Our top ten glam band countdown continues. Here’s what we’ve got so far:
08) Twisted Sister
07) L.A. Guns
06) Bon Jovi
04) Guns n' Roses
03) Hanoi Rocks
02) Def Leppard
In the top spot...Motley Crue.
It should be noted I had Hanoi Rocks at number one until Sunday night when I had a last second change of heart. Last night, I flipped a coin over Motley Crue and Def Leppard because both have enjoyed enormous success. Still, I think it’s fitting Motley Crue reign supreme at number one. After all, Nikki Sixx created the ultimate glam band. In the 1980s, they were a hit – and terror – machine.
When Motley Crue started they were all Metal, but their sound evolved over time. In addition to being a phenomenal songwriter, Nikki Sixx is also a shrewd businessman and knows how to work image. For many years, Motley Crue stayed one step ahead of their peers, changing their logo – and look – with every album. There was Metal with Too Fast for Love, shock with Shout at the Devil, Sunset Strip Glam with Theatre of Pain…well, you get the idea.
When Sixx joined up with drummer Tommy Lee, singer Vince Neil and vastly underrated guitarist Mick Mars, the planets aligned to create something truly special. While people argue Motley’s importance to modern music, there’s simply no denying the quality – or impact – of early Crue. If this were a countdown of the ten best glam albums of all time, Shout at the Devil would be in the top spot. While Too Fast For Love is amazingly gritty, Motley’s sophomore release would become their calling card. Videos for “Too Young to Fall In Love” and “Looks That Kill” played in heavy rotation on MTV. Suddenly, everyone wanted to be Motley.
A lot of people say “Home Sweet Home” is the first power ballad. I don’t agree with this, but Motley probably made it fashionable for 80s bands to show a softer side of Metal. That’s both and good bad I suppose.
There’s no denying that today’s crop of modern sleaze bands channel their inner Motley. If you visit the Myspace pages of any Swedish glam band, I bet you’ll find “Motley Crue” listed as an influence. After all, young bands would be silly not to look up to Sixx and Company. Not only is Motley still really popular among various generations, they’ve made a lot of smart business decisions (drug abuse, jail time and divorces notwithstanding). Motley Crue are one of the very few major bands that own their master recordings. This means more money for band members because they are the label. In addition to making some of the most important music in my life, the band also produced the best rock biography of all time. I’ve read a lot of true rock history, and nothing comes close to The Dirt. If you don’t agree with me, then you’ve clearly never read the book.
While many slag Nikki Sixx for being a big talker or a crappy bass player, no one can deny his creative drive. Even in Motley’s downtime, Nikki has an urge to create new music and it’s not like he needs the cash. Both Brides of Destruction and 58 are underrated, but SIXX: AM might be Nikki’s best side project yet. While the Heroin Diaries is an interesting and entertaining read, the accompanying soundtrack is one of the best albums of 2007.
The current state of Motley Crue is unclear. No one seems to know if Tommy Lee is still in the band, or if there will be a new album or tour anytime soon. Nikki seems content with SIXX:AM and Vince does solo shows all year long. Whatever the case, no glam list is complete without Motley Crue and I hope you agree they deserve to be number one.
Here's Motley Crue performing "Home Sweet Home" live in 1985.
Tomorrow, I'll give you my list of honorable mentions.