With pop-influenced melodic choruses, catchy guitar riffs, great guitar solos, upbeat iconic rock anthems, and of course, long sprayed hairstyles and make-up, Glam Metal is one of the most fun eras of music history.
Glam metal, or so-called hair metal, originated from glam rock in the ’70s and defined the metal sound in the 80s. With heavy make-up, long hair, skinny gender-neutral clothes with flashy colors, the glam metal artists perfectly reflected the soul of the ’80s. It was mainly present in the Los Angeles music scene before it spread to all the world in the later years.
Bands such as Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, and Dokken pioneered the genre, while hard rock bands such as Whitesnake, Guns N’ Roses, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith incorporated glam metal aspects to their sounds and images.
Glam metal is a highly controversial genre among metal and rock listeners. Some like the iconic tones and images, while some despise the pop influence as it decreases the musical creativeness and quality. However, there is no doubt that these tunes offer extremely fun-to-play guitar riffs and solos for every guitarist.
It’s My Life – Bon Jovi
One of the most famous glam metal bands is undoubtedly Bon Jovi, who is still active today. Although It’s My Life was released much later in 2000, the song has the retrospective glam metal sound and characteristics like the catchy choruses and guitar riffs along with a shiny guitar solo. It became the most famous tune of the band shortly after its release.
The song is played mainly with power chords, including the riff, verses, and choruses. There are some excellent palm muted parts, along with an introductory yet highly melodic and fun-to-play guitar solo.
The Final Countdown – Europe
You may remember this tune from thousands of sports events, commercials, movies, and T.V. series, as the iconic riff appears everywhere. The Final Countdown is the signature song of the glam metal band Europe. With more than 1 billion views on Youtube, the song is still extremely popular today.
The iconic keyboard riff drives the song forward with its melodic chorus. You can play the riff on guitar easily on higher strings. The verses are pretty straightforward with palm-muted bass notes, and the choruses are traditional with power chords—a great song to play by yourself or with your band.
If you like 80’s hard rock and metal tunes, this list might just be for you Top 30 Guitar Rock Songs Of The 1980s You Must Learn To Play
Livin On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
Livin On A Prayer is yet another Bon Jovi tune that perfectly reflects the glam metal era. The lyrics about love, pop-influenced guitar riffs, and repetitive choruses with an upbeat tempo, this is a fantastic hair-metal song from 1986. The song is considered a Bon Jovi signature and won so many awards, including the triple-platinum certificate in 2013.
The track starts with a soft instrumental guitar part, and with the drums, it gets louder. The main guitar riff is a catchy and melodic one with palm mutes on single notes on lower strings. The chorus and verses are mainly power chords, while the guitar solo is quite unique and suitable for intermediate-level guitarists.
Welcome To The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
Alotıugh Guns N’ Roses has never been a genuine glam metal band, they had an influence on their sound and image in the 80s. They are more of a hard rock band with spices from glam metal. One of their iconic songs from the era, Welcome To The Jungle, perfectly shows the excellent blend of their unique sound combined with glam metal characteristics.
The song is simply amazing with the catchy guitar riff, high-pitched vocals, upbeat grooves, and lyrics about lust. The guitar riff is easy and highly entertaining to play with palm mutes and lovely walks on the lower strings. The chorus and bridges are also easy with power chords, but the solo requires some skills on the instrument to play correctly.
I Was Made For Lovin You – KISS
One of the best glam metal era bands was KISS, with their impressive images and catchy songs. I Was Made For Lovin You from 1979 was one of their greatest hits with the legendary repetitive chorus and melodic guitar riffs. The song sold over 1 million copies and was certified gold in the U.S. the same year.
The song is straightforward to play with a double-stop main guitar riff and power chorded verses and choruses. The elementary solos are also great for beginners with some legatos, bends, and melodic licks.
If you like to play metal songs and riffs, you should check out this article Top 60 Famous Easy & Intermediate Metal Riffs Ever – Tabs Included
Poison – Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper is one of the rockstars that incorporated glam metal aspects to his sound back in the 80s. Released in 1989, Poison is one of the most successful hits of the artist that charted top 10 in many countries. The song is a typical pop-metal tune with an outstanding main guitar riff.
The song’s main guitar riff is played with single notes and open string notes in between. The verses and the chorus have the rhythm guitar playing power chords while the lead guitar plays nice licks on top.
