“Bang Your Head”, Quiet Riot. When we’re talking about head-banging music, the first thing we need to do is bang our heads! Quiet Riot said it best: “I’m a finder and I’m a keeper. I’m not a loser and I ain’t no weeper…. Bang your head! Metal health will drive you mad.”
“Living After Midnight”, Judas Priest. Arguably,the hand-banger’s anthem right behind the very obvious “Bang Your Head”. I don’t even know what to say about this song without quoting the whole thing, but it has the music, the lyrics, and the attitude that sums up the 80’s. “Livin’ after Midnight… rockin’ til the dawn, lovin’ til the morning, then I’m gone, I’m gone.”
“Round and Round”, Ratt. Ratt was such a big thing when they came on the music scene. This song is head-banging, and goes from making literary references- “Like Romeo to Juliette, time and time, I’m gonna make you mine”- right into the sage karmic wisdom of “Round and round, what comes around goes around.” Deep stuff for big-haired 80’s teenagers.
“Welcome to the Jungle”, Guns and Roses. Guns and Roses was kind of late to the head-banging scene, but they managed to keep it fresh for a few more years, and for that we head-bangers will be forever grateful. There are a lot of fantastic G&R songs, which makes it really hard to pick the best. I went for “Welcome to the Jungle” because it was their debut hit, and it reminds me of the summer it came out and jammin’ at the beach every day.
“Big City Nights”, Scorpions. Of course, there can’t be a Best Headbanging 80’s Songs: Hair Band Glam Rock list without having the Scorps on it. Everyone knows the “Big city, big city nights” part … well, maybe not, because some people think it’s big city lights… but anyway, no one really knows the rest and just makes up words to fit the rhythm. You know what I mean?
“Modern Day Cowboy”, Tesla. I’m like he most hugest Tesla fan ever, so every 80’s song list I ever make will have a Tesla song on it. I chose this one because I don’t think anyone can hear “The USA, The USSR” without breaking out the air guitar. Plus, it’s kind of an interesting look back on the Cold War era, if you want to get historical about it.
“Still of the Night”, Whitesnake. I know, everyone likes “Here I Go Again” but that’s way too soft to make my list. The guitar riff and lyrics on “Still of the Night” are what head-banging was all about. “In the still of the night I hear the wolf howl, honey, around your door. In the still of the night I feel my heart beating heavy, telling me I gotta have more.” You can feel that one.
“Wild Side”, Motley Crue. Probably not the nicest lyrics we’ve ever heard, but head-banging isn’t for the weak. (Plus, it’s just a song.) So, when you’re feeling like a bad-ass, jam out to “Wild side, wild side, kickin’ ass on the wild side”.
“Shot to the Heart”, Bon Jovi. You can’t have a Glam Rock list without Bon Jovi. I had a hard time picking just one of their songs. “Living on a Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive” were the two runners-up, but “Shot to the Heart” won out purely for its superior head-banging rating.
“We’re Not Gonna Take It”, Twisted Sister. This is last on the list only because I want to leave you with another head-banger’s anthem. The words basically repeat themselves for four minutes, “We’re not gonna take it. No, we’re not gonna take it. We’re not gonna take it anymore.” Oh, ya gotta love the ’80s!
Honorable mentions go to “No One Like You”, Whitesnake; “Fool for Your Lovin'”, Scorpions; Unskinny Bop, Poison; “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, Def Leppard; and “Cum on Feel the Noise”, Quiet Riot.