80s Music Sitemap - Page 2 2016-09-26
Sometimes thought of far more as a '70s hard rock band than a strictly '80s artist, Van Halen nonetheless ruled the latter decade, whether led by original frontman David Lee Roth or, later, Sammy Hagar. Here's a look at the band's ample '80s activity.
As one of the decade's most iconic bands in terms of visual image and sound, Texas blues-rock legends ZZ Top made the transition to full-tilt mainstream pop/rock with flair, conviction, and, most importantly, some pretty solid songs.
'80s Background & Culture
As much as many of us may wish it did sometimes, music does not exist in a vacuum. It is inspired, created, damaged, cheapened and even made permanent as a result of the political and social climate that surrounds it. The '80s was a vibrant, eclectic period that crackled and hummed as it carved out its path.
Few '80s artists had a more important and yet strongly muted impact on the later phenomenon of '90s alternative rock than original L.A. punk band X. Drawing from a broad palette of musical interests and tendencies, the group expanded the boundaries of punk rock through its independent, eclectic spirit, ultimately standing as one of rock's all-time great unsung bands.
British post-punk could not have had a better representative than XTC, a band that did more for '80s pop and rock than arguably any other artist of the era.
Profile & Biography of Journey Frontman & '80s Solo Artist Steve Perry
Journey frontman Steve Perry had already become a major arena rock figure by the early '80s, and his 1984 solo debut confirmed a massive '80s relevance.
Profile & Biography of Canadian Hard Rock & Arena Rock Band Triumph
Though often tagged as the lesser arena rock cousin to Rush - the most famous Canadian arena rock band of all time - Triumph built a solid '80s career in its own right.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Martin Briley - "The Salt in My Tears"
Guitarist and songwriter Martin Briley forged a journeyman's music career, but he certainly delivered at least one indelible rock classic during a brief '80s run.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - American Power Pop/New Wave Band Novo Combo
Sadly, the distinct American new wave and power pop band Novo Combo is not one of the groups best remembered from the early-'80s heyday for post-punk melodic guitar rock.
Profile & Biography of '80s Pop Metal/Classic Hard Rock Band Great White
Though lumped in with the hair metal scene of the '80s, California hard rock band actually owed far more to classic rock, blues and ''70s glam rock for its sound.
Profile & Biography of '80s Pop Superstar Madonna
In many ways, the excitement and glamor of '80s pop music begins and ends with Madonna, a compelling pop singer but more importantly one of the era's most magnetic performers.
Top Dwight Yoakam Songs of the '80s
Dwight Yoakam became a country music star almost instantly upon release of his debut record, but he spent a great deal of the '80s paying dues to earn that career.
Top '80s Solo Songs from Journey Frontman Steve Perry
As frontman and the golden-voiced anchor of '70s and '80s arena rock band Journey, Steve Perry became a huge star. But his 1984 solo album shines as well.
Top 'Til Tuesday Songs
Boston new wave band 'Til Tuesday initially emerged as a synthesizer-reliant pop outfit focused on leader Aimee Mann's striking image more than anything else. However, in the case of three albums during the latter half of the '80s, the group produced plenty of fine guitar pop based on Mann's growing songwriting prowess.
Profile & Biography of '80s Hard Rock Band Y&T
Despite great consistency of output, veteran American hard rock and heavy metal band Y&T never achieved mainstream success during the '80s.
Profile of '80s Neo-Psychedelic Music Genre Paisley Underground
Often associated with jangle pop, another underground American music genre that celebrated guitar pop tradition, Paisley Underground artists generally favored '60s-era West Coast psychedelia.
Profile and Biography of '80s Soul/Pop Singer Jeffrey Osborne
'80s soul and pop singer-songwriter Jeffrey Osborne started his career during the late '70s as a member of funk band L.T.D. Ultimately, however, he achieved his greatest pop music fame as a consistent hitmaker, equally at home with adult contemporary ballads and dance pop tunes.
Most Memorable Signature Keyboard Riffs of the '80s
The glorious '80s brought keyboards into a more prominent position than they had probably ever held, as synthesizer parts frequently became dominant instrumental markers in our favorite '80s tunes. Here's a list of the most recognizable and memorable keyboard riffs of the '80s.
Top '80s Songs of English Alternative Legends The Cure
With one of the most varied and challenging catalogues in all of '80s music, The Cure offers many candidates for a celebration of its finest songs. Here's a look at some of the band's best work produced during a prolific decade.
Top '80s Songs That Best Bear the Presence of Saxophone
The saxophone has long been a major component of pop and rock music, but during the '80s the instrument often took on negative overtones in a general sense. Here are some exceptions to that so-called rule.
Top '80s Songs of Eclectic Soul/Pop Band Earth, Wind and Fire
Most music fans think of Earth, Wind & Fire as a '70s act, but the soul pop group delivered plenty of memorable '80s music as well.
Top Songs from Australian '80s Rock Band Men At Work
Despite an unfortunately brief three-year run on the pop music landscape, the Australian former bar band Men at Work made an indelible mark on '80s music by making great, eclectic rock music - like these fine tunes.
Top Pop Music Artists Of The '80s
From indie rock to pop and dance music, here are the eight essential artists that defined the '80s music scene.
Top '80s Songs from Superstar Country Band Alabama
Country pop band Alabama enjoyed a handful of Top 40 pop hits during the early '80s and amassed an impressive string of 22 consecutive No. 1 country hits
Top '80s Songs from Canadian Pop/Rock Solo Artist Bryan Adams
Canadian mainstream rocker Bryan Adams' chart success during the '80s was impressive, but his music during that period was also much more interesting than his similarly popular '90s work.
Top '80s Songs of American Arena Rock Band Journey
Though disdain still follows the group today in some circles, music fans appreciative of guitar-infused melodic hard rock and soaring power ballads don't question the high quality of Journey's most memorable songs.
Top '80s Songs of Melodic Hard Rock Band Night Ranger
Melodic hard rock outfit Night Ranger produced some of the most memorable melodies found in '80s hard rock, even if the group failed to gain much critical respect from rock audiences. Here's a look at some of the band's finest, most well-crafted songs from its seminal period.
Top Pop Music Solo Artists of the '80s
Though the concept of going solo was not an invention of the '80s, artists during that decade seemed to perfect the art of shedding past band memberships for the bliss of an independent path. Some artists had better luck making the transition than others; here's a look at the ones who definitely made the right decision.
Top '80s Songs from British Synth Pop/Blue-Eyed Soul Group ABC
British pop group ABC was responsible for some memorable '80s music moments, known for elegant, sophisticated melodies and refined arrangements.
Best '80s Songs from Soft Rock Band Chicago
Here's a look at the cream of the crop from the band Chicago's distinctive if somewhat disappointing '80s phase, a list of songs far shorter than the Billboard charts back then might suggest.
Top '80s Songs of Fleetwood Mac Singer Stevie Nicks
One of the most iconic pop music figures of both the '70s and '80s, Stevie Nicks employed her solid songwriting to become a genuine solo superstar of the latter decade.
Top '80s Songs of Iconic '80s Solo Artist Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper became an unforgettable '80s icon through her unique blend of punk/new wave style, a distinctively free-spirited persona and - of course - the quality of her songs.
Top '80s Songs of British Pop Metal Band Def Leppard
Here's a look at Def Leppard's best musical offerings of the decade that seamlessly conveyed the band's mostly organic, nearly always winning formula.
Top Foreigner and Lou Gramm Solo Songs of the '80s
Foreigner earned its place during the late '70s as a major stadium rock draw but also endured the label of a hopelessly bland, faceless rock band. Nonetheless, the group found an even greater level of success when it transformed during the early '80s into a power ballad specialist more likely to feature layers of keyboards than leader Mick Jones' prominent guitars. Here's a chronological look at some choice cuts from Foreigner's '80s run.
