80s Music Sitemap - Page 1 2016-09-26
Top Picks Lists
Often, the best way to examine a subject is to explore its best and worst elements, and there's no better way to do that than with the trusty Top 10 List. From Hottest Female Artists to Best TV/Film & Musical Crossovers, the possibilities are pretty much endless.
Canadian singer Corey Hart became a major star in North Amarica during the mid '80s, producing several solid mainstream rock hits that have held up remarkably well over the years. Here's a look at one of the most passionate male rock singer-songwriters of the '80s.
Though painfully underrated, British new wave and college rock band The Fixx became a fixture of '80s music for much of the decade.
Though stemming from San Francisco psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship was largely an entirely different musical entity starting immediately upon its mid-'70s emergence. By the early '80s the group again shifted personnel and styles, morphing into a guitar-based arena rock band that delivered a series of AOR hits matching the era's stadium rock sounds.
English singer-songwriter and keyboard player Howard Jones built an impressive career as a solo artist during the mid '80s that continues to pay off for fans of heartfelt, versatile pop music.
American underground rock band Husker Du expounded upon its early hardcore punk sound to become one of the most important early alternative rock acts of the '80s. Here's a look at the band's impressive career.
Australia's Hoodoo Gurus became one of America's initial alternative rock favorites and built a solid career during the second half of the '80s.
J. Geils Band
J. Geils Band adapted its formerly blues-oriented bar band style for the '80s and finally achieved a stardom that had previously been elusive. Even so, the group maintained an organic roots rock vibe and classic rock swagger that distinguished it from new wave contemporaries.
American underground rock band The Feelies created some of the most critically revered guitar rock of the '80s, helping to blaze an important trail for alternative and indie rock.
As both leader of Roxy Music and as a solo artist, magnetic British singer-songwriter Bryan Ferry added sophistication and elegance to the musical palate of the '80s.
Jason and the Scorchers
Nearly a decade before alternative country became a recognized genre, Jason and the Scorchers were blending country and driving guitar rock with abandon.
England's The Godfathers dutifully bridged the original British punk rock sound with the emerging alternative music scene of the late '80s and '90s.
Top Tears for Fears Songs of the '80s
England's Tears for Fears developed quickly from a synth pop and new wave group into a well-rounded mainstream pop/rock band that enjoyed one of the biggest hit albums of the '80s. Leaders Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith certainly ran the operation, but the group reached its peak as a versatile quartet painting lyrical portraits of human responses to psychic pain. The music had some great hooks as well, but Tears for Fears ultimately earned its reputation as one of the era's most thoughtful, serious rock groups of the time. Here's a look at the band's finest songs of the '80s.
Top Squeeze Songs of the '80s
U.K. new wave guitar pop band Squeeze suffered for most of its career from constant personnel changes, but the stalwart songwriting partnership of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook produced some of the most literate, melodically memorable songs of the '80s. The group released five albums during its peak era of 1978-1982 before emerging for three more records during the decade's second half. Along the way, Squeeze scored a handful of major U.K. hits but - more importantly - generated consistently thoughtful and literate pop music for the ages.
Top Bonnie Tyler Solo Songs of the '80s
Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler got her start as a somewhat country-tinged soft rock artist, making a mild mark on the late-'70s pop music landscape. However, she truly became a pop superstar after hooking up with arena rock songwriter and producer Jim Steinman for some mid-'80s classics.
Top Ratt Songs of the '80s
As one of the most consistent and hard-edged representatives of the L.A.-based hair metal era, Ratt featured a sneering lead vocalist and a muscular, nimble dual-guitar attack. Even so, the band generated a number of pop-tinged singles with memorable melodies that helped legitimize the group's genre to some extent. Here's a closer look at the best songs from one of '80s metal's most underrated bands.
Top Songs from '80s New Wave Band The Motels
'80s new wave/mainstream rock band The Motels emerged as one of the era's finest and most successful rock bands fronted by a female lead vocalist. Almost out of necessity, that meant a certain amount of sex appeal had to be part of the equation, and Martha Davis certainly didn't disappoint in terms of charisma, looks or singing ability. Here's a look at the best songs by melodic Los Angeles group The Motels.
Top Hoodoo Gurus Songs of the '80s
Perhaps not enough rock music listeners were aware of it at the time, but Australia's Hoodoo Gurus made some of the most consistently interesting rock music of the second half of the '80s. Despite considerable American success in the burgeoning college rock and modern rock scenes, the band never found a sufficiently large mainstream audience to match its arena rock and hard rock appeal. Nevertheless, four full-length Hoodoo Gurus albums from this era produced an array of memorable songs like these.
Top '80s Solo Songs from Eagles Singer and Drummer Don Henley
Of the former Eagles who launched solo careers following that '70s band's dissolution, drummer and singer-songwriter Don Henley immediately forged ahead in terms of success.
Top '80s Songs from Canadian Heartthrob Corey Hart
Montreal native Corey Hart emerged during the early '80s with quite a few weapons in his arsenal: matinee-idol good looks, a powerful, passionate pop/rock voice and some convincing, distinctive melodies.
Top ELO Songs of the '80s - Top Electric Light Orchestra Songs of the '80s
Known primarily for its '70s pop hits and ingenious blend of orchestral music with rock and roll, the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) doesn't often get due credit for its accomplishments during the '80s. Despite frenetic activity during the '80s as a producer, guardian of The Beatles' legacy and member of acoustic rock supergroup Traveling Wilburys, leader Jeff Lynne found time to release three successful studio albums during the same period with his longtime band. Here's a look at the best ELO songs from this latter portion of the band's career.
Top '80s Songs from English Synth Pop Duo Eurythmics
British pop music duo Eurythmics emerged during the early '80s with a unique post-punk aesthetic that meshed immediately with the developing genres of new wave and synth pop. Here's a look at the best Eurythmics songs from a voluminous first decade of activity.
From Foreigner to Heart to Journey, many '80s stars big and small reside in this category. Look inside for profiles and other information about your favorite artists.
More '80s Rock Hall Candidates - '80s Music Artists That Should Join the Rock Hall in the Upcoming Decade
A number of pop/rock artists made the bulk of their impact during the '80s, but far fewer have also accomplished enough to warrant a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sometime during the upcoming decade. With all due respect to the many worthy pop music artists over the last half-century-plus, here's a short list of '80s artists that should be on the horizon for this honor.
Top 7 Pat Benatar Songs of the 1980s
From her early years as a full-tilt rocker to her quick evolution into a pop/rock singer with wide appeal, Pat Benatar always remained an important and skilled representative of '80s music at its finest. Here's a look at a collection of her most signature tracks of the period.
'80s Music 101
This is the place to start to understand the sound and the look of '80s music. While unique and varied, the music of the era often shared certain characteristics. While there are exceptions to every rule, here you can learn why and how the term
Most Authentic Country Music Artists of the '80s
Despite the popularity of crossover country pop, '80s country music also harbored more than a few talented, visionary artists who made their greatest contributions during the decade.
Top Arena Rock Artists of the '80s
Based on bright, memorable melodies as well as minimal menace, arena rock has never been accused of being edgy or critically beloved. Where it has found great success, however, is in selling lots and lots of records. Here's a list of the genre's most essential artists.
Top Soft Rock Songs of the '80s
People tend to think of the '70s first when they consider the genre of soft rock music, but a great deal of the finest examples of this ballad-heavy form actually saw the light of day during the first half of the '80s.
Top 10 Albums of 1980
Here's a look at 10 of the finest and most influential albums that made their most notable impact during the calendar year of 1980.
Top '80s Songs of All-Female '80s Rock Band The Bangles
Here's an overview of some of The Bangles' finest song performances, if not its biggest hits, all songs that emphasize the group's strengths and self-produced synergy.
True One-Hit Wonders Artists of the Eighties
Here's a list of one-hit wonders from the '80s. These artists had only one song reach the top of Billboard's Hot 100 charts. Do you remember them?
