I hear it all the time…80's is now classic rock. NO, it isn’t. Classic Rock is a specific sound from the late 60's & 70's that is set apart from the 80's sound. People will argue this with me and I will fight you!
Classic rock was a new sound that originated in the late 60's and continued on through the 70's & even into the 80's. This sound was heavy in guitar and vocals that were belted out like never before. Guitar Gods were formed with this sound. You can hear these sounds in bands like Queen, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Who to name only a few.
The 80's hair bands or Glam Rock emerged in the late 70's & early 80's. This sound was still heavy but with the addition of the shred guitar solo & a somewhat pop feel set this genre apart from the 1970's classic rock. These sounds were best displayed by bands like Van Halen, Poison, Mötley Crüe & Quiet Riot.
When you listen to say Led Zeppelin you can feel this underlying heaviness that you can feel in your soul. It touches you on a deeper level. It pulls you in with the driving guitar and those vocals. The vocals are loud, rich & belting. There is a raw quality to the sound. It isn’t the over editing music of today.
Bands like Van Halen have a much different sound. You still get that heavy feel but there is a touch of pop that keeps it a bit lighter. The vocals still have that amazing range but with the addition of melodies gives it a newer sound. Guitar solos were another thing that set these 80s bands apart. Jimi Hendricks and others before have made the guitar solo and amazing spectacle to watch but 80's hair bands made it a staple to their existence.
You can argue it is all rock 'n roll and I will agree. But, when I am on a road trip listening to my playlist I hear these bands playing & you can definitely tell a difference in the areas of rock 'n roll. You can hear a Queen song and know that is a 70's sound whereas Poison has a distinct 80's sound. I am not going to argue which genre is better because in my opinion they are both amazing sounds.