Cinderella, 'Long Cold Winter' (1988)
They still look totally poofed out on the back cover, so at the time nobody much noticed under all that Aqua Net and Max Factor, but here's where hair-metal found its roots — which, oddly enough for suburban Philly boys, turned out mainly to be in Seventies Southern rock. On the inner sleeve, one guy's wearing a cowboy hat, and live they'd taken to covering "Sweet Home Alabama." Tom Keifer, who 14 years later would sing on a Top 10 country album by Andy Griggs, plays some acoustic guitar, some National Steel, some harmonica. And all the hits — "Coming Home," "The Last Mile," "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone")," the perfectly propulsive "Gypsy Road" — are somehow about trying to get back home again, one of country's eternal themes. Which might explain why you can still hear echoes of "Gypsy Road" in songs by guys like Randy Montana and Toby Keith. C.E.