Hair Bands – What is the Definition

Remember Hair Bands?

Bands like:

  • Slaughter
  • Poison
  • Great White
  • Warrant
  • Y&T
  • Britny Fox
  • Bullet Boys

Now, I found a website that lists the Top 100 Hair Bands and I have to disagree with a lot of them.  The author of the site said, “Frankly, we had a hard enough time coming up with a hundred bands worthy of our list…much less put them in any kind of order that doesn’t tick anybody off.”  So I really feel like whoever wrote this up really wanted to list 100 hair bands and didn’t care that they listed anyone that clearly was not hair metal.  AC/DC? Really?

This page is a little more accurate in terms of Hair Metal ( you know, in case you decide to do a fifty page dissertation on Hair Metal).

Mötley Crüe is on this list, I disagree vehemently that they were ever a hair band.  If they were a hair band, then they must have started the era when they first came on the scene in 1981.  Did they become a hair band?  Is that even possible? They started as a glam band in 1981.

Are glam metal and hair metal the same thing?

Can a band morph into a hair band and then back out?

Who else is on this list that clearly is and never will be hair metal not even if you threatened their lives.

Slayer. Metallica. Megadeth.  Iron Maiden.  Queensrÿche.  Alice Cooper.

When the hell was Slayer EVER Hair Metal?

And for the record, Guns ‘N’ Roses was NEVER hair metal.

Def Leppard started out as a plain old rock band from England and turned into Hair Metal?  Or did they juts put out a few wishy wahsy songs?

As you can see, I am extremely frustrated by this and have many questions pertaining to the subject.  I grew up smack in the middle of the Hair Band Era and according to my calculations, besides having a big heaping head of hair, there was a certain type of music that went along with the “image.” A lot of the songs were about partying, girls, girls that partied and girls that ripped a guys heart out and set it on fire.

Check this list out above of the “Top 100 Hair Bands.”  Do you agree with it?  Who are some of your favorite hair metal bands?


This is England 1988 – Guest Post by Sharon Howard

I am so excited to introduce Sharon Howard today on The Great 80’s!  I have always wanted to know what the 80’s were like in other countries.  More importantly, in England! Now that I have met Sharon through blogging and the ROW 80 site, I am thrilled to introduce her as my first official guest blogger here on The Great 80’s.  Take it away, Sharon!

This is England 1988

Yeah, okay I pinched the title for this post from the recent UK television series of the same name This is England ‘88. I watched an episode but it didn’t really capture me the way I was expecting  hoping – why probably because it was about young adults, but in 1988 I was still only a little girl.

In 1988 I was 11, turning 12 in the November.

1988 was a big year for me, and everyone else I was at school with. It was the year we moved up to ‘big school’. We were the oldest kids in our Junior (Primary) School, but that September after the six weeks holiday we would be the youngest kids in the Secondary (or Senior)School we moved to.

We were going our separate ways, new schools, new classes, new friends, only a few of us would be going on to start out new journeys at the same schools as our junior classmates.

Choosing your senior school was a big issue that started from the moment you went into Class 4 of Primary School.

In 1988 I was in Mr Fisher’s class at Princethorpe Junior School, Class 4F (obviously!).

Mr Fisher was the coolest teacher in school. He had the biggest classroom and a row of shelves with jars of preserved animal parts by the door.

In 1988 we got our first computer in school, and Mr Fisher’s class, my class, got to have it in our classroom – boy, were we excited!

A few of our class were busy studying for the 11+ exam. Our Head Teacher Mr Edwards told me I should take the exam, but my parents weren’t bothered and didn’t provide me with any means to do so. And besides – I wanted to go where my friends were going!

Senior schools held ‘Open Evenings’ for us to visit and help us decide which schools we wanted to put on our list of choices for the options form. You could choose 3 schools, everyone hoped to get their first choice, but it wasn’t guaranteed so you needed a 2nd and 3rd choice, just in case. My parents didn’t take me to any ‘Open Evenings’ but I did manage to tag along with my best friend Sarah to visit the school our group of friends was all hoping to go to together Hillcrest.

