Top 20 Glam Metal Albums You Can’t Miss

by Patria
Bon Jovi

Glam metal, also known as hair metal, emerged in the late 1970s and soared to immense popularity during the 1980s. Characterized by its blend of hard rock and heavy metal with catchy hooks, anthemic choruses, and flamboyant fashion, glam metal left an indelible mark on the music scene. This genre, known for its larger-than-life personas, theatrics, and power ballads, produced some of the most memorable and influential albums in rock history. Here’s a look at the top 20 glam metal albums that defined an era and continue to influence the genre today.

Top 20 Glam Metal Albums

1. Mötley Crüe – “Shout at the Devil” (1983)

“Shout at the Devil” catapulted Mötley Crüe into the mainstream, with its rebellious spirit and heavy riffs. Tracks like “Looks That Kill” and the title track became anthems, embodying the band’s wild and untamed persona. The album’s dark themes and aggressive sound distinguished it from other glam metal albums, making it a crucial entry in the genre’s history. Mötley Crüe’s theatrical stage shows and controversial antics only added to the album’s allure, cementing their place as one of the defining bands of the era.

2. Def Leppard – “Hysteria” (1987)

“Hysteria” is a masterpiece of production, featuring a blend of hard rock and pop elements. With hits like “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Love Bites,” and “Animal,” Def Leppard created an album that balanced commercial appeal with rock credibility. The production work of Mutt Lange helped to create a polished and radio-friendly sound that appealed to a broad audience. This album’s intricate layering of guitars and vocals set a new standard for the genre and remains a high point in Def Leppard’s career.

3. Poison – “Look What the Cat Dragged In” (1986)

Poison’s debut album is a quintessential glam metal record, full of party anthems and catchy hooks. “Talk Dirty to Me” and “I Want Action” are standout tracks that showcase the band’s fun and carefree style. The band’s flashy image and energetic performances captured the essence of the 1980s glam metal scene. Poison’s ability to write infectious, feel-good songs helped them stand out in a crowded field and earned them a devoted fanbase that remains loyal to this day.

4. Ratt – “Out of the Cellar” (1984)

Ratt’s “Out of the Cellar” is a landmark album in the glam metal genre. Featuring the hit “Round and Round,” this album combines gritty guitar riffs with melodic sensibilities, establishing Ratt as a force in the 1980s rock scene. The album’s success helped to define the sound of glam metal, blending raw energy with polished production. Stephen Pearcy’s distinctive vocals and Warren DeMartini’s impressive guitar work made this album an essential listen for any glam metal fan.

5. Bon Jovi – “Slippery When Wet” (1986)

“Slippery When Wet” is one of the best-selling albums of all time, thanks to mega-hits like “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name,” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Bon Jovi’s knack for crafting radio-friendly rock anthems is on full display here. The album’s success catapulted the band to international stardom, and its songs became anthems of the 1980s. The blend of hard rock and pop sensibilities ensured its widespread appeal, making it a defining record of the glam metal era.

6. Guns N’ Roses – “Appetite for Destruction” (1987)

Though often classified as hard rock, “Appetite for Destruction” has undeniable glam metal elements. Songs like “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” “Welcome to the Jungle,” and “Paradise City” defined an era and influenced countless bands. The album’s raw energy, gritty lyrics, and impressive musicianship set it apart from other releases of the time. Axl Rose’s powerful vocals and Slash’s iconic guitar solos made this album a timeless classic that continues to inspire new generations of rock musicians.

7. Twisted Sister – “Stay Hungry” (1984)

“Stay Hungry” features Twisted Sister’s biggest hits, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.” The album’s rebellious attitude and catchy choruses made it a staple of the glam metal movement. The band’s theatrical image and outspoken frontman, Dee Snider, helped to create a unique and memorable presence in the genre. “Stay Hungry” captured the spirit of defiance and fun that characterized glam metal, making it an essential album for fans of the era.

8. Cinderella – “Night Songs” (1986)

Cinderella’s debut album “Night Songs” combines bluesy rock with glam metal flair. Tracks like “Nobody’s Fool” and “Shake Me” showcase the band’s strong songwriting and musical versatility. The album’s gritty sound and powerful vocals by Tom Keifer set it apart from other glam metal releases. Cinderella’s ability to blend hard rock with blues influences created a unique sound that resonated with fans and critics alike, establishing them as a significant force in the genre.

9. Whitesnake – “Whitesnake” (1987)

Whitesnake’s self-titled album, often referred to as “1987,” features massive hits like “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love.” The album’s polished production and David Coverdale’s powerful vocals make it a glam metal classic. The band’s blend of hard rock and melodic hooks appealed to a wide audience, and the album’s success helped to elevate Whitesnake to new heights. The combination of memorable songs and skilled musicianship ensured that this album would stand the test of time.

