The 1980s saw heavy metal go mainstream and reach a large audience worldwide. The genre was split into sub-genres like Glam Metal, Thrash Metal, Speed Metal, NWOBHM, Traditional Metal, and more. Regardless of which sub-genre you preferred, there was no doubt that heavy metal music absolutely ruled the 80s music scene. The metal scene during this time period was crowded with bands all vying for attention and radio/video airplay. We’ve put together a huge list of over 200 (241 to be exact) of the best hard rock and metal bands from the 80s that you need to check out and hopefully give a listen to.
This is our 5th and final installment in the series. If you prefer to see the entire list on one page in alphabetical order click HERE!
Formed in 1985, Slave Raider released two albums in the 80s: Take The World By Storm (1986) and What Do You Know About Rock ‘N Roll? (1988). An interesting cross between pirate attire and glam, the band was known for their wild antics including lead vocalist Chainsaw Caine using a chainsaw on stage during the performance. The band opened for bands like Poison and Ratt, but never quite caught on with glam metal fans. The band did have the song “Make Some Noise” appear in 1988’s License to Drive movie.
Smashed Gladys hit the L.A. glam scene and released 3 great singles from their album “Social Intercourse”. The songs”17 Goin’ on Crazy”, “Lick it Into Shape” and “Legs Up” were all great tracks that should have brought the band way more attention and exposure than they did. The band seemed to be another victim of lack of promotion. Rarely seen in rock magazines, on MTV, and with virtually no radio airplay, it’s a mystery what happened with their promotional team. Lead by singer Sally Cato, the band released “Social Intercourse as their major-label debut. The band released one more album, years later, which appeared to be early songs and possibly pre-released EP material. It’s a shame that they didn’t receive more acclaim.
Sound Barrier broke the color barrier in heavy metal by being one of the first metal bands to have all black members. Formed in 1980, the band was started by Bernie K. And Spacey T. who had originally met in a funk band. The band released the album “Total Control” in 1983. The debut album only sold 12,000 copies and they were dropped by MCA records for lack of sales. The band released “Speed Of Light” (1986) after signing with Metal Blade Records. However, the band split up a year later. Vocalist Bernie K went on to sing on the critically acclaimed “Fire In The Rain” album by guitar virtuoso Alex Masi. The band briefly reformed and released the single “I’m Just A Man” in 2017 on Tom Morello’s (Rage Against The Machine) Firebrand Records.
Steeler released their debut album with featured Ron Keel on vocals and the first U.S. appearance of Swedish guitar master Yngwie Malmsteen. The brainchild of Shrapnel records founder Mike Varney brought the project together. Although the band didn’t hold together for very long with Malmsteen departing for Alcatrazz before his own solo career and Keel leaving to concentrate on the band that would ultimately bear his name, this is a great notable piece of heavy metal history. While the band is most famous for having Keel and Malmsteen together, the other musicians were unfortunately overshadowed. Both Rik Fox on bass and Mark Edwards would turn up in other influential bands throughout the 80’s such as W.A.S.P. and Lion.
The German band called Steeler took the name from the Judas Priest song. They are probably most famous for having guitar guru Axel Rudi Pell in the band, who would go on to forge a solo career afterward. Steeler released the following albums in the 1980s: Steeler (1984), Rulin’ the Earth (1985), Strike Back (1986), and Undercover Animal (1988). After the break-up of Steeler, vocalist Peter Burtz became the editor-in-chief of Metal Hammer Germany from 1989 to 1991.
Fans of Kingdom Come will recognize the vocals of Lenny Wolf on these early 80s albums by Stone Fury. The band released two albums: Burns Like a Star (1984), Let Them Talk (1986) but couldn’t quite reach a large audience. The band received rave critical reviews but success eluded them. However, Wolf would find success on a much larger scale later with Kingdom Come.
Stryper’s contribution to Christian metal is the equivalent of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest in the non-christian metal world. I never really got the goofy outfits that looked like bumblebees. They are however quality musicians who brought Christian metal to the mainstream in the 1980s. During the 80s they released the following albums: The Yellow and Black Attack (1984), Soldiers Under Command (1985), To Hell with the Devil (1986), and In God We Trust (1988). The band received heavy rotation on MTV and fans have applauded their work in recent years as some of the best of their entire career.