In the end I insisted to my mom that she must put Hillcrest in all three spots on my form as I was only going to go where my friends were going. I have no idea if she did this or not, but I believed she had.

Then we just had to wait to find out if we got our first choice or not…

While we waited for the news we made the most of our last year at Princethorpe.

We had Subbuteo tournaments in class, refereed by Mr Fisher.

We learnt to type on the new computer.

I bought my first music single on vinyl – Tiffany’s ‘I think we’re alone now’.  Bros are popular but I don’t fall for them, it’s not until a year later when New Kids On The Block hit the UK that I get sucked into being a screaming fan of a boy band!

I fell in love with Vampires for the first time, and Corey Haim when I watched ‘The Lost Boys’ – it was rated 15 so I was lucky to get to see it! Hehe.

The cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hit our screens…

Crossroads ended – the TV soap opera based in a motel near Birmingham (our local TV show! Yay! but boo that it ended – well maybe not, it wasn’t a very good show!)

We all start to watch ‘Neighbours’ on TV as it is now on when we get home from school – here we fall in love with Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. Other TV shows kids watch are Top of the Pops, Grange Hill, Newsround and Blue Peter.

Kylie Minogue sang ‘I Should be so Lucky’ and we all wanted to be like her because she gets to kiss Jason Donovan. Yes, we aren’t even teenagers yet and we are already thinking about kissing boys!!

But mainly we are still children, my play out in the street on our bicycles until we are called in for ‘tea’ (evening meal). The lucky ones have a Nintendo Games System and Cabbage Patch Dolls, the rest of us have to wait for these a while longer, money is tight our families are not well off and several of us are living through our parents getting divorced.

Finally the big day arrives, our letters informing us which school we will be going to drop through our front doors…

The good news, me and all my friends are going to Hillcrest – Yay!

The bad news, we have to go to the school for an ‘induction’ day where we will find out which classes we are going to be in that September – on that day I discover I’m not going to be in the same class as my best friends. 😦

Hillcrest is an all girls school, so we say goodbye once and for all to the boys in our class – we won’t miss them, they are just silly boys who play football anyway (we say to ourselves unconvincingly).

Summer Holidays come and go without an actual holiday (vacation) a few day trips to places like Weston -Super-Mare (Spain for Brummies) and Drayton Manor Park on long hot smelly coach journeys that make me travel sick.

Summer days at ‘The Square Club’ summer playscheme doing arts and crafts and making up dance routines to Yazz ‘The Only Way is Up’ and listening to the older girls talking about kissing boys.

I was a girl guide…

(me with my dog Lucky)

Then all too soon (funny how six weeks flies when you are a kid!) we don our uniforms for the first time and head off to the ‘Big School’ – a bus journey from home that costs 6 pence, rather than the walk round the corner to Princethorpe.

I hate it, very quickly, hate, hate, hate it. I’m not with my friends, I’m the smallest girl in my class, and I’m struggling to make new friends and being bullied. The only thing I like is the lessons – we get to do Languages (German for me) and Geography now.

I get moved into my best friend Sarah’s class, but she has already started making new friends, as has our other friend Claire who is in this class. So I’m no better off here. Not long later I move class again – 3 classes in my first year, not good!

But now at least I make some friends, a girl from my old school who was in the other class (there were 2 classes in primary school, but now there are 6 classes in each year group)takes me under her wing, Lindsay – and we are still friends now, in fact she is my best friend!

(Me and Lindsay in 2011)

That was my 1988, what I remember of it.

What was 1988 like for you?

Was it an important transitional year, or was it just like any other year?

Sharon Howard

A 30-something, mom of two teenagers, blogger, writer, artist, part-time carer, part-time student, BPD sufferer… jack of all  trades… Always ready for a new challenge.