Top '80s Songs from Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders
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.
Profile and Biography of Eagles Co-Leader and '80s Solo Artist Glenn Frey
As a member of The Eagles, Glenn Frey was already a huge rock star, but he was also able to make a healthy transition to solo artist during the '80s.
Top '80s Songs of Eclectic Singer-Songwriter Joe Jackson
Although singer-songwriter and initial new wave marvel Joe Jackson quickly became a journeyman stylistically, the first decade of his career displays a cohesion in terms of musical quality and consistent output. Here's a look at the finest songs from Jackson's most commercially and critically successful period.
Top Huey Lewis and the News Songs of the '80s
As one of the most quintessential bands of the '80s, Huey Lewis and the News actually carved out a rather independent if middle-of-the-road path to pop stardom. Not all of the group's songs hold up terribly well, but many of the singles qualify as stellar mainstream rock.
Best Rod Stewart Solo Songs of the '80s
For every '80s listener that enjoyed the increasing influence of disco and dance music on Rod Stewart's sound, there have always been several more long-time fans deflated by his departures from rock and folk leanings. Nevertheless, his '80s output of songs contains some worthey tunes.
Profile and Biography of Versatile American Pop Musician Dan Hartman
Not enough music fans know the name Dan Hartman, but almost all of them have been touched by the music he wrote, recorded and produced during the '70s and '80s.
Best Motivational '80s Songs to Inspire Job Seekers
It's no coincidence that most of the songs that apply well as motivational aids in a job search come from the general arena rock landscape of '80s music.
Profile and Biography of English Pop/Rock Artist John Parr
English mainstream rock artist John Parr may be best known for one iconic mid-'80s hit, but he specialized in anthemic arena rock for most of the decade.
Top Jefferson Starship and Starship Songs of the '80s
The work of mellow '70s rock band Jefferson Starship transformed into guitar-heavy arena rock before giving way to a lite rock approach as just Starship.
Top '80s Songs from British Classic Rock Band Yes
By the advent of the '80s, British progressive rock band Yes had already established itself as a classic rock fixture. In the band's second decade, the group focused on an artful blend of progressive musicality and AOR/arena rock melodic heft.
Top '80s Songs from American Pop Singer Laura Branigan
The '80s had no shortage of female pop stars in the early years of the music video age, but American singer Laura Branigan certainly qualifies as a major if sometimes overlooked member of that particular sorority. Some of her hit singles are essential '80s listening.
Early Glam Metal Bands for Poison Fans to Explore
Poison's androgynous glam metal look was not exactly new in 1987, even if many mainstream fans probably thought so. Here's a look at some bands that helped inspire Poison and other hair metal bands that enjoyed far greater success than their predecessors.
Top Dire Straits Songs of the '80s
Most people don't really consider British rockers Dire Straits to be an '80s band, but here are a number of the band's tunes that helped define the decade's rock music.
Profile of English Synth Pop Duo Soft Cell
England's Soft Cell was a successful and unique synth pop group that made plenty of provocative music during its peak era during the first half of the '80s.
Profile of New Wave/Power Pop '80s Band Tommy Tutone
Tommy Tutone has always been saddled with the one-hit wonder label, but in some cases that term can be both accurate and relatively low on the insult meter.
Profile of Zany Georgia New Wave Band The B-52s
Georgia band The B-52s brought fun and quirk to American college rock during the '80s, eventually becoming superstars despite the tragic loss of a founding member.
Top '80s Songs of American Hair Metal Band Poison
One of hair metal's most popular and simultaneously most vilified bands of the '80s, Poison made some of the era's most defining music. Here's a chronological look at the band's best songs - culled from two commercially successful late-'80s album releases.
Profile and Biography of '80s Synth Wizard Thomas Dolby
Some observers probably perceived English singer-songwriter Thomas Dolby as a bit of a novelty act when he emerged in 1982, but pop success is but a fragment of his musical story.
Profile and Biography of Hard Rock Solo Artist Sammy Hagar
Versatile American rock singer Sammy Hagar has enjoyed a long-term, highly successful career in music that has survived many changes and ups and downs across nearly a half century.
Profile of '80s Arena Rock Band Journey
Though never a favorite of critics, Bay Area arena rockers Journey rose to a stunning level of popularity during the early '80s, eventually becoming one of rock's top-selling artists of all time.
Profile of Quintessential '80s Pop Duo Hall and Oates
As one of the most successful duos of all time, Daryl Hall and John Oates have made a significant mark in a career spanning four decades. However, the '80s undoubtedly provided the duo's highest level of popularity and artistic triumph.
Profile of Arena Rock and Power Ballad Masters REO Speedwagon
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 in a more pop-oriented direction throughout the '80s.
Profile of Soul-Funk Band and '80s Pop Hitmakers Kool and the Gang
'70s funk legends Kool and the Gang made their mark during the '80s with a transition to a smooth pop/soul sound that secured the group a string of Top 10 singles.
Profile of Canadian '80s Arena Rock Band Loverboy
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.
Profile of Eclectic Latino Roots Rock Band Los Lobos
Latino roots rock band Los Lobos burst onto the music scene during the '80s but has spent the last three decades becoming one of America's finest rock bands.
Profile and Biography of Smooth '80s Pop Hitmaker Lionel Richie
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.
Best '80s Songs from American Arena Rock Band Survivor
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.
Top '80s Songs of American New Wave/Soft Rock Band Mr. Mister
Though known almost exclusively for three consecutive Top 10 pop hits during the mid '80s, keyboard-based, post-new wave outfit Mr. Mister sustained a relatively solid career throughout much of the decade.
Top '80s Songs from Australian Soft Rock Duo Air Supply
Australian duo Air Supply dominated the pop music charts during the first half of the '80s, even if rock music purists cringed at mere realization of the group's existence.
Profile of '80s Australian Soft Rock Duo Air Supply
This much-maligned Australian soft rock duo was actually quite successful at finding its niche for churning out sweet love ballads to a large and warmly accepting audience.
Profile of Late-'80s Dance Pop Singer Taylor Dayne
American dance-pop singer Taylor Dayne made a major splash on the worldwide pop music scene of the late '80s and early '90s, becoming a major hitmaker of the era.
Profile of '80s British New Romantic Band Wang Chung
British art pop band Wang Chung enjoyed a potent run of success during the mid '80s, though most music fans, particularly rock-oriented ones, gave the group little credit.
Profile of '70s and '80s American Rock Band The Tubes
American rock band The Tubes enjoyed a mottled, unpredictable career, beginning as an outrageous underground act and morphing into a fine arena rock outfit.
Top Spinal Tap Songs of the '80s
As the top parody rock band of the '80s, Spinal Tap provided both commentary on contemporary music and functioned as a vital artist in its own right. Here's a look at the
KISS - Profile of Theatrical Hard Rock Band KISS
'70s hard rock band KISS survived plenty of stumbles to make a generally successful if tenuous transition into the '80s. After dropping its signature makeup and several years of instability in personnel, the band rebounded by the middle of the new decade to regain stardom in the midst of the period's pop metal phenomenon.
Top Elton John Songs of the '80s
Despite some personal and professional struggles during the latter part of the decade, Elton John managed to emerge during the '80s as a still viable artist, even if his songs typically lacked a genuine rock edge.
Most Notable Band Breakups of the Eighties
Whether they broke up as the result of artistic differences or were ripped apart by tragedy, many major and essential artists called it quits during the '80s, even if only for a while. Still, most reunions result in rather depressing shadows of former superstars, so in most cases the first break is the only one that really matters. Here's a look at some of the most notable band dissolutions that took place during the '80s and the particulars of each special case.
