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The Rockstar Ramblings: The 80’s Album Razor Test

Photo of Guns N Roses

Band Photo: Guns N Roses (?)

This week I give you my top albums from the eighties hair bands. Essentially a top twenty-five list, with a twist; imagine all of the albums from the eighties disappeared and you could no longer listen to this genre ever again, similar to 1992, but permanent. Unable to own the music, hear the music on the radio, or even listen to a song at a bar…what would you do to change this? Allow me to present the razor blade test. How many times will you cut yourself to bring a particular album back to your life?

The rules are simple, only albums released in the eighties with one exception, Van Halen I (because every rule needs an exception), no greatest hits albums, no live albums unless initial release of the songs, and it is assumed that 11 razor blade cuts will lead to too much blood loss and death, so I am limiting to 10 cuts. That means no 11 razor blade cuts to NOT ever hear Custom Built (Bret Michaels). Anyway, without further ado here is one man’s list, one man’s blood. See you in the Emergency Room…

THE HONORABLE MENTIONS (The razor almost pierces the skin, and then you pull it away because it’s not worth it):

Girls, Girls, Girls (Motley Crue) : Take away the first two songs (Wild Side & Girls, Girls, Girls) and there isn’t much left on this one.

Van Halen II (Van Halen) : A solid album all the way through, has a lot of music still played today, just doesn’t have the songs I NEED to hear again and again.

Diary of a Madman (Ozzy Osbourne): See Van Halen II

Hysteria (Def Leppard) : At one point I liked this album, there I said it.

Animalize (Kiss): I’m at the point where I can’t even tell the difference between Kiss greatest hits and regular studio albums. I’m just going to assume every Kiss album is a greatest hits compilation.

Cherry Pie (Warrant): I will miss the title track, especially when in a place with a juke box and you hear this song played. I always look to find the person that played it and then purposely stand on the other side of the room. A person who plays this song is typically middle-aged and is still talking about his high school football years, when he scored four touchdowns in one game.

1 RAZOR BLADE CUT (The just in case…)

#25 Permanent Vacation (Aerosmith):The height of the second leg of their career, sober or high, who the hell knows, leading to an incredible combination of seventies blues mixed with eighties glam.

#24 Slippery When Wet (Bon Jovi): Just to be safe I’ll take one cut for this one in case I find myself in New Jersey. I don’t want to be forced to listen only to Bruce Springsteen.

#23 Pyromania (Def Leppard): Hysteria is more popular with most, but I like the raw sound on this album, before the synthesizers, computers, and bags of cash changed their sound.

#22 Stick It To Ya (Slaughter): Three words, UP ALL NIGHT…there, tell me you didn’t just finish the line.

#21 Eat’em and Smile (David Lee Roth): Only Roth can go from rocking songs like Yankee Rose to bluesy Tabacco Road to Sinatra’s That’s Life and make it sound seamless.

3 RAZOR BLADE CUTS (Worth a little pain)

#20 Night Songs (Cinderella): Underrated by many, I’m taking Night Songs (Shake Me, Push Push, Nobody’s Fool, etc…) over Long Cold Winter.

#19 British Steel (Judas Priest): Still holds up and is a great driving album, throw it in, put the top down, and let the fist pumping begin.

#18 Slave To The Grind (Skid Row): After much success from their ballad friendly debut album, Sebastian Bach and company came out swinging in this one with only a couple misses.

#17 Dr. Feelgood (Motley Crue): Some of Bob Rock’s finest production work complete with classic hits and little filler, unfortunately, for me, the high production value also means a loss of grittiness present in the Crue’s first few albums.

#16 1984 (Van Halen): The rocking sound of four band members all on the same page (which is amusing because this was apparently not the case).

5 RAZOR BLADE CUTS (I admit it, I will listen to these sometime in the near future)

#15 W.A.S.P. (W.A.S.P.): I fell in love early with the first track, I Wanna Be Somebody through the final track, The Torture Never Stops. This was also the cassette I would always carry with me to help equalize the Def Leppard and Poison cassettes.

#14 Lies, Lies, Lies (Guns N’ Roses): The live side is scratchy and raw, the second side is soft and disturbing. I still can’t figure it out, but somehow it all works.

