might prefer some of the more glamorous bands on this list, who produced catchy singles and teased their hair high. Or you might love the more hardcore rockers who kept their locks straight and shiny, focusing more on the music than their looks. No matter your taste, these 80s hair bands are among the best and earned their place in music history.

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