Eighties poodle rockers
They sported gravity-defying perms to rival Bet Lynch and dressed in impossibly tight spandex trousers, thereby ruining their chances of producing children. Yes, they were the poodle rockers of the '80s and if our very tight jeans will allow, we'll stand up and salute five of the best...
Lead singer Bret Michaels was perhaps the most perfectly lipsticked and lacquered poodle rocker of his generation. With his pouting, effeminate looks and camp stage presence, Michaels and his poodle rockers stood poised to inherit the mantle of a campier, draggier, Aerosmith but it wasn't to be. Their perfectly coiffed, multi coloured hairdos, were engineered by drummer Rikki Rockett, a former hairdresser. (Hurrah!) The pair met when Rockett came to Michael's house to cut his sister's hair. And the band was formed over a bottle of peroxide and colour tints. They moved to LA, recruited guitarist CC Deville (after rejecting Slash of Guns 'N' Roses) and recorded their debut album, Look What The Cat Dragged In for just £20,000. They sold over 2m copies and soon, instead of asking customers 'Been anywhere nice on your holidays?' former crimper Rockett was showing hapless groupies the secrets of his scissors over comb style. Follow up album, Open Up and Say ... Ahh! sold a further 5m copies, spawning the worldwide hit, Every Rose Has It's Thorn. Internal wrangles led to the band's demise towards the end of the '80s. Michaels pursued a movie career and has since set up a production company with Charlie Sheen while former crimper Rockett has written his own comic book, Sisters Of Mercy. His new book, Backcombing Towards Success is out next year. (Er, possibly.).
Sporting the ideal poodle rocker's band name, this effeminate, lipsticked and lacquered bunch were actually discovered by King Poodle Rocker Jon Bon Jovi in the early '80s. Bon Jovi was impressed by frontman Tom Kiefer after seeing him play in a local club and recommended him to an A&R man at his label, Mercury Records. Often hailed as a second-rate Bon Jovi act, Kiefer struggled to rid himself of the comparisons and his Steven Tyler like howl. Nevertheless the band persevered and after a slow start, their debut album, Night Songs was certified gold after a sell-out tour, er, supporting none other than Bon Jovi. However by 1993, the band's career was slowed by several events. Keifer had developed nodules on his vocal chords, (presumably from his Steven Tyler like howl), requiring surgery and rest. Kiefer's mum also passed away (presumably unable to face another night in the front row at a Cinderella gig) and internal band wrangles led to the departure of drummer Fred Coury. But hang on, the band are reforming and a new album is planned next year. Oh dear.
Lord of the poodle rockers John Francis Bongiovi did more than any rocker to boost sales of Wella Hair Lacquer. For a period from the late '80s to the mid '90s, Bon Jovi were one of the biggest-selling acts in the world thanks to the bubblegum metal of tracks like You Give Love A Bad Name, Bad Medicine and Livin' On A Prayer and the albums Slippery When Wet and New Jersey. Jon's spandex trousers and lipstick, powder and paint may have been frowned upon by his New Jersey compatriot Bruce Springsteen though. Jon has always stressed his working class 'Noo Joisey' roots and love of a Springsteen tune, but let's face it, what hard-working steelworker can order a beer in his local dressed in lurid pink spandex trousers, ripped T-shirt and sporting a carefully coiffed hairdo? After movie soundtrack success in 1990 with Young Guns 11 and the worldwide hit, Blaze Of Glory, Bon Jovi started to concentrate on an acting career. In 1996 he appeared in the film Moonlight and Valentino before releasing his first official solo album, Destination Anywhere. He recently starred as a plumber in the Ally McBeal TV series. Some critics say it's the best pipe work of his career. Recently, the band participated in the New York tribute concert for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and dedicated their new album Bounce to New York. One reviewer said Bon Jovi discussing terrorism was like The Tweenies discussing third world debt and famine. It seems a man who takes care over his hair just can't be taken seriously in the political arena... Jon Bon Jovi greeted a TOTP interviewer recently with the warning: 'Just don't ask me any questions about my hair.' He must have forgotten to use conditioner that day.....
A typical diary entry for Motley Crue guitarist Nikki Sixx would begin.."Woke up with two chicks, surrounded by 15 empty bottles of tequila and I don't know what this ferret is doing in my bed..." The Motley Crue story has it all and is an archetypal story of '80s debauchery and excess. In fact the poodle perms and spandex trousers almost pale into significance next to the awful, illegal litany of pranks the band carried out during their career. Amazingly, the slew of battered and abused groupies have never seen fit to prosecute. Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil and Mick Mars found mega success in the mid '80s with two albums, Theatre of Pain and the even bigger, Girls, Girls Girls, which achieved the highest entry (No.2) on the US Billboard chart, for a heavy metal album. In December 1984, Vince Neil was involved in one of the darkest periods for the group when he was involved in a major car crash which killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle. He also smashed a bottle of champagne over a Japanese man's head on a train and then mistook the waiting assembly of police and irate commuters as a gathering of fans. Despite a critical mauling, in 1989 the band scored their first US No 1 with Dr. Feelgood. After Vince Neil was ejected from the the band in 1992 for on misdemeanour too many, the band continued with replacement John Corabi but split towards the end of the '90s after a disastrous North American tour which no doubt involved more abused groupies and household pets.
Like their Swedish counterparts, Abba, Europe got their first big break after winning a song contest. In 1982 the band, then called Force, won a local talent competition. Lead singer Joey Tempest's girlfriend posted the tape without him knowing. The victory led to a record deal and a tour across Europe but it was in 1986 that the band experienced global success with their third album, The Final Countdown and the resulting single, No. 1 in 26 countries. Cue lots of hapless hack questions about Abba and saunas as the band embarked on a globe-trotting, mega-bucks world tour. Like Queen's We Are The Champions, The Final Countdown has become a sporting event favourite. The song was played at the closing ceremony of the 1988 Olympic Games and will always feature at nail crunching Premiership relegation battles between Bolton and Southampton (probably). The band split in the mid '90s after disagreements with their label. Joey had presented a batch of dark, intricate tunes (prog rock anyone?) while the label had insisted on more bubble gum metal. Ah, artistic differences...