Sweet Pain taking their name from the KISS song, signed to Combat Records, and released their only album in 1985. Notable for featuring a then-unknown Kelly Nickels on bass, who would later go on to join L.A. Guns. The album actually features the recording of the song “Shoot For Thrills (In The Night)” written by Nickels, which would also appear on L.A. Guns’ self-titled album. Sweet Pain was a decent glam rock band that literally disappeared overnight. The album is quite rare and sought out by collectors since it has long been out of print.
Sweet Savage was a glam band based out of Texas that just never reached the next level. I’m sure the cover photos of all 4 members appearing shirtless with bleached blonde hair didn’t help their case. Musically, they were considered a little more bubblegum glam than bands like Poison but had great catchy songs that earned them a following. Their debut EP was produced by none than Dana Strum, who later go on to play bass in the Vinnie Vincent Invasion and Slaughter. They received the most attention with their cover version of Sweet’s “Fox On The Run”.
Sword is an outstanding true metal band that just got lost in the shuffle. Metalized should have brought these guys into the limelight because it’s own hell of a great metal record. It’s outstanding from beginning to end, especially considering it’s their debut release. The band went on to release one more album which also received praise from critics and fans. The band eventually broke up, but have reformed recently and have joined the newly re-formed Combat Records label owned by Megadeth’s David Ellefson. The band is currently working on new material to be released in the near future.
T.T. Quick was formed in 1980 and then hit the scene in 1984 with their debut EP. Singer Mark Tornillo would later replace Udo Dirkschneider as the vocalist in the German band Accept. T.T. Quick released the following albums in the 80s decade: TT Quick EP (1984), Metal Of Honor (1986), and Sloppy Seconds (1989). The band had a following of die-hard fans but never found the big success that other bands from the 80s found. T.T. Quick is a great band for those looking for hidden gems that they somehow missed years ago.
Talas is famous for being bassist Billy Sheehan’s first full-time band and it helped him showcase his abilities. Of course, Sheehan would later go on to play in David Lee Roth’s solo band and Mr. Big. Both Shy Boy (David Lee Roth) and Addicted To That Rush (Mr. Big) were written by Sheehan while in Talas. Talas released two albums in the 80s: (1982) Sink Your Teeth into That and
(1983) Live Speed on Ice. The band’s biggest success came when they opened 30 dates for Van Halen in 1980, but they never could make it much further in a crowded field of metal bands.
Already famous for his rock n’ roll antics during the 70’s, Ted Nugent tried to appeal the 80s metal fans with most of his output during the 80s, which included: Scream Dream (1980), Intensities in 10 Cities (1981), Nugent (1982), Penetrator (1984), Little Miss Dangerous (1986) and If You Can’t Lick ‘Em…Lick ‘Em (1988). Nugent also employed various lead vocalists during this time. Critics were harsh on Nugent’s releases during the 80s but he managed to swing some commercial success and would go on to form the supergroup The Damn Yankees in 1990.
Originally named City Kidd, Tesla released their debut album “Mechanical Resonance” in 1986. Tesla’s original lineup consisted of lead vocalist Jeff Keith, guitarists Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch, bassist Brian Wheat, and drummer Troy Luccketta. Tesla only released two albums in the 80s, Mechanical Resonance (1986) and The Great Radio Controversy (1989). The Great Radio Controversy had five hit singles which took the album to double-platinum status. Tesla has since released 6 more albums and continues on to this day.
Along with bands like Metallica and Exodus, Testament was one of the early San Francisco Bay Area Thrash bands to break new ground musically. While the band was formed in 1983, they didn’t release their debut album until 1987. Testament released three albums in the 80s: The Legacy (1987), The New Order (1988) and, Practice What You Preach (1989). While the band never achieved the commercial success of Metallica or Megadeth, they have continued to keep a steady fanbase and a lengthy discography.
