Glam metal is a subgenre of heavy metal which features pop-influenced hooks and guitar riffs, and borrows from the fashion of 1970s glam rock. Glam metal can be traced back to acts like Alice Cooper, Boston, Cheap Trick, Kiss, The New York Dolls. It was popular throughout the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, bringing to prominence bands including Poison, Skid Row, Cinderella, Glam metal was associated with flashy clothing and makeup. Poison, for example, had long shaggy or backcombed hair, accessories, metal studs, leather, Glam metal lost mainstream interest in the early 1990s as the perceived excesses of glam metal created a backlash against the genre. A factor in the decline of metal was the rise of grunge in the early 1990s, which had a stripped-down aesthetic. Musically, glam metal combines a traditional metal sound with elements of hard rock and punk rock, adding pop-influenced catchy hooks. Like other heavy metal songs of the 1980s, they often feature shred guitar solos and they also include extensive use of harmonies, particularly in the characteristic power ballads – slow, emotional songs that gradually build to a strong finale. These were among the most commercially successful singles in the genre, lyrical themes often deal with love and lust, with songs often directed at a particular woman. Aesthetically glam metal draws heavily on the rock or glitter rock of the 1970s, often with very long backcombed hair, use of make-up, gaudy clothing. The visual aspects of glam metal appealed to television producers, particularly MTV. Glam metal performers became infamous for their debauched lifestyles of drugs, strippers and late-night parties, sociologist Deena Weinstein points to the large number of terms used to describe more commercial forms of heavy metal, which she groups together as lite metal. Use of the derogatory term hair metal started in the early 1990s, Music journalist Stephen Davis claims the influences of the style can be traced back to acts like Aerosmith, Kiss, Boston, Cheap Trick, and The New York Dolls. Kiss and to a lesser extent Alice Cooper, were influences on the genre. Finnish band Hanoi Rocks, heavily influenced themselves by the New York Dolls, have been credited with setting a blueprint for the look of hair metal. Van Halen has been seen as influential on the movement, emerging in 1978 from the Los Angeles music scene on Sunset Strip. He popularized a technique of two‐handed hammer‐ons and pull‐offs called tapping. This sound, and lead singer David Lee Roths stage antics, would be influential on glam metal. In the early 1980s, a number of bands from across the United States began to move towards what would become the glam metal sound
The New York Dolls in 1973. Their visual style influenced the look of many 1980s-era glam metal groups.
Quiet Riot is one of the first glam metal bands to achieve mainstream success.