Worst Band Names of the '80s
Everybody knows '80s music had its share of embarrassing hairstyles, fashion disasters and generally cheesy behavior. However, the decade also put its distinctive stamp on the long-running annals of band names, introducing more than a few puzzling, silly and clunky ones. Here's a look at the bottom of the barrel.
Top '80s Songs of Beloved Classic Rock Group Steve Miller Band
Classic rock stalwart Steve Miller Band has traditionally been regarded as a '70s rock band, but the band actually built an impressively successful '80s career as well.
Top 10 Eric Clapton Songs of the '80s
Though valued mainly for his distinctive electric guitar sound as a lead guitarist in several legendary bands as well as his long solo career, British superstar Eric Clapton is also a fine singer-songwriter capable of success in various genres from pure blues to blues rock and classic rock. Here's a chronological look at Clapton's best tunes from his more pop-oriented '80s output, which shine consistently as high-quality mainstream pop/rock.
'80s Rolling Stones Songs - Top 5 Rolling Stones Songs of the '80s
Though many probably figured the band's best days had passed, legendary rock band the Rolling Stones remained quite active during the '80s, contributing more than a few notable hits and album tracks to the era's musical landscape. The always eclectic quintet certainly made forays into dance music and glossy pop during this time, but its tough, ragged guitar base never disappeared completely. Here's a look at five of the finest Rolling Stones songs from the decade's first half.
Top '80s Songs from Melodic Hard Rock Band Rainbow
Rainbow wasn't around all that long during the '80s, but for a few years this band delivered some of the most satisfying melodic hard rock music of the era.
Top Bryan Ferry Solo Songs of the '80s
Stylish English singer-songwriter Bryan Ferry produced a number of memorable pop songs during the '80s, both as leader of his longtime band, Roxy Music, and as a solo artist.
Top '80s Songs of American Soft Rock/Arena Rock Band Toto
Never one of rock music's most critically acclaimed bands, Toto nonetheless recorded several classic pop/rock tunes during its heyday from the very late '70s through the mid '80s.
Top Singing Drummers of the '80s
Full-time rock music drummers who also spent a significant amount of their time singing lead for their bands are rare commodities indeed. The landscape of '80s music is no different in this regard, though the biggest names may not always be the best examples of this musical phenomenon.
Top '80s Music Artists So Far Overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Not all '80s artists are even yet eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but there are more than a few that have been active up to three decades without being recognized. Only a handful of these - depending on one's perspective, of course - belong in the category of definitively overlooked. Here's a look at a few artists particularly representative of '80s music that should already be enshrined, in my humble opinion.
Top Extreme '80s Artists - Top 8 Extreme Artists of the '80s
Like a mighty pendulum swinging, '80s music encompassed artists stretching from one extreme to another and all regions in between. Sometimes all at the same time. So, to help balance out the plentiful artists of the era known for clean-cut appearance and apple-pie wholesomeness, the '80s also harbored a number of artists that through image, behavior and style (often in combination) represented the threatening side of humanity. Here's a list of such artists who had to be admired secretly.
Top Mopey '80s Songs of Self-Absorption
Those of us blessed with personalities that tend to get mired in melancholy know a thing or two about getting so caught up in our own internal struggles that we hardly notice the outside world. Luckily, pop and rock music has always had a keen eye toward this kind of self-centeredness, yielding a rich and constantly growing supply of tunes that celebrate and illuminate the wallowing impulse in us all. Here's a list of 10 of the best the '80s had to offer of this ilk.
Top Canadian Pop Music Artists of the '80s
The '80s were a particularly kind decade to Canadian pop/rock music artists, as the U.S. mainstream rock and pop charts often embraced their frequently straight-ahead, melodic sound.
Top '80s Music Bands with Colorful Names
Here's a look at a number of '80s bands that offered vibrant touches through their music as well as the splashes of color in their names.
Top Music, Film or TV Crossover Artists of the '80s
10 Musical Themes Composed Especially for '80s TV Shows
This is undoubtedly one of those lists that varies wildly depending on the ear and the beholder, but I like to think this countdown touches both on my personal favorites and some of the most interesting, emblematic themes implanted permanently in our collective memory of '80s television.
'80s Music Down Under - Top Artists from Australia and New Zealand
Musical artists from Australia and New Zealand spun an intriguing web of offerings during the '80s, contributing a wide array of styles and demonstrating unique tinges of eclecticism, all of which rounded out the decade and filled it with richness and character.
Eighties Bands and Artists with Geographical Names
Perhaps rock musicians are not best-known for being studious, but over the years many have shown a propensity for naming their bands after places, topographical features, countries and continents. In some cases, artists just happen to have surnames that you might find on a map, but most of the time they choose to fall back on whatever rudimentary education they got before hitting the road for a living. Who says American kids don't know their geography?
Top 10 Hair Metal Songs of the '80s
Contrary to popular belief, the prominent '80s genre labeled hair metal, pop metal or glam metal (depending on who is doing the classifying) contained far more than merely power ballads. Mid-tempo rock songs may have been plentiful during the decade, but the strain of music that blended pop so skillfully with at least elements of heavy metal produced the most notable music of its kind. Here's a look at some of the best songs of hair metal and pop metal, if not necessarily the biggest hits.
Ten Best Paul McCartney Solo Songs of the '80s
I've mostly steered clear over the years of too much exposure to Paul McCartney's work with his '70s band Wings and his subsequent solo work. Of course, I haven't been able or even wished to avoid the music entirely, but a recent survey of McCartney's '80s solo offerings has left me with a greater appreciation of his talents than I ever thought possible. Here's a chronological look at some of the legendary ex-Beatle's finest tunes of this era, both popular and obscure.
Top Hard Rock Frontmen of the '80s, Part 1
There is certainly no shortage of hard rock frontmen from the '80s that were significant, memorable and highly visible during the era. The most prominent of these tended to operate out of the pop metal subgenre, but other styles also have plenty of representatives. Here's a look at some of the most popular, flamboyant and even sometimes talented lead singers of '80s hard rock. Just for fun, let's start with the blond ones, both natural and peroxide-assisted. It is called hair metal, after all.
Best Fictional '80s Songs from Movies - Top Fake/Parody '80s Songs from Movie Soundtracks
'80s music continues to retain a mystique and retro charm that often bleeds into contemporary and even current filmmaking. A number of movies both recent and occasionally even made during the '80s make significant use of actual '80s music to great effect, but a select few go as far as creating original fictional compositions that serve both to celebrate and parody the music of that era. Here's a look at some of the best songs of this type.
Top 10 New Wave Artists of the '80s
When people consider the variety of music genres that peaked during the '80s, new wave often comes up as one of the first topics of discussion. Once a term used somewhat interchangeably with punk rock, new wave eventually expanded to include almost any quirky yet still mainstream pop/rock form of the first half of the decade.
Top Worthy but Unsung R and B Artists of the '80s
'80s R&B held plenty of variety and quality beyond the decade's biggest stars. Here's a look at the finest unsung urban contemporary artists of the '80s.
Best XTC Songs of the Eighties (Top 8 List)
Few '80s artists representing any genre released music as ambitious and solidly built on songcraft as XTC, one of the decade's primary masters of quirky British post-punk. Here's a look at some of the group's best tunes, all of them sophisticated and offering up a unique blend of pop and rock.
Most Memorable Pop-Rock Christmas/Holiday Songs of the '80s
Any list of songs, best or worst and in between, contains the potential of inspiring polar emotional responses, but perhaps on no topic is this more true than Christmas music. Here's a look at my picks for the most memorable pop/rock holiday tunes of the '80s.
Profile of Late-'70s and Early-'80s Pop Music Genre Soft Rock
The golden age of soft rock came during the mid to late '70s, but the trend extended successfully into the first few years of the '80s, in a period just before the lighter side of rock became dominated by a more modern, smooth adult contemporary sound and the power ballads of arena rock and pop metal.
