Top 10 Best Hair Metal Bands

Who wears more hairspray than all the rest? Find out who the top 10 best glam metal bands are right here.

Ultimate Guitar

Hair metal, glam metal, indulgent metal... whatever you call it, mainstream metal from the '80s has made its mark on this history books and will stand up for a long time to come - and not just because of all the hairspray.

But who is the best hair metal band of all time? That's what we asked UG readers this week. Here's the results.

10. Def Leppard

The Sheffield outfit started in the late '70s, but hit the big time when glam kicked off in the mid '80s.

9. Scorpions

With almost 100 million album sales under their belts, Scorpions are one of the best selling bands of all time. They've have plenty of time to rack up those sales, though, having formed in 1965.


RATT went from gold and platinum to multi-platinum as they smashed into the Billboard charts through the '80s. They were figureheads in the early LA glam scene alongside Motley Crue.

7. Twisted Sister

The cross-dressing frontman Dee Snider once won our "Sexiest Chick" poll, which shows how popular this flamboyant lot are around these parts.

6. Whitesnake

When Deep Purple's '70s singer David Coverdale left the band, he probably never realised his new act Whitesnake would take him to greater heights. They split in the '80s, though reformed twice in the succeeding decades.

5. Mötley Crüe

A beacon of hedonism in rock history. If you haven't read "The Dirt," an autobiography by the band about their heady days of excess, do it - you're in for a treat.

4. Van Halen

Another band whose lineup spun around and was turned inside out over the years. They're back on top with their most recent album "A Different Kind of Truth" with original singer David Lee Roth.

3. Pantera

Not so much a traditional hair metal band, but certainly the next generation to pick up the torch and follow in the footsteps of traditional glam metal. Just look at early videos of Phil Anselmo swinging his hair around.

2. Steel Panther

Equal parts a parody and sincere tribute to their '80s forefathers, Steel Panther are one of the few modern acts to fly the flag for true glam metal.

1. Spinal Tap

Spinal Tap might be a fictional act, but today they're your favorite hair metal band ever. Most listeners would associate them with traditional metal than the glam variant on show today, but their outrageous live performances (both on film and on stage) have been an influence on everyone on this list, for better or worse.

That's the end of our top 10 list today. Who is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

