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Top 10 Best Glam Songs That Feature Keys

Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 12:01AM by Registered CommenterAllyson B. Crawford | Comments21 Comments

Ever think about the ten best Glam songs that feature either a keyboard or a piano? Here are my choices for the ten best...in no particular order.

The debate over keys in metal has raged for decades now. Generally, I'm not a huge fan -- but when the arrangement is right, well, the song just rocks. I think I picked some awesome examples of that today.

Whitesnake - Here I Go Again



Winger - Headed for a Heartbreak


Night Ranger - Sister Christian



Great White - Once Bitten, Twice Shy



Styx - Come Sail Away



Heart - Alone



Cinderella - Don't Know What You Got ('Til It's Gone)



Kix - Don't Close Your Eyes



Guns n' Roses - November Rain


Van Halen - Jump


Do you agree with my list?

Reader Comments (21)

The Final Countdown must've slipped your mind eh?
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWar Machine
What about Rainbow in the dark ? I guess that's metal, not glam. Overall, I don't care if there's keys or not. All I care about is if the song sounds good. In songs like 'highway star', Jon Lord sounded as good as Ritchie, and before I could play, I couldn't always tell which was which. It's funny that so many metal bands made the key player play off stage, because keys are 'not metal'.
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Keyboards and synthesizers are awesome! If done right they can really make a rock or metal song sound even better. Of course you do get people who proclaim they aren't metal, but the is it metal debate is a never ending ordeal of the definition of metal itself and can mostly be a waste of time in some aspects.

Regardless!!, Main Attraction by QR has some awesome keyboards as well Dreams, Why Can't This be Love and When Its Love By Van Halen. Heck Turbo has its synth greatness, The intro to Out in the Cold is chilling in itself, pun intended.

Bottom line Synth and Keys are great additions to songs IF... used to the proper effect.
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
I generally am not a big fan but they do work in all these songs. I know you said they were in no particular order but if I had to pick the best one, it would be Here I Go Again, followed by November Rain. And Final Countdown should definitely make the list!
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRita
What about 'Home Sweet Home' by Motley??
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFish
Huh-uh-lo-oh!

Fish beat me to the punch...

"Home Sweet Home" by Motley Crue should be #1!

Random Kiss Keyboard Trivia:

When Gene $immons signed Greg Giuffria (Glam keyboardest extraordinaire), he made him change the name of his band to House of Lords and had his original singer replaced.

Upon visiting Giuffria in the studio, $immons remarked, "Keyboards? That's not very Rock'n'Roll."

I guess he forgot about "Beth", Kiss' biggest hit which also neither $immons nor Stanley wrote. Indeed, it was Kiss drummer, Peter Criss, who wrote (and sang!) with the piano as the central instrument!

And what about Italian disco king/producer and keyboardist Giorgio Maroder's collaboration with Kiss on "I Was Made For Lovin' You"?

And, still later, what about Kiss' keyboard-laden 80's hits like such as "Reason To Live"?

Gene $immons = Hypocrit!

p.s. Many Glam Metal bands who consistently deploy keyboards are also often described as Melodic Hard Rock, but c'mon, keyboards or not, they're still Metal in my book. As long as you've got nice, clean sustained E-chords or a killer guitar lead crunchin' 'em out at some point in a song's arrangement, I love power ballads and such that are awash in keys. In fact, my ex-lead guitarist and I always get all Beavis and Butthead when the crunch chords or lead come traipsing on in the middle of a power ballad, crushing the keys and strings!
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Thanks for including HEART!! Great call with Alone! By the way, Ann still belts out those big notes today as well as she did in '89...maybe even better!

Check them out with Def Lep this summer. You WON'T be disappointed!
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
This one is for Allyson:

Runaway - Bon Jovi - Who can forget the pounding keyboards at the start.

Another great one is Under the Gun by Danger Danger. Seriously cool keys throughout the tune.

@ War Machine - Good call. That could quite possibly be the most "epic" of all glam/AOR in terms of key lines that the general public knows by heart.
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterspence
Ah, an interesting topic indeed! As far as Ally's picks go...I don't much care for the 1987 version of "Here I Go Again." The

original version on the Saints and Sinners album is far superior IMHO. I wouldn't consider "Come Sail Away" a glam song. Late

70s era Styx is hard to categorize. They were a little hard rock, a little pop, and a little progressive, but not what I

would call glam. Great White's cover of "Once Bitten Twice Shy" is a good call. Love the song, and love their version. As for

"Jump", I can't adequately put into words just how much I hated that song when it came out. I had been a VH fan since '78,

and hearing those cheesey synth chords gave me douche chills! Even in 2011, I still can't stand that song.

Sadly, especially in glam, a piano or keyboard usually signals a power ballad. Personally, I don't much care for power

ballads so that automatically eliminates my liking about 80% of glam tunes that use keyboards. For glam tunes that aren't

power ballads that use keyboards, i generally like the songs as long as the keyboards are used for color as opposed to being

the dominant instrument. IMHO, when the keyboards are too dominant, especially when the sound is very synthesized, the song

ventures into softer AOR territory.

