10 Best Debut Rock Albums Of The 1980s

These artists all burst onto the scene in a big way in a great decade for music.

Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill

A lot of great things started in the 1980s.

The Space Shuttle missions, Bruce Willis' acting career, the Ronald Reagan presidency. Okay, opinion is still split about that last one, but still.

Music was also subject to vast amounts of change during the decade.

Rap and hip-hop started to take off, MTV gave artists a new platform on which to express themselves, and George Michael had even the most devout of conservatives heavily questioning their sexuality.

Rock music was not exempt from this tidal wave of transformation, as hundreds of new bands and artists made their impression on the scene for the very first time. Some big names got their start in the 80s, but who really hit it out of the park first time around?

We've rounded up ten of the best debut full-length studio albums from all corners of the rock genre to give you a snapshot of just how wild and varied the 80s was for music lovers.

Some of these records helped define the decade at time, whilst some have gone on to take their place amongst the most important maiden releases of all time.

10. Look What The Cat Dragged In - Poison

The 80s was the decade for glam metal, as the ozone layer was pushed to the brink through overexposure to dangerously-polluting hairspray.

1986 was a particularly strong year for the genre. It saw the release of Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet, the first Van Halen album to feature Sammy Hagar, and the debut release of one of hair metal's most cherished groups.

Poison burst on to the scene with Look What the Cat Dragged In, an album adorned with their faces in full glam makeup. Though not a success at first, the album slowly gained momentum and would peak at number three in the Billboard album charts. It also birthed several hit singles, including Talk Dirty to Me, which gets our vote because it was on the soundtrack for Guitar Hero 3.

In terms of debut glam metal albums, you won't find many better than this one. Poison's later work would sound more polished (because they had more money to play with), but this one captures their rebellious spirit to a tee.

Even if some of it does sound like it was recorded on a potato.


Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.