164 comments sorted by best / new / date

    No Quiet Riot? You have to admit back in the day they had quite an impact. They had the first metal album to reach no.1 in the Billboard charts, and perhaps tasted true success before Motley Crue did. Sadly, QR dropped off the radar a few years later and have remained in relative obscurity.
    Way Cool JR.
    Quiet Riot opened the doors for the Hair Metal bands. They are basically the ones that started the the whole movement and gave all the other great bands a chance at success. So IMO Quiet Riot should be on the list regardless of being or not being one of the best.
    Cinderella was awesome!
    And I think Poison had some good music. It's just that they were such douchebags that everybody hates 'em.
    Surprised at no mention of Bon Jovi, Extreme or W.A.S.P. Would they count as hair metal?
    Extreme got snubbed here. Nuno Bettencourt is pretty damn amazing at guitar. It's kind of insane
    Honestly, Pantera in the top 3? Did anyone seriously care about them before Cowboys From Hell...? At least enough for them to make top 3...? Ridonkulous list.
    They released 4 albums before Cowboys, maybe some songs really appeal to people after all this long.
    Once you start finding Metal fans who are older than 14 and know more than 10 Metal bands, you'll find that the only Pantera album they find even remotely listenable is Power Metal and they usually rate their Glam stuff better than their "We wish we were New York Hardcore" 2heavy4u tuff guy trash.
    Thrash Addict
    Speak for yourself buddy, Cowboys, Vulgar, and Reinventing the Steel are awesome!
    If you're okay with lazy riffs, tuff guy lyrics and posturing, and a strong desire to be like every crappy 2tuff4u NYHC band that came out in the 90s and turned Hardcore Punk fans into a bunch of chest-thumping knuckle-draggers. Pantera-style Groove is like Thrash Metal, without the speed, skill, or riffs that make Thrash Metal good.
    you have yourself perfectly covering some of dimebags best solos from these "lazy days" days on your profile? Till you do, please shut the hell up.
    Typical "U DO BETTAR" cop-out. Can't expect much from Pantera fans, after all. Shred wank will never be impressive.
    Wouldn't call Cowboys from Hell or F*cking Hostile slow... Unless we're comparing them with dragonforce of course, which would be pointless...
    Van halen was never hair metal. They spawned every other copy cat hair metal band. they all took the van halen model and syatted their own hair metal acts, but when I think hair metal I think makeup along with the big hair. Van halen actually had the music to back them up instead of being all about the look. It was the 70's and 80's everyone had big hair. Motley Crüe was the best hands down hair metal band, but van halen is the greatest band of all time!
    Finally... some people forget VH was a carry over from the mid 70s. And exactly what you said, Crue, Poison, Twisted Sister, Ratt, Dokken, Cinderella, Britney Fox, that's 80s "glam" or "hair" metal. I mean if were just going on bands that had big hair in the 80s time to throw in Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax because everybody had big hair in the 80s.
    you took the words right out of my mouth bro. its insulting to call van halen glam metal. what i find such a shame is motley crue is one of the few that actually had great rocking tunes with one of the most underrated rock guitarists ever. they get no respect in the metal community because they wore makeup and dressed like chicks. if they never did that, they would have some more credibility
    Well, Van Halen's music and looks are kind of similar to 80s glam metal bands. Also, I'm pretty sure they were one of the biggest influences to glam metal bands (especially Eddie's guitar work). Glam metal doesn't necessarily mean "overproduced pop metal, caring more about looks than music".
    Pantera sucked as hair metal. Def leppard should be higher and where is Cinderella and Dokken???
    Exactly where is Cinderella? They should have been on here....
    I don't like how this article implies there actually were any good hair metal bands
    Nero Galon
    I would have thought UG would have had at least some love for the cringe genre, even if guilty pleasure.
    A fair list I'd say. GnR were never really hair metal that's why they are not in the list :
    Diamond Dave
    you put two joke bands at the top and Def Leppard only gets tenth? screw you "readers"
    Thrash Addict
    Def Leppard IS a joke band. lol As much as I respect the drummers determination many people believe that they are super overrated.
    Actually Def Leppard were a great band and they had some really good rock songs. Compared to the bulk of 80's glam metal they were a cut above most.
    I'm pretty sure the music you listen to is a joke. There aren't many people that actually know something about music that think they are overrated, probably just the kids in your group think that way.
    Wow... Goes to show you how much the 22 year old Death Metalheads on here know... Van Halen AND Def Leppard weren't "hair metal." Def Leppard were a pop NWOBHM group who came from the same area as Judas Priest and Motorhead, While Van Halen were just a Classic Rock band on the cusp of the 80s L.A. glam scene. They started the outrageous guitar playing and stage shows, but were in no way "actual" hair metal. "Hair Metal" has it's roots in 70s glam rock, Van Halen and Def Leppard were hardly "glam" influenced.
    It's funny that the top 2 bands are a satirical take on hair/glam metal bands.
    Not usually refered to as glam metal but Gilbert's Racer X are from the 80's and kick major ass
    If you ignore the top 3, this is a pretty solid list.
    Steel Panther friggin ROCKS!! I'm tired of the shit three note one, finger "Kill yourself, life sucks" music of today. Some of these bands today lack any talent other than alternate tuning. Rock and Roll should be about celebrating life. Enjoy yourself, have a good time, get some pussy (or give some for our lady readers). I would much rather be at a Steel Panther show surrounded by HOT ASS HORNY twenty somethings than most of these seriously depressing bands of today.
    I'm not saying that they're bad bands by any means, but the top two are effectively joke bands, and as for number three... Ultimate-Guitar is saying that the glam metal era of Pantera is more influential and greater than Van Halen and Motley Crue... Come on.
    Worst $10 i ever spent was buying this cassette when it came out. Awful, awful crap.
    VAN HALEN?! WHAT?! They are way to good for the rest of these bands. Sorry..
    I will be forever thankful to Kurt Cobain for basically single-handedly killing this horrible music.
    Hair Metal killed itself with the MTV unplugged days, the over importance placed on power ballads as singles and over saturation. Look at Firehouse albums... They could have been awesome Hard Rock band, but instead they used their "crossover" singles to woo middle aged mums. Same with bands like Trixter, Steelheart, Tora Tora, numerous other bands you've never heard of and even Whitesnake in the end.
    I will be forever thankful to Kurt Cobain for single-handedly killing himself so I don't have to listen to his horrible music. The serious bands on this list are still going, with most still making new music.
    E V H 5150
    Van Halen is definitely not hair metal. Hair metal bands were trying to copy Van Halen. Twisted Sister's status as hair metal is debatable. And Pantera? They may have started as hair metal, but they didn't gain notoriety until after they changed musical direction and did their damnedest to distance themselves from their hair metal days.
    exactly what i have been saying for years. van halen SPAWNED hair metal. they themselves were not hair metal. every hair metal band took the van halen model and tried to get big with it
    No GNR!? Pantera? Steel Panther? C'mon!! Who Did this List!? Even WhiteSnake wasnt Hair Metal ... they only have 2 records playing this kind of music!! What About Poison? Bon Jovi ? Warrant? ... I mean WHERE IS CINDERELLA!!!!!???? Give me a Break ... and is not breakfast yet!!
    GNR put an end to hair metal. Yes, they had long hair (as did everyone else), but their music was more based on early hard rock like Aerosmith. Real blues based stuff, not just uninspired power chord progressions. GNR was considered to be the new Rolling Stones or Aerosmith, not the new Motley Crue.
    Way Cool JR.
    As much as I love Steel Panther, Spinal Tap and '80s Pantera I don't think they belong on this list by a long shot. There are so many other great Hair Bands that could easily fill their spots. The rest of the list is pretty solid tho, certainly not in the order I would chose, but great none the less. RATT is my #1 pick by a landslide and Dokken is my #2 spot without a doubt. How Dokken didnt make the list is a huge kick in the sack.
    I feel like people picked Pantera, Steel Panther, and Spinal Tap as a joke. Remove those three, throw Quiet Riot, Dokken, and Cinderella on the end, and you've got yourself a list.
    Way Cool JR.
    I agree 100%. All 3 of those bands are already in my personal top 10. You have great taste dude.
    So the best hair metal band ever is a fictional band.....says a lot
    About the people on here. Most of them seem to dislike anything that isn't 'brutal' Whatever you think of glam in general it was a massive genre with some good (and not so good) bands that have iconic songs that are still played to this day.
    10: Def Leppard 9: Def Leppard 8: Def Leppard 7: Def Leppard 6: Def Leppard 5: Def Leppard 4: Def Leppard 3: Def Leppard 2: Def Leppard 1: Wait for it..... Def Leppard.