#13 Look What The Cat Dragged In (Poison): The title track is still my favorite Poison song.

#12 Metal Health (Quiet Riot) : In addition to Bang Your Head and Cum On Feel The Noise, it’s the howling Slick Black Cadillac and Love’s A Bitch that keeps me interested.

#11 Out of The Cellar (Ratt): In my opinion there isn’t any filler on this one, straight rock and roll from start to finish. Some of the songs sound dated today, but are still THAT good. Plus, I like to see what movies Mickey Rourke is going to do and it now seems like a prerequisite that songs from this album are always in his movies.

7 RAZOR CUTS (Life is better with these albums)

#10 Whitesnake (Whitesnake): I keep insisting this album is a strip club compilation album, but everyone disagrees with me, so here it is.

#9 Skid Row (Skid Row): The debut album that bridged the sound of Poison and GNR, I really didn’t know if this cassette was equalizing the Poison and Slaughter or making it worse, but I knew I liked it.

#8 Open Up and Say Ah! : Drenched in catchy hooks and cheap riffs throughout, it’s the songs in between the video songs like Love On The Rocks, Good Love, and Look But You Can’t Touch that put this in heavy rotation in my walkman for six months. The one exception was of course Bad to Be Good which was and still is an awful song.

#7 Dancing Undercover (Ratt): For my money (or blood) this is Ratt’s best effort. Glam rock’s version of a rock opera, one song leading into the next; I believe the opera is about a whore.

#6 Shout At The Devil (Motley Crue): Another album with great song placement. Even the guitar solo God Bless The Children of The Beast sounded like a long intro to Helter Skelter which by the way is an incredible cover by Vince Neil, a singer who has proven over the years he could have been an incredible career as front man for countless cover bands had the whole Motley Crue thing not worked out.

10 RAZOR CUTS (The essentials)

#5 Blizzard of Oz (Ozzy Osbourne):
One of the few albums where I enjoy the guitar work more than the vocal effort.

#4 Stay Hungry (Twisted Sister):
The first album (cassette) I ever owned. An interesting arrangement of songs (still unique today) that takes the listener from that classic Twisted hard rock sound to horror movie soundtrack back to hard rock.

#3 Van Halen I (Van Halen):
Emotion and a sense of something new are heard on this one, one of rock’s masterpieces.

#2 Too Fast For Love (Motley Crue):
It’s the Motley album I always come back to, loaded with the right amount of rawness, punk, and rock. Sometimes the best music is before a band knows exactly what they are doing.

#1 Appetite For Destruction (Guns N’ Roses):
A perfect storm of blues rock, drugs, and rage. Still a soundtrack of many lives today, played at sporting events, bars, and of course strip clubs (it always comes back to this doesn’t it?). You could remove the three singles Welcome To The Jungle, Sweet Child O’ Mine, and Paradise City and I would still have this sitting number one on my list.

DISCLAIMER: Neither the author or this website condones cutters or the act of cutting to prove your loyalty to any music, unless of course you are really passionate about your music!

Rockstar_Scribbler's avatar

David S. Grant (aka Rockstar_Scribbler) is the author of several books including Rock Stars, Happy Hour, and Corporate Porn. For more information please go to www.rockstarbooks.net or www.davidsgrant.com. You can also follow David on Twitter @david_S_grant.

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15 Comments on "The Rockstar Ramblings: The 80’s Album Razor Test"

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xulbehemoth509's avatar


1. xulbehemoth509 writes:

Is that sh** really worth cutting yourself over how bout some real metal of that time

# Jul 23, 2010 @ 9:30 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rychemn's avatar


2. Rychemn writes:

Come on Rock....no Iron Maiden?....Hell, even VH1 has "Number of the Beast" on classic albums......

# Jul 23, 2010 @ 12:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rockstar_Scribbler's avatar


3. Rockstar_Scribbler writes:

Agreed. Maiden, AC/DC, the Big 4, etc... all had killer albums during the eighties. I chose the hair bands to compare apples to apples. How do you rank Number of The Beast against Cherry Pie? That would be like comparing apples to, well, I guess cherries...

