Classic rock history is filled with great bands that never made it that big because they either broke up way too soon or just never got the right amount of publicity from their record companies to give them that extra push to help them find a mass audience. In the 1980s there was no internet, so if a record company didn’t spend the money advertising a band, it was very hard to break a group with a hit single or exposure on MTV. Badlands was one of those groups. Hands down, they were one of the best bands you may have never heard. Of course many rock fans have heard of the band Badlands as the group has a huge fan base that loves to talk about this great band. Another reason many classic rock fans know the group is because of the musicians that made up the band.
Badlands was first formed in the late 1980s by Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E Lee. Right of the bat(no pun intended, well maybe…) the group would have a fan base because of the popularity of Ozzy Osbourne and his guitarist. The Ozzy Osbourne Black Sabbath connection went even further as the group’s lead singer Ray Gillen had sung lead vocals in Black Sabbath in the mid 1980s. Another short term member of Black Sabbath from the mid 1980s is drummer Eric Singer who would man the drum seat in Badlands. Kiss fans are well aware of the work of Eric Singer who joined Kiss in the 1990s. Rounding out the band was bass player Greg Chaisson.
Badlands released their first album in 1989 entitled Badlands.The group would not release another album for two years when they released Voodoo Highway in 1991. The album featured Jeff Martin on drums replacing Eric Singer who would join Kiss. In 1993, lead singer Ray Gillen passed away. His passing would put an end to the band. The group did release a third album entitled Dusk which was recorded while Ray Gillen was still alive. The album was basically a quick recording of demos that they were planning for there next album. The album of demos which they called Dusk was not released until 1998. Even though they were demos, Dsuk still stands as an outstanding record.
The original Badlands albums went quickly out of print. They became much sought after raising the prices of the cds that could be found through the roof. The original Badlands CD sold for very high prices on ebay and Amazon all through the late 90s and early 2000s. Badlands was one really special band. If you have never heard of them, we think this Top 10 Badlands songs list will really turn you on to some great music.
# 10 – High Wire
We open up our top 10 Badlands songs list with the cranking song entitled “High Wire.” We wanted to start this list out with a killer song and “High Wire is most definitely killer. Listen to that guitar. Ray Gillen sounds like Robert Plant. The band has a most definite Led Zeppelin feel as their songs are very much riff based. This one reminds us a little of “Black Dog.” The song was released on the band’s debut album entitled Badlands. “High Wire,” was the album’s opening track.
# 9 -Whiskey Dust
Continuing with our top 10 Badlands songs list we take a listen to the great song entitled “Whiskey Dust.” The song was released on the album entitled Voodoo Highway. The album was released in 1991. This riveting track seems to be very much inspired by the sounds of AC/DC with a little bit of Creedence Clearwater mixed in.
# 8 – Healer
In the number eight spot on our top 10 Badlands songs list we present the riff-roaring song entitled “Healer.” The song was released on the album entitled Dusk. This album filled with demos actually sounds really good. One can hear how the grunge scene had started to affect the band. This one sounds a little like Soundgarden. “Healer,” was the album’s opening track.
# 7 – “Fire and Rain”
Have you ever heard of a heavy metal version of a James Taylor song? Probably not. Well, here you go. In the number seven position on our top 10 Badlands songs list is Badlands raging cover version of the classic James Taylor song entitled “Fire And Rain.” The song was released on the album entitled Voodoo Highway. Love this!
# 6 – Sun Red Sun
Landing in the number six spot on our top 10 Badlands songs list is one pretty heavy song entitled “Sun Red Sun.” Once again, the band seems very much in the moment as the sounds of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden were pretty much making everybody forget the glam hair band days of the 1980s. This one sounds like Soundgarden meets Led Zeppelin.The song was released on the album entitled Dusk. The album was released in 1998.
# 5 -Streets Cry Freedom
At the halfway point on our top 10 Badlands songs list is the epic song entitled “Streets Cry Freedom.” This was the longest piece of music on the band’s debut album and one of the record’s standout tracks. It’s one of the most dynamic songs the band has ever recorded. Listen to how powerful these guys sound on this.
# 4 – Soul Stealer
Oh baby, listen to that opening guitar riff. The way its’ greeted by Ray Gillen’s vocal is just pure rock and roll bliss. These guys released a great debut album, but there second one was a little heavier and just as good, if not better. We go back on forth on that, but songs like this make us tilt a little towards this one. Your going to play this song over and over again.
# 3 – Dreams In The Dark
Rocking along on our top 10 Badlands songs list we present the furious song entitled “Dreams In The Dark.” This phenomenal song was the band’s most successful commercial song. It’s the only song the band ever released as a single that landed on the Billboard charts. The song was released on the band’s debut album entitled Badlands in 1988.
# 2 – The Last Time
Just of the top spot on our top 10 Badlands songs list we embrace the dazzling song entitled “The Last Time.” Why this video did not go into heavy rotation on MTV we will never know. This is a pure rock and roll gem. The song was released on the album Voodoo Highway. The album was released in 1991. It was the first single released from the album. “The Last Time,” was also the album’s opening track.
# 1 – Hard Driver
Want to turn your friends onto this band? Play them this song and they will be hooked before Ray Gillen even sings one note. Once he starts singing they will be looking to find where they can order the album. This is just pure rock and roll heaven. “Hard Driver,” appeared on the band’s debut album entitled Badlands. The sounds of Rainbow, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and every great rock and roll band that ever existed can be heard in this extraordinary track.
Photo: Nick Soveiko, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Badlands Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at end of article.