76. Twisted Sister, 'Stay Hungry' (1984)
By the early Eighties, Twisted Sister were the undisputed kings of the New York/New Jersey club circuit, and yet were unable to land anything resembling a real label deal. "We were turned down more times than a bed sheet in a whorehouse," remarked guitarist Jay Jay French. By the time they finally did nab that elusive contract, with Atlantic Records, the band were a good 10 years into their career, and their trademark glam look had been usurped by a new crop of younger (and prettier) L.A. acts. But none of those bands had Twisted's knack for writing insanely hooky three-minute anthems like Stay Hungry's "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock." The two songs, paired with goofy yet brilliant music videos that starred the band members, led by scenery-chewing frontman Dee Snider, in a Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner–style standoff with actor Mark Metcalf, launched Twisted Sister into the pop-culture stratosphere. The band appeared in mainstream movies like Pee-wee's Big Adventure (performing the doom-rocking Hungry standout "Burn in Hell") and, after "We're Not Gonna Take It" caught the ear of the PMRC, on the United States Senate floor, where Snider, curly mane, ripped T-shirt, fangs and all, read the riot act to Al and Tipper Gore. Meanwhile, Stay Hungry's deeper cuts – such as the menacing "Captain Howdy" section of the two-part "Horror-Teria (The Beginning)," on which Snider portrays a demented killer; and the dramatic, Dio-era-Sabbath–esque "The Beast" – flexed real heavy-metal muscle. Overexposure and infighting led to Twisted's downfall soon after, but not before Stay Hungry sold a few million records and altered the mainstream face of hard rock – and MTV, where Snider hosted the Headbangers Ball precursor Heavy Metal Mania – for the rest of the decade. Posited Snider: "What happened? 'We're Not Gonna Take It' happened, that's what. Game changer." R.B.