Top '80s Songs from Canadian Arena Rock/Hard Rock Band Triumph
Never a critical favorite to say the least, Canadian power trio Triumph nevertheless churned out an impressive array of arena rock classics during the '80s.
Top 10 Irish, Scottish & Welsh Artists of the '80s
When it comes to pop music and the British Isles, the English have always enjoyed a dense concentration of talent and therefore the lion's share of attention. But during the '80s as well as before and after, many Irish, Scottish and Welsh artists made their names with memorable and important musical contributions of their own. Here's a look at the cream of this crop, the top 10 non-English British Isles artists of the '80s.
Top Albums of the '80s - The Essential Eight
The best albums of any decade are always about far more than hit songs, record sales and other stats that can be measured. Scope of influence and breadth of impact are really more about feel, a sense that can be perceived only by experiencing the music. In short, these albums reverberated throughout the decade and became classics, not only of their own time but of all time.
Best of '80s Movie Soundtracks - Music Playlist
One way to experience '80s music on an entirely different level was through the visual medium of film, and often a tie-in to a hit film could give a single a boost like no other. While some '80s films were focused on retro music, especially if they were period pieces, the most indelible soundtrack offerings celebrated the '80s right along with the movies they accompanied.
Profile & Biography of Southern/Arena Rock Band .38 Special
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 during the '80s.
Top 10 Kenny Loggins Songs of the '80s
As one of the strongest pure pop/rock performers of the '80s - dependent equally on accessible songwriting, a propensity toward love ballads, and powerful injections of rock guitar - music veteran Kenny Loggins found a niche in soft rock and uplifting film soundtracks for his work. Here's a look at not only his most popular hits as a solo artist but his finest compositions and performances of the period.
Top 10 U2 Songs of the 1980s
U2 evolved from a jangly post-punk guitar outfit to expansive arena rock demigods before finishing out the '80s delving into roots rock. Along the way, the band produced some of the highest-quality, most intriguing music of the rock era, not to mention the decade. Here's a look at 10 of the best '80s songs from one of rock's greatest bands.
Top 7 Lionel Richie Songs of the '80s
For better or worse, few things scream '80s quite like the songs of Lionel Richie. Even for listeners who fancied themselves sophisticated music fans, Richie's biggest hits formed a semi-permanent soundtrack inside their brains. Here's a look at a few of the smooth singer's best, the ones you might not have to be ashamed of enjoying.
Most Tragic and Untimely Pop Music Deaths of the '80s
The '80s witnessed a number of tragic deaths involving both contemporary artists and musicians who had become legendary during previous decades. Though it's impossible to do justice to the many left off of this list that deserve commemoration, here's a sampling of some of the decade's most heartrending premature deaths of pop music artists.
Eighties Artists Known for Accessorizing (Top 7 List)
At least on the surface, which is sometimes all that matters, the '80s were more about fashion than music, as the images projected by artists sometimes lasted longer than the music they put on record. Here's a look at some of the most iconic artists of the decade from a style perspective. Accessories always included.
Top 10 Ozzy Osbourne Songs of the '80s
The '80s rebirth of Ozzy Osbourne after his 1979 firing from heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath was the first of several occasions in which the singer endured and overcame hardships to continue his success. Beginning the decade with a couple of groundbreaking albums featuring guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads, Osbourne weathered the loss of his friend and collaborator to become one of the biggest hard rock stars of the decade. These songs provide a strong overview of what made Osbourne so successful.
Top Fleetwood Mac Songs of the '80s
Though known mostly for its peak late '70s period of stardom, romantic drama between bandmates and its members' various solo endeavors, legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac also made several major contributions to the '80s music landscape.
Top '80s Songs by The Who
Despite releasing only two studio albums during the early '80s before going on long-term hiatus, The Who produced some important and lasting music in the years immediately following original drummer Keith Moon's tragic 1978 death. This output may not have matched several of the band's classic album-length statements of the '60s and '70s, but the strength of songwriting from principal composer Pete Townshend and (on occasion) bassist John Entwistle warrants repeat listens. Here's a look at the best songs from the twilight of The Who's recording career.
Eighties Rush Songs - Top Rush Songs of the '80s
Because the sound of Geddy Lee's voice can at times feel like heated glass shards in my brain, I haven't done all that much listening to Canadian power trio Rush over the last 15 years or so. Even so, I've never even tried to build an argument that the group's dense compositions aren't musically impressive or that the band's songwriting does not present intriguing lyrics and highly listenable melodies. Here's my personal list of the best tunes from Rush's most commercially successful period.
Top 10 Bon Jovi Songs of the '80s
As arguably pop metal's finest and most accessible band of the '80s, Bon Jovi churned out a number of arena rock classics, combining a straightforward, almost heartland rock sound with a glossy image to rule the latter half of the decade. Some were hits without being great songs, but this New Jersey band's best work stands confidently with the best mainstream rock the '80s had to offer.
Top Whitesnake Songs of the '80s
Though the Led Zeppelin comparisons and pop metal characterizations have dogged Whitesnake leader David Coverdale throughout his long career, the essence of Whitesnake actually amounts to a bit more than most observers saw during the late '80s. Steeped in blues rock as well as classic rock, '70s hard rock and heavy metal, this band's musical output is quite intriguing upon close inspection. Here's a look at Whitesnake's finest songs from its most productive '80s years.
Biography & Profile of Mainstream Female Rocker Pat Benatar
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.
Top 10 Songs of the '80s
To be among the greatest singles of the '80s, a song must become impossible to ignore in the context of the era's music. These songs fit that bill.
Top 10 Songs by X - 80's L.A. Punk Band
Here's a look at some of the finest rock music of the '80s, and probably also some of the best of the last half-century of rock and roll. Emerging as a seminal L.A. punk band, X used eclectic influences and accomplished musicianship to help create the earliest form of alternative rock and guide it into its '90s explosion of popularity.
Artists With the Most Hot 100 Pop Hits in the '80s
Some of the names on this list will be entirely unsurprising, linked as they are with some of the most ubiquitous hit songs of '80s pop. Others, however, may come as at least a mild shock given their association with other eras or genres that seem completely unrelated. But ultimately the artists that displayed the most consistent hitmaking prowess over the course of the '80s have accomplished something special indeed.
Top '80s Supergroups
Although the golden age of the supergroup most definitely lasted about a decade from the late '60s into the mid '70s, this special rock and roll concept had its moments as well during the '80s. Perhaps that's unsurprising given the decade's unique vision of all things over the top and self-indulgent. Here's a look at a few of the most prominent, important and memorable supergroups from the '80s.
Profile of '80s Cable Network and Music Tastemaker MTV
MTV, one of the most singular, well-known phenomena of the '80s, served as a backdrop and venue for much of the pop music of the decade.
Top '80s Songs from Soft Rock Artist Christopher Cross
American singer-songwriter Christopher Cross scored a string of hit singles during the first part of the '80s that made him a superstar of major proportions.
Top '80s Songs of Theatrical American Rock Band The Tubes
American rock band The Tubes took chose an increasingly commercial direction during the '80s but produced some high-quality mainstream rock nonetheless.
Top '80s Songs of Australian College Rock Band The Church
Probably one of the finest and most prolific guitar rock bands of the '80s, The Church allowed its sound to evolve rather drastically. Nevertheless, the group's consistent songcraft helped produce a decade's worth of great songs.
'80s Canadian Number One Pop Hits Little Known Elsewhere
Though most pop hits that reached No. 1 in Canada closely reflected the top of the charts elsewhere, on occasion a few songs (like these) reached the promised land only in Canada.
