"Hair Metal" vs Grunge

Marla 1976

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People act like in retrospect "Hair Metal" was this cringeworthy, horrid thing that NEEDED to die.

But I grew up on "Hair Metal". I was a metalhead as a teenage girl. From early 1988 until early 1994. My favorite bands were Cinderella, Poison,Guns N Roses, Warrant, Winger, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Slaughter, Skid Row, Ratt, FireHouse, Motley Crue and Aerosmith. My older sister( 4 years older than me) was into hard rock and Heavy Metal so i always heard things around the house like Ratt , Motley Crue , Def Leppard, Quiet Riot , Dokken , Judas Priest , W.A.S.P., etc. .

So i started listening to bands like aforementeioned , as well as bands like Bon Jovi, Poison , Cinderella , Whitesnake ( i absolutely loved Jon Bon Jovi when i was 11 year old). Alot of teenagers were into Heavy Metal back than so it wasn't hard to turned onto new bands all the time. I went to my 1st Motley Crue concert with my older sister when I was 14. You can call me old all you want but these kids today will never know what it's like to see your favorite band for 11bucks in a sold out stadium or the thrill of buying your favorite album. loved Sebastian Bach and still do he’s a bombshell, and had a life like poster on my door in the bedroom yummy, I also was in love with Vince Neil, Bret Michaels , Axl Rose, Mark Slaughter , Jon Bon Jovi , Kip Winger , Tom Keifer , Jani Lane ... .

Grunge didn't just lead to the death of hair metal. It led to the death of melodic hard rock and heavy metal in general, and took hard rock from a widely popular and diverse fanbase to a niche market. Today, in 2019, rock songs almost never get anywhere close to the top 10, whereas from the 70s to about 1993, hard rock regularly topped the charts. Rock music in the 80's/early 90s was awesome! There were great bands with awesome talent like Guns n Roses, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, etc. The music was fun and full of energy! Bands actually knew how to play their instruments well.


The "Hair Metal" era, roughly '83 to '92 or so, represents the last time Heavy Metal was truly relevant. It represents the last time rock was culturally 'dangerous' and also fun as a genre - when rockstars still roamed the Earth. I can see the negative thoughts you have about it - being too corporate and gimmicky. But It was a period when rock was good (for me anyway) and then by like 93 and on rock became depressing sounding with snarling growling singers who were depressed. I honestly think Kurt Cobain was a pretentious, overrated asshole with some real drug issues, and that Nirvana and the grunge scene as a whole buried a lot of talented, 90’s metal act that were keeping the genre alive at a time when it's popularity was fading. I was alive and rocking during all of this. It was grunge fans that thought it was cool to hate metal bands because hair metal bands, not nirvana were the mainstream. Grunge was very pesimistic.



Cobain's image was based on sort of anti-fashion stance, but he ended up being somewhat fashionable and glam in spite of himself. In the 90s, you didn't hire Anton Corbijn to direct your video without having some concern for putting across an image. I thought Soundgarden sounded like a million other bands, and I just never got the infatuation with Pearl Jam. They actually sounded to me like a bunch of wannabe folkies, or maybe a bunch of folkies who had jumped on the grunge bandwagon. I can't even be bothered verifying whether that is historically accurate, except that I know a couple of them came from Green River. There's an anecdote about Def Leppard doing an unplugged performance at a radio station in the post-grunge era in which they played several unplugged numbers with three-part harmonies. When the DJ commented, “That was incredible,” Joe Elliot replied, “You must be a product of the nineties. There is nothing incredible about three guys singing in tune.” I remember grunge was identified as a movement and game-changer almost as soon as it hit, whereas hair metal wasn't even a term used for that music until many years later. Most of the bands in that genre probably saw themselves in the same harmless fun, hard rocking/pop tradition started by Van Halen. When I think of 1992, I remember "Let's Get Rocked"-era Def Leppard and Slaughter alongside Nirvana on MTV. It's not like September 1991 hit and Bret Michaels suddenly had to go get a job at IHOP. What really makes this time special I think is it's the last time young people were all bonded together by a common music culture. This was pre-internet, and everyone still watched the same videos on MTV, whether it was Dr. Dre, Def Leppard or Metallica. .