Wanted Dead Or Alive – Bon Jovi
Released in 1986, Wanted Dead Or Alive is another iconic Bon Jovi tune from the hair metal era. It talks about the shiny yet lonely lives of the glam metal era rock stars. The song was released with the same-titled album, which is the most successful Bon Jovi album with many great songs.
The song has a relatively low tempo and is played with lovely arpeggios and strummed chords. All the parts are beginner-friendly, and you can also play this tune with an acoustic guitar. The melodic solo is also quite enjoyable and easy with essential licks and nice bends.
Jump – Van Halen
The legendary hard rock, heavy metal band Van Halen also got its influences from glam metal in the 80s. The 1984 tune Jump is one of the most famous by the band, with the legendary keyboard riff and great guitar solo. The song topped the charts and became a signature tune of the band.
The song’s rhythm guitar parts are quite easy with power chords, but the lead guitar parts need some mastery on electric guitar.
If you want to progress with your lead guitar technique, try playing these solos for a start Top 50 Famous&Easy Guitar Solos For Beginners – Tabs Included
We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
The highest-selling single of Twisted Sister is the 1984 tune We’re Not Gonna Take It, which is remembered for its repetitive iconic chorus and lovely guitar riff. It is a basic song with a simple progression, reflecting the pop-metal side of the glam metal era perfectly.
The entire song is played with power chords, making the song ideal for beginners. You can put plenty of distortion to your tone and enjoy playing this great song. The solo of the song is relatively easy and fun, especially the whammy bar part.
Here I Go Again – Whitesnake
Here I Go Again is one of the greatest power ballads of the hair metal era, written and performed by the hard rock band Whitesnake. The song was released in 1982, but the success came with its re-record and re-release in 1987. By many authorities, the song is considered one of the best glam metal tunes and power ballads of the time.
The song is elementary to play for beginner guitarists as it is mainly played with two-note power chords with the palm mute technique. There is also an intermediate-level solo with nice pentatonic scale runs and essential techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and bends.
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
The signature song of the English metal band, Def Leppard, Pour Some Sugar On Me, is another rock-solid tune that reached number 2 in Billboard charts after its release in 1987. The song’s iconic drum groove with heavy guitar parts is a joy to listen to and even more joy to play. The song has an outstanding video clip, too.
The song offers many great riffs for guitar players, from single-note melodies to palm-muted runs and power chords. All the parts are beginner-friendly, just do not forget to add heavy distortion to your tone.
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Nobody’s Fool – Cinderella
Nobody’s Fool is the 1986 tune of the famous glam metal band Cinderella. The power ballad features lyrics on falling out of love along with nice arpeggios before leaving the scene to power chorded distorted chorus and solo sections.
The song starts off with a clean tone and short arpeggios. Later, it gives place to palm-muted power chords for the chorus and solo sections. The solo has some great scale runs for beginners to practice different positions on the pentatonic scale.
She’s Gone – Steelheart
Steelheart is one of the late glam metal bands that released their debut album in 1990. Their most famous tune, She’s Gone, is a great power ballad that became one of their hit singles right when glam metal was leaving the music scene for other popular genres of the time like grunge and alternative rock.
Mainly the song is driven by the piano in the background, which you can play the chords on your guitar. You can also play the extended yet easy solo, which is the shining star of the tune.
Cherry Pie – Warrant
One of the hair metal anthems is the iconic tune Cherry Pie by the American glam metal band Warrant. Released in 1990, the song was one of the latest hit songs of the era and became a top 10 hit in the Billboard charts.
The song features a great guitar riff on the lower strings. There are lots of vibratos which you can use your finger or the whammy bar to create the effect.
If you want to play some more advanced lead guitar parts, you can learn these licks to get your fingers ready 50 Famous & Easy Rock Guitar Licks For Beginners
Rock You Like A Hurricane – Scorpions
The German hard rock band Scorpions also have some tunes with glam metal influences. Their signature tune from 1984, Rock You Like A Hurricane, features an iconic guitar riff with power chords and a rock-solid chorus, as well as an amazing solo. It is considered one of the greatest tracks of the glam metal and hard rock scene.
The main riff is relatively easy to play with power chords, and the verses feature palm-muted parts. The lead guitar partitions are pretty fast and challenging for beginners, yet the rest of the song is perfectly fun-to-play.
