The year 1987 was a key one in the history of hard rock music. For much of the '80s, what would be considered "hard rock" mirrored what most of us would currently consider as classic rock -- holdovers from '70s rock radio -- as radio programmers held strong to the format while there was the occasional breakthrough for harder sounding acts.

The explosion of what many declared as hair metal had started to grow roots a year prior with bands like Poison, Cinderella and Bon Jovi enjoying breakout success. And as the calendar turned to 1987, there now was more of a home than ever on the mainstream rock airwaves for newer bands to make their mark.

The year saw career revivals for a pair of '70s rock radio staples, the continued evolution of previous breakout acts like Def Leppard and Motley Crue and a wealth of critically praised hard rock bands finally getting their shot at commercial stardom. Head to the gallery above and scroll through as we count down the 10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1987.

Also See Our 10 Best Metal Albums of 1987 Below:

Top 80 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the '80s