Nirvana created depressing music, and they made it cool to be depressed or sad or whatever. The post-grunge landscape (late 90s) was so depressing in terms of rock. The grunge movement really started in 1992, but it wasn't a "shock" or something, and it actually COEXISTED with the successful hair/heavy metal bands. The hype was huge, but no one took the music seriously. Nevermind, elevated that scene and gave it pop credibility, but that is all. Grunge was a marketing term that lead to an early death for a bunch of music. This will sound stupid, but I honestly think Weird Al was responsible for getting more kids into Nirvana than Nirvana themselves were. Mostly I remember kids making fun of them for the lyrics being "impossible" to understand when "Teen Spirit" first came out, and those of us who were into music were still too wrapped up in our Poison and Motley Crue or Guns n Roses or whatever albums to care much for a while. But I'd wager that Weird Al's record sold way more copies to kids at that time than Nevermind did, and I actually knew kids who didn't like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at first but started liking it after "Smells Like Nirvana" broke.


For me I remember just not "getting" SLTP at all when it came out. Why is MTV playing this crap and not the new Slaughter video!? But as for the other kids? I don't think you really saw the changeover take place until at least late 1992. I'd bet everything I own that more kids in my area bought Def Leppard's Adrenalize than bought Alice in Chains' Dirt that year. Plus, I don't think I ever really saw any of the huge backlash against metal/hair-metal like you read about - all the kids I knew who loved grunge also still liked Guns 'N' Roses and Bon Jovi and Metallica and whatnot. You'd probably get made fun of if you were still a huge Winger fan or something, but it seemed like most kids just went along with the "alternative revolution" because that was what was happening at the time, not because they suddenly woke up and hated metal one day. I remember many people around me then still loving the same bands they had for a while, but were just getting into these new bands that were coming along as well. No one was dropping bands they had long standing fandom with.... I still viewed Nirvana as a new band when they found Kurt dead! I remember thinking to myself when it was announced, "That's it??" Because, it had only really been three albums and a compilation up to then. In my mind at the time, they were just getting started. I didn't really notice people turning on 80's bands until closer to '94/'95. Whenever I read things regarding the way things changed in the early 90's, it seems like a lot of people either think or convince themselves that it all happened in an instant. The way I remember it was more like a snake shedding its skin. Not a snail's pace, but like a flash of lightning either. Just gradual. Hair metal was still pretty popular until late 1992, even mid-1993. Warrant's Dog Eat Dog (1992) went Gold, Leppard's Adrenalize (1992) went triple platinum, Scorpions Face the Heat (1993) went to #21 and probably close to Gold, Winger's Pull went to #41 in early 1993. Etc.



I would say, 1994-1999 was really the dead period. Cinderella's Still Climbing (1994) is good; but went mostly unnoticed. The vast majority of these bands had little real commercial success after late 1993 at the last. Anything that even remotely resembled hair metal didn't really have a chance to have a hit after 1993.



Bon Jovi was still huge but their sound moved away from pop rock to quadi-adult contemporary. They had to distance themselves from hair metal in order to survive the 90's. For me the best albums of that period 1992-1996 in the genre were Bon Jovi's Keep the Faith, Motley Crue s/t, Aerosmith's Get a Grip and Slang by Def Leppard. I always thought Motley Crue's s/t was really underrated and failed simply because it had the name Motley Crue attached to it, which wasn't "cool" in 1994. I bet had they changed the name for the new lead singer, the album could've gone over bigger. Hooligan's Holiday did get a bit of radio/MTV airplay but at that point in time, the name Motley Crue carried baggage of 1980s excess... a different band name could've led to a bigger album. I remember people who mostly listened to grunge and the sort who were actually shocked at how good that album was, but were hesitant to actually buy the album simply because they were teens and owning a "Motley Crue" cd to them would've been like owning Vanilla Ice or Tiffany. Bon Jovi weathered the Grunge takeover quite well. Keep The Faith was still a huge album that spawned some big hits. The Crossroads compilation was also a huge success, and Always was one of their biggest hits ever. They were still one of the biggest bands in the world in the early 90s. It didn't change overnight and both genres coexisted for quite awhile. I think the two bands that most successfully weathered grunge, artistically if not commercially, are Warrant and Motley Crue. The grunge/alternative take-over didn't happen overnight and was gradual. Several bands still had popular singles/albums through '92/93 (Skid Row, Mr. Big, Extreme, Ugly Kid Joe, Saigon Kick, Damn Yankees, Jackyl) and the more established hard rock / hair bands still had big album sales through '93 (Kiss, Def Leppard, G n R, Alice Cooper, Coverdale/Page, Scorpions, Aerosmith, AC/DC)..



