17 Best Glam Metal Bands – The Glitz, The Glam, and the Riffs

Alright, rockstars, hold onto your teased hair and skin-tight leather pants! We’re about to dive into the world of glam metal, where the mascara is as heavy as the guitar solos.

Forget subtlety; this was a genre that was all about being loud, proud, and stealing the show with both music and appearance. Now, let’s rev up those electric guitars and get started!

1. Mötley Crüe

When Glam Met Grit:

Formed in 1981, Mötley Crüe is THE definitive glam metal band. With members like Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee, they were as notorious for their off-stage antics as they were for their music.

Essential Track:

“Kickstart My Heart” – a rip-roaring anthem that gets the heart pumping every single time.

Factoid:

Their biography “The Dirt” is a must-read for any rock aficionado. It delves deep into their debaucherous heydays and provides insights into the chaos that defined them.

2. Poison

The Ultimate Glam Masters:

These dudes took glam to the next level! Led by Bret Michaels, Poison’s approach to music was about having a good time, and they made sure their fans did too.

Essential Track:

“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – a power ballad that still has people swaying and singing along.

Factoid:

Despite their glamorous appearance, the band’s beginnings were humble, starting off in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania before chasing their dreams in LA.

3. Def Leppard

British Invasion:

Hailing from across the pond, Def Leppard brought a British touch to the glam metal scene. They balanced their flashy image with impeccable musicianship, which earned them legions of fans worldwide.

Essential Track:

“Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Come on, who can resist this catchy tune?

Factoid:

Their album “Hysteria” took over three years to make, but it was worth the wait, selling over 25 million copies.

4. Bon Jovi

From New Jersey with Love:

While not strictly glam metal, Bon Jovi’s infectious anthems and larger-than-life persona make them a staple in this list. Jon Bon Jovi’s killer vocals and Richie Sambora’s shredding guitar riffs were a match made in rock heaven.

Essential Track:

“Livin’ On A Prayer” – a track that epitomizes the 80s rock scene.

Factoid:

The band’s name is a play on lead singer Jon Bon Jovi’s real name, John Bongiovi.

5. Twisted Sister

Pushing Boundaries:

Twisted Sister was all about theatrics. Frontman Dee Snider’s unique look and aggressive stage presence made the band stand out in a crowded glam metal scene.

Essential Track:

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” – an anthem of rebellion that resonated with many.

Factoid:

Snider famously testified before the U.S. Senate against censorship and a proposal for labeling record covers, standing up for artistic freedom.

And that wraps up the first part of our glam metal journey! Ready for more? Let’s keep this rock ‘n’ roll train going!

6. Ratt

The LA Pioneers:

One of the early bands to popularize the glam metal scene in LA, Ratt’s combination of melodic hooks and crunchy guitar riffs made them instant fan favorites.

Essential Track:

“Round and Round” – it’s the kind of song that sticks, and you find yourself humming it days after listening.

Factoid:

Their debut album “Out of the Cellar” went triple platinum, a testament to their popularity.

7. Cinderella

Beyond the Looks:

Don’t be fooled by their name; there was nothing delicate about Cinderella. They had a bluesy edge to their music, setting them apart from their more polished counterparts.

Essential Track:

“Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” – it showcases the band’s versatility, shifting from a ballad to a rocker.

Factoid:

Despite frequent lineup changes and breaks, the band’s original members remained close friends throughout the years.

8. Warrant

The Cherry Pie Guys:

Best known for their hit “Cherry Pie”, Warrant combined catchy tunes with memorable music videos, ensuring their place in glam metal history.

Essential Track:

“Cherry Pie”, obviously! It’s fun, infectious, and perfectly encapsulates the glam metal vibe.

Factoid:

The band’s earlier music was more of a traditional hard rock before they embraced the glam metal scene.

9. Quiet Riot

Breaking Ground:

Quiet Riot holds the distinction of releasing the first glam metal album to top the Billboard charts. Their music was hard-hitting, and their image was even bolder.

