Seven Hair-Metal Ballads That Gave Me Stupid Ideas About Love and Sex

Humping a car will never be arousing, whatever Whitesnake thinks.

Seven Power Ballads That Gave Me Stupid Ideas About Love and Sex, including Whitesnake

By Erin Bradley

Submitted for your amusement: the seven videos that made me cry into my pillow and daydream of Tracii Guns parking his tour bus in front of the school and rescuing me from fifth period. Lose yourself in the drama, the slow-motion concert shots, the babes in red lipstick and lace bodysuits. Just remember what my teenage self did not: don't believe everything you see on MTV.

1) Whitesnake - Here I Go Again

The Storyline: Lead singer David Coverdale watches in horned-up amusement as Tawny Kitaen uses the hood of his sports car for dirty Pilates. Tawny continues with the sexy shenanigans as Dave gamely tries to make it to Walgreens.

What I Thought Then: Cars and sex go together like Taco Bell beans and rice. When I get older, I'll be making love on car hoods and treating my boyfriend to "road shows," just like the gorgeous Ms. Tawny.

What I Know Now: Guys hate it when you mess with their cars almost as much as they hate it when you mess with them while they're driving. Cops aren't fans of this whole thing either. (Just ask the one who caught me giving a handy in a parking lot.) Neither are parents.

2) Skid Row - I Remember You

The Storyline: Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. For unexplained reasons, boy turns into stock-photography version of a hobo, complete with whiskers and filthy trenchcoat. Boy spends his days staring into trashcan fires when he's not playing Peeping Tom to Sebastian Bach.

What I Thought Then: If you love someone, breaking up will render you a shell of a person, and quite possibly homeless. If you're not on the brink of losing it all, you're not doing it right.

What I Know Now: Heartbreak is pulverizing, but "sleepless nights" and "endless days" can only last so long before you must grow up, pop some meds, and get back to your life.

3) Guns N' Roses - Patience

The Storyline: Axl and the boys play an acoustic set in what looks to be a Pier 1 stockroom while a series of cut-ins emphasize the loneliness of life on the road. (Slash turns to reptiles in lieu of hookers; Steven Adler fondles his drumsticks instead of female admirers.)

What I Thought Then: Guys in mega bands would rather moon over "The One" than huff brake fluid and bang groupies. I could be "The One," if only my stupid mom would drive me to the concert.

What I Know Now: Most guys in mega bands actually do prefer to huff brake fluid and bang groupies. The rest have girlfriends who are okay with the former, as long as the checks keep coming and they're discreet about it. When you know you can do something whenever you want, it tends to lose its thrill after a while.

4) Journey - Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)

The Storyline: Steve Perry and the boys are jamming out in a shipping yard. A hot girl walks by, looking like a younger version of the mom on Webster. The guys chase her around, trying to impress her on air guitar. She ignores them. In the end it's all a dream, or a covert advertisement for the Sony Walkman.

What I Thought Then: All streetwise, sophisticated women don leather miniskirts and go cruising around abandoned shipyards. Once there, having groups of men chase you is par for the course. It's not at all weird or frightening.

What I Know Now: Being followed isn't a sign of flattery. It's more like a reason to get out your rape whistle. One-on-one attention is nice. Five-on-one attention? A little much. Note to Mr. Perry: work solo next time.

5) Poison - Every Rose Has Its Thorn

The Storyline: Bret and his video girlfriend are arguing. It's in black and white — that's how we know it's serious. Touring takes its mental and physical toll: dumb lyrics must be memorized, split ends mended, spandex burns healed. The result? A relationship in ruins.

What I Thought Then: It wasn't so much the video as the words that I took way too literally. I took "Every rose has its thorn" to mean, "My boyfriend says he likes me but acts like a dick when we're in public, so I guess what Bret says is right!"

What I Know Now: Roses have thorns, but when the thorns start to outnumber the petals, it's time to trash those suckers and get yourself some new flowers. Daisies are always nice.

6) Extreme - More Than Words

The Storyline: Nuno Bettencourt and Gary Cherone sing a love ballad which speaks to the heart of all blue-balled sensitive ponytail guys. The camera alternates between the hot one (Bettencourt) and what the Jersey Shore gang would call the grenade (Cherone). The theme? Words are nice, but physicality is more meaningful.

What I Thought Then: How vulnerable! How tender! Here you are, telling me that I can say, "I love you" all I want, but you'll still be insecure because we haven't done The Dirty. If you need me that much, then we might as well. I've never met someone this emotionally open before.

What I Know Now: This entire song was just a drawn-out way of saying, "Stop talking and fuck me."

7) L.A. Guns - The Ballad of Jayne

The Storyline: Jayne is dead. We don't know if it's sex symbol Jayne Mansfield or a regular girl who's offed herself because her parents spelled her name like a stripper. No matter. The boys in the band are in mourning. Especially the lead singer, who looks like Criss Angel crossed with a florist. Tears flow amid classical music and heaps of red bunting.

