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Hard rock / Heavy metal

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Hard rock / Heavy metal


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During the second half of the 80s there was a resurgence of hard rock music as well as the emergence of its pop metal subgenre. The decade is characterized by the popularization of hard rock bands like Guns N' Roses and the successful return to stage of Aerosmith and Alice Cooper in the late eighties.

Queen, which had expanded its music to experimental and crossover genres during the early 80s, returned to guitar-driven hard rock with The Miracle (1989).

Bands like Aerosmith, Styx, Rush, Journey, REO Speedwagon, and ZZ Top, among others continued with the Arena Rock trend originated in the 70s, with hair metal taking their place some time later.

Heavy metal was also extremely popular al, throughout the decade, with artists and bands like Ozzy Osbourne, who achieved high levels of popularity during his solo career; Dio and Iron Maiden among others. Speed metal pioneer Motörhead released several hit albums.

From the underground levels emerged another Metal subgenres, the thrash metal, an extreme subgenre of heavy metal characterized by its fast tempo and aggression and the use of fast, percussive and low-register guitar riffs; brought to the mainstream bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer.

The eighties also saw the emergence of hair metal or glam metal a fusion of traditional hard rock and heavy metal songs, with elements of punk rock. Visually it was inspired on the glam rock or glitter rock of the 70s, featuring very long backcombed hairstyles, the use of make-up, gaudy clothing and accessories consisting of tight denim or leather jeans, spandex, and headbands. The aesthetics of this subgenre appealed to MTV producers, whose establishment coincided with the rise of the genre. Glam metal performers became infamous for their liberal lifestyles, excessive use of hallucinogenic substances and late-night parties widely covered by the press.

One of the first bands of hair metal to achieve some level of success were Mötley Crüe, with their albums Too Fast for Love (1981) and Shout at the Devil (1983). Quiet Riot with Metal Health (1983) was the first glam metal album, to reach #1 in the music charts, paving the way to mainstream to subsequent bands.

Other successful bands, include Poison with its debut album Look What the Cat Dragged In (1986) and Cinderella with their album Night Songs (1986). Stryper, formed in 1983 in Orange County, California, made their mainstream breakthrough in 1986 with their platinum album To Hell with the Devil bringing Christian lyrics to the hard rock music style. Van Halen released 5150 (1986), their first album with Sammy Hagar on lead vocals, hitting the first place in American charts for three weeks and selling over 6 million copies.

The Swedish band Europe hit the top ten charts in several countries, including the United States with The Final Countdown (1986).

But one of the most succesful examples of glam metal is Bon Jovi, with Slippery When Wet (1986), mixing hard rock with a pop sensitivity, and hitting for 8 weeks the top of the Billboard 200 album chart and selling over 12 million copies. It also became the first hard rock album to spawn three top 10 singles, two of which reached the first place.

Mötley Crüe had a big success with Girls, Girls, Girls (1987), Def Leppard with Hysteria (1987) and Faster Pussycat released their eponymous début album. The greatest success was achieved by Guns N' Roses, originally formed from a fusion of bands L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose, who released the best-selling début of all time, Appetite for Destruction (1987), it had a rawer sound than other of the genre, Guns N' Rosesachieved three top ten hits, including the number one Sweet Child O' Mine.

Some of the other top glam metal of the late eighties include Bon Jovi's New Jersey (1988), Van Halen's OU812 (1988) and Poison's Open Up and Say... Ahh! (1988), with number one hit single Every Rose Has Its Thorn, which eventually sold 8 million copies worldwide.

Britny Fox and Winger released their eponymous débuts in 1988; while Mötley Crüe's produced their most commercially successful album, the multi-platinum number one Dr. Feelgood (1989). In 1989 also Danger Danger and Dangerous Toys had their respective début adding a Southern rock tone to the genre. Warrant released Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (1989), and Skid Row with their eponymous album (1989), achieved a 6th place in the Billboard 200, being one of the last major bands that emerged in the glam metal era.

There was a big dominance of the genre during the 80s, however in the 90s it would experience a decline partly due to the emergence of grunge music from Seattle, with bands including Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Especially after the success of Nirvana's Nevermind (1991), a combination of hardcore punk and heavy metal into a dirty sound that made use of heavy guitar distortion, fuzz and feedback, along with darker lyrical themes, a stripped-down aesthetic and a complete rejection of the glam metal visual style and performance; causing MTV's and other media attention to be shifted to the new style, relegatin glam metal bands to a second place.

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