This Canadian band formed around singer Jon Mikl Thor were known more for their theatrics than their music. Singer Thor, was a bodybuilder who used his physique almost as a prop. The 80s saw the band release the albums: Only the Strong (1985), Recruits – Wild in the Streets (1986), and The Edge of Hell (1986) (credited as Tritonz). The band broke up in 1987 and Thor decided to try his hand at acting in such movies as Recruits (1986), Zombie Nightmare (1987), and Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987). The band would reform many times with various lineups. A documentary film, I Am Thor, was released in 2015 and revitalized Jon Mikl Thors career, who continues to release albums.
Tigertailz was the U.K.’s version of Poison. Musically their debut was much heavier than Poison’s. The band featured vocalist Steevi Jaimz on vocals, who had a more gruff voice that contributed to the band sounding less like a bubblegum glam band and more like a sleaze rock band in the vein of L.A. Guns or Faster Pussycat. Young And Crazy was a fantastic debut, but the band parted ways with Steevi Jaimz after this release. While they continued on with other vocalists, and still do today, they never reached the level that they achieved with the first album. Young And Crazy was one of the best glam metal releases of the ’80s. If you can find this one, you should get it. It’s great on every level.
TKO released “In Your Face” in 1984. Raspy voiced vocalist Brad Sinsel gave the band a decidedly heavier sound, while still being melodic. The band had a raw “street” sound that provided a sleazy hard rock sound mixed with classic heavy metal. The band based out of Seattle signed with Combat Records and later released the album “Below The Belt” for Roadrunner Records in 1986. Vocalist Brad Sinsel went on to front the band “War Babies” which released their only album in 1992 and had a minor hit with the song “Hang Me Up”.
Norwegian metal band TNT started in 1982 and featured an amazing guitarist named Ronni Le Tekro. Originally the band featured Dag Ingebrigtsen on vocals but would recruit California singer Tony Harnell who appeared on their second album. With Harnell on vocals, the band reached a wider audience and increased their sales and presence worldwide. MTV helped the band with a heavy rotation of several videos but TNT never made it to the top of the charts. TNT released the following albums circa the 80s: (1982) TNT, (1984) Knights of the New Thunder, (1987) Tell No Tales, and (1989) Intuition
This English heavy metal band hit the scene in 1982. While they’re considered part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, the band would change their sound and image as well as lineups a little too frequently. By 1987 the band sounded closer to the glam metal bands of Hollywood than their original sound which was closer to early Diamond Head. Their 80s albums are: Tokyo Blade (1983), Night of the Blade (1984), Black Hearts & Jaded Spades (1985), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1987) and, No Remorse (1989). The album Night Of The Blade released in 1984 is probably their most popular and well-known release. Tokyo Blade is still alive and well and making new albums as of 2020.
Tuff Luck was a really talented band that fell victim to not being able to land a big record contract. The band was based in South Florida and were drawing thousands of people to their local shows. they did however release one album for Ann Boleyn’s New Renaissance Records. The album is still sought after by collectors and fetches top dollars in auctions. The self-titled album had some great tracks like “Sleaze if you Please”, “Take It or Leave It” and “Tonight, Tonight”. The band released a second album in 1993 but it failed to capture the spirit of the original album. A documentary DVD was also filmed showing the bands struggles that kept them from reaching the top of charts alongside bands like Dokken, Ratt, and Motley Crue.
