the bracket so far


upcoming games: sweet sixteen—march 19-22

March 19
(1) Guns N' Roses VS (4) Quiet Riot  •  (2) Def Leppard VS (3) Ratt

March 20
(7) Nelson VS (3) Twisted Sister  •  (7) Lita Ford VS (14) The Bulletboys

March 21
(8) Dokken VS (5) Europe  •  (8) Vixen VS (5) White Lion

March 22
(13) Loudness VS (1) Motley Crüe  •  (3) Whitesnake VS (10) Warlock

elite 8—march 23 & 26

March 23
(1) Guns N' Roses, "Paradise City" VS (7) Lita Ford OR (14) Bulletboys
(2) Def Leppard, "Pour Some Sugar on Me" VS (8) Dokken OR (5) Europe

March 26
(8) Vixen OR (5) White Lion VS (3) Whitesnake OR (10) Warlock
(1) Motley Crüe OR (13) Loudness VS (3) Twisted Sister OR (7) Nelson

final four—march 27 & 28

championship—march 30

how to play march shredness

The medium of March Shredness is you, our listener and reader, however much you know or don't about these songs or this era. That is, March Shredness is a tournament not just designed to play games off against each other and determine a winner, but to reveal something in you by virtue of your choice-making.

So, there are at least three ways to play march shredness:

  1. Fill out the bracket (download below). Turn it in before 3/1 to to be eligible to compete for the trophy. (Brackets are scored based on accumulated points, progressively awarded. So picking the correct winner of a first round game is worth 1 point. A correct 2d round pick = 2 points. A correct Sweet Sixteen pick = 4 points. Etc. Really, though, the bracket is a machine on which memory and taste and whatever else operate. You win by playing whether or not you win the trophy.
  2. Tune in almost every day in March, starting 3/1. Read the essay, listen to the song, watch the video. Vote for your favorite (whatever that means to you, whether it's the most technically accomplished or the most notable or the most memorable or the best-written song or the best-written essay. We hope that a good essay can illuminate something key about these songs. Games are decided by the winner of the combined website and twitter polls. Winner advances. Eventually we have a winner.
  3. Listen in and remember. What the hell was this era of music? Was it great? Good? What does it do to you to listen to it? What does it mean to prefer one song over another? All these questions seem relevant. Play it with someone you love, especially if you have to explain to them these songs / these videos / these essays and what they do to you. Talk about it.

Simple, right? Okay. Let's rock.

Inclusion methodology

Songs must be in the style and genre of hair metal, meaning that they were released from roughly 1983-1992, which is about when grunge and the 90s ended the era, at least for most mainstream listeners. Songs feature shreddy, ostentatious guitar solos, big hair, and flashy outfits. As "hair metal" as a genre is one dependent on video, all songs in the tournament must have had videos (and must have them available online). The Committee is typically excluding Serious Metal outfits like Metallica or Iron Maiden unless they really took part in the tropes of the genre. Ditto straight-up hard rock acts like AC/DC or Judas Priest. We're less interested in artists' careers than in individual songs that play all the right notes, so you might see a hair metal song by a band with a longer and more distinguished non-hair-metal career in there.

    & our writers are

    • Aerosmith, Rag Doll — Amorak Huey
    • Autograph, Turn Up the Radio — Mark Ehling
    • Bang Tango, Someone Like You — Hanif Abdurraqib
    • Blue Murder, Valley of the Kings — Jim Warner
    • Bon Jovi, Livin on a Prayer — Lisa O'Neill
    • Bon Jovi, Wanted Dead or Alive — Laura CJ Owen
    • Britny Fox, Girlschool — Brad Efford
    • Bulletboys, Smooth Up in Ya — Katie Moulton
    • Cinderella, Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone — Ander Monson
    • Cinderella, Gypsy Road — Dan Gibson
    • Alice Cooper, Poison — Nick Ward
    • The Cult, Fire Woman — Raquel Gutierrez
    • Damn Yankees, High Enough — Michael Schaub
    • Dangerous Toys, Teas'n, Pleas'n — Matthew Vadnais
    • Def Leppard, Rock of Ages — Drew Burk
    • Def Leppard, Pour Some Sugar on Me — Elena Passarello
    • Dokken, Dream Warriors — Steven Church
    • Europe, The Final Countdown — Nick Greer
    • Faster Pussycat, Poison Ivy — Amy Rossi
    • Femme Fatale, Falling Out of Love — Leah Sottile
    • Fifth Angel, Time Will Tell — Josh Borgmann
    • Lita Ford, Kiss Me Deadly — Beth Nguyen
    • GNR, Welcome to the Jungle — John Melillo
    • GNR, Paradise City — Karyna McGlynn
    • Great White, Once Bitten Twice Shy — Kristine Mahler
    • Grim Reaper, Rock You to Hell — Ryan Grandick
    • Hanoi Rocks, Boulevard of Broken Dreams — Adrian Smith
    • Heart, Alone — Susan Briante
    • Helix, Wild in the Streets — Dave Madden
    • Jackyl, The Lumberjack — Lawrence Lenhart
    • Kix, Don’t Close Your Eyes — Gabriel Palacios
    • Krokus, Eat the Rich — Eric Scott Fischl
    • LA Guns, Ballad of Jayne — Thomas Mira y Lopez
    • Loudness, Crazy Nights — Todd Kaneko
    • Yngwie Malmsteen, Heaven Tonight — Martin Seay
    • Madam X, High in High School — Aurelie Sheehan
    • Motley Crue, Dr Feelgood — Jennifer Rice Epstein
    • Motley Crue, Home Sweet Home — Cybele Knowles
    • Nelson, Can’t Live Without Your Love & Affection — Joni Tevis
    • Ozzy Osbourne, Mama I’m Comin’ Home — Andy Segedi
    • Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford, Close My Eyes Forever — Matthew Conley
    • Poison, Every Rose Has Its Thorn — Katie Jean Shinkle
    • Poison, Talk Dirty To Me — Janine Arnett
    • Queensryche, Eyes of a Stranger — Mark Athitakis
    • Quiet Riot, Cum on Feel the Noize — Garrett Caples
    • Ratt, Round and Round — Brian Oliu
    • David Lee Roth, Yankee Rose — Kirk Wisland
    • Scorpions, Rock You Like a Hurricane — Matt Fredrickson
    • Skid Row, 18 and Life — Jennifer Gravley
    • Slaughter, Fly to the Angels — Natasha Padilla
    • Stage Dolls, Love Cries — Kenneth Caldwell
    • Stryper, To Hell With the Devil — David LeGault
    • Tigertailz, Love Bomb Baby — Moira McAvoy
    • TNT, 10,000 Lovers (in One) — Berry Grass
    • Twisted Sister, We’re Not Gonna Take It — Kathleen Rooney
    • Van Halen, Panama — Joe Bonomo
    • Vixen, Edge of a Broken Heart — Chelsea Biondolillo
    • Warlock, All We Are — Megan Campbell
    • Warrant, Cherry Pie — Dan Kois
    • W.A.S.P., I Wanna Be Somebody — Jonathon Reinhardt
    • White Lion, Wait — James Charlesworth
    • Whitesnake, Here I Go Again — Lisa Wells
    • Winger, Seventeen — Dan Shapiro
    • Zebra, Tell Me What You Want — Will Slattery

    We do, however, still need writers for the winners of the play-in games, so if you're interested, send us a note.

    Suggestions? Hit us up on twitter or email

    Want to get email updates on all things March Shredness during February and March? Join the email list: