Here is the list of 15 essential albums from the 1980's. I took into consideration the music and the cover. I only allowed myself one album per artist. It was fairly easy to pick this, but a little tough to rank because their were so many good albums.
15.Ratt-Out of the cellar
I might get some flack for this choice, but I stand by it. Not overly talented except for Warren DeMartini, but they were consistently good and they were fun to listen to.
14.Wasp-The last command
Like a cross between hair metal and classic metal. Blackie Lawless was always trying to grow as a songwriter and most of the time it worked.
13.Motley Crue-Too fast for love
A good raw sound with rough vocals. A big influence on the LA scene that begin to overflow shortly after this album came out.
The Scorps were able to do strong rockers and good ballads as well. Plus it has a crazy cover.
11.Anthrax-Spreading the disease
Anthrax always had a speed metal sound that was different from the pack and a singer who actually sang.
10.Ozzy-Diary of a madman
I remember sitting in my basement listening to this on album over and over. A bit darker than Blizzard of Ozz and easily better than anything Ozzy did during the rest of the decade.
Maybe the perfect blend of hard rock and pop. Manages to be sharp and catchy at the same time.
8.Dio-The last in line
It didn't matter that Ronnie James Dio was singing gibberish about dragons, rainbows and wishing wells just because he had such a good voice. He could be singing about septic tanks and moldy cheese and it would probably still sound good. Great cover as well.
Their last album with Fast Eddie Clark on guitar. Motorhead managed to inspire bands and then road the wave as metal peaked and then they kept on going as other bands fell by the wayside. They proved that attitude is just as important as talent. They are also probably one of the most consistent metal bands of all time along with the Scorpions and Iron Maiden.
6.Guns and Roses-Appetite for destruction
Hard rock was in danger of becoming very stale by 1987, but this album gave the whole scene a well needed kick in the ass. The pace changes were fresh and they talked about the dark side of living and playing in LA.
5.Metallica-Master of puppets
After Kill 'em all these guys learned how to improve as writers. They figured out to put in seamless pace changes without losing their heaviness and energy. Ride the lightning might be a hair better, but the album cover and the impact of this one makes it the one to choose.
4.Slayer-Reign in blood
Not just Slayer's best album, but the best speed metal album of all time. It's like a storm coming out of your stereo. No notes were wasted in making this album because everything about it works. Not the most difficult guitar riffs, but Dave Lombardo is the master of the double bass drum and Tom Araya has the perfect voice for this kind of music.
If you were into metal in 84 then you probably played this one to death. I mean Panama, Hot for teacher, Drop dead legs, what's not to like about this album? Also it has perhaps the best non-Iron Maiden cover of the decade.
2.Judas Priest-British Steel
I could have just as easily picked Screaming for vengeance or Defenders of the faith, but I think this was where Priest made a big transition. They took what they had begun in the late 70's but they became more focused and little more aggressive. Guess what? It worked as they became probably the second best metal band of the 80's next to the band that takes the number one spot here.
1.Iron Maiden- The number of the beast
I probably could have picked Killers or Powerslave for this spot too, but I think this is their best album. They still have some of that unbridled power from the early albums, but the structure that they would later rely so much begins to take shape here. These guys knew how to play with passion and skill yet still keep things sounding fresh. This is one of a handful of albums that I could listen to over and over. Actually I have and probably will continue to do so.
There you have it for my 80's list. I have my review for Ozzy's the Ultimate Sin coming up on Friday or Saturday. I just have to find time to listen to the album.