Friday, August 27, 2010

Top 10 Deliciously 80's Rock and Metal Songs

Hey all, rather than let the Cynic have all the fun, here comes a brand new top 10 list for you. Before we start, I have a confession. I LOVE the 80's. I love the music, I love the hair, the clothes (in the rock/metal side of things lol), I love it all. I have no problem admitting that. So that being said, I have compiled a list of the most wonderfully, outrageously, deliciously 80's rock and metal videos. Now I know there are about a half a million other songs out there that could have or should have made this list, but I am going with songs/artists I know and personally am a fan of, so yeah it might be biased, but it's what I know. Also, I'm looking at videos, so that limits me right there. I'm not like those teeny-tween types that wears a Guns N' Roses or a Beatles shirt just cause it's cool but have no idea who the hell the band is. And trust me, this could have been a top 50 or 100 list, narrowing it down to 10 was not easy. But, without further ado, here it is:

10. Lovin' Every Minute of It- Loverboy, 1985 (Lovin' Every Minute of It)

Okay, I probably could have put "Working for the Weekend" on here, but that would be too easy :D. And to be honest, I really like this song. I've been listening to Loverboy for a long time, both on the radio and from the albums my mum had when I was growing up. Also they are the only Canadian band that is on this list (sorry to Triumph, Heart, BTO, Rush, and the other awesome Canadian acts I didn't get on here). The video is straightforward and fun, moving from a house party to eventually the band getting on stage, a video-story one can see in tons of other music videos. The cutting back and forth to the band on stage, the piano and candles, so many awesome 80's style bits while maintaining a video overall that could pass off as more recent, especially in the parts on the stage and the house party. Still, awesome stuff.

9. Close My Eyes Forever- Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford, 1988 (Lita)

Ah, what would the 80's be without the power ballad? And what would this list be without at least one? This song is a combined effort from two of metal's greats, Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford. It is also a great example of the power ballad, in both the song itself and the video. The side shots, the fading from one to the other, the guitar solo, the shadows and otherwise dark/muted colors, showing them in with the microphones as in the studio; all quintessential (see Def Leppard's Love Bites as another example). This video shows the idea of the power ballad video at it's finest, and is essentially a perfect example. You can't really say more than that.

8. Turbo Lover- Judas Priest, 1986 (Turbo)

Okay, it's no secret I'm a huge Judas Priest fan. Turbo Lover is also one of my favorite songs. In this video, we see the band in a more "stereotypical 80's" way than with any other album. While still in their usual style of all leather and studs, we see a more colorful Judas Priest, as well as the fringes, and even Rob Halford's hair (which except for this part of the 80's and the early 70's, is always short/shaved). This album was also more "mainstream", as it were, featuring the band's first use of guitar synthesizers. A great song from one of my favorite bands, but you can certainly tell what decade it's from based on the video alone.

7. Nobody's Fool- Cinderella, 1986 (Night Songs)

Now this is a great song. The first time I heard it, I was sold. The guitars, the vocals, awesome, and very different from what was popular at the time that I first heard it in the early 2000's (I generally dislike my generation's music, with only a few exceptions). Again, we have the band on stage/filming a video, with the side story of the "girlfriend" and the groupies. Watching it, everything just smacks of the 80's, right down to Tom Keifer's "darker version of Steven Tyler" look, which I think is cool. A darker glam, can't go wrong there.

6. Flesh For Fantasy- Billy Idol, 1983 (Rebel Yell)

Clicky (boo, the embedding won't work)

I got into Billy Idol's music in a big way when I was sixteen. This was during my punk/goth/what-have-you days (proper punk, not that Avril Lavigne crap that was so popular at the time). I even saw the guy live in 2008 (the same year as Judas Priest and the same concert as Def Leppard lol). And really, does it get more 80's than this? The triangles (which show up in other vids from the time- see Def Leppard's Foolin'), the synthesizers, that kickass opening riff, and... could it be, the dancers are actually dancing instead of grinding and basically using each other for stripper poles? Well, I'll be damned! Real artistic dancing? Put a "ring" on that shit, Beyonce. :P
I don't think I need to further elaborate on the awesome 80's-ness of Billy Idol.