What I Thought Then: I wish I were dead (okay, maybe almost dead but then brought back from the brink) so I could be serenaded by a bunch of cute rock boys. Why does the cool stuff always happen to other girls? This town is not exciting.

What I Know Now: You know what's not glamorous? Suicide. Best case, you get cuts on your wrists and end up in some crap psych ward. Worst case, you actually succeed and wind up in a funeral parlor. I've been to those. They're nothing like the set of a rock video. There are hotel prints on the walls, weird smells, and really bad coffee.

Erin Bradley writes's own advice column, Miss Information. Her new book, Every Rose Has Its Thorn: The Rock 'n' Roll Field Guide to Guys, is available at

Commentarium (29 Comments)

Aug 25 10 - 12:29am

Wow, I guess I'm not the only one. I remember ALL of these. Unfortunately, I still have a fondness for men with big, long hair, and songs about totally unrealistic unrequited love. The late 80's / early 90's - I hate you!

Aug 25 10 - 2:35am

Did you see Sebastian Bach in that Rush documentary? He got fat.

Aug 25 10 - 10:40am

What kind of candy-ass rocker drives a white Jaguar? Seriously, doesn't that seem more like a Tom Jones sort of car?

Aug 25 10 - 11:05am
Earl Roy Harwell

You know what L.A. Guns made me think?

That you could play BASS with GLOVES on.

So not true. Thanks for nothing.

Aug 25 10 - 12:32pm
crocs are comfy

good one

Aug 25 10 - 1:46pm

This is amazing.

Aug 25 10 - 2:17pm
Chandler McNamara

Teenage suicide. Don't do it.

Aug 25 10 - 3:18pm

With all due respect to Ms. Bradley: Ms. Kitaen (or the age-appropriate equivalent) is cordially invited to use the hood of my battered 14-YO buggy as an exercise mat, though not while wearing spike-heeled shoes. I would also prefer that she remain belted in while the vehicle is in motion.

Aug 25 10 - 6:53pm

Oh, wow, this was fun! Thank you.

Aug 25 10 - 7:40pm

loved this ;-) !

Aug 25 10 - 9:43pm

Journey can be correctly described with many, mostly derogatory terms, but "hair-metal" is NOT one of them.

Aug 25 10 - 10:27pm

Is *that* what "more than words" is really about? That makes that guy who liked me sophomore year even more of a creep.

Aug 25 10 - 10:39pm

What do you think?

Aug 26 10 - 12:19am

Great stuff Erin, more please.

Aug 26 10 - 6:55am

You have my thoughts exactly lol...when i was a preteen i thought leggings would attract attention ,they sure did lol!!!love your stuff its hilarious !!!

Aug 28 10 - 11:09am

More Than Words was Gary quoting a girlfriend. Time to rethink your assessment of that one. Otherwise, well done!

Aug 28 10 - 12:55pm

Um, not to quibble, but not all of these are ballads.

Aug 28 10 - 8:48pm

Gotta nick you on more than words. I guess in your mind the only way of expressing love is fuc king. So sad.

Aug 28 10 - 10:20pm

Anyone notice that one of the cameras in the L.A. Guns vid has a pube stuck in the gate? Bottom of frame.

Aug 29 10 - 8:47am

"More Than Words" Saw a "rockumentary" about Extreme. The song was about how his wife/girlfriend wanted him to take out the trash, etc. to show he loved her and not just say it. Act on it.

Aug 30 10 - 2:54pm

Wow. Tawny Kitaen. Wow. Just amazing. I remember that... oh, and btw, anyone else notice that he has bigger hair than she does? ;)

Aug 30 10 - 10:49pm


Aug 31 10 - 11:52am

Whitesnake - nip slip - can you see it?

Aug 31 10 - 7:17pm


Sep 20 10 - 10:56am

Cynthia is it sad, or is it sad that you can read a fun article and the only thing you see is a correction? Question: What are YOU contributing and/or creating to the arts?

Sep 20 10 - 11:29am

This was really really funny and spot on.

Sep 08 11 - 12:43am

Omg, david coverdale was so sexy, tawny and david were so hot together, i was so jealous of her because she had the hottest guy in that time, i watched whitesnake videos over and over, people should give tawny a break,people have said horrible things about her , judging some on her bad choices that shes made in the past with drugs, etc, shes still a beautiful woman , yes a little older but were all getting older, so stop hating, and look at yourselves and the mistakes youve made in your own lifes before you judge others, love you tawny and i hope your doing well!

Oct 04 11 - 4:11pm

This was seriously interesting to read and it gave me the giggles. I love almost all of the songs you listed.. and had similar thoughts upon hearing them!

Nov 22 11 - 9:19pm

You got to push it-this essetnail info that is!