Essential Track:

“Cum On Feel the Noize” – a cover that outshone the original and became one of the anthems of the 80s.

Factoid:

Despite their American success, the band was initially more popular in Japan.

10. Skid Row

The Late Bloomers:

Emerging towards the end of the glam metal era, Skid Row combined the genre’s flamboyance with a punkish rawness, creating anthems that still resonate today.

Essential Track:

“18 and Life” – it’s emotional, powerful, and showcases Sebastian Bach’s incredible vocal range.

Factoid:

The band’s debut album went 5x platinum, an impressive feat given the changing musical landscape of the early ’90s.

Alright, fellow rock enthusiasts, strap in because we’re diving deeper into the glam metal vault! If the neon lights and adrenaline rush of the ’80s are still not enough for you, here’s more of the glitter and gold!

11. Dokken

Harmony and Riffs:

Marrying heavy riffs with harmonious vocals, Dokken stood out with their signature sound. Fronted by Don Dokken and featuring guitar maestro George Lynch, they were a force to reckon with.

Essential Track:

“Dream Warriors” – not just a brilliant track but also the theme for “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.”

Factoid:

Despite their onstage chemistry, offstage tensions between Don and George were legendary, leading to multiple splits.

12. L.A. Guns

Sunset Strip Legends:

Birthed from the same scene that gave us Guns N’ Roses, L.A. Guns had all the swagger and sleaze of the Sunset Strip. Their music was raw and gritty, a perfect backdrop for late-night adventures.

Essential Track:

“The Ballad of Jayne” – a hauntingly beautiful track that showcases their softer side.

Factoid:

The band had a revolving door of members, with over 50 different line-ups since their formation!

13. White Lion

Melodic Rock at its Finest:

Led by the charismatic Mike Tramp, White Lion’s music was a perfect blend of melody and power. Their lyrics often touched on social issues, giving them a depth that many of their contemporaries lacked.

Essential Track:

“When the Children Cry” – a powerful ballad that speaks volumes even today.

Factoid:

Their album “Pride” went double platinum, thanks to its blend of anthems and ballads.

14. Stryper

Metal for the Soul:

One of the few Christian glam metal bands, Stryper showed that you could rock out and spread the Word at the same time. Their yellow and black attire became iconic in the glam metal scene.

Essential Track:

“To Hell with the Devil” – an anthem that managed to be both rebellious and religious!

Factoid:

The band name “Stryper” stands for “Salvation Through Redemption Yielding Peace, Encouragement, and Righteousness.”

15. Faster Pussycat

Sleaze to the Core:

With a name inspired by a Russ Meyer film, Faster Pussycat embodied the sleazy side of glam metal. They were all about the attitude, and their music reflected their wild, carefree spirit.

Essential Track:

“Bathroom Wall” – a track that perfectly captures the band’s cheeky and rebellious nature.

Factoid:

Lead singer Taime Downe worked at the iconic store “The Cathouse” in L.A., which became a hotspot for rockstars in the ’80s.

16. Great White

Bluesy and Big-Haired:

Incorporating blues elements into their music, Great White had a sound that was distinctly their own. Their covers of old blues songs introduced a new generation to the genre.

Essential Track:

“Once Bitten, Twice Shy” – a cover of Ian Hunter’s track that they made entirely their own.

Factoid:

The band’s name was inspired by the lead singer Jack Russell’s love for the great white shark.

17. Vixen

Queens of Glam:

Breaking the mold in the male-dominated glam metal scene, Vixen showed that the ladies could rock just as hard. Their all-female lineup was a breath of fresh air, and their talent undeniable.

Essential Track:

“Edge of a Broken Heart” – a powerful track that showcases the band’s vocal prowess.

Factoid:

The band was formed in Minnesota but found its fame in L.A., the epicenter of glam metal.

Remember, glam metal wasn’t just a genre; it was a way of life. It was about pushing boundaries, living on the edge, and of course, rocking the heck out. Teased hair, flashy outfits, and guitar solos that could melt your face off. This was an era of excess. Keep those lighters up and the spirit of glam alive! 🎸