How did we let hair metal happen? Today, the style is deeply entrenched in nostalgia for both the generation that lived through it and younger headbangers who missed out on the '80s entirely. But back then, hair metal was divisive and grossly detested by self-described true metalheads.

Glam's explosion in the mid-'80s was so overwhelming that it practically defined the entire decade in both reputation and fashion. It was the perfect storm that led to the genre's outbreak — there was a carryover from the glitter rock movement of the '70s, bar bands were trying anything they could to grab the attention of beer-swizzling patrons and MTV placed emphasis on highly-sellable imagery to drive its groundbreaking platform which was fueled by music videos.

Like it or not, Van Halen played an instrumental role in hair metal's early development as they were the original party rock band, inspiring countless wannabe rockers who would eventually pack clubs on the Sunset Strip just a couple years later.

In Episode 5 of Loudwire's "50 Years of Heavy Metal" video series, we take the deep dive on how hair metal came to dominate the globe. Watch the full episode at the top of the page, which features exclusive interviews with Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, Cinderella's Tom Keifer, Crowbar's Kirk Windstein and rock author Jon Wiederhorn.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

Top 30 Hair Metal Albums