Twisted Sister became a 12 year overnight sensation when they broke it big with their “Stay Hungry” album. Originally from New Jersey and later relocating to New York, these East coast rockers paid their dues for ten years playing the local club scene. The band would little by little collect new fans along the way. The band became an underground hit with their first album and opened a tour for Motorhead. Their second album was released on a major label and helped build their fanbase even further. Stay Hungry pushed the band into superstar territory and the album went multi-platinum in sales. However, the band would never reach this level of fame or sales again. The band began to fight amongst themselves and eventually disbanded for many years. Dee Snider has since forged a solo career. Drummer A.J. Pero died from a heart condition in 2015. Twisted Sister’s 80s albums: Under the Blade (1982), You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll (1983), Stay Hungry (1984), Come Out and Play (1985) and Love Is For Suckers (1987)
Tygers Of Pan Tang
The Tygers Of Pan Tang is probably most notable for featuring guitarist John Sykes on the albums Spellbound and Crazy Nights. Sykes would of course go on to work with David Coverdale in Whitesnake which would release one of the biggest hard rock albums of the 80s. Tygers Of Pan Tang would disband and reform multiple times with various members in the lineup but are still active as of 2020. Tygers Of Pan Tang released the following albums in the 1980s: Wild Cat (1980), Spellbound (1981), Crazy Nights (1981), The Cage (1982), The Wreck-Age (1985), and Burning in the Shade (1987)
Tytan features a then-unknown Scottish vocalist Norman ‘Kal’ Swan who would later front the critically acclaimed glam metal band Lion. Tytan also featured bassist Kevin Riddles and drummer Dave Dufort and guitarist Steve Gibbs The band’s only album Rough Justice (1985) was released after they had already broken up from the original recordings that were planned for an album prior to Swan’s departure.
After Udo Dirkschneider parted ways with his longtime band members of Accept, he branched out with his own solo band. While U.D.O. has released 17 albums throughout its existence, only two of those albums were released during the 80s decade. Animal House (1987) and Mean Machine (1989) were both great albums and fans of Udo’s work in Accept got a taste of the same metal power only a little heavier and angrier in tone. U.D.O. toured extensively with bands like Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford, and Guns N’ Roses around the releases of the first two albums.
UFO actually started as a band in 1970 with their first album release. They remained popular throughout the ’70s and released the following albums in the 80s: No Place to Run (1980)
The Wild, the Willing, and the Innocent (1981), Mechanix (1982), Making Contact (1983), and Misdemeanor (1985). The band attempted to cash in on the hair metal movement by changing their sound to a somewhat more pop-rock style and releasing singles aimed at the metal radio audience. While the band is probably more famous for their 70s material which included Michael Schenker on guitar, their releases in the 80s are all top-notch high-quality rock.
Vamp released their only release “The Rich Don’t Rock” in 1989 and it’s a totally underrated hidden gem of the hair metal scene. The album was released on Atlantic Records and is hard to find. Collectors are often on the lookout for this album and those who have it and have heard it, know that it’s a great album from the era. Drummer Dicki Fliszar would go on to work with Jack Russell’s Great White.
Van Halen was the epitome of rock stars in the late ’70s and early ’80s. They had the guitar hero Edward Van Halen, who took rock guitar playing to a new level, and the blonde mane and wild frontman antics of David Lee Roth. But, apparently, things weren’t always as they seemed behind the scenes. Once again the band had grown in success with each album that they released, culminating in “1984” which saw the band at the top of the charts. But David Lee Roth decided to take a break and pursue a solo career which ultimately proved to the undoing of the band. After the band parted ways with Roth, they chose to replace him with Sammy Hagar, former vocalist for Montrose and solo artist in his own right. The band received more airplay on the radio and MTV with what many fans considered to be a softer version of Van Halen often referred to as Van Hagar by fans who saw this as a completely different band than the Van Halen with Roth.
This band centered around Dutch guitarist Adrian Vandenberg would release three albums in the 80s: (1982) Vandenberg, (1983) Heading for a Storm and, (1985) Alibi. By 1987, Adrian Vandenberg had done some guest solo work on the epic Whitesnake album (1987) and was recruited by David Coverdale to join the band. The other members went on to various projects while Vandenberg was in Whitesnake but on May 29, 2020, Vandenberg would release their first studio album in 35 years, simply titled 2020.
Venom was originally tied to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal in the early 80s. During those years the band released the albums: Welcome to Hell (1981), Black Metal (1982), At War with Satan (1984), Possessed (1985), Calm Before the Storm (1987) and, Prime Evil (1989). With Satanism and pagan symbolism at the forefront of the band’s lyrics and appearance, they often drew criticism for being overtly offensive. Venom inspired a lot of the bands who created the Norwegian Black Metal scene. These days Venom looks harmless compared to the Black Metal bands that emerged after them. However, the band has a rightful place in metal history for stretching the boundaries of metal during the 80s.
