Hiya guys and gals. Here is my top 10 list of my favorite 80s rock bands. For those that have been to my Thursday night sets, you know I play a lot of 80s rock. Usually the second half of my sets are 80s rock. This list is my top 80s rock bands for me and what I love. It was a difficult list because I love so much 80s rock and it hard to pick just 10. I did include some of the honorable mentions for me and some were in my list and was removed for another band.
10) Bon Jovi– with Albums Slippery When Wet and New Jersey, Bon Jovi jumped into 80s rock stardom. With Jon Bon Jovi as the lead vocalist and Richie Sambora on lead guitar, this band rocked the late 80s. Songs like You Give Love a Bad Name, Living on a Prayer, Bad Medicine, Wanted Dead or Alive, I Will Be There for You, Born to Be My Baby, Runaway, and Never Say Goodbye were all on my late 80s mix tapes.
9) Poison- Glam Rock hit a high note when Brtt Michaels and Poison put out their first Album, Look At What the Cat Dragged In. It contained their mega hit, Talk Dirty to Me. Their second album, Open Up and Say… Ahh was even bigger. When people would say, “I just love Poison”, I would usually sarcastically ask, “Really? What kind? Arsenic? Rat poison?” I did really like their music. Songs like Nothing But a Good Time, Fallen Angel, Every Rose Has It’s Thorn, Talk Dirty to Me, I Want Action, Unskinny Bop, Your Momma Don’t Dance, and I Want Action.
8) Pat Benatar- I fell in love with Pat’s voice when I first heard it on the radio on the school bus. I was captivated with her and smooth voice as she rocked it out. I loved female rock way back for when I first heard the Runaways and Blondie in my preteen years. Pat takes it to a different level. I love song like Love is a Battlefield, Hit Me with Your Best Shot, Heartbreaker, Invincible, All Fired Up, We Belong, Treat Me Right, Fire and Ice, Hell Is For Children and many more.
7) Motley Crue- It doesn’t get a lot more bad boy that Motley Crue. They knew how to rock and party along with putting out some of my favorite rock songs ever. Tommy Lee’s spinning upside down drum cage alone would have landed them on my list. The Crue put out great metal rock and glam rock album after album form Too Fast for Love in 81 to Dr Feelgood in 89. Their songs like Girls, Girls, Girls, Too Young to Fall in Love, Dr Feelgood, Kickstart My Heart, Same Ol Situation, Shout at the Devil, and Wild Side are just a few of my favorite songs.
6) Van Halen- Valen Halen is the reason I got sent home from school my freshman year. My love for the album 1984 lead me to buy the tee shirt with the album cover. But the album cover had an angel smoking and we couldn’t have that. My principle was a combination of the one form Breakfast Club and from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He loved nothing more than sending kids home. This didn’t stop my love for the and band the awesome guitar play of Eddie. I was always more of a fan of David Lee Roth on vocals with their early albums but I did love Sammy on the albums 5150 and OU812. My favorite song form them are Jump, Panama, Hot For Teacher, Dance the Night Away, Why Can’t This Be Love, Love Walks In, Jaime’s Cryin, Drop Dead Legs, And the Cradle Will rock, and Finish What You Started.
5) Joan Jett and The Blackhearts- I love Rock and Roll and I love Joan Jett. As i mentioned earlier, I love girl rock. Joan Jett was the quintessential bad girl and punk rocker. I remember watching her and the Runaways on Good Morning America back in the 70s and being completely memorized. Girls can rock and do whatever they want. No one says that better than Joan. I later realized how much I also loved Lita Ford but she feel just out of my Top 10. The fact the Joan had to record her first solo albums and sell them out of her trunk at gigs is amazing. Not only has Joan sang some of the greatest rock songs, she has also covered a ton of awesome rock songs. Here are a few of my favorite songs of Joan Jett: I Love Rock and Roll; Bad Reputation; I Hate Myself For Loving You; Do You Want to Touch Me; Crimson and Clover; Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap; and Every Day People.
