As the name suggests, for these bands, style came first and metal took a back seat. These were the makeup-clad, glam-inspired musicians who capitalised on metal’s cool with killer pop hooks that caught the imagination of the mainstream.
Key players in the battle of the bouffants were the likes of Mötley Crüe, Poison and Cinderella, along with older bands like Whitesnake and Def Leppard who hairsprayed up for the mid 1980s. The sub-genre was characterised by flamboyant live shows and easy-on-the-ear tunes with plenty of distortion and chorus on those guitar solos.
Hair metal was in its prime on LA's Sunset Strip in the late '80s but was dealt a knock-out blow by the arrival of grunge in the early 1990s.
Key band: Mötley Crüe
The baddest boys at any party, Mötley Crüe's history is the ultimate sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll soap opera.
Key album: Poison - Open Up And Say… Ahh! (1988)
Poison’s second album harnessed stadium-sized glam-metal sounds and sold over 8 million copies.
All of the swagger and sexy-talk that made hair metal so appealing with a pop riff to get your blood pumping.
How to get the hair metal sound