Beginning in 1983 and peaking in success in 1986-1989, the decade saw the resurgence of hard rock music and the emergence of its pop metal subgenre. Bands such as Queen, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, Quiet Riot, Europe, Ratt, Twisted Sister, Poison, Whitesnake, and Cinderella were among the most popular acts of the decade.
The 1980s saw the emergence of wildly popular hard rock band Guns N’ Rosesand the successful comebacks of Aerosmith and Alice Cooper in the late 1980s. The success of hard rock act Van Halen spanned throughout the entire decade, first with singer David Lee Roth and later with Sammy Hagar. Queen, which had expanded its music to experimental and crossover genres in the early 1980s, returned to guitar-driven hard rock with The Miracle in 1989.
Additionally, a few women managed to achieve stardom in the 1980s’ hard rock scene: Pat Benatar, who had been around since the late 1970s, is a prime example of female success in hard rock, and so are both ex-Runaways Joan Jett and Lita Ford.
The Arena rock trend of the 1970s continued in the 1980s with bands like Styx, Rush, Journey, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top, and Aerosmith which were popular into the early 1980s, with hair metal taking their place later.
Traditionally associated (and often confused) with Hard rock, heavy metal was also extremely popular throughout the decade, with Ozzy Osbourne achieving success during his solo career ; bands like Judas Priestand Dio were also widely popular North American acts. Speed metal pioneer Motörhead maintained its popularity through the releases of several albums. Underground scenes produced an array of more extreme, aggressive Metal subgenres: thrash metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax & Megadeth, while other styles like death metal and black metal remaining subculturalphenomena.
The decade also saw the emergence of a string of guitar virtuosi, influenced by guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen ; Joe Satriani, Steve Vai & Yngwie Malmsteen achieved international recognition for their skills. While considerably less numerous, bass guitar virtuosi also gained momentum in the 1980s : Billy Sheehan (of David Lee Roth and Mr. Big fame), Cliff Burton (of Metallica) and alternative/funk metal bassist Les Claypool (of Primus fame) became famous during that period.
Both Hard rock and Heavy metal were extremely popular live genres and bands toured extensively around the globe.
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