10. Warrant – “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich” (1989)

Warrant’s debut album includes the hit single “Heaven,” a quintessential glam metal power ballad. With catchy songs like “Down Boys” and “Big Talk,” the album captures the essence of the late 80s glam metal scene. Warrant’s knack for writing infectious melodies and anthemic choruses made this album a standout. The band’s energetic performances and charismatic frontman, Jani Lane, helped to solidify their place in the glam metal pantheon.

11. Skid Row – “Skid Row” (1989)

Skid Row’s self-titled debut album features a harder edge than many of its glam metal contemporaries. Tracks like “18 and Life” and “Youth Gone Wild” showcase the band’s raw energy and Sebastian Bach’s dynamic vocals. The album’s aggressive sound and powerful lyrics set it apart from other glam metal releases. Skid Row’s ability to blend heavy metal intensity with melodic sensibilities made this album a crucial entry in the genre and a fan favorite.

12. L.A. Guns – “Cocked & Loaded” (1989)

“Cocked & Loaded” is a high-energy album that blends glam metal with sleaze rock. With hits like “The Ballad of Jayne” and “Rip and Tear,” L.A. Guns delivered a record that is both gritty and melodic. The band’s raw sound and streetwise lyrics gave them a unique edge in the glam metal scene. The combination of hard-hitting rockers and memorable ballads ensured that “Cocked & Loaded” would become a classic of the genre.

13. Quiet Riot – “Metal Health” (1983)

“Metal Health” was the first glam metal album to reach number one on the Billboard charts. The title track and “Cum On Feel the Noize” became anthems, cementing Quiet Riot’s place in glam metal history. The album’s success helped to pave the way for other glam metal bands to achieve mainstream recognition. Quiet Riot’s energetic performances and catchy songs made “Metal Health” a defining album of the 1980s rock scene.

14. Dokken – “Under Lock and Key” (1985)

Dokken’s “Under Lock and Key” features a blend of melodic rock and heavy metal. Songs like “In My Dreams” and “The Hunter” highlight the band’s strong harmonies and George Lynch’s exceptional guitar work. The album’s polished production and catchy hooks helped to establish Dokken as one of the leading bands in the glam metal genre. The combination of powerful vocals and intricate guitar solos made this album a standout in the mid-80s rock landscape.

15. Great White – “Once Bitten” (1987)

“Once Bitten” includes the hit single “Rock Me,” a track that showcases Great White’s bluesy take on glam metal. The album’s mix of hard rock anthems and ballads makes it a standout in the genre. Great White’s ability to blend blues influences with glam metal sensibilities created a unique sound that resonated with fans. The album’s strong songwriting and memorable melodies ensured its place as a classic of the era.

16. W.A.S.P. – “The Last Command” (1985)

W.A.S.P.’s “The Last Command” is a raw and energetic album that features the hit “Wild Child.” The band’s theatrical style and heavy sound make this record a glam metal classic. The album’s aggressive sound and controversial lyrics set it apart from other releases of the time. W.A.S.P.’s ability to combine hard-hitting rock with theatrical flair made “The Last Command” a significant entry in the glam metal genre.

17. Tesla – “The Great Radio Controversy” (1989)

Tesla’s “The Great Radio Controversy” is known for its bluesy hard rock sound. The album features hits like “Love Song” and “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” showcasing the band’s strong songwriting and musicianship. Tesla’s ability to blend melodic hooks with hard rock intensity made this album a standout. The band’s focus on musicianship and authenticity helped to set them apart from many of their contemporaries in the glam metal scene.

18. Kix – “Blow My Fuse” (1988)

“Blow My Fuse” by Kix includes the hit ballad “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” The album’s mix of hard rock anthems and melodic ballads makes it a highlight of the glam metal era. Kix’s energetic performances and catchy songs helped to establish them as a force in the genre. The album’s combination of powerful rockers and emotional ballads ensured its place as a classic of the late 1980s.

19. Stryper – “To Hell with the Devil” (1986)

Stryper’s “To Hell with the Devil” stands out in the glam metal genre for its Christian themes. Hits like “Calling on You” and “Honestly” showcase the band’s strong melodies and positive message. Stryper’s unique approach to glam metal, combining faith-based lyrics with hard rock intensity, set them apart from other bands. The album’s success demonstrated that there was a place for spiritual themes in the glam metal world, making it a significant entry in the genre.

20. Vixen – “Vixen” (1988)

Vixen’s self-titled debut album features the hit single “Edge of a Broken Heart.” As one of the few all-female bands in the glam metal scene, Vixen brought a fresh perspective and delivered a record full of catchy, powerful songs. The band’s strong musicianship and melodic sensibilities helped to establish them as a force in the genre. Vixen’s ability to blend rock intensity with pop hooks made their debut album a standout and an essential listen for glam metal fans.

See Also: Top 25 Metalcore Bands of All Time


These albums represent the pinnacle of glam metal, a genre that combined the theatrics of rock with the accessibility of pop. Each record brought something unique to the table, contributing to the rich tapestry of 1980s rock music. The impact of these albums continues to be felt today, influencing new generations of musicians and fans alike.

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