I was twelve or thirteen years old and in the seventh grade and this was the year that my love of music narrowed in with pinpoint accuracy on heavy metal. I began buying albums, I read the liner notes (all of them). I knew all of the band members' names. I knew what they played. I began backtracking the older albums by the bands I discovered. I bought the magazines, I read the articles and I plastered the pictures all over my walls. I listened to radio shows and wrote down the names of new bands I heard so I could find out more about them. For the next five or six years there was more music released than a young teenager with a part-time job could ever afford, but I prioritized and got what I thought was the best. It's hard to balance what was my favorite then with how I feel about them now, so these lists are all sort of a hybrid of both. MTV brought me lighter bands like Kiss, W.A.S.P., The Scorpions, Ratt and, of course, Twisted Sister, while I found some heavier bands on the radio like Iron Maiden, Grim Reaper, Dio, and Judas Priest. I have gone back and forth my whole life between the more "fun" commercial bands and the more serious, technically-driven groups, but the first one to really straddle that line for me was Dokken. Don's radio friendly voice and lyrics would have easily fallen not the more pop side, but Lynch's guitar sound and playing was way above the ability of most bands in that genre, making Dokken a lethal blend of my favorite things for many years. But hearing Geoff Tate sing Take Hold of the Flame for the first time was something like a religious experience and Queensryche quickly became one of my favorite bands of all time.
1981's TOP 10 GUITARISTS
1981's TOP 10 BASSISTS