Photographers: Andrew Giammarco; Frank Micelotta; Gary Powell .
In 1976, hard-rock giant Kiss scored its biggest single to date with the gentle, piano-driven "Beth." The legion of pop-metal bands that followed took note, and the sweeping power ballad became many a spandex-clad ensemble's ticket to crossover success. Decades later, many fans consider these sensitive hairspray-and-leather anthems a delicious guilty pleasure. For these listeners, VH1 and Immortal Records put together METAL MANIA STRIPPED, a collection of acoustic tunes from many of hair-metal's leading lights.
While listeners searching for the original hit versions of these songs should look elsewhere, fans will relish finding the rare, unreleased, and newly recorded versions contained herein. Particular highlights include an a cappella take on Extreme's Beatlesque chart-topper "More Than Words," which showcases the band's gorgeous vocal harmonies, and Night Ranger's "Sister Christian," which matches the original's chugging intensity, despite the absence of Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis's wall of guitars. Also of note is Queensryche's "Silent Lucidity," which stripped to its live essence, sounds even more reminiscent of Pink Floyd. In every case, these tracks reveal that the heavy-metal scene produced some of the most enduring pure pop of the '80s.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn - Poison
Sister Christian - Night Ranger
Wind Of Change - Scorpions
Don't Know What You've Got (Till It's Gone) - Cinderella