Vicious Rumors released two great metal albums in the 1980s: (1985) Soldiers of the Night and (1988) Digital Dictator. While the band didn’t reach a large commercial metal audience in the U.S., they were critically acclaimed and reached the charts in Europe, Japan, and other countries. Released on Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records, the first two albums are now considered classic power metal albums. Vicious Rumors is another great metal band that’s extremely underrated in the genre.
German metal band Victory released the following albums in the 1980s: (1985) Victory, (1986) Don’t Get Mad… Get Even, (1987) Hungry Hearts and, (1989) Culture Killed the Native. The band was recommended by Michael Schenker to get a deal and they had former Gary Moore and Ted Nugent singer on vocals. Victory had decent success during the 80s worldwide and once ranked alongside Scorpions, Accept, and Helloween as one of the most popular German metal bands.
Another guitarist to gain exposure from Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records, Vinnie Moore released his debut album Mind’s Eye in 1986. He would follow it up with Time Odyssey two years later in 1988. Both albums were critically acclaimed and helped him achieve the notoriety of being a “Guitar Shredder”. Vinnie Moore played lead guitar with the heavy metal band Vicious Rumors on their debut album, Soldiers of the Night (1985). Moore joined Alice Cooper’s band and appeared on the Hey Stoopid album in 1991. Vinnie Moore has been the lead guitarist for UFO since June 2003.
Vinnie Vincent Invasion
After being released as the guitarist in KISS, Vinnie Vincent formed his own band called the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. Featuring Vinnie, Dana Strum on bass, Bobby Rock on drums, and former Journey vocalist Robert Fleischman. This lineup recorded the debut album and found success touring with bands like Iron Maiden after the album’s release in 1986. The band’s look was entirely over the top glam. Fleischman would be replaced before the first tour and the second album “All Systems Go” which featured Mark Slaughter on vocals. However tension within the band members and Vinnie Vincent lead to Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum leaving to form the band “Slaughter”. Bobby Rock would go on to play drums with Nelson and Lita Ford among others. The Vinnie Vincent Invasion received great reviews from fans and critics alike, but the band’s implosion lead to Vincent becoming somewhat of a recluse and rarely releasing any new material afterward.
Virgin Steele formed in 1981 and released the following albums in the 80s: (1982) Virgin Steele, (1983) Guardians of the Flame, (1985) Noble Savage and, (1988) Age of Consent. Considered the classic period of the band which featured guitarist Jack Starr, Virgin Steele couldn’t quite find a commercial audience. They would often cross the lines of power metal with epic rock in the vein of bands like Rainbow. Virgin Steele still releases new material albeit with a very different lineup these days.
While the band was formed in 1980, Vixen wouldn’t find commercial success until they released their debut album, Vixen in 1988. It was a successful debut album and it reached #41 on the Billboard charts. This all-female outfit found fame and fortune in the 80s rock scene. Sadly, guitarist Jan Kuehnemund died from cancer in 2013 at the age of 59. Vixen has released four studio albums and the band continues on today with vocalist Lorraine Lewis (Femme Fatale) replacing Janet Gardener.
W.A.S.P. was formed in 1982 in Los Angeles. The original lineup featured Blackie Lawless, Randy Piper, Rik Fox, and Tony Richards. Rik Fox left the band and went on to work with Steeler. Chris Holmes would be added as lead guitarist before the band would record their debut album in 1984. W.A.S.P. released the albums: W.A.S.P. (1984), The Last Command (1985), Inside the Electric Circus (1986) and, The Headless Children (1989), the first two albums reached Gold record status in the U.S. Known for wild stage shows and raunchy performances that often included throwing chunks of raw meat into the audience, W.A.S.P. created a reputation of mixing metal with shock value. The band still records and tours today with Lawless being the only original member.