Day in the life of a Busy Gal –

The First Time I Got Drunk – A Parable

Seems an odd thing to blog about, I know.  However… this incident happened in the 80’s and plays a big part in who I am.  Rather than sit here and regurgitate 80’s crap you are already familiar with like: stickers, video games and Madonna (and we 80’s heads love all these things!) I thought I’d share a bit of personal nostalgia.

Sharon Howard will be guest blogging here on The Great 80’s soon.  Stay tuned for that.  Her blog is awesome for a  lot of reasons.  Two of them being: She writes and lives in England! 😀  Her guest blog will reflect on growing up 80’s in England.  I am looking forward to hearing all about it.

Now, on with the show!

Rational people usually learn that if they do something (A) and it turns out a not so pleasant experience (B), then (A) no longer fits in their lifestyle because (B) is no fun.  Right?

Right… for rational people this applies.

For people like me (slightly neurotic, alcoholic (sober!), obsessive, and with an alarming lack of common sense) rational thinking is was a foreign concept.

Let’s  take the first time I got drunk.  I was thirteen, gangly and had a severe lack of self-esteem.  On the flip side of that: I was taller than the average bear, athletic and silly. These traits offset each other, which I believe lead to the perception that I was a) normal and b) not to be messed with.

It was a cool night and my sister and I happened to finally get to hang out with Julie who did not live on the street.  Hell, she didn’t even live in the same neighborhood.  Julie’s brother Charlie got us two six-packs of Budweiser from the Cannonball Tavern.  I sat there staring at the cans of beer.

Should I? Shouldn’t I? What’s gonna happen?

After about three hours of drinking and acting like imbeciles.. the three of us walked back down to my neighborhood.  I think I uttered the words  “I’m straight” at least 25 times (implying that I was not inebriated).  The three of us made it to the neighborhood park where we sat on the steps.

We sat on those steps because I had a moment of clarity. I was 13, drunk and I had to go home.  The short version of this was: I was deader ‘an dead meat.  As I sat there I had a revelation.

We could walk to the candy store and get Lemonhead’s, soda and play pinball. THAT would get us (or me at least – I was feeling very narcissistic at this point) feeling better and home safe.

Well, the whole night just went downhill.  I managed to make an ass out of myself in front of a boy I liked.  I fell (twice) and cracked my head on the step (which I just told my mother about this past Thanksgiving).  When I made it home, my mother was still awake and asked me a series of questions which required me to answer with a lot of words that contained the letter “S” which came out like “shth” of sorts.  Shthe knew there was shthomething wrong with me.  Shthe had to! 

Well, my mother didn’t beat me.  I really thought she would.  In fact, she never said anything to me. I wonder about this. Maybe she didn’t know?

For the remainder of the school year, I had a lump on my head the size of an egg (and probably a concussion) and was called “two-can Sam” by everyone.

Have you ever done something that embarrassed you?  How did you handle it? Do you laugh about it now?


One thing I loved about growing up in the 80’s was… stickers! I started collecting stickers when I was about eleven.  There was this little store called Fluff ‘N’ Stuff that had a ton of Hello Kitty stuff strewn throughout the aisles of the little cove in the Neshaminy Mall.  Among the Hello Kitty garb and shiny, glittery things were… stickers!

Now, these stickers were not prepackaged for anyone to just go up and pluck from the rack.  No, no no… These stickers were on rolls behind the counter.  We had to really give it a lot of thought.  Did we want the scratch ‘n sniff or the puffy sticker?  Did we want Strawberry Shortcake or that other pickle sticker to complete our fruit/veggie page in our beloved sticker book?

Sometimes the pickle stickers were scratch and sniff and that was not really a great smell.