# Jul 23, 2010 @ 1:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
xulbehemoth509's avatar


4. xulbehemoth509 writes:

666 all the way but rychemn this is his list of hair metal not real metal of the 80s. IMO "hair metal" isn't metal its top.40 pop rock its the early incarnation of metrosexuals

# Jul 23, 2010 @ 2:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

5. Diamond Oz writes:

Fair enough that it's a list of hair metal albums but why is British Steel there? To call British Steel a hair metal album would be like to say the same of Strong Arm Of The Law, Number Of The Beast or Ace Of Spades, in that it's one of the purest examples of straight up heavy metal there is.

# Jul 23, 2010 @ 2:49 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
godlike's avatar


6. godlike writes:

A great read... the only problem I have is... No Dokken..?
One of the greatest voices to sing a song in the 80s... whether he's an egotistical prick or not.!?

Ok... so perhaps that statement was a bit much... but that still leaves the mind blowing guitar work of George Lynch.!

# Jul 23, 2010 @ 3:04 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rockstar_Scribbler's avatar


7. Rockstar_Scribbler writes:

British Steel to me was a little more "pop" than say an Iron Maiden. They also seemed to tour more often with the hair bands than classic heavy metal groups. IMO you would find more often a Motley fan carrying a Priest album vs. a Slayer fan carrying a Priest fan. Anyway, that's why I included them.

Dokken is interesting to me only because I have never bought one of their records. I don't know the answer why. Maybe I'm secretly in love with Don Dokken and this would surface feelings I've been suppressing for many years.

# Jul 23, 2010 @ 4:42 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

8. Diamond Oz writes:

I would say that Priest is a band that both Crue and Slayer fans enjoy. British Steel in particular has enough hard material on it to satisfy the typical headbanger, whilst it has the pop hooks to attract a glam metal fan. Living After Midnight may have more in common with glam but Rapid Fire doesn't. It's certainly a diverse album, which is one of the things that makes it a classic. Bear in mind also that on alot of the tour dates in support of the album, Iron Maiden opened for them. There was also a fair amount of pop hooks Saxon albums like Strong Am... and Denim... and I think we could agree that they wouldn't be considered hair metal. Both bands also, at least to me, define the image of heavy metal in the eighties (denim, leather, etc. or at least that's how it's been here in the U.K.) At the end of the day though, it comes to a personal opinion on what does and does not constitute being part of a genre.

# Jul 23, 2010 @ 5:05 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
9. 5150 writes:

Hey dumbass. Two reasons why Van Halen should not be on this list:
1. They are NOT hair metal
2. Van Halen II was released in 1979

# Jul 23, 2010 @ 7:31 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

10. deathbringer writes:

Wow. Lotsa critics.

# Jul 23, 2010 @ 8:23 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
50bmg's avatar


11. 50bmg writes:

I'd have to add Tesla's Mechanical Resonance and The Cult's Love Removal Machine somewhere in the 5 cut vicinity.

# Jul 24, 2010 @ 12:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
12. travlow1 writes:

Don't forget some Great White too.

# Jul 24, 2010 @ 12:37 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rychemn's avatar


13. Rychemn writes:

There are alot of good points being made here.....yes.."Living after midnight" was more of top 40 hit..but for the rest of the album...solid metal, hard and heavy.....and Dokken should be included (listen to "Tooth & Nail.....Alone again....sounds like a big hair song to me.)....also the first two crue records are not hair to me (just my opinion).....but when they came out with "Home Sweet Home".....all the chicks started diggin' hard rock bands......some say this is the first true ballad of the eighties but what about "Just between You and Me" by April Wine? HHHMMMM food for thought....anyway, great articule to debate gentleman..........Where the hell ya been Godlike?....good to hear from you again.

# Jul 24, 2010 @ 12:49 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
HeadbangerHippy's avatar


14. HeadbangerHippy writes:

I agree with Ozz. British Steel is one of the most Metal albums around.

# Aug 5, 2010 @ 12:40 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. Funeral Bill writes:

Slave to The Grind: 1991
Stick it to Ya : 1990

And no AC/DC Back in Black

Hang this guy, I'll get the rope!

# Aug 21, 2010 @ 3:42 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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