4) Styx- Styx was one of the biggest rock bands of the 70s. They came in the 80s with a rock and roll swagger but also known for the iconic melody love songs. They adapted and picked up some of the new wave sounds along the way. Many of their greatest hits of the 70s got a ton of air play in the 80s because the sound was of an 80s band. Add into their great hits for the 80s, Styx has always been in my top 5. 1979’s triple-platinum album Cornerstone led to early success in the 80s with thier #1 hit, Babe.Paradise Theatreis an amazing album followed by the cool and crazy Killroy Was Here album. This band couldn’t stay together or they might have dominate the pop and rock charts at the same time through the 80s. Some of my favorite Songs for Styx are Mr Roboto, Too Much Time on My Hands, Babe, Come Sail Away, Renegade, Best of Times, Don’t Let It End, Rockin the Paradise and many more.
3) Queen– Freddy Mercury had the most amazing voice. Here is another band that went form Super Stardom in the 70s and then brought it into the 80s but not without some bumps. Queen become solidified on my list when I caught their performance for Live Aid in 1985, the day after I turned 15. Freddy captured the crowd in his hand even through the television. It was the day after my birthday and that was the only reason I got to watch it and watch it, I did.
What is even more amazing is the various styles of song that Queen and Freddy put out. They found a way to rock in all they did.
Queen has amazing song after song and they are always on the top of my playlist with songs like We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, Don’t Stop Me Now, I Want to Break Free, Bohemian Rhapsody (not 80s), Another One Bites the Dust, Killer Queen (not 80s), Under Pressure, Radio Ga Ga, Fat Bottom Girls, and many many more.
2) AC/DC- Back in Black (the song) introduced me to the hard rockin metal band that I know love. One song after another drug me into their rock and roll world. When I bought the Album Back in Black, I couldn’t stop listening to it. It is one of the greatest rock albums ever with every song being amazing. When I found out the story on what happened to Bon Scott and how Brian Johnson took over, I was amazed. Bands aren’t suppose to get better with a new lead singer but AC/DC did in my opinion. I went back and listened to their older albums and they were great. But the Johnson era was even better in my opinion. One of my dreams is to see them in concert before they stop touring and hopefully wiht Johnson back with his lead vocals.
Here are just some of the AC/DC songs that I love: Shook Me All Night Long, Back in Black, Highway to Hell, Shot to Thrill, Dirty Deeds, Whole Lot of Rosie (not 80s), TNT, Who Made Who, Those About to Rock, Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution, Hells Bells, and Thunderstruck.
1) Def Leppard- Picking my favorite 80s Rock band is so difficult but when I am honest with myself, Def Leppard is my favorite. Pyromania was my first rock cassette and I broke it playing it so often (and so LOUD – according to my parents). The Pyromania album was a defining moment in my music love. I had loved some rock songs before but never a whole album. This album with Back in Black are easily my favorite two rock albums of all time. Pyromania a was certified diamond (10× platinum) album.
Def Leppard was one of the first rock bands to break into the music video world. Bringin’ On the Heartbreak became one of the first rock videos played on MTV in 1982. Their British Flag emblem showed us that British Rock was back.
Their dominance at the top came to a halt for a few years. Drummer Rick Allen was involved in an accident on December 31, 1984. He lost his arm and we weren’t sure Def Leppard would be back. Allen learned to play the drums with one arm and Hysteria was released in 1987. Hysteria has now sold over 25 million copies worldwide.
Some of my favorite Def Leppard songs are Rock of Ages, Photograph, Foolin, Rock Rock Till You Drop, Stagefright, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Love Bites, Animal, Armageddon It, Too Late for Love, and Rocket. That is just a few of them.
Here are my honorable mentions. I could make a case for all of these in my top ten but had to limit it.
Lita Ford, Alice Cooper, Guns N Roses, Scorpions, Journey, Foreigner
The Ginger Neko