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Great Sleazy Metal Album Covers

This was a post I did awhile back on my Metal Misfit pop culture blog. To this day, that article sees lots of hits, so since I plan on continuing this feature on THIS blog, I figured it’d be nice to post the original here.

Hair metal. Sleaze metal. Glam metal. Pop-metal. Whatever. It was a glorious time to be a young man when this music ruled the airways and MTV. It was nothing but sex, drugs, and rock & roll during this era, and that was just in Corporate America! So imagine, if you will, the hedonism that was explored to its fullest glory by the Gods of Hair. It blows your mind, doesn’t it? Yeah well, they got dibs first.

In rock & roll, you read a book by its cover. The image is every bit as important the music. Hey, the truth hurts. And what was the image of the day? The image of the day was tight clothes, misogynistic lyrics, and flat out debauchery. Music videos sold albums (or if you want to sound like a fancy record exec, you can say they “shifted units”, and if you do say that, you might very well be qualified to write lyrics for some of these bands), as did album covers themselves. So, let’s take a look at some inspired sleazy album covers from the decade of excess…

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YOUTH GONE WILD: Heavy Metal Hits of the 80’s, Volume 2

YOUTH GONE WILD: HEAVY METAL HITS OF THE 80′S, VOLUME 2 (1996, Rhino Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Rock Me” – Great White (7:18)
2. “Heaven Tonight” – Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force (4:07)
3. “The Final Countdown” – Europe (5:10)
4. “Over My Head” – King’s X (4:49)
5. “Goin’ Crazy!” – David Lee Roth (3:09)
6. “It’s Not Love” – Dokken (5:01)
7. “Seventeen” – Winger (4:06)
8. “Poison Ivy” – Faster Pussycat (4:27)
9. “Gotta Let Go” – Lita Ford (4:40)
10. “I Want Out” – Helloween (4:41)
11. “I’m On to You” – Hurricane (3:59)
12. “Edge of a Broken Heart” – Vixen (4:24)
13. “Dreams in the Dark” – Badlands (3:30)
14. “Wild Thing” – Sam Kinison (4:29)

Rhino’s Youth Gone Wild compilation series essentially peaked with Volume 1, which was loaded with big names and big hits. It’s curious as to how they decided the track placement for the first three volumes because they were all released on the same day, yet Vol. 2 & 3 suffer with a lack of names & hits. Perhaps they figured since people would probably start with Volume 1 they should load the deck for that particular album?

That’s not to say this is a bad album, in fact, it’s very good and it’s the Youth Gone Wild album that I’m most familiar with. A friend of mine owned this and I borrowed it for many months playing it nonstop back in ’97 or so.

The album gets off to a great start with the hair metal classic “Rock Me” by Great White. The song is a slow burn rocker which then explodes about halfway through. Diamond Dave makes an appearance with the infectious “Goin’ Crazy!”, and Vixen, Winger and Europe bring their biggest hits to the table. “Poison Ivy” by Faster Pussycat is just pure sleaze rock ‘n’ roll fun and turned me into a huge FP fan.

Here, the artist selection starts to get a bit weird and that theme continues for the following albums. King’s X & Helloween seem somewhat out of place here (although both turn in decent rockers). Sam Kinison’s “Wild Thing” also feels strangely out of place. It may have the metal cred (many 80s rock/metal superstars appeared on the track and/or in the video), but I can’t help but think that’s one more track that could’ve been devoted to an actual band.

Volume 2 doesn’t compare to Volume 1, but it’s certainly worth a listen.

Highlights: “Rock Me”, “The Final Countdown”, “Goin’ Crazy!”, “It’s Not Love”, “Seventeen”, “Poison Ivy”, “I Want Out”, “I’m On to You”, “Edge of a Broken Heart”, “Dreams in the Dark”

Lowlights: “Wild Thing”

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