Poison was one of the most successful of the Pop Metal acts that dominated the landscape in the second half of the 1980s, combining a swaggering Hard Rock stance, a flamboyant Glam look and catchy Pop tunes that made female MTV viewers swoon. The Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania-via Hollywood quartet achieved massive success during its original run, selling over 45 million records worldwide and over 15 million in the United States alone, while scoring half a dozen U.S. Top 10 singles.

With an androgynous, long-haired image that seemed to establish the band members as vaguely dangerous yet non-threatening, frontman Bret Michaels, guitarist C.C. DeVille, bassist Bobby Dall, and drummer Rikki Rockett made a major commercial breakthrough with their 1986 debut album, the multi-platinum Look What the Cat Dragged In, which spawned a trio of radio hits: "Talk Dirty to Me," "I Want Action," and "I Won't Forget You." That disc made way for the even more successful 1988 release Open Up and Say… Ahh!, which was certified quintuple-platinum in the U.S., and spawned the band's biggest hit in the power ballad "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." 

The foursome's popularity continued into the '90s with 1990's multi-platinum Flesh and Blood and the in-concert Swallow This Live. But changing public tastes — particularly the rise of Grunge in the early 90s — eventually cut into Poison's popularity and set in motion some personnel changes, with new guitarist Richie Kotzen replacing Deville for 1993's Native Tongue. By the end of that year, Kotzen himself had been replaced, by guitarist Blues Saraceno.

In 1999, Poison's original lineup reconvened for a well-received reunion tour that led to a successful second life for the band, which has continued to tour and record on a regular basis, with considerable success.