1989 might have been the apex of hair metal. Motley Crue and Def Leppard paved the path early in the decade, and a couple of years later Bon Jovi, Poison and Whitesnake completely knocked down the door, making hard rocking commercially viable. As such, a new wave of bands finally got their shot in 1989 with labels looking to capitalize on the trend and a few of those acts are represented in this list.

However, 1989 was also a good year for laying the groundwork for the next decade. That's why you'll find a few acts that dominated the grunge era as well as a few who highly influenced what was to come. There's also the industrial angst of Nine Inch Nails' debut that definitely left an impression, and even punk had a bit of a presence during this time period.

Head to the gallery below and check out our listing of the 15 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1989.