Spotlight on the Late-'80s Folk Singer-Songwriter Revival
Before the modest late-'80s revival of folk-influenced singer-songwriters became a factor on the pop music landscape, that introspective, personal and relatively quiet style had been a bit dormant.
Profile of Bon Jovi, '80s Hair Metal Roots Rockers
Although these New Jersey superstars led the hair metal explosion of the mid to late '80s, they were unique within that genre in terms of their musical resemblance to mainstream rockers like Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Tom Petty. Jon Bon Jovi & Co. may have hit paydirt with the glitzy big-hair and spandex look, but at heart the band relished big pop hooks and accessible melodies over anything resembling hard rock aggression.
Profile of Roots Rock Band & '80s Pop Sensation Dire Straits
One of the most surprising success stories of the '80s, English masters of the eclectic Dire Straits transformed from folk-jazz classic rockers all the way to stars of the video age. And the band's leader, Mark Knopfler, managed to do so without ever compromising his unique vision.
Biography & Profile of Versatile Rocker & Piano Man Billy Joel
While Billy Joel has never been a critic's darling, he has certainly succeeded in presenting himself in various ways during his two decades-plus of work as a pop/rock superstar. Despite a lack of critical endorsements, Joel put together a string of hit albums and singles during the late '70s and throughout the '80s, making a definite mark as one of the latter decade's most important and most successful pop artists.
Biography & Profile of '80s Pop Sister Act Heart
Consistently active for nearly two decades from the early '70s into the '90s, this American band led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson occupied a significant space in hard rock, classic rock, arena rock and, during the '80s, pure pop music. The group has proven itself influential over the years, especially on a new generation of female rockers.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Gary Wright - "Really Wanna Know You"
Known best for some majestic '70s pop tunes, powerhouse singer Gary Wright also enjoyed some '80s solo success in addition to his past as a member of Spooky Tooth.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - The Firm - "All the King's Horses"
Already classic rock legends, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Bad Company's Paul Rodgers combined their efforts in a short-lived '80s supergroup - The Firm.
Profile and Biography of German Pop/Rock Band and Solo Artist Nena
Unlike most continental European pop/rock musicians of the era, Nena enjoyed massive success in North America as well as across the Atlantic.
Profile of Key '80s Pop Metal Band Quiet Riot
For some fans, Quiet Riot will always be a seminal, short-lived '80s pop metal band, but a closer look at the band's twisty path reveals a uniquely fascinating rock and roll saga.
Children of the '80s and new converts alike should make their first stop here for artist profiles, lists compiling the best and most significant music of the era, and overviews of the genres and styles that make the tunes so memorable.
Profile and Biography of '80s Singer-Songwriter Elvis Costello
For more than 30 years now, Elvis Costello has remained a vibrant, active artist in many styles, and in the '80s he transcended his late-'70s pub rock and new wave origins to become a major thread in the pop music tapestry.
'80s Heartland Rock Songs - Top 10 Heartland Rock Songs of the '80s
Heartland rock drew from all stages of rock and roll that preceded it, also employing elements of country, folk and pop along the way. Many signature songs featured socially conscious lyrics that typically sought to defend the working class, but the main attraction of this '80s music niche has always been the accessible, melodic and well-structured songs themselves.
Worthy But Underrated Arena Rock Songs of the '80s
Arena rock enjoyed its moment in the sun for as many as six years stretching from the late '70s through the early '80s, but here are some of the genre's best overlooked tunes.
Top '80s Songs of The Replacements
Minneapolis band The Replacements was one of the finest melodic rock bands of the '80s, developing from a sloppy, punk-inspired group of misfits into a polished yet aggressive straight-ahead rock band. Here's a look at the best songs from The Replacements, one of the decade's most beloved and accessible but not necessarily popular artists of the era.
Top '80s Songs of Arena Rock Band REO Speedwagon
'70s hard rock band REO Speedwagon transformed into a commercially successful mainstream rock band during the '80s, delivering several classic songs along the way.
Top Bruce Springsteen Songs of the '80s, Part 1 - The Hits
Bruce Springsteen was an important and consistent hitmaker of the '80s, especially upon the release of his intensely popular classic album from 1984, 'Born in the USA.' Here's a look at the singer-songwriter's best tunes that made a mark on the '80s pop charts.
Top Talking Heads Songs of the '80s
Here's a look at my painstakingly and painfully derived list of the finest '80s Talking Heads songs. After all, in terms of lively eclecticism and independent pop music spirit, perhaps no other American band active during the '80s comes close to matching New York's original punk/new wave pioneers.
Top Styx Songs of the '80s
At first glance, it might not seem that Chicago-based arena rock band Styx released enough records to fill a lengthy '80s best-of songs list. However, the band's deep catalogue is probably underrated in terms of consistent quality, as not enough credit goes to the band's arsenal of three distinctive and collaborative songwriters. As a result, the band produced a wide array of rockers and ballads that holds up quite well three decades later.
Top John Waite Solo Songs of the '80s
British artist John Waite enjoyed a successful solo career during the heart of the '80s, mainly on the strength of a handful of polished mainstream rock singles.
Top Steve Winwood Songs of the '80s
Though seasoned rock legend Steve Winwood released his debut album in 1977, he actually built the bulk of his impressive solo career during the '80s. Three of his four full-length LPs during the latter decade featured at least one major pop hit, and the last two became multi-platinum smashes. Winwood's songwriting and distinctive vocal style played a major role in his solo success, but his unique synthesizer work became absolutely iconic and representative of the decade's musical offerings.
Top '80s Songs from Southern/Arena Rock Band .38 Special
At its best, .38 Special was one of those bands that comfortably occupied the middle of the road - musically speaking - with great comfort, while at the same time presenting undeniably exhilarating music. That's an exceedingly rare combination, as generally musical artists who work in a safe zone quickly begin to sound bland and forgettable. But there's something about .38 Special's winning pop/rock formula that transcends its simplicity and somewhat derivative nature.
Best Smithereens Songs - Top '80s Songs of The Smithereens
From the start of their career as the '80s began, New Jersey's Smithereens put their focus on pop music songcraft wrapped up in an aggressive, crunchy guitar rock package. The band's blend was quite singular and became a favorite in college rock and early alternative rock circles without falling into any obvious categories. Here's a look at this accomplished band's finest songs of the '80s, culled from three full-length albums and two EPs.
Top Donna Summer Songs of the '80s
Some music observers may not realize that R&B/dance pop singer-songwriter Donna Summer enjoyed almost as much success in the '80s as she did during the '70s, when she became a bona fide disco diva superstar. In fact, Summer was arguably more active during the latter decade, releasing six studio albums compared to the five she produced during mostly the second half of the '70s. Here's a chronological look at Summer's finest songs from the latter period of her active pop music career.
Top Kenny Rogers Solo Songs of the '80s
As the '70s became the '80s, few musical artists existed on the planet who were more widely popular than country music veteran and soft rock specialist Kenny Rogers. Although his biggest hits had generally already emerged by the turn of the decade, Rogers remained a huge crossover pop artist for the first half of the '80s before receding slightly into the realm of a hitmaker only on the country music charts. Here's a look at Rogers' finest solo songs from his second decade of chart dominance.
Top '80s Songs of Heavy Metal/Hair Metal Band Motley Crue
As one of pop metal's most successful acts of the '80s, Motley Crue thrived during the MTV generation as a photogenic glam metal quartet. But the band also demonstrated an impressive consistency and genuine independence in musical direction.
Top '80s Songs from Side Project/Supergroup Mike + the Mechanics
During a hiatus from Genesis, Mike Rutherford put together a low-key supergroup in Mike + the Mechanics that produced some seminal '80s tunes.
Top Richard Marx Songs of the '80s
Despite a small window of '80s activity, American mainstream rock singer-songwriter Richard Marx certainly made the most of his hard-earned opportunity, notching seven Top 5 U.S. pop singles and easily going multi-platinum with his first two album releases.