Warlock was formed in 1982 and the band’s entire album catalog was released during the 1980s. The band’s albums Burning the Witches (1984), Hellbound (1985), True as Steel (1986) and
Triumph and Agony (1987) are considered classics. Warlock featuring vocalist Doro Pesch hit the metal scene in Germany and continued to grow their audience with each new album that they released. The band would find their most successful album to be Triumph & Agony released in 1987. By the end of 1988, Doro was the only remaining original member and she continued creating the same style of music with her solo band simply called Doro. Doro Pesch has been given the nickname “The Queen Of Metal” and has been a direct influence on many female singers that have carried the torch going forward.
While Warrant is considered one of the most popular 80s metal acts, they actually only released one album during that period which was Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (1989). Warrant started in the L.A. club scene in 1984 but wouldn’t release their debut album until some five years later. Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich reached #10 on the Billboard Charts and spawned four hit singles including the power ballad “Heaven” which made it all the way to # 2. The band would release the hit album Cherry Pie in 1990 that cemented their place in the metal scene. Singer Jani Lane tragically died at the age of 47 in 2011 from acute alcohol poisoning. The band has since recruited singer Robert Mason (Lynch Mob) to handle the vocals and the band continues on to this day.
Warrior released the space-themed album Fighting For The Earth in 1985. For a band that was previously unknown, these guys put together a really solid classic sounding metal album. Singer Paramore McCarty has a voice that combines gritty and high pitched screams. Overall, the entire album is well done and shows a maturity that many other bands did not display at the time. McCarty resurfaced as Perry McCarty serving as the lead vocalist for Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys. In 1998 Warrior released the album called Ancient Future with McCarty. The band has also released two other albums which featured vocalists Marc Storace of Krokus and Rob Rock.
Waysted released their debut album “Vices” in 1983 on Chrysalis Records. The band features former UFO bassist Pete Way, as well as Fin Muir on vocals, Ronnie Kayfield on lead guitar, Paul Raymond on rhythm guitar, and Frank Noon on drums. After Vices, the band released Waysted – EP (1984), The Good the Bad the Waysted (1985), Save Your Prayers (1986), Wilderness of Mirrors (2000), You Won’t Get Out Alive (2000), Back from the Dead (2004), The Harsh Reality (2007), and Totally Waysted (2008). The band received another shot at stardom in the U.S. with the album “Save Your Prayers” which featured future Tyketto vocalist Danny Vaughan. “Save Your Prayers” had a more commercial radio-friendly appeal to the sound but also failed to sell a large number of albums with limited promotion.
White Lion formed in 1983 and released their first album “Fight To Survive” in 1985. The band featured Mike Tramp – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, Vito Bratta – lead guitar, backing vocals, James LoMenzo – bass, backing vocals, and Greg D’Angelo – drums. The band hit it big with the release of the 1987 album “Pride”. The Pride album went double platinum in sales behind the singles “When The Children Cry” and “Wait”. White Lion released “Big Game” in 1989 which still went gold. White Lion would only release one more album in 1991 before calling it quits. Singer Mike Tramp briefly formed a new band called Freak Of Nature, attempted a new version of White Lion, and eventually went on to a successful solo career. Guitarist Vito Bratta basically dropped out of sight and now owns the rights to the entire White Lion music catalog. James LoMenzo and Greg D’Angelo joined Zakk Wylde’s band Pride & Glory which released one album.
White Sister formed in 1980 in the L.A. area and released two albums: (1984) White Sister and (1986) Fashion by Passion. The band was featured on several movie soundtracks including Fright Night, Thrashin’, and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. The band had a slightly more AOR, melodic rock sound with heavy keyboards. After White Sister, three of the band members would go on to form another band called Tattoo Rodeo.
White Tiger was notable for featuring former KISS guitarist Mark St. John who played on the Animalize album, only to be released by the band and replaced by Bruce Kulick after being unable to play with acute tendonitis. St. John was a great player, but this album suffers from really poor production that burdens this album throughout. With more support and clean production and mix, Mark St. John might have re-established himself in the world of metal guitarists, but the album was purchased mostly by die-hard KISS fans and virtually no one else. This was the only album released by White Tiger. St. John released a few solo albums independently but never to the level of his previous success. Sadly, St, John died in 2007 from a brain hemorrhage.
