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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Greatest Hair Metal Songs

From “Kickstart My Heart” to”‘Welcome to the Jungle” to “Girls, Girls, Girls”


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Very few bands bands refer to their own work as "hair metal." They feel the term reduces their art to haircuts they had three decades ago, and many prefer "glam metal" or just simply "hard rock" or "metal." The media and many fans have a different take and groups like Poison, Cinderella and Mötley Crüe are widely labelled "hair metal" despite their fierce objections. It gets a little more complicated when you talk about bands like Def Leppard and Guns N' Roses. They certainly had big hair in the 1980s and one might feel that "Sweet Child O' Mine" isn't all that different from "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." Still, it's clear to many people that GN'R and Def Leppard don't quite qualify since they have a broader spectrum of influences and their songs didn't celebrate a lifestyle of sex and hedonism, and least not to the extent of Poison and Mötley Crüe's work. We asked our readers to select their favorite hair metal songs, allowing them to interpret that however they saw fit. Click through to see the results. 

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2. Ratt – ‘Round and Round’

Ratt's story is very familiar to anyone with a passing knowledge of the hair metal scene. They were an obscure group that spent years and years playing tiny clubs on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, when all of a sudden major labels started signing up any group that had long hair and any sort of a following. Before they knew it, Ratt were signed to Atlantic and their debut album Out of the Cellar was flying up the charts. Their single "Round and Round" went into heavy rotation on MTV and even featured Milton Berle, whose nephew managed the band. For a couple short years, it was very good to be a member of Ratt – until everything fell apart in a spectacular fashion and they turned on each other like vicious dogs. The surviving members tour together to this day, and they wouldn't dream of leaving the stage without busting out "Round and Round." 

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1. Motley Crue – ‘Home Sweet Home’

In many ways, Mötley Crüe are hair-metal pioneers. They were teasing their hair and singing "Smokin' in the Boys Room" on MTV before most other hair metal bands played a single gig on the Sunset Strip. They established the hair metal code of ethics with their insane partying and womanizing, and with their 1985 classic "Home Sweet Home" they practically invented the hair-metal power ballad. It was an enormous hit, and countless other hair metal bands copied the formula by recording a tender, stripped-back song where they expose the true feelings of the men behind the hairspray and makeup. None of them did it better than Mötley Crüe. "Home Sweet Home" is an absolute classic that's been covered by everybody from Carrie Underwood to Limp Bizkit.