'80s Remakes of No. 1 Pop Songs That Also Became Top Hits
Within a span of less than two years, three separate '80s music artists managed to take remakes of '60s and '70s classics to the top of the charts - for the second time.
Profile of Early-'80s English Synth Pop Duo Naked Eyes
English synth pop duo Naked Eyes enjoyed a short-lived period of early-'80s success on the strength of a pair of memorable 1983 American hit singles.
Top '80s Pop Singles Featuring Male-Female Duets
One of pop music's best opportunities to explore its theatrical side reveals itself quite often in duets featuring aptly paired male and female performers. Here's a look, in no particular order, at some of the finest such duets of the '80s.
Top '80s Songs of Mainstream Rocker Rick Springfield
Though often unfairly labeled as a teeny bopper's fantasy lacking in artistic substance, Rick Springfield was actually one of the finest '80s practitioners of mainstream rock.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Any Trouble - "Girls Are Always Right"
British band Any Trouble was never able to jump fully on board during the crest of the early-80s new wave explosion, but that doesn't mean the group didn't make fine music.
Profile & Biography of English Blue-Eyed Soul Singer Paul Young
English singer Paul Young enjoyed one major pop hit in the U.S. but became a major star in his native U.K. during the '80s.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - The Knack - "Just Wait and See"
The musical gifts of The Knack came quickly and furiously during the late '70s and early '80s, but late frontman Doug Fieger and Co. recorded some '80s music keepers.
Profile and Biography of '80s Cowpunk Band Jason & the Scorchers
Nashville's raucous country-rock band Jason & the Scorchers generated plenty of admirers during the '80s, even if commercial success remained invevitably at arm's length.
Profile and Biography of Versatile Singer/Guitarist George Benson
Already established as a jazz guitar legend through his work during the '70s, George Benson largely spent the '80s releasing smooth soul and R&B records.
Top '80s Songs from Hard-Rocking Glam Metal Band Dokken
Despite the prevailing attitude about much '80s hard rock, I truly believe that the four-studio-album catalogue of L.A. hard rock mainstays Dokken is substantially deep in quality. And though I've thankfully outgrown most of my less worthy '80s metal favorites by now, I still think this band made too much great melodic and crunching rock and roll to be tossed dismissively among other '80s musical relics. Here are some reasons why.
Top '80s Bands, Duos and Solo Artists from England
Culling the best English artists from any era of pop music quickly becomes an overwhelming task. As for the '80s specifically, England remained just as fertile as ever in producing popular, interesting and innovative musicians, especially in the burgeoning genre of alternative music.
Top '80s Songs of Australian Mainstream Rock Band INXS
Australian band INXS produced some of the finest mainstream rock songs of the '80s, making a full-fledged superstar out of frontman Michael Hutchence.
Top '80s Songs of Canadian Arena Rock Band Loverboy
Canadian arena rock band Loverboy produced some of the most memorable mainstream rock songs of the '80s. Along the way, the group blended elements of hard rock and new wave in novel ways, always emphasizing a passionate marriage of synthesizers and guitars.
Profile and Biography of '70s and '80s Solo Pop Singer Eric Carmen
American singer-songwriter Eric Carmen enjoyed three distinct periods of pop music success, including a late-'80s solo comeback of consequence.
Profile of English Synth Pop and New Wave Band Talk Talk
English synth pop band Talk Talk refused to stand pat with a sound that generated pop success, later moving toward an unabashedly experimental sound instead.
Top Tina Turner Songs of the '80s
Already a soul music legend from her '70s work, versatile powerhouse singer Tina Turner launched a fierce comeback during the '80s that turned her into one of the decade's top-selling female solo artists. Here's a look at her best songs from this period of great popular success.
Profile of Sibling American Pop Group DeBarge
DeBarge was a successful '80s pop music group that took advantage of one of Detroit's largest and most talented musical families of the past half-century.
Profile of Elegant English Pop Band Level 42
Level 42 created a wide array of smooth, jazz-influenced pop music throughout the '80s, serving as one of many similarly eclectic British bands of the era.
Profile of English Pop/Rock Band Katrina and the Waves
Katrina and the Waves tend to be known for one major hit single, but the band has a long, interesting rock and roll history worth considering.
Profile of Late-'80s English Pop/Rock Band Cutting Crew
British band Cutting Crew generated very little respect among rock music fans during its mid to late '80s run, but the group cut a couple of classic singles.
Profile of Melodic Swedish Pop Metal Band Europe
Europe rarely seemed heavy enough to be labeled truly hard rock, but the band built a consistent '80s catalogue of soaring, melodic pop metal.
Profile of British Post-Punk and Early Alternative Band Siouxsie and the Banshees
Siouxsie and the Banshees built a solid '80s career as an experimental, highly changeable post-punk outfit that served as a vital link between punk and alternative.
Top '80s Songs of Guitar-Centered British Mainstream Rock Band The Outfield
English guitar rock band The Outfield always exhibited what seemed like a far more American sensibility than a British one, favoring big hooks and arena rock guitars in its late-'80s output. For that reason among others, the trio enjoyed much success in the U.S. but never broke through in its homeland. Either way, here's a look at the group's best '80s songs.
Profile of Norwegian Synth Pop Group a-ha
A-ha seemed to many American music fans to be a fleeting European import during an age of synthetic pop. However, the Norwegian group is actually much more.
Profile and Biography of Solo Artist Jermaine Jackson
One of the unsung musical members of the famous Jackson family, Jermaine Jackson nevertheless built a reputable '70s and '80s solo career.
Profile of '80s African Famine Benefit Concert Live Aid
1985's Live Aid brought '80s charity activism to the masses and is still remembered as one of the largest and most iconic benefit concerts of all time.
Profile of English Early Alternative Band Gene Loves Jezebel
England's Gene Loves Jezebel were one of the era's finest bands that dared combining arena rock hooks with Goth rock and pioneering alternative impulses.
Profile of '80s Benefit Concert Farm Aid
Farm Aid became one of the major music festivals of the '80s, combining populist activism with a celebration of heartland rock, country and folk artists of the era.
Profile of Adventurous Progressive Rock and Power Pop Band Utopia
Utopia may instantly bring to mind chameleonic artist Todd Rundgren, but the other three members of the band helped fuel the group's fine '70s and '80s output.
Profile and Biography of American Guitarist and '80s Solo Artist Jon Butcher
American rock guitarist Jon Butcher made some great music during the MTV era, but somehow his brand of soulful rock remained under the radar during his peak artistic period.
Bruce Hornsby and the Range Artist Profile
Bruce Hornsby emerged during the latter half of the '80s as leader of The Range, a band that enjoyed commercial and critical success with an expansive, earthy pop/rock sound.
1980 in Music - Most Memorable Pop Music Moments of 1980
With five prominent deaths of major rock music figures, 1980 can seem like a tragic and unfortunate year for pop and rock music. While that degree of loss inevitably casts a pall over the proceedings, the year also featured a great deal of interesting moments and incidents that illustrated the powerful winds of change that helped usher in the new decade.
Best Stevie Wonder Songs of the Eighties
Here's a look at consummate R&B/pop artist Stevie Wonder's finest songs from the '80s, an era that saw him embrace synthesizers and drum machines but never obscured the organic brilliance of his best work.
Profile & Biography of American Rock Singer-Songwriter Warren Zevon
Late, great singer-songwriter Warren Zevon produced some of the finest rock songs of the latter 20th century, all laced with wry humor and characterized by an astute examination of society's darkest corners. Prior to his untimely death from cancer in 2003, Zevon forged a lively, critically acclaimed career across nearly four decades. Here's a look at the life and accomplishments of this quintessential, maverick American artist.
