Hair metal is a sub genre of heavy metal which is more chart-oriented than a lot of other rock music. It's often criticised for being entirely based on image and for the musicians being crap. However, the truth is that all genres of music have an associated image; even grunge has its own anti-fashions. The image of the hair metal bands was tight spandex or leather trousers, eye makeup, and long, dyed black or blonde hair, styled with lots of spray to make it look bigger. The required effect was to look like a slightly ugly girl, or in the case of some, a rather attractive girl. In fact, the Aerosmith song Dude Looks Like A Lady was written about Vince Neil, the singer from Motley Crue.

The hair metal genre started because a generation of young people were influenced by Aerosmith and the New York Dolls. Bands in the genre include Hanoi Rocks, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Europe, Bon Jovi (more for the sound than the image) and even Aerosmith themselves when they made their late 80s comeback. To clear up any misunderstandings: Guns N' Roses originally came from the hair metal scene, but had more success than a lot of the other bands because their music was more varied in style and in the theme of the lyrics, so they appealed to people who didn't like hair metal. I would say that GNR are probably the crossover point between hair metal and straight-up heavy metal.

Grunge is said to have killed hair metal, however,many of the hair metal bands are now making a comeback with reunion tours and new albums. The exceptions to this are Bon Jovi, who survived the 90s with a similar amount of success to before, and Guns N' Roses, who basically would have imploded whatever else was going on in the music scene.

Generally the hair metal bands tended to be quite badly behaved- at some point, a lot of the musicians have been involved in drug addiction or alcoholism. For example, during the late 80s every single member of both Motley Crue and Guns N' Roses was addicted to either heroin or alcohol, and Slash was addicted to both, drinking two bottles of whisky every day. Nikki Sixx actually died in an ambulance after a heroin overdose, but was revived with an injection of adrenaline into his heart. This led to the album 'Kickstart My Heart'.

Hair metal tends not to be taken seriously as a genre of music because its lyrics are seen as offensive or stupid. The songs often sound very similar to each other, and there is in fact a particular 'whiny' style of guitar solo that is recognisable in a lot of these songs, although this is partly due to several of the most famous guitarists all using Gibson Les Paul guitars. To be honest, I think that music is there to be enjoyed, and hair metal was written by young guys who wanted to have a good time. It just happens that like a lot of young guys, their idea of fun was to go out and drink, party and get girls. Also- if you don't like it, you don't have to listen to it!
1. Girls, Girls, Girls by Motley Crue is a perfect example of a hair metal song- the video has strippers and motorbikes.

2. The hair metal image of big hair and tight trousers is being brought back by bands such as Towers of London.
by gembird November 26, 2006
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Hair metal, to sum it up, is an AWESOME genre of music. Hair metal is not exactly metal, though the musicianship has some simillarities. However, as opposed to black metal and death metal, the lyrics tend to be more upbeat and focused on "sex, drugs, and rock n' roll," as opposed to death and other gloomy, borderline Satanic lyrics, and unlike speed metal the musicianship is more intricate (listen to the guitar part for "Sweet Child O' Mine"). Hair metal actually is closer to the classic rock of the rolling stones and other bands like them than anything else

Here's a quick fact for you: Grunge did NOT kill hair metal. Far from it. Hair metal competed with grunge briefly, and then Kurt Cobain killed himself. Grunge has since then lost lots of it's popularity (don't even TRY comparing Hole or even Pearl Jam, a pretty decent band, to Nirvana). And I, and lots of people I know, like both genres.

Hair metal is disliked by hipsters today, who seem to find it's huge popularity proof that it is "corporate." Fine. You go on listening to belle and sebastian and le tigre, and we'll see who people listen to ten years from now and who is residing in the "where are they now" files. Listen to the guitar playing of Eddie Van Halen and Slash and try saying indie rockers are more talented.

Besides lyrics focused on fun and sex, hair metal has gotten political sometimes. For example, listen to twisted sister's song "we're not gonna take it."
Must hear hair metal bands are:
guns n' roses
the motley crue
bon jovi
van halen
twisted sister
by king of canada June 19, 2006
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The greatest rock, ever. Actually had talent unlike that shit called grunge. Hair metal was all about bangin' brauds, drinkin, makin' alot of money, having a great time, kicking ass, having fun and rockin'! Then that loser Cobain ruined it, and killed himself because he's a loser. Fuck Seattle. No, they didn't kill hair metal at all retards, hair metal was kickin' ass since '81 and decided to take a little break in '92, and are now back, kickin' ass again! No grunge band can ever comeback. Motley Crue is the greatest.
Hair metal has been crowned the new king!
by Spartans! November 08, 2004
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this isn't much of a definition but seriously whoever writes these things about hair metal doesn't have a clue! The term hair metal started out as a derogatory for glam rock or whatever you want to call it. Some people originality called it teeth metal mainly because everyone was seen to be having a good time. which to me is what music is all about.
here is an example of a noob... Success in hair metal was primarily achieved through placing primary importance on the ability to pose for the camera, and comprising your band with simpletons with little or no musical ability, much less creativity.

have you ever listened to any glam rock? some of the guitarists of that era pushed the boundaries of solos. The thing is many solos may be easy to play, but to compose them in the first place takes some serious creative talent.
by 226 August 11, 2007
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The greatest form of "hard" rock in existance. Mostly dead now, thanks to the uprise of lackadaisical bands and talent lacking "musicians". Grunge and Punk replace Hair/glam metal in the rock wars. Great.
Despite its suggestive and oftimes offensive lyrics, the msical talent was second to none. Insane guitar work and vocals were hallmarks of the genre. Whenever i say i like metal, i need to add the tag "Hair" just to ensure that i am not a satanic headbanger (i am just the wild kind).
by ManOfTheDiaspora May 05, 2005
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Hard rock music that began in the early 1980's and lost much popularity during the 90's, due to Kurt Kobain and the grunge movement. Hair metal bands are reconisable by their big hair and flashy clothing. They mostly wrote songs about partying, women, and their whole lifestyle.
Popular Hair metal bands: Motley Crue, Poison, Ratt, Cinderella, Warrant
by Flipper March 25, 2005
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hair metal, in my opinion, is pretty fuckin awesome. i mean who cant love EXTREMELY talented and dedicated musicians performing their hearts out? definetly beats the whole "i hate the whole fucking world so im gonna go a month without washing my hair and im gonna act depressed so that "cool" chicks/guys will like me, etc"...which is shit, btw. alot of retarded critics say that hair metal is sooo over the top and sooo polished and they want real....raw music....well, dammit if the polished and over the top stuff sounds a hell of a lot better than said real and raw music, then why shouldnt you fucking listen to it? so what if alot of the people in the hair metal bands had long (usually gorgeous....sorry im a girl....i love long hair like, idk dave sabo's) hair and wore make up and some looked like they belonged on the cover of Cosmo instead of the Rolling Stone....but didnt they sound good? isnt that what really matters.....i mean the hair metal guys had REAL musical talent (of course there are a few exceptions...not many though...)and they worked their asses off to make their music perfect while those dumbasses who played grunge music (now im not COMPLETELY opposed to grunge....but alot of it is crap)just sat on stage droning about how awful life is. idk about you but i'd pick the polished over the top guys....
SKID ROW, bon jovi, poison, motley crue, warrant,etc,etc,etc.....hair metal is amazing, to put it in a nutshell
by someone who gives a shit November 08, 2006
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