Top Robert Palmer Songs of the '80s
British singer Robert Palmer built a stunningly eclectic, surprisingly accomplished pop/rock career by the time he became a superstar during the mid '80s. Here's a chronological look at Palmer's best songs from the era for which he is best known.
Top '80s Songs from Pop Superstar Madonna
Few would argue whether or not the '80s represented Madonna's peak of influence, but choosing the artist's top songs from that era is a challenging enterprise indeed.
Top '80s Songs from Heartland Rock Superstar John Mellencamp
Music listeners of the '80s witnessed the maturation of John Mellencamp into a serious artist and songwriter. His best songs from the entire period confirm this.
'80s Nick Lowe Songs - Top 7 Nick Lowe Songs of the '80s
Trailblazing pub rocker Nick Lowe lent a steady hand to many of punk rock's most important late-'70s recordings as a producer, but the British singer-songwriter has always been far more than a scenester. Ultimately, Lowe's musical impact has stemmed equally from his own distinctive compositions and performances, both on a solo basis and as a member and leader of several excellent bands. Here's a look at some of the artist's key '80s contributions.
Best Kool and the Gang Songs of the '80s
Here's my take on the best tracks from the most commercially successful years of the classic funk/soul band Kool and the Gang.
Top '80s Songs of Legendary Rock Trio The Police
The Police were unique among its '80s compatriots as a band that produced remarkably consistent albums, so coming up with a short list of the group's top 10 songs of the decade is a challenging enterprise indeed. Nonetheless, this chronological selection of Police classics proves that the effort is a worthy one.
Top 10 Tom Petty Songs of the 1980s
After nearly 35 years in the music business, singer-songwriter Tom Petty continues to thrive as a solo artist and as the leader of one of rock's greatest bands, the Heartbreakers. Not many musicians could even dream of making this claim, and even fewer still have produced as much quality music on a consistent basis. Petty's work in the '80s alone would have comprised a legendary career and casts him as one of that decade's most significant artists.
Top 10 Husker Du Songs
Initially, Husker Du's songs were short blasts of aggressive guitar, shouted vocals and breakneck tempos. However, as the trio grew and expanded its sound, a greater emphasis on melody and genre exploration began to define each subsequent Husker Du track. Along the way, the band was highly responsible for forging the emerging styles of modern rock, alternative rock and even '90s grunge. Here's a look at the most memorable and influential Husker Du songs of the mid-'80s, a period when the band produced plenty of extensive, influential guitar rock.
Top '80s Solo Songs from The Eagles' Glenn Frey
Following the dissolution of The Eagles, songwriter and guitarist Glenn Frey embarked upon an immediate solo career, utlimately crafting some indelible ''80s classics.
Top '80s Songs of Synth Pop Singer-Songwriter Howard Jones
Known for his shock of blond hair and his skills with the synthesizer, British singer-songwriter Howard Jones became a major figure of '80s music during the middle part of the decade.
Top Iron Maiden Songs of the '80s
British heavy metal legends Iron Maiden helped usher in a new age of success for hard rock and heavy metal during the '80s. With a powerful sound that blended speed, intensity and musical complexity, the band hit its stride when operatic lead singer Bruce Dickinson joined. Here's a look at Iron Maiden's best songs from this peak period, culled from seven albums of critically and commercially successful material that always stayed true to an uncompromising metal aesthetic.
Top '80s Songs of English Synth Pop Band The Human League
Though known primarily for two of the most lasting pop tunes of the '80s, England's The Human League exerted much more influence on the era's synth pop music landscape than it surely seemed at the time.
Top Billy Joel Songs of the '80s
Here's a look at the singer-songwriter and pop superstar Billy Joel's best tunes from the eighties, a decade of great variety for him as an artist.
Top 10 Michael Jackson Songs of the '80s, Part 1
Michael Jackson is probably best examined as a singles artist, so here's a chronological look at the very best Michael Jackson songs of the '80s.
Top Sheena Easton Songs of the '80s
Here's a look at some of the finest singles from Scottish singer Sheena Easton during her consistent '80s run.
Top '80s Bruce Cockburn Songs - Top 8 Bruce Cockburn Songs of the '80s
Typically for song lists like these, I like to spotlight some of the lesser-known tunes from well-known artists not lacking in general airplay. In this case, I'm focusing on an artist whose most familiar compositions remain sadly unheard, especially in America. For that reason I'm selecting Bruce Cockburn's most prominent '80s songs for display, in hopes that some of this rewarding artist's obscurity begins to melt away someday just like, perhaps, the injustices he often sings about.
Essential '80s Songs of Seminal English Punk Band The Clash
English punk rock band The Clash evolved quickly during a short life span to become one of the most important and critically lauded rock bands of all time.
Top AC/DC Songs of the '80s
As the result of tragedy, hard rock band AC/DC moved into an entirely new phase for the '80s that ultimately became its most popular period of all.
Top '80s Songs of Welsh College Rock Band The Alarm
Although '80s Welsh rock band The Alarm received only limited critical respect for its impassioned, arena-ready guitar rock, the group produced plenty of strong melodic songs that at times stood tall among the best early alternative rock of the era. Constantly overshadowed by a band with a similar sound and career path - Irish superstars U2 - The Alarm nevertheless managed both to exemplify and define the strong elements of '80s music. Here's a chronological look at the finest songs of the '80s from this underrated band.
Top '80s Songs from American Synth Pop Band Berlin
Led by the songwriting of founding member John Crawford and the lead vocals of sexy frontwoman Terri Nunn, American synth pop band Berlin became one of the more engaging acts of the first half of the '80s.
Best '80s Songs from Underrated Country Music Duo the Bellamy Brothers
Known best perhaps for some pleasant '70s tunes, country music duo the Bellamy Brothers released some truly high-quality music throughout the '80s.
Top Cheap Trick Songs of the '80s
This Midwestern quartet made a reputation before the '80s began as a band with a masterful sense of blending guitar rock styles containing elements of both American and British music. Still, even though critics as well as some fans displayed a tendency to discount the group's music during its second decade, Cheap Trick produced a number of gems during this era. Here's a look at the band's finest songs of the '80s, culled from the decade's first half.
Top Bruce Hornsby and the Range Songs of the '80s
Bruce Hornsby and the Range produced only two studio albums during the '80s, but that output contained a high percentage of literate, sweeping heartland rock.
Top David Bowie Solo Songs of the '80s
Classic rock legend and reliable stylistic chameleon David Bowie has enjoyed a consistent and exciting career as a solo artist for more than four decades. Here's a look at ten of the best David Bowie solo songs of the '80s.
Top Cinderella Songs of the '80s - Hair Metal
Here's a chronological look at the best Cinderella songs from the band's peak period during the second half of the '80s.
Best '80s Songs of Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
Cuban-American pop singer Gloria Estefan began her singing career during the late '70s with Miami Sound Machine, and she eventually became the most successful Latin music crossover artist of all time.
Top Marshall Crenshaw Songs of the '80s
Singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw emerged on the pop music scene at the right time for his melodic, throwback rock and roll to find an immediate niche. During the early '80s, a power pop revival of sorts along with the popularity of new wave allowed music fans to hear his accomplished but accessible guitar pop. Unfortunately, the remaining output of his steady '80s career was woefully unheard and often unnoticed as music fads came and went. Here are Crenshaw's best songs of the decade.
Top '80s Solo Songs of Former Punk Rocker Billy Idol
Billy Idol has remained one of the most recognized '80s icons. This is a list of his best music - punk-inspired melodic hard rock masked as dance pop.
Top '80s Songs from English New Wave Band Culture Club
As one of the most recognizable if short-lived superstar acts of the early '80s, Culture Club released several remarkably consistent soul-inflected pop songs that have stood the test of time.