Profile & Biography of Versatile Classic Rock Artist J. Geils Band
Although the first few years of the '80s turned out be an abruptly ending swan song for established classic rock veteran act J. Geils Band, the group executed a remarkably successful reinvention on two hit albums of the era. Utilizing hints of its previous blues-oriented sound, the band also employed heavy use of synthesizers and hook-focused songwriting to reach the largest and widest pop audience of its long and storied career. Here's a look at the fascinating musical journey of J. Geils Band - from its ragged start as a bar band to its eventual pop stardom.
Profile of '70s & '80s Soft Rock/Arena Rock Band Jefferson Starship
Jefferson Starship began its mid-'70s career as a mellow soft rock band that slowly moved far away from the psychedelic sound of parent group Jefferson Airplane. However, when longtime vocalist Marty Balin exited in 1978, another major stylistic shift turned the band increasingly toward guitar-heavy arena rock. New singer Mickey Thomas brought his passionate delivery to the forefront, and for the first half of the new decade Jefferson Starship remained a relevant pop/rock artist.
Biography & Profile of Australian College Rock Band Hoodoo Gurus
One of the most smile-inducing, eclectic rock bands of the '80s, Australia's Hoodoo Gurus generated a consistent string of interesting albums throughout the '80s - all full of guitar punch and lyrical quirk. Inspired by punk rock but also incorporating elements of arena rock and hard rock, the band remains active today as one of the most beloved Down Under modern rock acts of all time. Here's a look at the compelling career of Hoodoo Gurus.
Profile & Biography of American Roots Rock Band BoDeans
Wisconsin's BoDeans initially brought a heartland rock/roots rock sensibility to the American strand of early alternative music. The group - primarily centered around the singer-songwriter talents of central duo Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann - never quite fit into either the mainstream rock or underground music genres prevalent during the mid '80s, instead exploring an eclectic, uniquely Midwestern take on traditional rock and roll and folk rock. The band would enjoy its greatest success during the early '90s but has remained a critical favorite through the years as Americana music has established an increasing presence among pop music audiences. Here's a look at the nearly three-decade career of the BoDeans.
Profile & Biography of '80s Arena Rock Band Asia
One of rock music's first mega-succesful supergroups, British arena rock quartet Asia unleashed a smash hit 1982 debut album on an unsuspecting pop music landscape. Built on progressive rock flourishes, hard rock guitars and the bright, appealing melodies so suited to lead vocalist John Wetton, the band surprised observers with its seemingly left-field success. Unfortunately, Asia began to dissolve almost immediately, producing only one more album with the original lineup before fizzling into relative inactivity and obscurity. Nevertheless, the group remains an important relic of the '80s as well as a rock band that's enjoyed an unlikely second act during the early years of the new millennium.
Profile of British Post-Punk/New Wave Solo Artist Adam Ant
English rock singer Adam Ant drew plenty of inspiration from punk rock on his way to becoming a stylistic icon of the early '80s in his native U.K. and, to a lesser but significant extent, in the U.S. As an artist, his new wave musical contributions sometimes seemed slight and minimally substantial, but Ant nevertheless made a genuine mark on the '80s music landscape as both bandleader and solo artist. Here's a look at the memorable, visually aided '80s music career of Adam Ant.
'80s College Rock Pop Songs - Top Melodic Pop Songs from '80s College Rock Artists
If the mainstream pop charts during the '80s had paid a bit more attention to the activity from artists deemed college rock, post-punk or alternative acts, they might have boasted a few more eventual classics instead of quite so many calculated but forgettable hits. When it comes to melodic, usually guitar-based rock of the era, these genres feature nothing less than a multitude of worthy offerings. Here's a look at some of the finest pop songs of early alternative.
Best '80s Songs of The Smiths
I know I'm taking a huge risk by even attempting a list like this, but sometimes an '80s music guide has to do what an '80s music guide should have done months before. After all, it's safe to say that fans of the Smiths, Britain's premier indie rock band of the decade and one of alternative music's most influential acts, are about as rabid as they come when it comes to the group's sanctity.
Top Soft Rock (Adult Contemporary) Eighties Artists
The soft rock and adult contemporary genres had plenty of room to accommodate '80s stars, many of whom saw an opportunity to maximize commercial appeal by trying many different styles. Here's a look at some of the decade's artists most able to string together hits that ranged from guitar rock all the way to orchestrated ballads. Most sustained long careers that previously found success in far different genres, but they found the bridge between soft rock and adult contemporary quite comfortable.
'80s Madonna Moments - Top Madonna Moments of the '80s
Perhaps as much as anyone and certainly as much as any other female solo artist of the time, Madonna ruled the '80s completely - in her case with a lacy, gloved fist. From her bewitching image to her astounding achievements on the pop music charts, Madonna became a larger-than-life figure especially well-suited for the brand new MTV video age. Here's a chronological look at some of her most memorable contributions to not only the music world but also the deeper strands of pop culture.
More '80s Michael Jackson Songs - Top Michael Jackson Songs of the '80s, Part 2
Fan respect and appreciation for Michael Jackson's greatest legacy - his music - has convinced me that admirers aren't clinging to the ongoing story of his recent tragic death at all, choosing instead to embrace the life that produced such timeless American music. So I'm signing on for an extra top songs list in honor of an exceptional artist: here's a chronological look at more standouts from Jackson's '80s catalog.
Top '80s Country Pop Songs
These '80s country pop classics earned their day in the pop music sun during one of pop music's most distinctive crossover eras.
The Top Cover Versions of '80s Songs
'80s music has long held a nostalgic appeal for those who came of age during the era, but in recent years new fans and up-and-coming artists are grasping that an appreciation of the period's pop music need not be an embarrassing enterprise. A cover can always serve as a demonstration of pop culture parody, but these particular versions generally focus on respect for quality material. Here's a look (in no particular order) at some of the best cover versions of '80s songs to be found on record.
Famous KISS Songs of the '80s
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. Here's a look at my chronological take on the best songs from this legendary band's less-heralded but second most successful decade.
Top 10 Songs Featured in John Hughes Films
The '80s films of John Hughes each rely significantly on pop music to help tell stories that blend comedy and drama arguably as well as Hollywood cinema has ever done. But Hughes was also no one-trick pony, employing music in often disparate ways to help make every cinematic experience feel rather new. Here's a chronological look at some of the songs that have helped make so many of these films unforgettable.
Top 10 Peter Gabriel Songs of the '80s
I've never really questioned the artistic merit of Peter Gabriel as a performer, singer, songwriter and all-around musical genius. However, I have always felt somewhat distanced from his work, perhaps because his precision can create the illusion of coldness. Having revisited his rich '80s catalogue, I can say I'm over that impression now. Here's a chronological look at what I feel are Gabriel's finest solo offerings, a list whose process was both illuminating and challenging.
Best Psychedelic Furs Songs of the Eighties List
Aside from having a curious and mysterious band name and settling on an ingenious blend of pop and rock impulses, England's Psychedelic Furs simply had no shortage of great songs. That's what transforms the band's '80s consistency into something far better: a legendary legacy.
Top 10 Albums of 1984
While 1984 graced us with some of the strongest, most lasting albums of the '80s, the year was so thick with important pop music that there's plenty of competition for the top 10 albums culled from the rest of the crop.
Top Heart Songs of the '80s - the Arena Rock Years
'70s hard rock outfit Heart didn't release its best, most memorable music of the '80s until it had entirely transformed into a mainstream pop/rock band. And although that transition had its drawbacks, much of this music was among the best of its kind.
'80s Winter-Themed Songs - Top '80s Winter Songs to Complement Your Seasonal Moods
As always, '80s music is there to get us through the hard times, and here's a list of some of the decade's finest winter-themed songs. Winter has always been one of Nature's most maligned seasons, hated for its extreme cold, occasional fury and general dreariness. But with the aid of '80s music, it's revealing to explore the many facets of the season, especially when it comes to mood changes hinging on the pursuit of warmth or the endurance of cold.