Here is a link for an 80’s Sticker Albums! group on Facebook.  Insane peeps (I can only speak for myself here) trade stories and pictures of stickers from yesterdecade and I really don’t know what else to say about it.  For some reason  I am feeling a small amount of shame right now.  Sounds like someone needs a banana sniffy sticker!  😉

In the 80’s, stickers kept us kids busy for hours. The meticulous choice (sometimes we’d buy two of the same if we really liked it and knew someone else would want one) was at times painstakingly tedious.  The thought process was something like, “I’ll get two of these Smurfette stickers.  I remember Mary saying she needed one and I know she’ll give me that Rainbow Brite sticker I had my eye on.”  This was followed by a quiet moo ha ha along with a wringing of the hands.  As long as I had the best stickers (which I most times did because my grandmother spoiled me rotten) Mary was mine!  The puffy ones were the most fun along with those round shiny ones that often times had unicorns or Pegasuses on them.

I almost bought my daughter a sticker album and a sheet of stickers for Christmas this year.  That was until my boyfriend reminded me that she was sixteen and not that interested.

“Trust me,” he said.

I choked back the tears.  Then had some ice cream and got over it.  Almost.

Did you collect stickers when you were a kid?  Maybe you collected something else then or now?

I’d love to hear from you.

All images courtesy of Branded In The 80’s

Christmas in the 80’s

Home Sweet Home

I was a kid/teenager through the 80’s.  Family was important.  Every holiday my parents, siblings and I would pack up in the freezing cold car (often times a 72 Ford with no heat) and after driving the streets of Philadelphia to look at Christmas lights, we would head on over to the Grams and Gramps.

Christmas Day was my Mom’s parents.

Christmas Day Night was my Dad’s parents.

My sis, bro and I made out well at each one.

Now, at my Gram Folo’s… we got things we needed.  Like… socks.  Individually wrapped pairs of socks.  I was utterly cool with this because my Gram ‘Folo (mom’s mom) was my favorite grandmother.  She gave me so much stuff all year-long.   Excited was an understatement just to see her on Christmas Day and stuff myself with mountains of homemade peanut butter cookies, meatballs and pasketti.. you get the gist.  There was family packing the place with loud Italian voices and beer. Lots of beer.

We left there (socks in tow) and headed to my other Gram’s.  My dad’s mom.  Gram Steelman.

That is where my sister and I (and my little bro – – much later) made out like bandits!

We received gifts like – – –

Sony Walkman’s

Barbie Dream House



Brook Shields Barbie Doll (yes!!)

Def Leppard – Pyromania

Ozzy Osbourne – Bark at the Moon

My sister and I also got to eat even more food.  We got to eat ham, German potato salad, sauerkraut and beans.  At my Gram Steelman’s .. my Grampop Steelman would set up this giant elaborate train set all through the living room and we would watch the trains go ’round and ’round for hours while Christmas Music played over the speakers in the parlor.

Really great memories that my family and I (all my grandparents have passed away) will talk about this Christmas and Christmas’s to come.

What are some wonderful Holiday Memories you have as a child?

Epic Music That Plays In My Background

A moment ago I was on Facebook (aka the ultimate slacker tool) and as I clicked on different pages I liked… “using your cellphone as a flashlight” and “don’t’ talk to me before my coffee” I clicked on one I really liked.

I wish background music played during epic moments of my life (and not just in movies).

And let’s think about that for a moment.  Sometimes I really do pretend there is background music playing during certain moments in my day.  Ok, maybe not epic per say, but they are definitely moments that have significance.  Honestly?  None of the moments are epic.  But pretending there is background music during these moments, makes them almost epic.


For example.. when I drive to work I listen to my ipod via my car stereo.  Sometimes really cool 80’s tunes come on.  And as I drive (or sit in traffic – which is more often the case) the song “In The Air Tonight” comes on and I chill back in my seat a tad as my hand drapes over the steering wheel.  I am “uber cool” in that moment. Dark sunglasses and a white blazer are the only things that would cement my coolness.

Even better? Driving a car that isn’t a ’99 Pontiac that no longer has working heat.  But I digress.

And then… I am walking down the cereal aisle of the supermarket, about to decide between Apple Jacks and Lucky Charms for my daughter.  I suddenly go into to slow motion as my head turns (in a most sexy way) and bam! “Still of the Night” bellows.

You get the gist.  Non-epic moments in my life made epic just by adding a killer background track.