1981 Albums - Top 10 Albums of 1981
Here's a look at some of 1981's finest full-length releases, with an eye toward capturing the great variety of music released that year in the ever-changing pop/rock landscape.
Top 10 Albums of 1982
Here's a look at 10 of the finest album releases that defined 1982, a year still driven by new wave but exhibiting a variety of rock and pop styles.
The 10 Best Pop/Rock Songs of 1980
Here's a look at some of the best and most memorable songs from 1980, and not necessarily just the biggest hits. Many songs hit No. 1 or even the Top Ten during this year, but not that many of them truly epitomize the exciting transitional period between the '70s and '80s.
Top 10 Songs of 1981
By 1981, remnants of the '70s began to fall away from the new decade's musical offerings, especially with the advent of MTV late in the year.
A List of the Top 10 Songs of 1986
Here's a look at 10 of the most memorable pop tunes from 1986, a diverse bunch of songs made up of familiar classics and tracks that were emblematic of the year.
Best 1987 Eighties Songs (Top 10 List)
Kindly peruse my list of the top songs from 1987, in no particular order and certainly with no claim toward a collection that cannot be challenged. Here is simply a notable sampling of some of the year's most memorable songs.
Top '80s Love Songs of Heartache & Heartbreak
These songs allow the listener to wallow so completely in self-involved sorrow that the world outside ceases to exist.
Top '80s Songs by American Pop Duo Hall & Oates
Owing to a string of classic hit songs throughout the decade, few acts are more strongly linked to '80s music than the long-running duo Hall & Oates.
The Top Eight Cars Songs of the '80s
The band's consistency during its career of just under a decade ensures plenty of great '80s tunes to choose from for a best-of list.
Top 10 Women of '80s Rock (List) - 80s Music
Female pop stars of the era generally got most of the press and media attention, but here's a list of the most influential women of '80s rock.
Best '80s Songs from England's Fab Five - Duran Duran
Here are eight reasons why the band has become so inextricably tied to the glamorous, shimmering decade it matched so perfectly.
A Quick Look at the Key Genres of '80s Rock Music
Here's a capsule view of some of the most important and prominent genres of '80s music, an era full of surprises, twists, and turns.
Top '80s Songs of Superstar Solo Artist Phil Collins
Pop-oriented Genesis frontman Phil Collins hasn't always received a lot of respect as a rock artist, but his solo work during the '80s reached many ears. Here are some of his finest tunes from that era.
A List of Top '80s Songs from Arena Rock Supergroup Asia
Mainstream rock supergroup Asia enjoyed massive and immediate success upon the release of its debut album in 1982. That success did not last long, but Asia produced several hit singles that appealed to fans of arena rock and pop music fans alike.
Profile and Biography of '80s Hair Metal Band Poison
Poison may have represented some of the worst excesses of the '80s, but there's no denying the quintessential L.A.-based pop metal band was one of the era's most important and popular artists. Despite a relatively brief shelf life cut short probably by the early-'90s onset of grunge, the band sold a lot of records and undoubtedly defined '80s hard rock.
Top Obscure and Underground Music Artists of the '80s
As in perhaps every art form, there is always a teeming subculture just beneath the mainstream, usually populated by unruly mavericks unconcerned about the typical trappings of success. Here's a look at 10 of the most notable '80s artists of the underground.
Top 10 Pop/Rock Songs of 1985
Aside from being right in the middle of the '80s chronologically, 1985 was undoubtedly a central year of the decade's musical offerings. Here's a look at some of the top songs of that year, which continue to generate large waves of nostalgia and good memories whenever heard still today.
Top Wham! and George Michael Solo Songs of the '80s
George Michael's best compositions qualify as pop classics in any era, but here's a look at this artist's proudest '80s moments, all well worth remembering.
Top '80s Songs of Eclectic English Classic Rock Band Queen
Here's a chronological look at Queen's finest tracks of the '80s, a decade during which the band continued to prove its remarkable depth.
Top Prince Songs of the '80s, Volume 2
Prince has been a legend almost from the start of his career, but he also delivers on that promise through a remarkably deep overall catalogue, particularly during the '80s.
Here are resources on one of the brightest of all '80s stars, a versatile singer, songwriter and accomplished musician who thrived in any style he chose.
Top '80s Songs of Eclectic Pop Superstar Prince, Volume 1
Here's a look at the most essential songs from the extraordinarily varied '80s catalogue of fiercely original, iconic American singer-songwriter Prince.
Top Hard Rock Songs of the '80s
Hard rock during the '80s was a lucrative style of music that brimmed with multitudes of bands representing various genres. Here's a look at 10 tracks that stand out as would-be, should-be or set-in-stone classics from this fruitful era of hard rock.
Profile and Biography of '80s Legend Prince
'80s superstar Prince continued to work consistently for nearly 40 years, even if he never reached the commercial or critical heights he scaled during his most successful decade. Here's a look at the career of one of pop/rock's most fascinating and talented musicians.
Top '80s Punk Rock and Hardcore Bands
The early '80s may have been best known for new wave, but fiercely independent punk rock and hardcore bands like these continued to make vitally significant music throughout the decade.
'80s Mainstream Rock Artist John Waite
John Waite delivered some of the most consistent, melodically pleasing mainstream rock of the '80s and is known best for his nearly perfect single,
Although a veteran band by the mid-'80s, England's Whitesnake became almost an overnight sensation with its top-selling 1987 self-titled album. Nevertheless, the group accomplished much more than this during a long career.
Steve Winwood - '80s Solo Artist
Legendary singer-songwriter Steve Winwood has enjoyed one of the most varied and interesting music careers of the rock era, but his '80s output as a solo artist certainly stands proudly among his greatest accomplishments.
Rock singer-songwriter Warren Zevon was always a critical favorite, and his musical contributions remained consistently strong throughout more than three decades as a recording artist.
Weird Al Yankovic
From Warrant to Yaz to ZZ Top, many '80s stars big and small reside in this category. Look inside for profiles and other information about your favorite artists.
Exploring the back catalogue of a band like the Violent Femmes, one of rock music’s all-time cult favorites, is a rewarding enterprise just on its own merit. But when placed against the backdrop of the '80s music landscape, it’s a particularly eye-opening experience.
Top '80s Songs of American College Rock Band Violent Femmes
One of rock music's all-time cult favorites, the Violent Femmes and their top songs reflect an always palpable distress about being human and also a restless musical desire for trailblazing and ignoring generic boundaries.
Top '80s Songs from American Hard Rock Band Van Halen
The flashy mainstream rock sound of Van Halen not only survived the frontman shift from David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar but thrived during the MTV era. Here's a look at the best songs from two distinct eras of one of America's most beloved rock bands.
Top '80s Songs of Rootsy Soft Rock Artist Dan Fogelberg
Singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg was a major pop star through the '70s and '80s, presenting some of the latter decade's most melodic music. Here's a look at some of the singer's best songs of the latter period.
Top '80s Music Artists from Mainland Europe
Artists from continental Europe made a definite impact on '80s music in Britain and America, and although they were generally able only to do so when they sang in English, sprinklings of European culture found their way into heavy metal and synth pop alike.
Top '80s Songs About Work
Songs about work have always been a staple of popular music, but modern music has placed a special spin on the topic. The '80s in particular were blessed with plenty of fodder for meditations on the changing landscape of the workplace.
From Quarterflash to the Smiths to U2, many '80s stars big and small reside in this category. Look inside for profiles and other information about your favorite artists.
On the strength primarily of one blockbuster album, '80s band Toto became one of the most popular mainstream rock acts of the decade. Here's a look at the group's career.
Eclectic rock group Queen managed to dominate periods of both the '70s and '80s in a legendary two-decade-long career halted only by the tragic early death of frontman Freddie Mercury. Here's a look at information on this highly influential rock band.
