33 Photos Every ’80s Metalhead Will Appreciate

Published July 5, 2017
Updated December 10, 2020

From Van Halen to Metallica, these outrageous '80s metal photos capture rock's great era of excess in all its garish glory.

80s Metal Def Leppard
80s Metal Motorhead
Metallica In The Early 1980s
Van Halen
33 Photos Every ’80s Metalhead Will Appreciate
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Many rock snobs often look down upon the music of the 1980s. This was the decade when hard rock turned into heavy metal, which itself gave way to hair metal. By that point, many believe, music became less about the music and more about showmanship and image.

But for those who live for showmanship, energy, and outsized personalities, this era remains unbeatable. Indeed, '80s metal was over the top in the best of ways, exaggerating rock tropes to the extreme as bands like Metallica and Def Leppard played enormous stadium shows with elaborate stage setups to match.

From those bands to Van Halen, Guns N' Roses, and beyond, here are some of the most outrageous vintage photos from the one-of-a-kind heyday of '80s metal.

After this look at '80s metal, check out 27 raw images from when punk ruled New York in the 1970s and 1980s. Then, have a look at eye-popping photos from the 1990s rave scene at its zenith.

Gabe Paoletti
Gabe is a New York City-based writer and an Editorial Intern at All That Is Interesting.