Poison also put out quality stuff. Although, Native Tongue was a commercial flop it contained some pretty solid tunes. Until You Suffer (Fire and Ice) is one of my favorite Poison songs.


Def Leppard is another one who put out pretty decent stuff at the time as well. Adrenalize had some pretty cool stuff and so did Euphoria. I think the song Promises can stand on its own with anything from Pyromania or Hysteria. Winger's "Pull" is a Helluva album. The narrative, largely created and driven hard by rock critics, that grunge killed hair metal is a complete myth. Many of those bands were already on their death bed, and bands like Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi still did well after grunge exploded.
 

Lynch

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Lots to address here, I'll have to come back to this thread when I have more energy.

Big fan of 80's hard rock and a major non-fan of the grunge crap from the 90's (other than AIC who I loved then and still love to this day).
 

Marla 1976

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Lots to address here, I'll have to come back to this thread when I have more energy.

Big fan of 80's hard rock and a major non-fan of the grunge crap from the 90's (other than AIC who I loved then and still love to this day).
What's great is that hair metal has aged well as a fun part of rock history, while grunge, by and large, died a quick death, and ended up having no more than a handful of bands that are still looked fondly upon. Nirvana are about as original as the band Green Day. If you didn't notice Punk existed before Nirvana. They were so original that the riff to their biggest hit is pretty much "more than a feeling" by Boston and the band admitted to it. Please, Nirvana weren't original at all. They wrote a few catchy songs, a multitude of mediocre bands spawned in their wake and it quickly died off. There was zero original about Nirvana. I've been going over Billboard charts for, identifying musical trends, tracking the evolution of the pop industry, that sort of thing.

here's one thing that jumped out at me: the record companies and MTV ******* up in 1991 when they switched their focus away from straight ahead melodic rock and towards alternative and grunge. The charts don't lie: grunge went over with pop audiences like anchovies on ice cream.

Here's the evidence: From 1986, when Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" became the first hard rock/metal #1 hit since "Metal Health", the "hair bands" became a constant presence on the charts. Those of us who lived through that wonderful era know this. But then 1991 and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came, and that was the end, right? Grunge dominated, game over, end of story.

Well, it didn't work out that way. Smells Like Teen Spirit peaked at #7. After Smells Like Teen Spirit, there were still hair bands hitting the top 10 all the way until 1993, when Firehouse's "When I Look Into Your Eyes" became the last top 10 hit in the hair metal genre. Between 1991 and 1993, except for Smells Like Teen Spirit, not a single grunge song cracked the top 10, despite heavy MTV airplay. Only a few, softer alternative hits, like Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train", and Spin Doctors "Two Princes", became genuine hits. Grunge, while certainly popular among rock audiences, had no crossover appeal. The early 90s were almost totally dominated by rap and R&B. Ah, the glory days of "Baby Got Back" and "Whoomp! There it is!" So what was the music industry thinking? They managed to make it uncool to listen to hair bands, yet the alternative they put forward was never really as popular as it was supposed to be, and pretty much died out by 1995. MTV during that period was pretty much alternative around the clock, and some really weird stuff, too, much of which will probably never be shown again, even on VH1 classic. If you watch and episode of Beavis and butthead, there's some pretty weird videos there. It was a really strange era for music, most of it was garbage and quickly forgotten. Again, what were they thinking? An alternative band gets one #7 hit and that's a reason to dump your whole roster and sign anyone with a pulse from Seattle? Yet Meat Loaf had a #1 hit for five weeks at the end of 1993, and no one saw that as a reason to push more straight ahead melodic rock groups?
 

