Published: Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:09:30 +0000
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZFemale 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere's a look at my picks for the most memorable pop/rock holiday tunes of the '80s, from U2 to the Eagles and more.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThe 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere's a capsule view of some of the most important and prominent genres of '80s music, an era full of surprises, twists, and turns.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZVersatile, 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZMichael 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZBritish pop group ABC was responsible for some memorable '80s music moments, known for elegant, sophisticated melodies and refined arrangements.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZTo 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZWithout 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZSinger-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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThe 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZMusical 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZWhen 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZCertainly no shortage of great music has come out of all corners of the globe, but in terms of the '80s music that has stood the test of time through reputation or influence, certain American cities seemed to harbor the most staying power. Here's a look at a few of those scenes that made their presence felt the most back in the day.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAs 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAmong the instruments linked inextricably to '80s music, the saxophone stands out on any short list, though sometimes in dubious ways. Even so, its significance throughout the breadth of pop music history is undeniable and impressive. Here's a closer look at this unique instrument.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZMainstream 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZOne 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZFrom 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere's a chronological look at Queen's finest tracks of the '80s, a decade during which the band continued to prove its remarkable depth.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZPeople 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHard 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZContrary 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThe 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAs 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZPop-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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZOne 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZForeigner 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZFan 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZCulling 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZBased 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThe 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZOne 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAs 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAustralian band INXS produced some of the finest mainstream rock songs of the '80s, making a full-fledged superstar out of frontman Michael Hutchence.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZArtists 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZOne 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZGeorge 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30Z'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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZL.A. punk band X used eclectic influences to create the earliest form of alternative rock and guide it into its '90s explosion of popularity.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThough 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThere 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere's a list of best the '80s had to offer musically, broken down by the most memorable songs each year.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere's a look at the most essential songs from the extraordinarily varied '80s catalogue of fiercely original, iconic American singer-songwriter Prince.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere's a look at 10 of the best '80s songs from U2, a band that produced some of the highest-quality, most intriguing music of the rock era.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThese songs allow the listener to wallow so completely in self-involved sorrow that the world outside ceases to exist.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAs 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere'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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThe '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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAlthough 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZDespite 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZSongs 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZI'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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThe 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZOwing 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZWith 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZFew 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZMontreal 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30Z1980: John Lennon dies after crazed fan Mark David Chapman guns him down outside the ex- Beatle 's apartment
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere'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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZCollege 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZIn 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThough 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAt 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAlthough 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAlready 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThough 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThe '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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZDespite 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZFew bands have displayed a capacity for reinvention as dramatic or successful as Genesis, a band that embraced weirdness under the direction of Peter Gabriel but pure pop melodicism when drummer Phil Collins took the helm. Here's a look at some of that band's finest tunes in the latter category, pop confections that house far more musical substance than they're ever given credit for.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZFrom indie rock to pop and dance music, here are the eight essential artists that defined the '80s music scene.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZR.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
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere'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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere'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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere's a chronological look at the best Cinderella songs from the band's peak period during the second half of the '80s.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAs 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZHere's a look at some of the finest singles from Scottish singer Sheena Easton during her consistent '80s run.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZDespite 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30Z'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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThe 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAfter 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZBy 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZBritish 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZFor 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZDespite 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZLed 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30Z'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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAs one of the most stylish and sophisticated synth pop bands emerging from England's early-'80s New Romantic
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZBritish soul and pop singer-songwriter Billy Ocean finally attained mainstream superstardom during the mid '80s, and his string of hit singles help turn him into a household name and musical icon of the decade. Here's a look at Ocean's best '80s songs.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAlready 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZFew '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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZOne 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThe 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAlthough 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZThe 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZAs 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.
2017-02-20T11:09:30ZCanadian 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.