'80s Songwriting Teams - Top 10 Songwriting Teams of the '80s
Every decade has had its share of groundbreaking and moving songwriting, but it's less often when a team of two or three songwriters can sustain a consistent career of collaboration. This is especially true of songwriters who happen to be in a band together. Here's a look at some premium '80s examples of this type of artistic collaboration.
'80s Artists with Bland Fashion Sense
Though a decade known for music fashion both cutting-edge and nauseating, the '80s also harbored some artists who found success despite an utter disregard for how they looked and dressed.
Top 8 '80s Songs That Address a Person by Name
Here's a look at some of the best music of the '80s addressed directly to another person, an interesting list of top hits and lesser-known album tracks from various genres.
Top 1983 Albums - Top 10 Albums of 1983
Thanks to Michael Jackson's unprecedented reign atop the pop charts, 1983 was an exhilarating and head-spinning year for music. Here's a look at some of the other great records that didn't always get their due during the year the King of Pop ruled.
Overwrought '80s Vocal Performances - Top 5 Blustery Vocal Performances of the '80s
'80s music certainly had its share of over-the-top performances, especially on the part of singers emoting so much they had to be close to physical collapse. Here's a look at a few of the most extreme of such blustery vocal performances.
Ten Least Worthy Number One Hits of the '80s
Here's a look at some of the lamest No. 1 pop tunes of the '80s, the ones I believe are particularly unworthy of such a distinction. There have always been questionable pop hits, but the '80s had an abundance from which a master list is difficult to distill. Nonetheless, it's always worth trying.
Top 10 Songs of 1983 - '80s Music Year By Year
1983 may have been the year of Michael Jackson, but it was also a year that embraced an array of pop music perhaps like never before.
Top R.E.M. Songs of the '80s
R.E.M. has always been known as a strong album band and, thanks to their firm entrenchment in the underground during the early '80s, the band never really had much of an outlet for singles. Even so, the increasing exposure of R.E.M. in the late '80s ultimately made their music quite popular and even ubiquitous. This all makes selecting the band's top 10 songs of the '80s an even more complex and rewarding process. Makes it hard to
1984 in Music - Top Ten Pop/Rock Songs From 1984
At least musically, 1984 was far from an Orwellian year of doom. Instead, it was the year major stars came out to shine, just in time to join the video revolution. At the same time, new wave and synth pop styles continued to evolve even as new paths began to emerge.
Top Whitney Houston Songs of the '80s
Although Whitney Houston burst onto the scene when the '80s were already half over and released only two albums within the decade, she was an '80s icon through and through. Still, her small output and singles-heavy albums require a greater selectivity when it comes to compiling her best work into a list format. After all, as big a superstar as she was, Houston charted only about a dozen songs within the decade. Check out my list of the top five Whitney Houston singles of the '80s.
Bob Seger - Profile of '70s & '80s Heartland Rock Mainstay Bob Seger
Here's a look at the career of one of the decade's most successful singer-songwriters, an artist who found pop success in the suddenly popular heartland rock genre after years of heavy touring.
R.E.M. - Profile of College Rock & Alternative Pioneers R.E.M.
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. The band took nearly a decade to achieve superstar status, but in that time R.E.M blazed a trail for the explosion of alternative and modern rock that was to take place during the '90s.
Rod Stewart - Profile of Rocker Turned Pop Stylist Rod Stewart
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.
Spinal Tap – Profile of Fictional '80s Metal Parody Band Spinal Tap
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.
Bruce Springsteen - Profile of Versatile Rock Superstar Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen is an artist who can't be easily tied to a single era, having released popular and critically acclaimed records for almost four decades now. What's more, his stamina-challenging, sold-out concerts have been almost as consistent. Even so, he was one of the most vibrant artists of the '80s and defined the period to some extent regardless of trends.
U2 Artist Profile - Profile of '80s College Rock & Post-Punk Pop Stars U2
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. As one of the few bands that broke through in the '80s to continue unfettered through three decades of changing musical landscape, U2 remains a phenomenon on many levels but still a proud product of the decade.
X - Profile of L.A. Punk Legends X
Few '80s artists had a more important and yet strongly muted impact on the later phenomenon of '90s alternative rock than original L.A. punk band X. Drawing from a broad palette of musical interests and tendencies, the group expanded the boundaries of punk rock through its independent, eclectic spirit, ultimately standing as one of rock's all-time great unsung bands.
XTC - Profile of British Early Alternative Pop/Rock Band XTC
As one of the most consistent and prolific British alternative pop/rock bands of the '80s, XTC effectively represented and delivered for sophisticated music fans of many stripes. Inspired by punk rock but far more accomplished musically than that generally simplistic genre, XTC defied any detractors intent on declaring that '80s music was style over substance.
College Rock - Profile of College Rock, the Original '80s Alternative
College rock is a blanket term used to refer to early alternative music of the '80s that found its radio home on college stations with an eclectic, independent philosophy. Though much of the music was inspired by punk rock, only a fraction of it sounded much like that aggressive, revolutionary format. College rock stayed comfortably outside the mainstream but still managed to make a significant cultural impact, ultimately giving birth to the modern rock and alternative phenomenon of the '90s.
Heartland Rock - Profile of '80s Mainstream Genre Heartland Rock
Heartland rock has exerted its influence on subsequent decades and certainly drew from previous rock, folk and country styles, but it hit its peak during the '80s as a viable mainstream form.
Jangle Pop - Profile of '80s Underground Genre Jangle Pop
As one of many subgenres of post-punk and college rock, jangle pop was distinguished by its retro focus on Beatles-inspired guitar pop and its further development of the power pop and early alternative rock that also preceded it. Though never a huge commercial draw as a genre, the style continues to influence the often offbeat guitar rock known today as indie pop and indie rock.
New Wave - Profile of Early '80s Genre New Wave
No matter how hard we try, decades don't have clean cut-off points between them that usher certain styles into one era or the other. Therefore, much of the music made in the '70s, '60s and even the '50s found itself still kicking in some form or another as the '80s began. Nonetheless, new wave's blend of punk, power pop, mainstream rock, roots rock and disco constituted the first fresh genre to emerge in the Reagan Era. Skinny ties and all, this form announced the beginning of something new.
Post-Punk - Profile of the Vital, Challenging '80s Music Genre of Post-Punk
In simplest terms, post-punk music is rock music of the late '70s and early '80s that put an innovative spin on the often simplistic punk rock that preceded it. However, artists of this movement generally lean far more toward the avant garde than the mainstream pop favored in related genres like new wave and even much college rock.
The Power Ballad, an Essential '80s Music Form
One of the most recognizable song forms of the '80s, the bombastic power ballad has built a powerful legacy over the years. Though far less common in pop/rock circles following its peak in the late '80s, the form has never quite faded away, remaining a significant hybrid form combining hard rock, soft rock and various aspects of commercial pop music.
Roots Rock - Genre Profile of Back to Basics '80s Movement Roots Rock
A number of musicians and music lovers agreed that by the mid-'80s, some of rock and roll's roots in country, blues and R&B had been lost amidst the slick, modern sounds of new wave, pop metal and other pop styles that seemed too modern for their own good. Such traditionalists found a distinctive if small niche in roots rock, a genre that embraced the energetic, straightforward sounds of '50s and '60s early rock and injected some organic spirit into a music scene often ignorant of tradition.
Eddie Money Artist Profile
As one of the most quintessential mainstream rock artists of the '70s and '80s, Brooklyn native Eddie Money has gained his share of both fans and detractors largely because of his particular brand of accessibility. Still, Money composed quite a bit of his own material, particularly early in his career, thus establishing himself as more than merely a generic male rock singer. From his eponymous 1977 debut throughout the '80s, Money was a reliable classic rock fixture with blue-collar appeal.