5. Tie: Rock of Ages & Rocket- Def Leppard, 1983 & 1987 (Pyromania & Hysteria)

It might surprise you, considering they are at number five on the list, but Def Leppard is my absolute favorite band, and have been for a long time. I had a hard time deciding on what video to include here, since the band had several during the 80's that would fit this list well. I had to settle for a tie, Rock of Ages from the Pyromania album, and Rocket from the Hysteria album. It also shows a change in style from the early 80's to late 80's, which is a nice comparison. Rock of Ages contains the ever-present band-on stage set-up, contrasted with images of hooded figures, a damsel in distress, vocalist Joe Elliott with a sword, and guitarist Phil Collen's bum. Rocket is a song that is nostalgic of the band's own influences and childhoods. The video is very 80's in a warehouse-type setting with TVs and equipment everywhere, showing images talked about in the song. Also notice the style changes from the two videos, in terms of both fashion and imagery. It's more noticeable if you watch all of the other videos from Pyromania (Foolin', Photograph -not the craptastic Nickelback song, Too Late for Love, Rock Rock Till You Drop) and Hysteria (Women, Animal, Love Bites, Pour Some Sugar On Me- there's two videos, Armageddon It, Hysteria- also with non-hyper-sexualized dancing) as well.

4. Holy Diver- Dio, 1983 (Holy Diver)

Does this need any introduction? Does it? This is fucking HOLY DIVER by DIO. This video is so hardcore awesomely metal and Viking and win. And yes, Killswitch Engage did a cover of this for the re-release, special edition of their album When Daylight Dies. I like the cover too, but you can't really ever beat the original, especially not when it comes to when of metal's greats. This was the first single from the band, and has become a classic (and well deserved). As a side note, Dio's guitarist on this album is none other than Vivian Campbell, who has been part of Def Leppard since the untimely passing of Steve Clark in 1991. Also featured in this video is the group's mascot, the demon Murray. This video is downright awesome. Raise your horns to the late, great Ronnie James Dio.

3. Here I Go Again- Whitesnake, 1987 (re-recorded single)

Think of iconic 80's rock video moments. Chances are, you'll think of this video, purely for the image of actress Tawny Kitaen dancing on the hood of lead singer David Coverdale's Jaguar XJ. It was even referenced in Bowling for Soup's 2004 song 1985 (which I think sucks, but whatever). In addition to the car dancing, the images of the band consist of the stage set-up prevalent in so many videos, with a very 80's vibe. This is also the third band on this list that has counted Vivian Campbell as a member, although he was not with Whitesnake for long (as with most of Whitesnake's members, it seems). However, he is seen in this video. The song itself was originally released in 1982, but was re-recorded and a new video made, which has become the more well-known version. Really, there isn't much else to say here, anyone who knows 80's rock videos should be familiar with Here I Go Again.

2. Bon Jovi's Videos from the Album Slippery When Wet- 1986

Love 'em or hate 'em, 1986 was huge year for Bon Jovi. Their album, Slippery When Wet, made them hugely famous and spawned three videos, as above. Now, regardless of how I am not a fan of Bon Jovi's sound post-Crush (hearing them on a local country station with Who Says You Can't Go Home was a very sad day indeed), I grew up on the Bon Jovi of the 80's, this album specifically. This is big, mainstream, anthemic, 80's hair rock/metal at it's finest. Even still, any person who knows Bon Jovi, apart from their newest stuff, knows these songs. They know the big hair, the wild outfits, and the words to these still very popular songs. Truly, few rock acts could claim to be so outrageously 80's (and outrageously popular) as Bon Jovi in 1986. So what band, you might ask, can top the sheer deliciously 80's-ness of those bands that come before?

The answer:

1. David Lee Roth era Van Halen, 1978-1985 (especially the album1984)

While putting together this list, I initially thought it was going to be really hard to order this list from ten to one. However, when I came to number one, I had to go with Van Halen, simply because I couldn't pick one single video (or album) to showcase the 80's-ness of Van Halen. This is the Van Halen I'm most familiar with. I know about three songs tops of Van Hagar, and it never really did it for me the same way. When I think of this band, I think of Eddie Van Halen's amazing guitar work, David Lee Roth's flamboyant antics and distinctive voice, and a look and style so distinctively 80's. I really don't need to explain it, the videos say it all. Now I chose three videos, all from the album 1984, mainly because they are some of the most popular Van Halen songs, and for some reason you can't find the video for Runnin' With the Devil on YouTube (boo). Roth-era Van Halen is truly in a class of it's own when it comes to delicious 80's goodness.

Well thanks for joining me here on this exploration on one of my favorite decades and it's music. Join me next time when I look at more delicious 80's fun, or something else equally awesome and nostalgic. Cheers all.

~the P.M.S

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