2017-02-24T11:01:23ZBy 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZAs 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZWhen 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZAs 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZAt 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZFew 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZSongs 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZWithout 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZAs 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZHere's a capsule view of some of the most important and prominent genres of '80s music, an era full of surprises, twists, and turns.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZThe 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZHere'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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZFan 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZFew 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZTo 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZThere 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZMichael 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZHere's a list of best the '80s had to offer musically, broken down by the most memorable songs each year.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZThe 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZFrom 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZFemale 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZPop-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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZAmong 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZThe 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZWith 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZThe 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZHere'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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZMusical 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZAlthough 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.
2017-02-24T11:01:23ZPeople 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.