Round And Round – Ratt
Ratt is another famous brand of the glam metal era, mainly known for its hits Round And Round and Lay It Down. Round And Round was the band’s most successful single, reaching number 12 in Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. The song also appeared many times in famous T.V. shows such as Supernatural.
The song has many guitar riffs, including power chords and single-note riffs. The original track is played with a half-step down tuning. Besides, the solo parts and the riffs are ideal for beginners.
Still Of The Night – Whitesnake
Another great Whitesnake hit is Still Of The Night, which is one of the band’s most popular tunes. Released in 1987, the song is a fan-favorite with its impressive vocal lines by David Coverdale and fantastic guitar riffs by John Sykes.
The song is a bit progressive and offers many parts to learn and play. The main guitar riff with legatos between the vocal parts is impressive and fun to play.
Panama – Van Halen
Thanks to its amazing guitar riff and easy progression, Van Halen’s famous song Panama is a paradise for guitar players. Released in 1984, the song was written about the car of the lead singer David Lee Roth.
The main guitar riff is the heart of the song and is played with power chords with muted bass notes in between. It may be hard to get the rhythm and pace on the first try, but you will add an outstanding guitar riff to your repertoire with some practice.
Rock And Roll All Nite – KISS
Released in 1975, slightly before the glam metal era started, Rock And Roll All Nite by Kiss gave hints of the upcoming pop-metal trend in the rock scene. The song features a catchy guitar riff and chorus with an uptempo groove, which became the band’s signature song.
The song consists of power-chord guitar riffs, and that’s all. A perfect song to play with some distortion to rock and roll ‘all nite.
Wild Child – W.A.S.P.
The 1986 song of the American heavy metal band W.A.S.P. is yet another great song with glam metal influence. The song features a high tempo with heavily distorted guitars and a basic progression.
You can play the entire song with power chords besides the intro riff played with three notes.
Live Wire – Mötley Crüe
American heavy metal band Mötley Crüe’s famous tune Live Wire was released back in 1982. The glam metal tune was selected to VH1’s greatest metal band of all time in 1991 after its great success.
The song can be easily played with power chords and palm-muted single-note runs in between. It is an easy high-tempo song to play with a good amount of distortion.
Shake Me – Cinderella
Another great hit by the glam metal band Cinderella is Shake Me, released in 1987. The song failed to chart, but the fans still appreciate it with its excellent guitar riff.
You can play the song with a combination of power chords and open chords, which is the recipe for the main riff. There is no solo, and the song is relatively easy to play.
Turn Up The Radio – Autograph
Mainly known for their hit tune Turn Up The Radio, Autograph is a one-hit-wonder glam metal band. Their 1984 album Sign In Please was certified gold, and Turn Up The Radio received significant airplay on MTV. However, the band could not make any other successful hits.
The song features a nice main guitar riff with palm mutes and a hook melody on the lower strings. The verses and choruses are played with traditional power chords.
Metal Health (Bang Your Head) – Quiet Riot
Metal Health or Bang Your Head is one of the signature tunes of the heavy metal band Quiet Riot. The song is about the headbanging subculture, which is one of the reasons metalheads love it.
It is a pretty straightforward song with many power chords and palm-muted bass note verses, except for the tapping solo.
No One Like You – Scorpions
One of the greatest hits of the German band Scorpions is No One Like You from the 1982 album Blackout. With a killer main guitar riff, fantastic lead guitar licks, and a catchy chorus, it is one of the fan-favorite songs of the band.
The main riff with power chords is played throughout the song in the intro and during the chorus and a lot of distortion, while the verses feature arpeggios in the clean tone—an ultimately fun song to play for every guitarist.
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
The first single of the legendary Ozzy Osbourne as a solo artist is Crazy Train, released in 1980. The song features a rock-solid guitar riff which the song is built around. It quickly became a big hit and is now considered one of the best songs of Ozzy as a solo artist.
The song features terrific riffs on the lower notes while the verses are played with power chords and palm-muted bass notes. There is a crazy solo with tappings and outstanding licks, which is not for beginners, but it is one of the most excellent solos in rock history.
Rock Of Ages – Def Leppard
Released in 1983, Rock Of Ages is a fantastic glam metal tune by the English band Def Leppard. The song appeared in many T.V. series such as Supernatural and Cobra Kai.
The song is played with great riffs changing from the verses to the chorus. The verses feature double notes, while the chorus has a killer single-note riff. It is an absolute beginner-friendly tune.
