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Top metal albums of the '80s



Spinal_tap Do you have any idea how hard it is to come up with a list of the Best Metal Albums of the 80s? (Hint: The only correct answer is no.)

The toughest part is deciding if a band is really metal or glam rock or just hard rock. Or spoof rock, like Spinal Tap (which didn't make the list -- but only because their "album" wasn't all heavy metal).

Other bands -- including Van Halen and AC/DC -- didn't make the list because we didn't consider them metal bands. Hard rock, sure. But we were looking very specifically at metal.

Other legitimate metal bands -- Black Sabbath for example -- may not appear or appear very low on the list because their best work came either before or after the 80s.

After much consulting back and forth between submissions here and suggestions on Sean Daly's Pop Life blog, here's my final list. For what it's worth, anything in the top 4 has a legitimate claim to the throne.


Twister_sister_stay_hungry 20. Stay Hungry -- Twisted Sister (1984): Includes the band's two mainstream hits --  "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock" -- and a forgotten but great power ballad "The Price."

19. Love at First Sting -- Scorpions (1984): A triple-platinum effort from the German rockers, featuring  "Rock You Like A Hurricane" and "Still Loving You."

Heaven_and_hell 18. Heaven and Hell -- Black Sabbath (1980): No long featuring Ozzy, this was the first album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals. Includes "Neon Knights," "Heaven and Hell" and "Die Young."

17. Skid Row -- Skid Row (1989): Their first album went platinum five times over with hits like "18 and Life" and "I Remember You."

16. Balls to the Wall -- Accept (1983): The German band's only gold album in the U.S. had the hits "Balls to the Wall" and "Head Over Heels."

15. Mechanical Resonance -- Tesla (1986): The band's debut album featured "Little Suzi" and "Gettin' Better."

Among_the_living 14. Among The Living -- Anthrax (1987): The band's current shows still are heavy with tunes from their third album, including tunes like the title track, "Caught in a Mosh" and "I Am The Law."

13. Vivid -- Living Colour (1988): Reportedly discovered by Mick Jagger, Living Colour's debut album featured "Cult of Personality" and "Memories Can't Wait."

12. Under Lock and Key -- Dokken (1985): The band's first top 40 album had "In My Dreams," "It's Not Love" and "Til the Living End."

Reign_in_blood 11. Reign in Blood -- Slayer (1986): Welcome to the birth of death metal - for better or worse. Two songs to remember: "Raining Blood" and "Angel of Death."

10. Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? -- Megadeth (1986): Remastered and remixed more than a margarita at Jimmy Buffett's house. The bassline for "Peace Sells" for years was used as the theme music for MTV News.

9. Diary of a Madman -- Ozzy Osbourne (1981): The last album with Randy Rhoads. Features "Over The Mountain" and "Flying High Again."

8. Dr. Feelgood -- Motley Crue (1989): Look what rehab can do for a band! Tons of hits, including "Same Ol' Situation," "Dr. Feelgood" and "Kickstart My Heart."

Powerslave 7. Powerslave -- Iron Maiden (1984): So epic that the band is currently touring again with the original Egyptian stage and set list from their '84 tour.

6. Operation: Mindcrime -- Queensryche (1988): Ah, remember "concept albums?" Metal artists love them. "Eyes of a Stranger" would be the biggest single from the disc.

5. Ace of Spades -- Motorhead (1980): Like thrash metal? Chances are you own this album then (and have the lyrics to the title song tattooed across your skull).

Master_of_puppets 4. Master of Puppets -- Metallica (1986): Pretty much a unanimous selection on anyone's list of top 100 albums of all time. Performed in its entirety on the band's 2006 tour.

3. British Steel -- Judas Priest (1980): Two songs everyone should know by heart reside here -- "Breaking the Law" and "Living After Midnight."

2. Appetite for Destruction -- Guns N' Roses (1987): More than 25-million copies sold worldwide and four hit singles. The best-selling debut album of the '80s.

Number_of_the_beast 1. The Number of the Beast -- Iron Maiden (1982): This album gets the nod over "Appetite for Destruction" mainly because it influenced scores of heavy metal bands that followed Iron Maiden, including Axl and the boys. "Run to the Hills" and "The Number of the Beast" stand out on an album that's been praised not only for its lyrics but also for its guitar work. A complete masterpiece.

So there it is. Let the arrows fly.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:30pm]


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