The '80s were a golden age for fans of rock and metal. Many of the bands who'd already been active in the '70s released their best work in the '80s, plus the decade also saw the emergence and growth of a number of strands of the genre, from the song and image orientated hair metal bands, through the new wave of British heavy metal acts, thrash metal and its dark cousin, death metal.
Something every hard rock band has to have is a killer guitarist, and every entry on this list features a guitar hero whose influence has extended way beyond the success of their '80s output. The longevity of the rock and roll life is also noteworthy, as the majority of the bands on the list are still touring and releasing vital new music - indeed often with their original line-ups - the grim reaper allowing.
The '80s was the dawn of the MTV-led video age, where you could actually see what the band looked like in action without having to leave the safety of your own home, and as such, given the highly visual medium that rock operates in, it was a godsend to any band with half an image and a decent song under their belt. Fortunately, every act on this list has a ton of great anthems and the visual nous to capitalise on the essence of what made them great.
Lifelong music obsessive, regular contributor to US guitar magazines, sometime radio presenter, singer/guitarist in Star Studded Sham, true believer in the power of rock'n'roll and an amp turned up to 11.