Down Boys – Warrant
The first single of the famous glam metal band Warrant is Down Boys, which received significant success giving a big name to the band in 1989. The song’s name later became the nickname for the band.
The song has a very basic progression with power chords, open note low E string rhythmic grooves, and a repetitive intro riff.
In My Dreams – Dokken
American heavy metal band Dokken has many great glam metal tunes that are charted in Billboard Hot 100 and In My Dreams is just one of them. The song is played mainly with power chords and is built around a basic riff with basslines embellishing the chords.
The solo of the song is one of the fastest with great legatos, which is ideal for experienced players.
Dream Warriors – Dokken
Written for the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Dream Warriors is yet another great glam metal song by Dokken. The song became one of the most successful hits of Dokken, reaching number 22 in Billboard Hot 100.
It is a classic Dokken song with typical power chorded verses and single-note melodies on the lower strings. The song is elementary and quite fun to play with plenty of distortion.
Photograph – Def Leppard
Photograph is the successful hit of the English metal band Def Leppard which topped the Billboard Top Tracks chart for six weeks after its release in 1983. The song is relatively easy to play with power chorded verses and choruses as well as double-stop riffs.
Walk This Way – Aerosmith
Released in 1975, Walk This Way was the entry song of Aerosmith to the mainstream rock scene. The song is not exactly a glam metal tune, but with the catchy riff, amazing chorus, and upbeat grooves, it was one of the songs that hinted at the new era. It is an easy song to play with fantastic guitar partitions for beginner guitarists.
Youth Gone Wild – Skidrow
The late glam metal band Skidrow’s debut song from their debut album was Youth Gone Wild. The song received good success, reaching number 27 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The entire song is built around power chorded verses and choruses along with a great melodic solo. The solo may be too fast for beginners, but intermediate players will enjoy it a lot.
Lay It Down – Ratt
One of the greatest hits of the iconic glam metal band Ratt is Lay It Down. The song is a typical glam metal tune with a power chord, muted low E string grooves, and lovely lead guitar embellishments.
No More Mr. Nice Guy – Alice Cooper
Another great hit by Alice Cooper is No More Mr. Nice Guy from the year 1973. The song is one of those tunes that opened up the road to the glam metal era several years before it started. With catchy repetitive riffs and choruses, the song influenced the hair metal of the 1980s.
It is an easy song to play with power chords and basic riffs on the higher strings. It is highly entertaining to play the palm-muted power chord partitions with plenty of overdrive added.
Into The Fire – Dokken
Another Dokken hit that appeared in the Billboard Hot 100 chart is Into The Fire from 1984. As a classic Dokken tune, it has a crazy solo, power chord riffs, and choruses, along with arpeggiated verses with a clean tone.
Bathroom Wall – Faster Pussycat
One of the lesser-known and underrated bands of the ’80s is Faster Pussycat. Their album with the same name Faster Pussycat features some great glam metal tunes from 1987. Bathroom Wall is one of them, which has an effortless progression with power chords and basic riffs.
Nothin But A Good Time – Poison
Released in 1988, Nothin But A Good Time by the glam metal band Poison is one of the anthems of the era. The song reached number 6 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was loved by metal fans. The song is a classic glam metal tune played with power chords and great guitar solos.
Wait – White Lion
White Lion’s power ballad Wait from 1987 is a typical slow-tempo glam metal tune with fantastic arpeggios and a catchy riff. The song has many chords played with fingerpicking which is great for beginner guitarists to practice the technique.
School’s Out – Alice Cooper
Released in 1972, School’s Out is another early Alice Cooper hit that is not precisely glam metal due to the timing but has all the characteristics of a glam metal tune. The main guitar riff is a killer hook, the repetitive chorus is catchy as hell, and the lyrics are as wild as it is with the glam metal tunes.
As you’d expect, the song is played with power chords, but the song also has excellent lead guitar partitions, which are all beginner-friendly.
Glam metal can be described as the baroque era of rock history. It is shiny upbeat, and it is about images as much as the sound. There are some great tunes from the era which are easy-listening, groovy, and catchy as they can be.
If you are a metal lover beginner guitarist, this list has all the greatest hits of the glam metal era for you to enjoy and play. There are also many techniques that you can practice while learning these fantastic songs to progress as a guitarist. So, grab your guitar and let the fun begin.
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