Lynch

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They were so original that the riff to their biggest hit is pretty much "more than a feeling" by Boston and the band admitted to it. Please, Nirvana weren't original at all. They wrote a few catchy songs, a multitude of mediocre bands spawned in their wake and it quickly died off. There was zero original about Nirvana. I've been going over Billboard charts for, identifying musical trends, tracking the evolution of the pop industry, that sort of thing.
No one will ever have to convince me that Nirvana were one of the most overrated bands in the history of modern music.

funny that you mention More Than a Feeling. There is a mashup out there that was done several years ago by someone with Teen Spirit and Boston mixed. It's not a great mashup, but it's done well enough that you can really hear the similarities:

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Again, I'll come back to your thread here when I have the time and energy to address a bunch of it properly. :cheers:
 

Marla 1976

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Lots to address here, I'll have to come back to this thread when I have more energy.

Big fan of 80's hard rock and a major non-fan of the grunge crap from the 90's (other than AIC who I loved then and still love to this day).
My point is that the music industry made a conscious decision to jettison melodic rock, and that I believe this was a mistake and unnecessary. there's no reason that Warrant, Slaughter, Winger, etc. couldn't have existed side-by-side with the Seattle scene. An equivalent , what if when rap got big, the industry had decided to no longer promote R&B? But R&B and rap exist side-by-side, and collaborate with each other, with no tension.

What happened just didn't have to happen, the industry MADE it happen. As long as the industry kept releasing melodic rock, melodic rock did well. Keep the Faith sold well, Bat Out of Hell II sold well, Firehouse's Hold Your Fire, and even 3, which came out in 1995, did well. Mr. Big did well. But then the supply just dried up even with that trickle of good releases and everyone just moved on.

The common belief is that melodic rock got tired, then grunge came out, and grunge then dominated. But that's not what happened. melodic rock was at its peak when grunge came out. 1991 and 1992 were great years for it, sales wise. And during the height of the grunge era, melodic rock releases, what few there were, STILL charted well, on both singles and album charts. And then the record companies just gave up on it for no particular reason. It never went sour for anyone who enjoyed Nirvana's melodies. Funny that Nirvana made music with abstract lyrics, but yet you believe that the lyrics should only mean something special to awkward kids. When Guns n Roses were at their peak they were the next Rolling Stones if anyone ever was. Grunge pretty much died when Guns n Roses imploded anyway. Guns and Roses is the last really good American hard rock band. I'm a massive Aerosmith fan. Even in 1993-1994, at the height of alternative's popularity, Aerosmith also remained incredibly popular during the "Get A Grip" period. Eventually it became passe to like a lot of the "hair bands", mostly once Beavis And Butt-Head came on, but it was more of a gradual shift of tastes as opposed to the way history makes it out like one day Poison were the biggest band around then Nirvana hit.
 

Marla 1976

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No one will ever have to convince me that Nirvana were one of the most overrated bands in the history of modern music.

funny that you mention More Than a Feeling. There is a mashup out there that was done several years ago by someone with Teen Spirit and Boston mixed. It's not a great mashup, but it's done well enough that you can really hear the similarities:

xc_hide_links_from_guests_guests_error_hide_media



Again, I'll come back to your thread here when I have the time and energy to address a bunch of it properly. :cheers:
Grunge bands destroyed rock and metal, opened the gates for stupid people with no talent to pretend to make rock music. This is not what rock deserved to become, they have no technique, no talent, no guitar solos, no knowledges in making good sounds, their "alternative" music is the reason why nowadays we don't have good music, they destroyed all. Look what we have now. Rock is DEAD.
 

That 70s Guy

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Grunge bands destroyed rock and metal, opened the gates for stupid people with no talent to pretend to make rock music. This is not what rock deserved to become, they have no technique, no talent, no guitar solos, no knowledges in making good sounds, their "alternative" music is the reason why nowadays we don't have good music, they destroyed all. Look what we have now. Rock is DEAD.

truth...
 

Marla 1976

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The bands from grunge era worth listening to, which can be named on a single hand (Alice in Chains, Mother Love Bone, Stone Temple Pilots), are the ones furthest from Nirvana’s divorce rock. When Nirvana came along, they broke everything and the pieces are never going to be put together again. People might still keep killing it on the underground circuit and that might be better, but since Nirvana, rock has slowly exited mainstream consciousness.

