A band of the hard rock or heavy metal variety associated with the 1980s, even if from the early 90s (as was the case with Damn Yankees, Mr. Big, Nelson) "Hair metal" was a term not coined until well into the 90s, but roughly covers what was known in the 80s as "glam metal".
Self-proclaimed haters of hair metal try to define the genre as music with all focus on image, and contrast it with grunge
. Yet in grunge
, the lack of aesthetics became a trendy enforced look itself, and the scene never produced any virtuoso "musician's musicians". Many credit Nirvana and grunge with the "death" of hair metal, but this is historically inaccurate, as hair metal's loss of popularity was mainly due to 1) sudden denial by radio stations and Mtv of any airplay or promotion, and 2) unrelated pitfalls of many key bands in a very short time span: Ozzy Osbourne had announced retirement, inner conflict led to Guns n' Roses' break-up, too many years taken off in between some band's albums (Metallica, Alice Cooper, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Def Leppard), while other bands lost prominent members (Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Poison).
Most hair metal bands in fact continued to put out albums and play small venues throughout the 1990s, finding promotion via the internet, college radio, and the work of loyal fans. Ironically, it then became a much more anti-corporate, "alternative" form of music than the 90s pop music that was still being called "alternative".
"Haha, look at all that hair metal. I hate anything that came out of the 80s."
"Wait a minute, didn't you just buy the latest CDs from Guns n' Roses, Aerosmith, and Metallica?"
"Yeah, but those bands don't count as hair metal because, um, you know. Er, uhhhh...hey what's on TV tonight?"