Throughout the majority of the '80s, the glam metal scene dominated the charts, sales, and all of L.A. With Quiet Riot having the first metal album go to the number 1 spot on Billboard (the first time in metal history) with Metal Health in 1983, record companies began to formulate Glam metal on a much larger scale.
Glam metal (or hair/pop metal) was a sub genre that took a completely different turn from the basis laid out by Black Sabbath in 1970. Instead taking more of an influence from Led Zeppelin's good time, arena rock.
Van Halen is often attributed as the first Glam metal band. Releasing Van Halen in 1978, it took the music in a much different direction. Alot less emphasis on the occult, darkness of Sabbath. It took influence from the British glam artists of the early '70s and added in the heavy power cord based rock from metal. But Van Halen was alot heavier then most Glam metal bands and never wore makeup like the subsequent bands they influenced, and i personally dont put them in that category, but they definitly influenced the Sunset strip bands.
Emphasis on partying, sex, drugs, and excess were throughout the lyrics. Famous Glam metal bands include, Motley Crue (early in their career), Poison, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, and Twisted Sister. Bands acted a little more sleezy, wore feminime outfits, and wore makeup to stand out.
In 1985, Motley Cure released the Theatre of Pain
album, with the power ballad hit, 'Home Sweet Home'. Which became a
huge success, with in 2 months selling a million copies and going platnium.
Record companies began to manufacture bands, and have them release power ballads for sales.
A huge trend of power ballads began to appear. Including, "Is this love"
by Whitesnake, "More than words" by Extreme, "Every Rose has it's thorn" by Poison,
"Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" by Cinderella and soo many
more. Glam became processed, and extremely formulaic.
Throughout the Glam scene, hardcore metal fans hated Glam and everything it stood for. Bands like Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Pantera, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and many more, stuck to their guns and kept playing hard rock/heavy metal. They wanted aggressive sounding music, and thrash began to emerge around this time. Blending punk, and metal together produced Thrash metal.
While Glam metal bands owned the charts, thrash metal bands had the loyalty of true metal fans.
By the time of the late '80s, Glam was beginning to die. A band by the name of Guns N' Roses came on to the L.A. scene and introduced a much more punk and rawer sound than what the other bands around the time had been producing. They released Appetite for Destruction in 1987 to enormous success, and is still the best selling debut album by any band. They proved you could be successful, and heavy at the exact same time.
Metal began to change, the thrash bands began getting recognition more and more. In 1988 Metallica released ...And Justice for all, which went to number 6 on the Billboard 200, and went platnium Pantera released Cowboys from Hell in 1990, Skid Row's album Slave to the Grind, became the first metal album to debut at number 1 on Billboard, shortly before Metallica released the Black Album. Glam metal was being fazed for the heavyness people were missing from Glam.
In 1988 Penelope Spheeris directed The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. A documentary about the excess of Glam metal in L.A. from 1986-1988, it exposed the Glam world to the rest of the nation, and brought light to it, to the musicians. It featured many Glam musicians talking about the music. One memorable scene featured Chris Holmes from W.A.S.P. as he drank almost an entire bottle of vodka while already intoxicated in his swimming pool. As fans started to realize more and more about the Glam scene, they turned elsewhere.
The last nail in Glam's was the rise of Grunge in the early '90s. The focus quickly shifted to Seattle, Washington to the grunge scene, which became a huge movement.
The glam scene was reminicisnt of the excess of Reaganomics and of the 1980's. Most bands would like to not be associated with the scene. But it is an important step in music in America, that help lead to the rise of Thrash and Grunge.