37 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.

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