Though most of its career took place during the '70s, Chicago AOR band Styx enjoyed a tremendous amount of success over the three initial years of the '80s, before a lasting breakup halted the band's momentum. One of arena rock's most important and accomplished bands, Styx remains a significant '80s artist.
As one of the most hard-driving melodic rock bands of the '80s or any other decade, The Smithereens probably deserve far more than their persistent cult status. Nonetheless, the New Jersey band has always made music on its own terms.
One of the signature alternative bands of all time, England's The Smiths produced a brief flurry of lasting guitar rock that has built the group a huge cult following and musical legacy. Here's a look at the band's short but influential career.
The '80s career of singer-songwriter Billy Squier probably deserves more credit than it generally receives for being a solid and entertaining template for guitar-oriented mainstream rock. Here's some information on this successful but stardom-lacking artist.
Though already a major star on the strength of his '70s solo work, country-pop singer Kenny Rogers remained a highly significant recording artist during the '80s. Here's a look at this period of Rogers' crossover career.
Before becoming one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed bands, Irish superstars U2 emerged on the early-'80s college rock scene as a workmanlike, passionate quartet bent on taking post-punk to greater heights and accessibility than the music industry had imagined possible.
During the '70s and '80s, American rock band The Tubes served as one of the finest live music acts in the world.
One of the finest hard rock bands of the '80s, Germany's Scorpions produced a wide array of melodic heavy metal that has more than stood the test of time. The band has come close to a half-century in rock, and there are many good reasons why.
Lou Reed is one of the most beloved uncompromising artists of the rock era, spreading waves of influence across several styles of music over several decades. Here's a look at the lengthy career of one of rock's most enduring singer-songwriters.
Tears for Fears
British band Tears for Fears became one of '80s music's top worldwide superstars during the mid '80s, delivering a number of stirring pop/rock tunes of high quality and both emotional and melodic complexity. Here's a look at the peak period of the group's impressive career.
U.K. band Squeeze produced its most successful and critically acclaimed during the early '80s as a representative of the new wave era. However, the group composed permanently high-quality songs that have stood the test of time.
The sultry vocals of Welsh pop/rock singer Bonnie Tyler helped secure her an unforgettable slot in the pantheon of iconic '80s music. Here's a look at the interesting ongoing career of one of the decade's most powerful female singers.
Active for nearly the entire decade as an electric live band and an increasingly lyrical and melodic vehicle for singer-songwriter and frontman Paul Westerberg, The Replacements were one of the best underground rock acts of the '80s.
England's Spandau Ballet perfected an elegant style of danceable pop music that brought the group tremendous success in the U.K. and secured at least one-hit wonder immortality in America. However, this is also a band that built a genuinely solid, productive '80s career based on quality songwriting.
New Zealand rock band Split Enz enjoyed a wildly varied career through the '70s and into the '80s, ultimately emerging as a melodic but exploratory guitar pop band of consequence.
As a vehicle for the creative offerings of talented singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, '80s new wave and guitar pop band 'Til Tuesday made three solid records during the latter part of the decade. Here's a look at this short-lived band's impressive career.
'80s Country Pop Singer-Songwriter Eddie Rabbitt
One of the biggest stars of the early-'80s country pop crossover era, singer-songwriter Eddie Rabbitt generated more than a few of the era's most classic tunes.
Powerful female rock singer Patty Smyth made a definite '80s mark both on her own and as frontwoman for Scandal. But there still aren't enough people that acknowledge her talents.
From The Alarm to The Cars to Sheena Easton, many '80s stars big and small reside in this category. Look inside for profiles and other information about your favorite artists.
'80s music would certainly not exist without the artists, both legendary and temporary, who created it. From fixtures like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince and The Police to important niche acts like The Smithereens, The Smiths and Patty Smyth, the '80s had it all. And don't forget the one-hit wonders. Kajagoogoo anyone?
From Loverboy to Metallica to the Pretenders, many '80s stars big and small reside in this category. Look inside for profiles and other information about your favorite artists.
- By Category
An index of categories in the
One of the most successful pop acts of the '80s, Chicago maintained a long-term popularity by changing with the times. Formerly a jazz-rock fusion band of great singularity, the group found pop success by amping up the adult contemporary orchestration, at the expense of its previously horn-fueled sound.
Culture Club, led by androgynous frontman Boy George, burst onto the music scene in 1982 and immediately became a superstar act. Though sometimes maligned for its emphasis on image, the group actually put forth a unique retro blend of soul and pop quite unlike the work of most of its contemporaries.
This quintet from Sheffield, England took early glam rock and British heavy metal leanings and transformed them into a hitmaking juggernaut in the '80s. And the result of that metamorphosis was, naturally, a bevy of good songs, high on hooks but still possessing a genuine hard rock drive.
Most people don't really consider British rockers Dire Straits to be an '80s band, aside from the group's No. 1 hit from 1985,
For better or worse, few bands are as emblematic of the '80s as Britain’s Fab Five pop superstars, Duran Duran. But whereas many other acts screamed '80s through their impermanence and disastrous fashion choices, Duran Duran was stylish, well-versed in pop songcraft and generally deserving of a considerable blend of commercial and critical acclaim.
Anyone silly enough to suggest that the '80s boasted largely fleeting and forgettable music need only turn to British rocker and master musician Elvis Costello, one of rock history’s most enduring and versatile talents. For more than 30 years now, Costello has remained a vibrant, active artist in many styles.
The longtime Genesis frontman became one of the '80s biggest pop stars after he toned down the grandiose tendencies of his former band and embraced accessible pop ballads.
Boston's new wave superstars sprung onto the pop music scene in the late '70s and proceeded to pepper the charts with melodic, textured hit singles for most of the next decade. Led by songwriter and primary lead singer Ric Ocasek, the quintet benefited from significant contributions from all members to become legends.
English singer-songwriter Graham Parker delivered some consistently honest, driving guitar rock during his most active period during the late '70s and throughout the '80s.
In terms of image, Adam Ant is probably one of the most recognizable pop music artists of the '80s. He also built a prolific career during the decade's first half as a daring post-punk artist and eventually as a huge worldwide pop star.
Richard Marx burst onto the pop music scene in 1987 and generated a string of major hits over a very short period of time. Solid songwriting helped the singer-songwriter become a major act of the late '80s.
One of the most consistent pop groups of the '80s, England's Eurythmics created a string of pop hits that showcased the vocals of Annie Lennox and the duo's multiple-genre songwriting.
Powerful '80s singer Laura Branigan compiled some legendary pop hits during the early part of the '80s, but her level of success could have even been higher with a more sustained career momentum. Here's a look at her memorable career.
'80s group Berlin created some of the finest synth pop of the era and featured one of the decade's most memorable female lead singers in Terri Nunn. Here's a look at the band's brief but potent career.
English rock band The Outfield was never a critical favorite, but the group produced a number of solid tunes during the latter half of the '80s.
One of the key Los Angeles new wave bands of the '80s that featured a female lead singer, The Motels boast a career that holds up well under the scrutiny of three decades of rock music history.
Never the most critically revered '80s music artist, U.S. pop/rock band Mr. Mister made a distinct mark on the era's auditory offerings.
One of the seminal soft rock artists of the early '80s, Christopher Cross quickly became a pop superstar and made a distinctive mark on the era.
Pop metal band Cinderella enjoyed multi-platinum success during the late '80s, but the band also succeeded in introducing roots rock and blues rock elements to its otherwise hair metal-labeled niche.
Anthemic college rock band The Call is one of the finest American rock bands of the '80s, and yet the group's notoriety has never matched its consistently high song quality and committed performances.
Heartland rock band BoDeans made a significant mark on underground American music of the mid to late '80s, ultimately becoming a modestly successful mainstream rock band built on quality songwriting and an eclectic approach.
British soul/pop crooner Billy Ocean enjoyed several smash hits in both the U.K. and U.S., practically cornering the market on romantic adult contemporary ballads as well as non-threatening mid-tempo dance pop that attracted a very wide audience.