Stevie Nicks Artist Profile
Already a major star as one of the most visible and artistically gifted members of Fleetwood Mac, singer and songwriter Stevie Nicks greeted the '80s by launching an immediately successful solo career. Her impact and influence on scores of female rock musicians is by now beyond legendary, and even through considerable struggles with dissension within her band as well as addiction, Nicks crafted a full and varied career indeed.
Violent Femmes Artist Profile
Milwaukee's Violent Femmes emerged during the early '80s as a true American underground rock original, immediately making a mark with music buyers eyeing the fringe of pop music. Frontman Gordon Gano's lyrics crystallized teen angst precisely and honestly and combined with the urgency of the band's jittery, minimalist sound to create a legendary college rock outfit. Never a mainstream hitmaker, the Femmes nevertheless made a distinctive mark on the decade's music tapestry.
Whitesnake '80s Artist Profile
Though David Coverdale had been a working lead vocalist in blues rock and hard rock outfits for more than a decade, his band Whitesnake found widespread success only after adopting a flashy pop metal sound and image during the late '80s. Nevertheless, as a solo artist and then as Whitesnake bandleader, Coverdale was a consistent '80s force in hard rock. Despite frequent comparisons (some derogatory) to Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, Coverdale and Whitesnake earned a solid place in '80s mainstream rock.
Quiet Storm Genre Profile
Although born technically during the mid-'70s, the smooth, pop-inflected R&B style known as Quiet Storm (after a Smokey Robinson recording of that period) actually experienced much of its popularity during the early '80s. In fact, African-American soul music tended toward this romantic, slow-tempo direction well into the middle of the decade, and ultimately the genre became one of urban contemporary pop music's most reliably loved niches.
Billy Squier Artist Profile
Guitarist and singer-songwriter Billy Squier was a staple of '80s mainstream rock who commanded his share of respect from hard rock and arena rock purists as often as he attracted pop music buyers in impressive numbers. One of the most recognizably quintessential rock artists of the '80s, Squier produced some solid compositions that always stayed true to his love for power guitar riffs. Here's a look at the peak years of this underrated artist's career.
Bryan Ferry Artist Profile
As frontman of innovative '70s British rock band Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry immediately created quite a stir in glam rock circles for both his stylized look and his band's unique niche. Perhaps inevitably, Ferry's solo career forced the band into a bit of a background role, as the artist's strong personality and independence seemed to put him at odds with the band concept. Even so, Roxy Music released records into the early '80s before Ferry chose his solo career exclusively for the long term. Here's a look at Ferry's lengthy career, particularly his '80s activities.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Deborah Allen - "Baby I Lied"
Deborah Allen was one of many attractive female country music singers to emerge during the '80s, but her talent should have kept her a mainstay of that genre.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Leslie (Sam) Phillips - "River of Love"
Singer-songwriter Sam Phillips got her start during the '80s as a contemporary Christian music artist, but during the next few decades she's become much more.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Van Stephenson - "Modern Day Delilah"
Singer-songwriter and later country bandmember Van Stephenson scored one memorable '80s guitar pop tune with a fun take on a well-known Biblical story.
This Week's Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Donald Fagen - "I.G.Y."
On hiatus from his critically respected, eclectic rock band Steely Dan, Donald Fagen provided his unique touch to some fine early-'80s solo offerings.
Biography & Profile of All-Female '80s Pop Band The Bangles
Though they originated 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. Their all-female status was mildly groundbreaking but lost some of its validity when used as a major marketing tool by producers who hoped to wring the most possible mainstream appeal out of the band.
Profile & Biography of '80s Solo Artist Bryan Adams
Canadian hitmaker Bryan Adams has taken a lot of heat over the years for being a namby-pamby would-be rocker, but during his first decade as a major recording artist, there was arguably no other artist who served up better straightforward pop/rock.
Profile & Biography of Jazz-Rock Legends Turned '80s Pop Band Chicago
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. So although a matter of inevitable debate among the band's fans, the '80s were quite kind to this band from its namesake city that has remained vital for more than 40 years in pop music.
Profile of '80s Roots Rock/College Rock Band The Del Fuegos
Boston's Del Fuegos charmed the American underground with a fine blend of roots rock and garage rock during the '80s.
Profile/Biography of Boy George and New Wave Band Culture Club
Culture Club, led by androgynous frontman Boy George, burst onto the music scene in 1982 and immediately became a superstar act on both sides of the Atlantic.
Profile of Pioneering Synth Pop Group 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.
INXS Artist Profile - Profile of Australian '80s Pop/Rock Band INXS
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 and dynamic stylistic arc during which it produced accomplished music of an eclectic nature.
Profile and Biography of Soft Rock Artist Kenny Loggins
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.
Profile & Biography of '80s Singer-Songwriter John Mellencamp
A profile of one of music's finest and most successful practitioners of heartland rock and one of the biggest stars of the '80s.
Profile of Melodic American Hard Rock Band Night Ranger
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.
Profile & Biography of '80s Rock Band The Pretenders
The Pretenders were one of the most eclectic and talented bands to come out of the punk and new wave movements. In the group's initial phase, the quartet may have been one of the rock era's best bands period.
Profile & Biography of '80s Country Pop Singer Juice Newton
Eclectic country pop artist Juice Newton enjoyed a string of pop and country singles during the first half of the '80s, becoming a key female voice of the era.
Profile of '80s Superstar New Wave/Pop Band The Police
Here's a look at one of rock's greatest bands, The Police, an eclectic trio of masterful musicians that produced some of the most original and popular music of the '80s
Profile of English Punk and Post-Punk Band The Stranglers
England's The Stranglers has maintained continuing status as one of the most beloved (and certainly longest-running) cult acts of the punk and post-punk eras.
Profile of British Synth Pop Group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
England's OMD helped set the stage for a new form called synth pop, producing music throughout the '80s that both helped define the genre and push it onward.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Ian McLagan - "Told a Tale on You"
Legendary keyboard player Ian McLagan made his name in the Small Faces and Faces, but also built an impressive solo career that was still going strong at the time of his sudden 2014 death.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Wishbone Ash - "Living Proof"
British hard rock band Wishbone Ash usually doesn't find itself mentioned when the music of the '80s is the topic, but that shouldn't necessarily be the case.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Ian Hunter - "Death 'N' Glory Boys"
Under-the-radar rock legend Ian Hunter has built an impressive rock music career of four decades and counting, including a nice run during the '80s as well.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Slow Children - "Staring at the Ceiling"
Singer-songwriter Pal Shazar - like husband and longtime musical collaborator Jules Shear - probably never expected stardom. But that hasn't stopped her from delivering excellence.
Profile and Biography of Pre-Grunge British Alternative Band The Godfathers
U.K. guitar rock band The Godfathers paved the way for the '90s alternative rock explosion, keeping a renegade punk rock spirit alive during an era that often tried to forget.
Profile and Biography of Underrated East Coast Hair Metal Band Kix
Baltimore hard rock outfit Kix labored thanklessly through much of the '80s to earn a sliver of the lucrative hair metal bounty, hitting the jackpot with its last of four albums released during the decade.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Payolas - "In a Place Like This"
Canadian guitar rock band Payolas was a relatively short-lived outfit, but even smaller than its duration was its commercial impact, for some strange reason.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Michael Morales
Many '80s music fans have never heard of Michael Morales, but that's no excuse for remaining unaware of at least this one fine song he produced back in the day.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Marty Balin - "Hearts"
Marty Balin bestowed his lovely high tenor vocals on fans of '60 and '70s fans of Jefferson Airplane/Starship, but he also had some gas in the tank for the '80s.
Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Gogmagog - "Living in a F@!#ing Time Warp"
Hard rock/heavy metal bands Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Whitesnake enjoyed plenty of massive '80s success, but some of their cast-off members kept busy in their own way with under-the-radar supergroup Gogmagog.
Profile & Biography of R&B Pop Singer Ray Parker, Jr.
Blessed with a warm, relaxed voice if not an unforgettable one, R&B singer-songwriter and solo artist Ray Parker, Jr. became an important '80s figure and is still highly identifiable with the decade's music. Though best known for a top novelty pop hit, Parker released a number of worthy pop/rock singles both with his band Raydio and on his own. Here's a look at the career of one of R&B's most versatile artists, capable of blending soul, rock and pop styles to fine effect.
Profile and Biography of '80s Soul-Pop Singer Billy Ocean
British pop and R&B singer Billy Ocean nimbly referenced his Caribbean roots en route to music superstar status during the mid '80s. Active for the entire decade, Ocean took advantage of his sparkling vocals to produce a series of widely appealing international hit singles. Though indebted only marginally to soul and classic R&B music, this artist played to his strengths as a crooner to build an impressive career that rivals several solo artist contemporaries of the period.
Profile & Biography of '80s Pop/Rock Solo Artist John Waite
British singer John Waite enjoyed a varied and consistently successful '80s career as a member of two rock bands and as a solo artist. Here's a look at his productive decade of work.
Biography & Profile of '80s R&B Solo Artist Luther Vandross
During the '80s, R&B singer Luther Vandross consistently shone as one of the most popular stars of urban contemporary music. Here's a profile and biography of this late, great artist's active, largely '80s-focused career.
Profile and Biography of Power Pop/Arena Rock Band Cheap Trick
Arena rock favorites Cheap Trick became nearly instant superstars during the late '70s, but the American band remained consistently active during the '80s as well. Never championed too much by critics anyway, the group experienced declining reviews and sales as the decade wore on, but the quirky, melodic songwriting of guitarist Rick Nielsen delivered some gems nonetheless. Here's a look at the sustained career of one of the most beloved bands of the arena rock era.
Profile of Popular Mainstream '80s Music Genre Arena Rock
Without arena rock, '80s music would have been a far different creature, and despite common attitudes to the contrary, probably not for the better. Despite its commercial nature, the '80s blend of progressive rock, radio-friendly pop/rock with huge hooks, and hard rock became a deserved staple of the decade's musical menu.
Profile of '70s & '80s Arena Rock Band Styx
Though the band's most consistent string of albums came out one after the other during the '70s, Chicago-area AOR band Styx managed to achieve its three highest chart positions with three records that made their mark during the early '80s. For this reason, despite a hiatus that lasted more than half the decade, Styx made a pretty strong case for full-fledged '80s band status. Here's a look at the career of one of arena rock's most beloved and active groups of that genre's peak era.
Biography & Profile of '80s Swiss Heavy Metal Band Krokus
'80s Swiss heavy metal outfit Krokus was one of the most prolific hard rock artists of the era, releasing seven studio albums during the decade that enjoyed consistently moderate to strong success in the U.S. and even for a time in the U.K.
Profile and Biography of '80s Country Band Restless Heart
Though created somewhat artificially by a Nashville producer, Restless Heart has managed to endure as one of modern country music's most successful bands.
Profile and Biography of Versatile '80s Solo Artist Kim Carnes
Kim Carnes became an active and successful female solo artist during the '80s, producing at least one pop classic along the way in addition to bolstering the work of other artists.
Top '80s Songs of British Post-Punk, Pre-Grunge Alternative Rock Band The Godfathers
The Godfathers stood out during the late '80s as a muscular guitar rock band that embraced both melody and a post-punk, newly minted alternative music approach.
Top '80s Songs of English New Wave/Post-Punk Band The Fixx
English rock band The Fixx was one of the most consistent and prolific artists of the '80s, posting several hit singles and releasing five full-length albums. However, the high quality of the band's catalogue extends far beyond its most familiar tracks.
Top Ronnie Milsap Songs of the '80s
North Carolina native Ronnie Milsap was a tremendously successful country pop artist for more than two decades, delivering a number of memorable '80s songs along the way.
Top Jason and the Scorchers Songs of the '80s
Jason & the Scorchers produced some of the greatest driving guitar rock of the '80s. blending country and rock music in ways no one had dared before.
Forgotten Gems of the '80s
Here's a look at some of the greatest songs of the '80s that sometimes get lost in the thick fabric of passing time. We're all pretty familiar with many '80s classics, but when was the last time you heard these on the radio?
Top Little River Band Songs of the '80s
Australian guitar rock ensemble Little River Band often doesn't receive the respect it deserves, frequently pigeonholed as a soft rock act. However, the group produced many quality pop/rock songs.
Profile & Biography of New York Punk/New Wave Band Talking Heads
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.
Profile & Biography of '80s Arena/Hard Rock Genre Hair Metal
This hard rock subgenre originated during the '80s and became emblematic of the decade, presenting itself mostly as a hedonistic celebration of party-time USA. Though the music started in the underground, it quickly embraced the mainstream, buffing the grit of heavy metal to a slick arena rock sheen.
Top Nik Kershaw Songs of the '80s
British singer-songwriter Nik Kershaw emerged during the early '80s in the midst of the late new wave era. However, his literate, versatile work exceeded such labels.
Top Krokus Songs of the '80s
Krokus was one of several '80s European heavy metal bands to enjoy widespread success in North America. The group produced a number of melodic power rock classics.
Top 10 Hair Metal Ballads of the '80s
The massive popularity of hard rock, arena rock and heavy metal during the '80s culminated in a form that came to symbolize the decade's decadence and glitz. Alternately called hair metal, pop metal or glam metal, this subgenre specialized in lighter-worthy power ballads about the travails of heartache or at least matters of the flesh. Here's a look at 10 of the best '80s songs of this type, and the abundance of tunes to choose from makes for some tough choices.
Top Scandal and Patty Smyth Solo Songs of the '80s
Versatile, charismatic American rock singer Patty Smyth should have been a huge '80s star, but as frontwoman of Scandal and as a solo artist she made a solid mark.
Top '80s Songs from Soulful Rock Singer Joe Cocker
Having built a career as a soulful blues-rock interpreter during the '70s, English singer Joe Cocker turned mostly to ballads during the '80s.
Top Lou Reed Songs of the '80s
Lou Reed enjoyed one of the longest-lasting and most critically acclaimed solo careers of the rock era, along the way producing plenty of exhilarating, influential music during the '80s.
Top '80s Songs from British Singer-Songwriter Graham Parker
English singer-songwriter Graham Parker set aside some of the vitriol of his early years for a contemplative series of fine solo albums during the '80s.
A Collection of Top Songs Lists From the '80s
An effort to count down the best and most memorable songs of the '80s can certainly begin with a short list of tunes covering the entire decade, but in order even to approach doing this chore justice it's necessary - at the very least - to break down the decade's songs by year. Here's an attempt to suss out the best the '80s had to offer musically, but of course it's just a start.
Six Go-Go's Songs of the '80s
The Go-Go's made quite a splash as one of rock's first entirely self-reliant, highly successful all-female rock bands. In the process, the band released an impressive variety of quality music over three studio albums. Here's a look at the group's best.
Top Joan Jett Songs of the '80s
Following a notable run as the creative linchpin of the Runaways, pop music's prototypical all-female rock band of the late '70s, Joan Jett embarked on a successful if never fully realized solo career that helped secure her legendary status. Here I stroll down some relatively untraveled paths to deliver for you the best compositions and performances of Jett's most visible era.