The second Eightiesology iMix focuses on hard rock and glam metal from the dubiously designated hair bands of the era. I thought it was important to take a hard left turn after the first mix since these are pretty much the polar opposite images of the time: pop stars abiding my fashion trends versus hair bands decked out in leather and denim. For me, I lived comfortably in both worlds but leaned more towards the hair bands once we entered high school. And much like a hat could not have enough space to contain this much hair, 80 minutes was not enough to capture the best sounds of the time so I’ve kept with the mostly upbeat, edgier tunes of the genre here while the planned sequel will focus on the more powerful ballads of these bands. There are exceptions to change the tempo but these are mostly songs to passionately air guitar to with fists shaking in the air.
Click the button below to go to the iMix on iTunes. Again, I don’t make any money off of this, it’s just a way for me to further promote the site. Feel free to download the whole mix, individual songs or use it as a guide for you to create your own mix. Download the artwork here and print it out for a mix CD. But most of all, enjoy the ride on a crazy train!
“Crazy Train,” Ozzy
I wasn’t a big Ozzy fan in the ‘80s but always dug this song. It’s one of the strongest, rawest metal tunes on this compilation and thus made for a great opening track. It’s one of the rare times that Ozzy was able to cross over into many different markets and genres with a song, one that put the melody and vocals on par with the guitar muscle of Randy Rhodes. This also happens to be one of the earliest songs (of any genre) in the ‘80s that ranks in Eightiesology lore.
“Round & Round,” Ratt
Ratt didn’t do much for me as I tended to be more of a fan of cleaner, glammier metal sounds at the time (at least until Guns ‘n Roses entered the scene). In fact, I don’t even recall being a huge fan of this song at the time but in nostalgic mode, it’s gained significant relevance and appreciation for me.
“Runaway,” Bon Jovi
We’re now 3 for 3 on songs by artists I wasn’t crazy about. It’s almost sacrilege to have ill-conceived criticisms of Bon Jovi but they were just never a band that captured my interest. For the most part, I find them to be a little too ordinary and vanilla to me, even though they’ve created a lot of cool tunes. To me, though, those tunes were never as good as their first real hit. Despite the pulsating piano riff, the song had an otherwise raw aesthetic to it that seemed to go away as the band progressed into hair-spray infused rock.
“Dreams,” Van Halen
And now a band that to me ranks as one of the top hard rock bands of the decade and remained relevant into the ‘90s. I’m an unabashed fan of the Van Hagar era. I think Sammy Hagar’s a far superior singer to David Lee Roth, capable of reaching incredible octaves with his voice. I also happened to prefer the band’s more melodic approach in this era over the bluesier tones of its earlier phase. “Dreams” wasn’t even the biggest hit of this lineup’s output but it was a popular song in my circle, assisted by a cool video featuring the Blue Angels. It still pumps me up today.
“Tell Me,” White Lion
White Lion’s third single from Pride. (Their first? You’ll have to “wait” for it.) The band made quite a splash on the scene with an album full of accessible songs. I always dug this one, particularly the fist-pump-invoking opening, and appreciated how it snuck onto the scene but got lost in much of the nostalgia of the time. I think it’s important to respect how rare it is for some of these bands to chart three worthy songs from one album in hair metal lore.
“Talk Dirty to Me,” Poison
What a way to burst onto the scene? One of the main proprietors of metal’s glam phase, Poison was also one of the first bands I remember “arriving” (whereas many bands seemed to have already been there when I discovered them). A band that provided many highlights for this genre of music, making it harder to edit their input on this compilation. The song remains a sing-along highlight for my friends and I today.
“Up All Night,” Slaughter
Slaughter was big for about a week but it was quite a week. Actually a ‘90s hit, the song reminds me of hanging out at my friend Tom’s house. Now in high school, the music of the time was a backdrop to our own attempts at more rowdy endeavors. (Tom was always successful; me, not so much.) The song is actually one of hair metal’s last gasps but those last gasps also had added poignancy with their place in the hormone-raging high school years. And yeah, I had a habit of sleeping all day.
“Don’t Close Your Eyes,” Kix
To me this song was representative of tunes from bands you knew little about, and cared less when you heard what else they had to offer, and yet compelled you in that moment. I don’t need to know much about the band Kix, just that this song was pretty friggin’ killer. As you’ll see by the end of this compilation, I tended to favor those songs sung by high-octave-reaching singers.
“Kiss Me Deadly,” Lita Ford
The first relevant metal chick, Lita Ford was scary and sexy at the same time. She also introduced me to the more scandalous meaning of the word “laid.” (Though I may not have entirely understood it for the first few listens.) And while Lita and I could relate on going to a party but not getting laid, our evenings differ because I didn’t get into fights. It ain’t no big thing.