'80s singer-songwriter Jeffrey Osborne enjoyed major success on the R&B charts during the '80s, occasionally scoring with pop hits as well.
The Bellamy Brothers were one of the most active country music artists of the '80s, but somehow the duo remains one of the era's most underrated. However, this highly consistent country act topped the country singles nine times during the '80s, not to mention a string of solid albums filled with great songs and performances.
Biography and Profile of '80s Supergroup Mike + the Mechanics
During a hiatus from Genesis, Mike Rutherford put together a low-key supergroup in Mike + the Mechanics that produced some seminal '80s tunes.
One of the most unique and versatile groups to emerge from England's New Romantic synth pop movement of the early '80s, ABC stands out as a major and consistent artist of the decade's pop/rock tapestry. Employing American music styles from Motown to soul to funk, the central duo of Martin Fry and Mark White injected a new wrinkle of style and elegance to synth pop.
Though never critically revered and almost always scorned by rock music fans, Australian duo Air Supply made a massive impact on early-'80s pop music. The pair's songs could occasionally be cloying, but fans of mainstream and MOR music proved the existence of a substantial market for theatrical pop balladry. The group's best work stands up fairly well three decades later for its songcraft and elegance.
Bon Jovi was a veteran band by the time it broke through explosively with 1986's hit-packed album 'Slippery When Wet,' but as far as pop music fans were concerned, the group came out of nowhere to represent the most accessible elements of the burgeoning hair metal scene of the period. Though embraced to a certain extent among hard rock fans as well as pop music lovers, the New Jersey outfit actually possessed a healthy amount of rootsy heartland rock that further enhanced its wide appeal.
Canadian rocker turned pop superstar Bryan Adams has never enjoyed a surplus of credibility at the critical level, but his ability to churn out catchy melodic rock songs with high commercial pop appeal has few rivals. Though Adams certainly became more of a soft rock and adult contemporary threat as the decade wore on, he never got too far away from a guitar-centered approach that helped his music continue to rock.
Despite originating from L.A.'s Paisley Underground scene, The Bangles became one of the decade's biggest chart-toppers during the mid to late '80s, following a decided shift to mainstream pop.
Led by frontman and creative force Neil Finn, Australian band Crowded House created melodic guitar pop for the ages. During the late '80s and early '90s, the group produced some of the finest music of the early alternative music period.
British rock band Asia fused progressive rock and radio-friendly arena rock to forge a unique and highly successful sound during the early '80s. Here's a look at the band's brief but potent '80s run.
'80s Rock Singer and Journey Frontman Steve Perry
Distinctive mainstream rock singer Steve Perry served as frontman for one of the most popular arena rock bands of the era, Journey. And yet he also enjoyed a solid, brief solo career.
British singer Robert Palmer was one of the most recognizable and successful male singers of the '80s, responsible for a handful of genuine classics of the era.
One of the most consistently productive rock bands of the '80s, Australia's The Church pioneered alternative music through its two-guitar attack and moody songwriting and vocals.
One of arena rock's key bands of the '70s and '80s, Cheap Trick provided an important link between Beatles-inspired pop and American hard rock. Here's a look at the band's peak years and the classic songs the group has injected into mainstream music culture.
Though he made his biggest splash in the late '70s, mainstream rock crooner Eddie Money was really far more of a classic '80s artist. Big hooks, spirited but not overwhelming guitars, and a gravelly Everyman aesthetic helped Money remain a solid pop/rock player throughout the decade.
Fleetwood Mac songstress Stevie Nicks remained a vital member of her superstar band but also crafted a highly successful career throughout the entirety of the '80s. Here's a look at the career of one of the most famous and influential women of rock music.
Welsh college rock band The Alarm produced a consistent array of solid rock music during the '80s, even if comparisons to similar-sounding U2 sometimes kept the band from receiving its share of critical praise.
Despite sometimes looking the part of full-tilt hair band during its mid-'80s peak, this L.A. group rarely sounded like it. Upon the thunderously powerful foundation of George Lynch's distinct guitars, Dokken found a niche as a melodic hard rock band that deserved inclusion in the category of heavy metal as well as melodic pop/rock.
Pat Benatar became one of the most identifiable icons of the '80s, but she also contributed some of the most memorable pop/rock music of the decade. Over the course of the early '80s, she shone as one of pop music's most consistent artists, and in subsequent years Benatar's reputation has only risen and broadened.
Though far from critically acclaimed during her remarkably consistent and eclectic '80s pop career, Scottish singer Sheena Easton always maintained a solid status as major star. She was largely deserving of her chart success, often making the most out of cookie-cutter pop songs or maximizing distinct melodies with her unique vocal touch.
British early alternative rock band The Cure, which emerged more than a decade before that genre term was in vogue, was one of the most prolific and engaging underground bands of the '80s.
Ray Parker, Jr.
Ray Parker, Jr. served as one of the most popular and versatile urban contemporary stars of the '80s, delivering a number of solid, pop-flavored R&B hits throughout the decade.
One of the most recognizable icons of '80s pop culture, former punk rocker Billy Idol made quite a mark on the decade's music. Along the way, he proved that adjustments to promote commercial success don't always prevent an artist from following his own rebellious path.
While Billy Joel has never been a critic's darling, he certainly succeeded in presenting himself in various ways during his two main decades of work as a pop/rock superstar. Despite a lack of critical endorsements, Joel put together a string of hit albums and singles during the late '70s and throughout the '80s.
The work of '70s and '80s mainstay Dan Fogelberg has always had a strong tendency to be overlooked and undervalued, perhaps because of the singer's often gentle, accessible sound. Still, Fogelberg was a major force as a singer-songwriter and quality soft rock artist during a turbulent, spotty decade for pop music.
Although its musical output was quite limited during the '80s, Foreigner produced some of the decade's most memorable songs, especially in the form of keyboard-heavy ballads. The band's slick, highly produced sound certainly had plenty of detractors, but music fans in rock, pop and adult contemporary circles found a lot to like in Foreigner's smooth delivery and big melodic hooks.
This '70s progressive rock band enjoyed its greatest chart successes once Phil Collins emerged from behind his drum kit to become frontman and pop music conduit for the band.
Hall and Oates
With their unique blend of soul, pop, rock and folk, Hall & Oates made accessible, melodic music that has stood the test of time far better than most of their hitmaker contemporaries.
Consistently active for nearly two decades from the early '70s into the '90s, this American band led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson occupied a significant space in hard rock, classic rock and - during the '80s at least - pure pop music.
Huey Lewis and the News
As one of the '80s most quintessential bands, Huey Lewis & the News actually carved out a rather independent if middle-of-the-road path to pop stardom. After all, while other artists responded to changing trends and adapted to emerging genres, the Bay Area band continued to play its accessible brand of bar band heartland rock throughout the decade.
One of the most consistent pop/rock artists of the '80s, Australian outfit INXS had to wait for most of the decade to pass before becoming true superstars. Still, the band enjoyed an interesting, dynamic stylistic arc during which it produced accomplished music of an eclectic nature.
One of rock music's most famous and revered female artists, Joan Jett successfully combined the energy of punk rock with the fury of hard rock to fashion a singular '80s solo career.
Singer-songwriter and master musician Joe Jackson was one of the most talented artists of the '80s, a composer and performer able to jump from rock and roll to pop to jazz with ease and fluidity. His output constantly challenged expectations and helped enrich the music of a decade already teeming with unacknowledged variety.
Start here for information on the Bay Area band that became huge arena rock stars in the '80s. One of the decade's most recognized artists, Journey has retained a popularity that has not always been matched by critical respect. However, the band's staying power has not been an accident. For its genre and era, Journey produced some of the finest melodic rock songs in history, pure and simple.
Your source for information about Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, arguably the biggest music star of the '80s.
The Go-Go's became one of the most pleasantly surprising success stories of the early '80s, transforming from an L.A. punk band into new wave pop superstars.
