Published: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:09:02 +0000
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZFemale 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZVersatile, 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZMichael 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThe 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAs 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThe 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZMusical 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZTo 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAs 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZPop-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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZFrom 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZWith 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZCertainly 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZOne 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere's a capsule view of some of the most important and prominent genres of '80s music, an era full of surprises, twists, and turns.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZWithout 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZForeigner 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere'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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAmong 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAustralian band INXS produced some of the finest mainstream rock songs of the '80s, making a full-fledged superstar out of frontman Michael Hutchence.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZWhen 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZSongs 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZPeople 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHard 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThe 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02Z'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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02Z'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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAs 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZFew 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZCulling 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere's a chronological look at Queen's finest tracks of the '80s, a decade during which the band continued to prove its remarkable depth.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZL.A. punk band X used eclectic influences to create the earliest form of alternative rock and guide it into its '90s explosion of popularity.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThere 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThe 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZFan 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere'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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZGeorge 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZDespite 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAs 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZArtists 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAlready 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThe 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThe 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere'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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere's a look at the most essential songs from the extraordinarily varied '80s catalogue of fiercely original, iconic American singer-songwriter Prince.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZOne 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZPat 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZFew 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAt 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZMontreal 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZBy 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZDespite 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZFollowing 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere'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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere's a list of best the '80s had to offer musically, broken down by the most memorable songs each year.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAs one of the most stylish and sophisticated synth pop bands emerging from England's early-'80s New Romantic
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZOwing 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAlthough 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAt 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAlthough 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZContrary 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZFor 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere'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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThe '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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZI'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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02Z'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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAside 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAs 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZOne 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZBritish 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThough 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZBased 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThese songs allow the listener to wallow so completely in self-involved sorrow that the world outside ceases to exist.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZR.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
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZFrom indie rock to pop and dance music, here are the eight essential artists that defined the '80s music scene.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZOne 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZDespite 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02Z1980: John Lennon dies after crazed fan Mark David Chapman guns him down outside the ex- Beatle 's apartment
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThe concept of dual/twin guitar probably reached its peak during the rock excess of the '70s, but the performance-based combination of complementary musicianship certainly had its moments as well in the wealth of hard rock available during the '80s. Here's a short list of memorable '80s songs from bands featuring multiple guitarists.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZGermany's Scorpions are one of the longest-lived and consistently productive hard rock bands on the planet, having forged well beyond a 40-year career as major representatives of that genre. The group traversed most of the '70s in understated but workmanlike fashion, emerging ultimately in the '80s as pop/rock superstars as well as fine purveyors of heavy metal. Here's a look at the group's finest songs of that decade, a list rich in well-known tracks as well as underrated album cuts.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAside from being right in the middle of the '80s chronologically, 1985 was undoubtedly a central year of the decade's musical offerings. Here's a look at some of the top songs of that year, which continue to generate large waves of nostalgia and good memories whenever heard still today.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere's a look at some of the finest singles from Scottish singer Sheena Easton during her consistent '80s run.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHere's a look at 10 of the most memorable pop tunes from 1986, a diverse bunch of songs made up of familiar classics and tracks that were emblematic of the year.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThough 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZBruce Springsteen was an important and consistent hitmaker of the '80s, especially upon the release of his intensely popular classic album from 1984, 'Born in the USA.' Here's a look at the singer-songwriter's best tunes that made a mark on the '80s pop charts.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZCyndi 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZSome 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZBoth as the primary creative force in the hitmaking duo Wham! and as a wildly successful solo artist, George Michael ruled the '80s like few artists could dream of. Though a highly capable singer in various pop styles, Michael particularly distinguished himself as a songwriter of great talent and versatility.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZHeartland 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZWhile 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZBritish pop group ABC was responsible for some memorable '80s music moments, known for elegant, sophisticated melodies and refined arrangements.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZNo 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZMainstream 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZFor 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZThe band's consistency during its career of just under a decade ensures plenty of great '80s tunes to choose from for a best-of list.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZOne 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02Z'80s soul/pop singer-songwriter Jeffrey Osborne employed his smooth baritone to great effect during the '80s on a string of hit dance tunes and ballads.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAlready a partial legend by the end of the '70s as a member of the seminal all-female rock band the Runaways, Joan Jett quickly established a successful '80s solo career that made her an icon. As a fiercely independent songwriter, producer and performer, Jett blazed a trail for women in rock and roll that's still revealing itself today, more than 35 years after she first burst on the scene.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZBritish 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.
2016-10-21T11:09:02ZAlready 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.