Maybe you have a song or two that plays (or you wish played) during some moments in your life.  Care to share?


Pinball Anyone?

I was reading Pat Henzy’s 365 Days of Illustration blog a bit ago.  The post of the day regarded pinball.  Pinball!  I loved pinball in the 80’s.  Arcades were huge in the 80’s. One arcade I remember most of all was in the back of the Roosevelt Mall in Northeast Philly, PA.  It was called Champions.

So, as I sat here relaxing after a November NaNo fest… I was reading blogs and I told you already where the post idea came from.

There was a pinball game I absolutely loved.  I am sure most people of the 80’s pinball era loved it as well.

The game called HIGH SPEED.

The first time I ever played the game of HIGH SPEED was at the lottery store down the street from where I lived (the cool thing about living in the city – easy access to arcades and candy stores!).  This lottery store is where I honed my pinball skills, drank carton iced tea with a straw and started hanging with boys that were older than me (a little too old!).

The goal of the game was to rack up points of course.. but the one thing we all loved the most and were envied for and envious of was…. when we got that red siren at the top to go off.  That was when hell broke loose and two or three more balls would shoot out and we had to keep ’em going for as long as we could.

Looking back, the best part of the era was the friendly competition between us kids and just the hanging out, really.

Did you have any favorite arcade/pinball games as a kid?

I Learned by Watching Kermit

Piggy and Kermie - Froggy Love

Most of us have heard of the book, Everything I Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  I actually never read the whole book.  I have this bad habit of getting into a book and if it bores me for more than two pages or I find something else an octave more exciting to do, the book gets put down.  I am sure all the books I have put down half way through have their own support group going at this point.

BPDBD Group – Books Put Down By Darlene (she really did like you!)

Ok, I’m getting loopy.

My point is… almost everything I have learned in my entire life, yes, my entire life, I learned from watching Muppets.

Sharing, caring, winning, losing, spelling, grumpiness, selfishness, hedonism, lust, jealousy… yeah, it’s starting to sound like the throwback pile for the dwarf that would not be.

I learned obsession and cruel jealousy from watching Miss Piggy swoon and curse over Kermie.  I remember one episode when Kermit was to do a duet with a woman (Linda Rondstadt I think) and Miss Piggy locked her in a closet! Miss Piggy… why?  I loved it when Kermie went virtually insane that he would run screaming off the stage or set, arms flailing… AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I learned spazzing from Grover and Animal, grouchiness from Oscar and the goons in the balcony, Silliness from Ernie, Seriousness from Bert (which sounds and acts a lot like Squidward of Spongebob Squarepants).  And I learned all about feelings: happy, sad, hurt, angry from the one and only Big Bird.

But my most favorite Muppet of them all is and will always be Kermit the Frog.  He is on the November 11th cover of Entertainment Weekly.  Go!  Check him out in all his handsome greenness.

Remember…. “it ain’t easy being green.”

Were you able to identify with any Muppet characters when you were a child?  How about as an adult?

Have a happy weekend 80’s heads!

Classic 80’s Horror Movies – Watch Them Again.

image courtesy of:

Spooky Spooky!

October is here!  Time for jackets, apple cider and corn mazes (make sure you have your cellphone on you!) to really bring out the autumn in us all.

October is time for something else.  Halloween.  Halloween means…. Horror movies.  Now, I know we can watch horror movies any time we feel like.  However, there is something special about curling up on the couch in late October with a giant bowl of popcorn and a fuzzy blanket to watch movies that scare the crap out of us.

What’s up with that?

Here are some classic 80’s horror movies:

Halloween – Released in 1978, this movie became a cult classic in the 80’s.  I like this one because Jamie Lee Curtis is not a sniveling “woe is me” protagonist.  She is quite the match for Michael Myers and is not a cocky bitch about it.

Amityville Horror – Actually released in 1979, it is based on a true story (creeeeepy).  Dad goes nuts in an evil house and kills his family.  Anytime I see a house with attic windows like the house in the movie I am instantly freaked out.