The Human League
Seemingly out of nowhere, the Human League became one of the most visually recognizable and stylish synth pop acts of the early '80s. But the group's pop success emerged from years of blazing a trail for electronic pop, and ultimately the group reached far beyond its status as music video icons.
A look at the career of one of pop music's most enduring talents, who burst onto the music scene in the '80s with hit single after hit single and became one of the most successful female pop singers in rock history.
Exploding onto the scene in 1983 as a palatable, feminized version of punk and new wave, Cyndi Lauper successfully rode the MTV wave to multiplatinum status and a permanent spot as a central icon of the decade. She evolved into a serious songwriter and well-rounded pop performer and has since continued to advance an eclecticism as both an actor and recording artist.
Both as the primary creative force in the hitmaking duo Wham! and as a wildly successful solo artist, George Michael ruled the '80s like few artists could dream of. Though a highly capable singer in various pop styles, Michael particularly distinguished himself as a songwriter of great talent and versatility.
A look at one of '80s music's finest and most successful practitioners of heartland rock and one of the decade's biggest stars.
Already a major star in pop music by virtue of his successful partnership with Jim Messina, soft rock journeyman Kenny Loggins enjoyed his most pronounced solo success during the '80s. As a writer and performer of pop/rock ballads and anthems well-suited for the silver screen, Loggins maximized his mainstream appeal.
Kool and the Gang
'70s funk legends Kool & the Gang made their mark during the '80s with a smooth pop/soul sound that secured the group a string of Top 10 singles. Through the years, the band's ability to integrate disparate musical styles from jazz to soul, R&B, funk and pop helped reserve a vital space for the group on the vast pop music scene.
Few '80s acts are more visually and sonically representative of the decade than Loverboy, the Canadian arena rock outfit that danced along the genre lines of hard rock, new wave and pop to become one of the era's most popular bands.
The '80s basically start and end with this trend-setting, calculated but extremely talented singer and performer. Start here for essential information about the career and music of Madonna.
Men at Work
Here's a look at the brief but concentrated success of Australian bar band and new wave stars Men at Work. The group ruled America in 1982 and 1983 before fading away quietly by 1985. Even so, the band left behind some classic '80s hits and strong album cuts that rank among the decade's strongest pop/rock offerings.
Though foremost an eclectic, highly original singer-songwriter and roots rocker, Englishman Nick Lowe is probably better known as a driving force in the British punk scene of latter half of the '70s. Nonetheless, his own music has always been consistent if not always fully heard or appreciated, and for that reason Lowe remains an important '80s music figure.
One of the key founders of heavy metal through his work with Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne found a distinct second life during the '80s with a more stylish, image-based solo career. As such, his legendary presence across four rock and roll decades and his domination of at least two of them place him among the form's elite icons and artists.
Despite the name that evokes late-'60s American rock, Psychedelic Furs emerged as a thoroughly modern British post-punk band and laid a foundation during the '80s for all alternative music to follow. As one of the decade's most consistent artists, the group enjoyed far more impact on the music landscape than mainstream success within it.
Emerging on the heels of the punk rock movement in England, this eclectic, talented rock band never had trouble distinguishing itself. Find information about this great band's short, tumultuous story right here.
As one of the most prolific and high-quality performers of the '80s, rocker and singer-songwriter Tom Petty sometimes slips off the radar of music fans when they consider the most important artists of the '80s. But that's a regrettable oversight easily remedied upon close examination.
Though the original '70s incarnation of the band reached heights almost no group since has even dreamed of equaling, KISS survived surprisingly well into the '80s through membership changes and stylistic uncertainty.
Despite releasing only four full-length studio albums during the band's most relevant decade, brand new Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Metallica delivered a strikingly high percentage of quality tunes during the '80s.
As one of pop metal's most prominent and trashiest prototypes, L.A.'s Motley Crue consistently lived up to a fearsome reputation for self-destructiveness and rock and roll excess. However, at the same time the band also somehow became one of the few truly reliable hard rock acts of the '80s.
'80s solo artist Marshall Crenshaw wrote some of the best guitar pop songs of the decade, and even though not enough music fans knew this at the time, his lasting legacy has more than stood the test of time.
Swiss heavy metal band Krokus was not one of the most famous hard rock bands of the '80s, but the group produced plenty of quality music during this fertile heavy metal era.
British singer-songwriter became a big star in his native U.K., but he may have been a little too eclectic and cerebral to catch fire in the U.S. Nevertheless, he remains an important and underrated '80s pop/rock artist.
Bruce Hornsby and the Range
Bruce Hornsby and the Range injected a breath of fresh air into late-'80s pop rock, adding narrative storytelling of the highest order to the era's heartland rock.
Originally a hard-driving, somewhat generic Southern rock band, .38 Special transformed itself into a highly tuneful pop/rock band with a winning formula that earned the group significant chart success in the '80s. Though some questioned the band's change in direction, there's no question the band produced some of the decade's most listenable and well-crafted mainstream rock.
Here's look at the career of one of the decade's most successful singer-songwriters who found pop success after years of heavy touring.
Though an artist who transcends the decades, singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen made a huge mark on the '80s through not only his blockbuster Born in the USA album but also his catalogue of excellent songwriting and varied mastery of styles.
In his heyday of the early and mid-'80s, Lionel Richie was one of the biggest pop stars in the world, trading in a funk/R&B past as founding member of the Commodores for a slick, ballad-heavy sound that showcased his smooth, melodic approach as a songwriter.
Though sometimes vilified for being too much of its time and a blatantly commercial rock band, '80s mainstay Night Ranger made quite a mark on the era's music with its special blend of hard rock and power ballads.
Poison may have represented some of the '80s worst excesses, but there's no denying the quintessential L.A.-based pop metal band was one of the era's most important and popular artists.
Almost singularly responsible for the rise of the college rock scene in the '80s, this band of indie rock heroes from Athens, Georgia took the punk D.I.Y. aesthetic and forged a long, productive career creating a distinctive, jangly folk-rock sound.
Though a hard-working arena rock band throughout the '70s, REO Speedwagon didn't catch fire commercially until frontman Kevin Cronin began to guide the band into a more pop-oriented direction. With the help of one of the biggest-selling albums of the decade, the group became '80s superstars.
Just in time for the '80s, longtime musician Rick Springfield emerged as a matinee idol both on daytime TV and on the pop charts. Following a stint as Dr. Noah Drake on the soap opera General Hospital, Aussie Springfield hit it big with his 1981 album, Working Class Dog.
One of pop music's most successful solo artists of all time, Rod Stewart is nearing 50 years in the music business. His '80s period may not have been his most critically acclaimed, but Stewart's ability to adapt and excel kept him squarely on the music map through a variety of pop music forays.
For more than 40 years now, Canadian power trio Rush has been pumping out a complex, precise blend of hard rock and progressive rock. One of the band's strongest and most popular eras took place during the '80s.
Here's a look at the career (both real and imagined) of one of England's loudest parody metal bands. The music of Spinal Tap - the creation on celluloid and on record of Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner - was a hilarious send-up but also an endearing tribute to the excessive nature of early-'80s hard rock.
The American melodic power rock band Survivor was always more of a singles act than a producer of consistent albums, but the group's best songs truly capture a moment in time during the early '80s.
Despite a tailing-off period toward the latter part of the decade, New York City's Talking Heads were one of the most popular and critically acclaimed rock bands of the '80s. As part of the seminal '70s New York punk scene and then as one of the leading lights of new wave, the group scored pop hits even while taking the path less traveled.
Although always a vehicle for charismatic frontwoman Chrissie Hynde’s songwriting, The Pretenders initially emerged as a highly eclectic, talented quartet of musicians capable of producing various rock and pop styles. The best of the band’s '80s tunes employ a fierce, ragged rock and roll approach but benefit also from a tuneful pop sensibility fueled by Hynde’s unique vocal style.