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…
Scorpions – Lovedrive (1979)
Darn. I just killed the premise of this article right out the gate. Okay, sure, this album is from 1979. But is that such a long walk from 1980? No, I don’t think so. And heck, those crazy Scorpions were a bit ahead of the curve in regards to typical sexist 80s metal anyway. I actually don’t understand what’s going on in this cover. But I do know that it’s SLEAZY. Maybe there’s something to say here about getting a sticky substance all over this woman’s fine breasts? Just typing out loud. This album cover was supposedly banned, and was given an alternate cover, but I have no problem finding this cover whenever I walk into a music store. What makes this even more sleazy is that the guy is absolutely sleazy and the woman seems very non-plussed about the whole ordeal, as if she’s in a coma-like trance. Oh boy, this brings back memories of my last sexual encounter with my old lady. Moving on…
Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet (1986)
Hey, who knew these kind country music superstars had a sexist streak? This is the original cover to this album and it too is a banned cover, but it is actually pretty tame, in my opinion. A lot worse and more revealing has gotten the stamp of approval over the years. I guess it all worked out for the best though, it’d be REALLY hard for Jon to deny being a part of the pop-metal scene with a released album cover like this floating around. Who says you can’t go home?
Great White – On Your Knees (1982)
Gotta give props to Great White. Definitely one of the more underrated bands of the era, and they are still putting out amazing albums to this day. But that’s neither here nor there because we’re talking about SLEAZE today!! And this is about as sleazy as it can get. This was Great White’s first album. An indie release, of course, otherwise I’m sure this would’ve been banned as well. Admittedly, I’m not crazy about that shark stitched on the denim jacket, but the images of fellatio this cover conjures up (and shows us!) definitely makes up for it. This, my friends, is classic hair metal, as is the song of the same name.
Hurricane – Take What You Want (1985)
Simple, yet sleazy. I like it. I can’t get any confirmation on this album as to whether this is the original cover or an import cover. I suspect it may in fact be the original due to the fact that another Hurricane album cover got the axe a few years later as well. Let us dissect this piece of art (yes, I’m calling it art!). The title pretty much states the official slogan for the music of this era: “take what you want”. For this album in particular though, they’re obviously referring to the hot big breasted woman with a see thru lace top on their cover. Notice how she tosses her head back, running her fingers through her hair, all while showboating her amble bosom? She’s got you wanting it. Now you just need to take it. See how it all comes together? (Disclaimer: The Metal Misfit does not support rape, in any way shape or fashion.)
Whitesnake – Lovehunter (1979)
We wrap up this feature with another ’79 entry, but again, is there any question as to Whitesnake’s hair metal-ness? These guys helped draw up the blueprint for hair metal and exploded in the 80s once the rest of the industry caught up with them. Monster snakes and nude women. It’s like every sword & sorcery tale ever told! What we have here is an nude & attractive busty lady (with nice child-bearing hips and a great rear to go with it) straddling a big snake. Or did the snake slip himself between her legs? This album is called Lovehunter, but who is hunting who? Regardless, a hot naked chick + phallic implications always leads to a classic sleazy album cover.
That’s all for now. I had fun, how ’bout you? If you know of any other covers that might make the cut, send’em my way as I hope to do more of these in the future!