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Big Hair and Bigger Riffs: 40 Albums That Defined 1983

Before 2013 disappears altogether, let us pause briefly to ponder 40 studio albums — good, bad and somewhere in between — that celebrated their 30th anniversary this year.

Exactly how cool was 1983?

For starters, Metallica, Slayer and Stevie Ray Vaughan released their stellar debut albums and became a part of our vocabulary as guitarists. Meanwhile, Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, Black Sabbath, Accept and Iron Maiden supplied metal fans with plenty of head-banging inspiration.

Yngwie Malmsteen was turning heads with Alcatrazz while his idol, Ritchie Blackmore, scored a minor hit ("Street of Dreams") with Rainbow.

And while the blues world lost Muddy Waters in 1983, it gained Vaughan — as we mentioned earlier — and enjoyed strong releases from two other top-notch guitarists — newcomer Robert Cray and the already-legendary Albert Collins, aka "the master of the Telecaster." And let's not forget ZZ Top's mega-successful Eliminator album and Vaughan's appearance on another huge album that year.

OK, we're giving away too much.

Check out the photo gallery below, which (we stress) is presented in no particular order. And while we're at it, we'll leave you with a question: If we were to expand this gallery to 40 or 50 albums, what would you add? What were some of your personal favorites? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.

Commence time travel!

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Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.