The group was formed by guitarist Erik Turner in 1984. After some amount of turnover, the lineup became Turner and Joey Allen on guitar, Jani Lane (vocals), Jerry Dixon (bass), and Steven Sweet (drums). By 1987, Warrant had increased their visibility and were regularly playing on the Sunset Strip, which led to a recording contract with Columbia Records.
The band's first album, 1989's Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich went to #10 on the charts, helped by 3 top 40 singles -- "Down Boys" (#27), "Heaven" (#2) and "Sometimes She Cries" (#20). 1990's Cherry Pie hit #7 on the album charts, and the band managed to squeak out another charting album (#25) with 1992's Dog Eat Dog. However, the rise of grunge effectively ended Warrant's main period of success, though they have continued releasing albums (with somewhat shifting lineups) to the present day.
For the blog, we went with "Down Boys," the first single off the first album. The song is a bit harder than the rock ballads that the band became known for, but it does show off the pop hooks. The video is a masterful job of image creation and I think that most readers will be able to easily identify why the genre became known as hair metal.
Sadly, Warrant's original lead singer, Jani Lane, died of alcohol poisoning in 2011. He was 47 years old.
Cool trivia fact: The Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich album was delayed for months after singer Jani Lane had a nervous breakdown after finding his best friend and girlfriend in bed together. The incident became the inspiration for "I Saw Red," a #10 hit from the Cherry Pie LP.
Cool trivia fact #2: Many of the lead guitar parts were recorded by studio musician Mike Slamer, who was brought in by producer Beau Hill. This led to rumors that the Warrant guitarists Erik Turner and Joey Allen did not play a note on the debut album, which seems to be untrue.