Since its inception by the typings of some clever music journalist in the 80s, the categorization “hair metal” (or “glam metal”) has been as amorphous and, consequently, as misused as “metalcore” has been in the aughties. And since it’s hair metal week here on MetalSucks, we thought we’d try to address this issue by pointing the spotlight on ten bands that are often, and incorrectly, deemed “hair metal.” And to that end…

quiet riot

Like Van Halen, entry #9 on this most dubious of lists, it’s easy to see why so many people call Quiet Riot hair metal. The Los Angeles quartet displayed so many of the trapping of the hair metal era — namely lotsa hair (though Dubrow’s wig could call this into question in the later years), a bulge-in-the-pants sense of machismo and giant-sized rock anthems about sex, booze and bangin’ your head — but how can any band be part of a trend they pre-dated by so many years? Quiet Riot got together in 1973 — 1973!! — and released their first album in 1975, long before the Poisons and Cinderellas and even the Motley Crues and Ratts started patrolling the Sunset Strip.

Though their first album to be released in America didn’t come until 1983’s Metal Health, there’s no doubt that Quiet’s Riot’s presence in the Los Angeles scene had an enormous influence on what was to come. While the band’s look, at least initially, was free of Aqua Net, spandex and eyeliner, so too was their music free of so many of the formulaic pieces that made up the evental whole of the hair metal puzzle. Metal Health is remarkably free of so many of the musical cliches often associated with hair metal; it’s really just a solid, honest-to-goodness hard rock record. Even one of the album’s most popular hits, “Cum On Feel the Noize,” a seeming indulgence in the over-the-top party hard attitude that embodied hair metal (not to mention the intentional mis-spelling), was a cover of Slade’s 1973 hit.

Quiet Riot were just little too far ahead of the game for their own good. Though Metal Health experienced a huge amount of commercial success, Quiet Riot’s brand of straight-forward hard rock was in the end just a bit too straight-forward, and the band was subsequently passed by many of the more fashionable — and fashion-conscious — bands that they influenced.



#8: Saigon Kick
#9: Van Halen

#10: BulletBoys

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