There is no doubt that artists who played the Strip had a certain dominance on the charts until a new sound from up the Pacific coast, washed em away. And when people started to write about the 80’s, there was nothing positive said. All of these new indie writers tried to re-write history in favour of their preferred musical taste and all they wrote about was the bad hair, the bad music, the lipstick and hairspray, the bad hair again, the lifestyles, the bad hair again x2 and the bad music again.
Would “Guitar Hero” have existed if it wasn’t for the 80’s?
Van Halen is one of the first bands that I know that came from the Strip, more because they played up and down the Strip like crazy instead of living on the Strip. And even though they had long hair, it wasn’t teased and hair sprayed and glammed up. Only David Lee Roth would take that on, even though the poster boy look upset the Van Halen brothers. When the band became Van Hagar, they still had a down to earth look, with Sammy even wearing an interesting red outfit.
Motley Crue is the first prominent band to came from the Strip, living and breathing it. While “Too Fast For Love” was done independently with songs written before the Crue was formed, it wasn’t until “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets, that the sound of the strip was born.
The generic sounding “Shout At The Devil” sets up the “Shout” call and response vocal, while “Looks That Kill” pulverises you with its down tuned riff and razor sharp women ready to slice the little boys apart. Even “Helter Skelter” sounds like it came from the Strip, instead of the clubs of Liverpool, England. In “Ten Seconds To Love” Vince is telling his girl to wait a little bit more, because here he comes and how he can’t wait to tell the boys about her, while she shines his pistol a little bit more.
Glam metal then left the Sunset Strip and moved to Sheffield England and an album called “Pyromania” from Def Leppard.
From the opening notes of the AC/DC influenced “Rock Rock (Til You Drop)”, to the harmonies of “Photograph” and “Rock Of Ages”, to the grooves of “Billy’s Got A Gun” and “Die Hard The Hunter”, Def Leppard changed the game. They brought the sounds of the NWOBHM, mixed em with AC/DC, Queen, The Sweet and Mott The Hoople and suddenly, the glam hair sound is developing even further.
The glam sounds returned to the Sunset Strip and a band called RATT took over with a song called “Round and Round” from “Out Of The Cellar” released in 1984.
It’s got streets, where people meet, to cross lines and get into fights. And we loved it, even though the chorus of “love finding a way” didn’t really match the threatening verses of picking a fight. The Rat gang also got a mention in “Wanted Man” and my favourite track, “The Morning After” comes roaring out of the speaker.
WASP is another Sunset act, which was thrown in with glam, but to me, that’s like placing Motorhead as a glam act as well. Then again, with songs like “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” and “L.O.V.E Machine”, they got traction and Tipper Gore added the band to her filthy list.
At the same time, a band that played the New Jersey/New York State area for a decade broke big with big hair and a glam rock look from the 70’s and film clips about standing up for your rights, like “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock”.
And the term hair band and glam metal got even messier.
Poison moved to the Sunset Strip, dragged the cat in, played dirty and screamed for action with their 1986 debut album, and their 1988 follow up “Open Up And Say Ahh” cemented big hair.
Bon Jovi showed how slippery it really gets when things get wet and “New Jersey” in 1988 further cemented the big hair look.
Suddenly, we had Skid Row going wild with their big guns, looking for a piece of everyone. Def Leppard poured even more sugar on their sound with “Hysteria” and finally, a bunch of highly strung musicians got it together to write and record an album called “Appetite For Destruction”.
You know where you are, you’re in the jungle baby, and that jungle proved so easy to please, with cheap booze on the Nighttrain, while talking to Mr Brownstone on our way to the Paradise City.
Regardless of what you think of the music from these artists, or how you want to label them, this form of rock and roll was loud, in your face and it didn’t really care what you thought, sort of like how Axl said, if you think your so cool, you can just fuck off.
The journal that inspired this post.