Poltergeist – Family moves to new house, house is creepy, family calls in even creepier lady to see what the heck is going on.  “Go into the liiiight.”  “Stay out of the liiiight.”  Make up your mind lady!

Cujo – Rabid dog goes apeshit.  Only Stephen King could write this story so well that it isn’t cheesy.  Made into a damn good creepy dog movie.

A Nightmare on Elm Street – Johnny Depp is in this one and if you weren’t a Depp fan, you might not even realize it.  Why do we sleep?  For rest!  Well, if you are a child of a person that lynched the ‘evil dream guy’ you might never wake up.

The Shining – Leave it to Stephen King to write an amazing story about a cooped up writer.  Jack Nicholson nails the part of the “writer gone bananas” in this classic flick.  Shelley Duvall is perfect in the mealy-mouthed wifey poo part.

Yeah, Stephen King’s “awesome novels made into awesome movies” got two picks… he is the King of Horror after all.

What are some of your fave 80’s horror flicks?  I know there are a ton of creepy horror movies.. like Zombie movies, which my dear blogger friend Sonia G. Medeiros blogged about earlier.  Check out her wickedly cool zombie post!

Happy Spookiness!

The Cowbell: Propelling Music Forward in the 80’s

Christopher Walken: “I got a fever… for cowbell.”

The cowbell.  Even on cows it sounds good.  Who would have thought… somewhere along the winding road of music an artist would say, “This song is great.  But… it needs something.  How about… some cowbell?”

In the Cowbell Skit on Saturday Night Live featuring Christopher Walken and Will Farrell (which is hilarious), Will Farrell and crew are covering Blue Oyster Cults “Don’t Fear The Reaper” for Walken.  There is a lot of cowbell in Don’t Fear The Reaper.  Perfect Cowbell.

My first memory of cowbell in a song is Loverboy’s Working For The Weekend.  The cowbell hits me in the face:  doink! doink! doink! smash!  And the music begins.  When I listen to this song.. the lyrics do not make much sense to me.

Random Lyrics From The Song

Everybody’s working for the weekend

Everyone’s looking to see if it was you

Everyone’s trying to get it right.

You wanna piece of the show, c’mon baby let’s go!

But the song is so damn catchy.  I don’t think many care that the lyrics are so random.  I don’t.. that’s for sure.  “Everybody’s Working For The Weekend.”  That is the only part that matters.

In 1987  Guns ‘N’ Roses broke ground with their album Appetite for Destruction.  I was fourteen years old, looking to rebel and there was Guns ‘N’ Roses blowing hair metal over the cliff like a tree in a windstorm.  Their epic tune “Night Train features a perfect mix of cowbell, screaming guitar and a still screaming Axl Rose.  The song is about getting wasted (I think?).

Random Lyrics From The Song

Wake up late honey put on your clothes
Take your credit card to the liquor store
That’s one for you and two for me by tonight
I’ll be loaded like a freight train

Guns ‘N’ Roses helped artists of the 80’s put down the hairspray and get a little more serious about the music.  There is a picture of Axl Rose on the AFD sleeve with cautiously poofy hair.  He has it there and a few moments in the “Welcome to the Jungle” video… never saw it again.  He probably figured there was cowbell on the album, so poofy hair was redundant.  Probably not.

Mötley Crüe, or Nikki Sixx rather (bassist for Crüe) wrote “Live Wire” in 1981.  I recently read The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx (which is an awesome, disturbing read) and he talked about this song.   I got the impression that he was basically warning the world that a bunch of bad asses were coming and no one.. NO ONE would stop them.

This song became one of their classics and is in my top five Crüe songs of all time.  There are two instances of cow bell in this song at just the right moments.

Random Lyrics From The Song

Take my fist to break down walls
I’ll top tonight, no, no
Better turn me loose
Better set me free
‘Cause I’m hot, I’m young, running free – little bit better than it used to be

These are my cowbell song mentions.  Do you know any others?  Do you think the songs I listed need more or less cowbell?