Loverboy is an example of a band that used keyboards to excellent effect in many of their songs. two other songs mentioned

in the comments: "Runaway" and "the final Countdown" are both great examples of songs in which the keyboards are used to

great effect.

Now, one keyboarded instrument that is almost universally awesome is the Hammond B3 organ. Sadly, 80s glam bands almost never

used it. In fact, Whitesnake went out of their way to hide their Hammond B3 sound from the American market when "Slide it In"

came out. On the American version of the "Slide It In" album, the organ solo in the middle of "Hungry for Love" is edited

out. This abandonment of the B3 in 80s glam is unfortunate because, when played properly, a Hammond B3 can be equally as

vicious as an electric guitar.

Okay, I've rambled on long enough. :)
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Hmmm, I think Boston used a Hammond Organ a lot if i remember right. Hell, check the Launch from 86's third stage, not glam but totally awesome!!
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
Not too bad. I wouldn't have include Styx or Heart as they ar NOT glam bands. Gotta go with Home Sweet Home as number 1.
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
Great comments, all, particularly Bob.

Al really came up with a HUGE TOPIC with this one.

Europe's opening keyboard riff really is iconic, as War Machine points out.

Heart were Glam-ish in the 80's but were really more AOR/Melodic Hard Rock, than anything.

Interestingly, Heart's "If Looks Could Kill" was pretty heavily keyboarded up and would have been way more kick a*s if it had been produced sans keys.

Love that Hammond B3 sound. A lot of "Glam" bands in the 80's used that from time to time to capture a more retro sound.

And think about pne of your faves, Al...

Aerosmith!

They did a lot of stuff through their prime in the 70's and 80's. "Dream On" is way up there, if you're willing to consider the 70's. One of my absolute FAVES is "Home Tonight" off Rocks.

Though I really only like one song from their entire 80's catalogue ("Shut Up And Dance") not counting material from their comeback album, "Done With Mirrors", which I love. They were masters at keyboard laden power ballads during that era.

p.s. Cannot stand that keyboard intro to "Runaway". Gag me with a spoon! I even thought the keyboardest looked like a total doofus playing it and still do!
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
I'd have to add Mean Streats (studio version), Mr Crowley, and Fantasy to the list.
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMEWIZEMGIC
Streets - sorry
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMEWIZEMGIC
One more. Not a big Night Ranger fan but Don't Tell Me You Love Me rocks and has some keyboards
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMEWIZEMGIC
I agree with a few of the folks above. Where's Home Sweet Home (as much as I hate Vince, the keyboard gets credit in that tune), and I just assumed that The Final Countdown would be No. 1!!!
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian C.
In a Glam Metal Cheezefest Battle Royale...

The Final Countdown vs. Home Sweet Home

IMHO...

The winner is...

Home Sweet Home!

Here's why...

I used to think "The Final Countdown" was SO UNROCK! Now I like it because I find it nostalgic and cheesily amusing in a kind of Spinal Tappish way.

"Home Sweet Home", for all it's cheesiness... is LESS CHEESY than "The Final Countdown". I contend it has a REAL emotional value deep down under all the production just in terms of songwriting.

"The Final Countdown", not so much, as it really relies on a keyboard riff that is actually quite annoying as h*ll. It's NERD ROCK if it's Rock at all.

"Home Sweet Home" is just plain more definitive of Glam Metal as "The Final Countdown" really is more AOR, not even Melodic Hard Rock. I actually like "Carrie" better, which I think was the bigger hit of the two and I rate that right up there as one of THE BIGGEST POWER BALLADS OF ALL TIME.

I rate "The Final Countdown" as easily THE CHEESIEST 80's AOR SONG OF ALL TIME.

"The Final Countdown" may win for MOST ICONIC 80'S KEYBOARD OPENING OF ALL TIME, but "Home Sweet Home" wins it for being the "GREATEST POWER BALLAD OF ALL TIME", in my view, and therefor, it is the de facto winner as THE BEST GLAM SONG FEATURING KEYS.

"Home Sweet Home" is just instantly more accessible on a purely human emotional level. And it Rocks A*s when the guitars kick in and Mick Marrs cranks out one of THE GREATEST POWER BALLAD GUITAR LEADS OF ALL TIME!

And check out this video on YouTube:

Motley Crue 2005-09-10 CMT Studios, Nashville, TN - ReAct Now Music & Relief - Home Sweet Home

An incredible video featuring Chester Bennington joining Crue in a Desmond Child produced live performance as part of a televised benefit concert that aired on one of the major networks in the immediate aftermath of the Katrina disaster.
April 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
I thiught it was for "glam bands"? none of these artists are "glam"
April 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjames
6 1/2 are.
May 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
were the hekll is home sweet home???
March 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDevin

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