This Canadian metal band released two albums in the 80s: Standing Alone (1984) and, Endangered Species (1986). Both albums cracked the top 200 in the U.S. but failed to generate any hits. The band released a music video for the song “She” which received some airplay on MTV. The band toured throughout the U.S., Japan, and Europe to support the albums but didn’t have the success that they had hoped for in finding a commercial audience. The band reunited in 2007 and released new material. They are currently active.
Whitecross formed in 1985 by singer Scott Wenzel and guitarist Rex Carroll and sounding like the Christian version of Ratt helped these guys find an audience of fans who desperately wanted a Christian band that sounded like the secular bands that were dominating the airwaves. Whitecross could have been up there with Stryper but was relegated to being sold mostly in Christian Book stores.
Originally the name of David Coverdale’s solo album, Whitesnake started as a full band in 1978 following David Coverdale’s exit from Deep Purple. In the early years, the band had a more blues-based sound, but would slowly move in the direction of hard rock and metal. Whitesnake was prolific during the 80s releasing the following albums: Ready an’ Willing (1980), Come an’ Get It (1981), Saints & Sinners (1982), Slide It In (1984), Whitesnake (1987), and Slip of the Tongue (1989). The band managed to reach a larger mainstream rock audience with the release of Slide It In in 1984 and reached the peak of fame with the release of the self-titled “Whitesnake” album in 1987 which went 8 times Platinum in the U.S. Whitesnake continues to record and tour, but vocalist David Coverdale has indicated that he may retire from touring soon.
In 1985, Kip Winger joined Alice Cooper’s band where he recorded for two albums and toured with the band. He left in 1987 to start his own band. Winger released their debut album Winger in 1988. The album hit #21 on the Billboard charts with singles like “Madalaine”, “Seventeen”, “Headed for a Heartbreak” and “Hungry”. The band would continue to find success into the early part of the 90s. Winger still has a devoted fanbase and the band continues to release new material every few years.
X-Cursion is another rare find and included on our list as it was Mark Slaughter’s first band. Of course, Mark would go on to front the bands Vinnie Vincent Invasion and Slaughter. X-Cursion is notable for helping to launch the career of Slaughter. The album was released on a small label and is difficult to find in any format as it is believed to be only originally released on vinyl.
XYZ was originally located in France where members Terry Ilous and Pat Fontaine are from. The band moved to L.A. during the 80s glam metal scene and got a deal in 1989 with Don Dokken as their producer. The band released their self-titled debut in 1989 and received airplay from the hit singles “Inside Out” and “What Keeps Me Loving You” and “Maggy”. While the band never achieved huge success in the U.S. they released several albums afterward and singer Ilous would go on to front the band “Great White” for several years after they parted way with singer Jack Russell.
Y & T
After originally starting out in the 70s as Yesterday And Today, the band shortened their name to Y & T and found a decent amount of fame during the 80s with the following albums: Earthshaker (1981), Black Tiger (1982), Mean Streak (1983), In Rock We Trust (1984), Down for the Count (1985) and, Contagious (1987). The band still exists and tours regularly with only singer, guitarist Dave Meniketti remaining as an original member. Former members Leonard Haze, Phil Kennemore, and Joey Alves have all sadly passed away.
Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen came to L.A. in the early 80s and performed in the band Steeler with Ron Keel and then joined the band Alcatrazz with Graham Bonnet. His neoclassical style would bring him praise from critics and fans alike. Malmsteen would then go on to a solo career with the albums (1984) Rising Force, (1985) Marching Out, (1986) Trilogy and
(1988) Odyssey during the 1980s. Yngwie Malmsteen is consistently ranked among the world’s best rock guitarists.
Zebra is a three-piece hard rock band comprised of Randy Jackson (guitar and vocals), Felix Hanemann (bass, keyboards, and vocals), and Guy Gelso (drums and vocals). Releasing three albums during the 80s: Zebra (1983), No Tellin’ Lies (1984) and, 3.V (1986) the band achieved a Gold record with the first album. The songs “Who’s Behind the Door” and “Tell Me What You Want” were both solid hits in the U.S. Zebra last released an album of new material in 2003, but continues to perform live and has had a new album in the works since 2017.