It strikes me that if MTV hadn't suddenly changed course, that the 80s would have evolved into the 90s in much the way that the 70s evolved into the 80s. There wasn't some massive shift between the rock of the 70s and the rock of the 80s. Rock got big, it declined a little when disco became king, and then it emerged again repackaged. I think the same thing would have happened had the industry stayed the course. Instead, they did a massive 180, and while alternative kept people interested for a little while, when that mini-boom ended rock as an industry was mangled beyond recognition. There was no longer a "formula". Which a lot of people would consider to be a good thing from a creative standpoint, but makes the music less viable from a commercial standpoint. Everyone knows the formula for writing a successful pop, R&B, rap, or country hit, but there really isn't a way to predict what rock will sell and what won't, so the industry is cautious about promoting new rock artists. They just try a little big of everything and a few bands manage to stick. I think it was really the media and the record companies that killed "Hair" metal rather than the music itself, although I think that some of the bands were to blame too as they decided to jump on the bandwagon rather than stay true to their roots (although that blame could go to the record company forcing them to go in that direction). I don't recall the changeover being so immediate. Obviously MTV starting playing more grunge and less hair metal, but I think the process took two years. Nirvana ruined rock & roll. So Nirvana were pretty terrible, at least musically speaking, but so was most of the rest of grunge. For the most part, grunge was a media sensation, driven by hype.
 

Marla 1976

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Personally, I cannot stand Grunge and my music life was hell for about 3 or 4 years in the early to mid 90's when that stuff was all over the place. 1993 through 1996 seemed like a three-year funeral to me. I think the reason so many non hair metal fans hate bands such as Motley Crue, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard is because they were such phenoms and have enjoyed HUGE success. They (non hair metal fans) didn't like the music to begin with, and then had to watch the aforemetioned bands sell 10 million albums (or more) each, and get non-stop play for a full decade on most radio stations and MTV. I'm sure it was frustrating.
 

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Rock is DEAD.

Not if you'er truly listening! :HP

I don’t think ‘dead’ is the right word. Rock music has simply gone (back) into the underground. But it most likely will not come above surface again.There are still many bands in different genres of rock music who are putting out great albums, you just have to dig a little deeper now.

However, rock music, at the mainstream level does not exist any longer.( Rock music is only dead if you can’t see beyond the mainstream media.) It is not part of the youth establishment; it is not the energy for rebellious teenage angst; nor is it the catalyst to any reaction towards politics. You’re not going to see another band like the Stones, Zeppelin or The Who again.

I like seeing my 80's bands in smaller concert venues 1. I don't have to pay the big $ that i used to and 2. personally feel more conceited to the the band and being with my age group!

Just my opinion but, To say any one band "ruined" rock music because they started a new musical movement is incredibly stupid, you could apply that logic to any new musical movement, you could say hair metal killed new wave which killed punk which killed prog which killed psychedelia which killed surf music which killed rock n roll which killed crooning and so on. There is no "should" or "should not" in rock music, things just happen, music is in a constant state of evolution and only someone who can't look beyond the past would want to keep it in an eternal state of infancy.

Not all rock music has to be about *** or having a good time. Though if you don't think bands do that kind of music today you need to get out more.


John Lennon wrote songs about depression and self pity, does that make him a hack? No. Nor was Cobain a hack. He may not have been Yngwie Malmsteen on the guitar, but his music meant something to a lot of people and it went a little deeper than just having good music to f*ck to.


Where we stand today.
Rock music owes everything to the people who love it. While mainstream gatekeepers search for the “next big thing,” rock, punk, and metal fans already know what it is, because they heard it online or got told about it by their older brother’s / sister's weird friend. That’s always been a vital part of loving rock music, but with the options and entryways available to fans today, it means that getting roped into trends or being sold a hollow image is quickly becoming a thing of the past. And as long as the people are there with fists in the air, then the music will be, too.

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Now this is all just MY Opinion!

By The way " Welcome to CRF!:hab:
 
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