10 Hard Rock Bands From The '80s That Should've Been Bigger

Armored Saint deserved SO much better.

Armored saint
Metal Blade Records

The '80s, one of the wildest, silliest, most inventive decades in rock music history, produced a smorgasbord of exciting bands.

From hairspray-laden glam rockers to moody alternative adventurers and everything in between, this generation of hard rock provided a little something for everyone. For the many musical titans to emerge during this era, many more wound up going broadly undiscovered or came up just shy of the level of fame their work warranted.

In many cases, band members were their own worst enemies, crumbling at the seams due to personal and professional disputes. Endless line-up changes are never a good sign for cohesion or consistency to say the least.

Sometimes, however, talented acts didn't launch for reasons no one could quite put their finger on. They may have had all the tools, from great lyrics to sick riffs and interesting compositions, and just not quite been able to grab that ever sought after brass ring. It's a frustrating scenario that leaves the fans they do acquire flummoxed and frustrated for years after.

From innovators to headbangers to emotional power ballad wizards, here are 10 great hard rock bands from the '80s that deserved more.

10. Alcatrazz

Graham Bonnett's lovably corny Californian crew kicked off with a bang they never quite matched.

Their debut LP, 'No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll', took heed from hard rock legends such as Rainbow in getting a high-energy, sensibly composed headbanger out to the masses. Leading singles 'Jet to Jet' and 'Island in the Sun' proved to impress listeners, bolstering this over the top record's exposure.

For fans of neoclassical guitar shredding ace Yngwie Malmsteen, Alcatrazz's early years offer a bird's eye view of his formative years as a performer.

Unfortunately, the albums that followed, while fun, did not manage to continue the rising star status they'd accumulated with their debut. Instead of conquering the world of rock, Alcatrazz dwindled, failing to secure the stardom they were once arguably worthy of. Worse still, in more recent years, the group have become better known for their seemingly unending feuds with one another.

These days, there are two versions of Alcatrazz: the Graham Bonnett version and the everyone else (bar Malmsteen of course) version. It's an unfortunate state of affairs for a dynamic group that held so much promise in the '80s.


John Cunningham hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.