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People's personal preferences aside, I'm not sure I would call Bon Jovi, or even Boston - who I do like, and are discussed elsewhere on this forum - hard rock. Soft rock? Melodic rock? Which brings us neatly back to the OP question. But even the OP's definition, "if it rocks hard, it is hard rock" can be questioned. What is "rocking hard"? (behave yourselves now! lol).
But at the end of the day, I think I tend to settle on Lynch's view:
Boston is hard rock, although it isn't hard rock in the same respect that AC/DC is. If we only acknowledge bands that fit neatly into the genre of hard rock, we would quickly run out of bands to talk about.
i found this well written opus of an article on how to scale the hardness of music. The article is loaded with links to some humorous side articles and added information. If you scroll to the bottom of the article you get the 1-11 scale with examples.
Muddying the waters a bit more, crossover artists, guys like Steve Earle, Shooter Jennings, Blackberry Smoke and Cross Canadian Ragweed. There stuck in that world between rock and country but each one of them can rock with the best of them.
Love me some Shooter Jennings. I grew up listening to his old man, and still listen to ol' Waylon on a regular basis. The first time I saw Shooter, was back in 1982 when Waylon walked him out on stage and introduced his little 3 yr old son to the audience.
It was probably around this time frame (this is a picture from one of Shooter's other videos):
I think that Shooter's first two albums were his best, but he definitely has a number of good tracks littered throughout his discography.