As opposed to Heavy Metal, Chicken Metal refers to the group of 80s songs that tried to appeal to both hardcore and mainstream audience. It has been defined just now.
Looked down on by the former, ridiculed by the latter, nevertheless a majority of them proved to be commercial success and a viable choice for resurrecting downhill careers of bands of yesteryear. Long story short – just watch the videos and you'll get the idea.
What's this?: Accept – I'm a Rebel
Actually this is a test measuring (y)our tolerance – can you stay until the end? Sit in a Starbucks, turn up the volume, and let everybody hear it loud and clear. They still proved that an ugly, fat guy who cannot sing can headline a band and be successful (in Germany and Japan, at least).
Nice try: Night Ranger – Four in the Morning
Confession: this song is still in my heavy rotation. Night Ranger had a tragic career path, sandwiched between Bon Jovi and the 1970s.
Getting better…: Deep Purple – Knocking at your back door
No embedding – please watch it on YouTube (Safe for Work). This song is nowhere near their masterpieces in the 70s but the melody is catchy and the video is nicely shot (for a hard rock). But something about the lyrics prevented this song to become truly mainstream. Why not? As the song says, "it's not against the law."
Not bad: Heart – Never
All fashion styles get reincarnated. But is there any chance for their hairstyle in this video would come back again?
It works! Van Halen – Jump
This song is so awesomely sticky that nobody cared it came from four hairy guys wearing psychedelic costumes.
Well, now you do.
Bonus: Some of these songs can be given a second life by being part of a movie soundtrack. We have a scene from Boogie Nights with Sister Christian (Night Ranger) as the BGM.