OK - so I love the 80's - there were so many great songs, unusual acts and some killer fashion. Some of the artists are still around playing some great music (Madonna; U2) and some of these have been major trend setters influencing and providing inspiration to some of today's artists - so who are some of these major acts? Well here's my list.
10. Joy Division / New Order
Forged from the fires of one of the major influencers of alternative rock (Joy Division) New Order has influenced a whole genre of dance/alternative/rock with electronica. New Order's classic dance track "Blue Monday" is the biggest selling 12" single of all time.
9. Run DMC
Remember those classic track suits they wore and the Adidas? - LOVE IT
The Sugar Hill Gang introduced us to "rap" but Run DMC influenced a whole new genre of NuMetal when they collaborated with classic rockers Aerosmith to combine classic rock to a new Hip/Hop sound - giving us "Walk this Way" in 1985.
This sound was really a meshing of two of the most opposing ends of the music spectrum - rock and rap. The sound went on to influence today's modern nu-metal sound with bands like Korn; Linkin Park; Papa Roach and of course - Rage Against the Machine - to name a few.
8. The Cult
In 1984, the Cult ambushed rock radio, with a sound that was part hard rock and part something else I could not define - and unlike anything rock radio had heard. "She Sells Sanctuary" in my opinion is one of the first hard rock/alternative tracks to emerge. It's such a classic - it's still heard on rock radio today. The Cult has produced three classic albums in the 80's - all critically acclaimed - "Rain"; "Electric" and "Sonic Temple".
7. Echo and the Bunnymen
There were many streams of music happening in the 80's - from the metal movement; pop; new wave and middle of the road rock - but the beginnings of indie were also starting - maybe on a small scale on college radio (with the likes of R.E.M.) but still providing a pathway for "alternative" music.
Let's face it - the 80's had all sorts of music hitting Top 10 - R&B; rock; new wave - but alternative was just that - alternative (and not mainstream). One of these biggest bands was "Echo". This band was part of that late 70's punk scene but really had a unique sound that was part melodic and part driven classic rock.
See a post I did on (Echo and the Bunnymen).
Also mentioned Echo as part of the "27 Club
6. Guns N' Roses
Wow - this is an important band to emerge from the 80's - with all the clutter of sounds coming out in the late 80's and new bands looking to be the next big sound - GNR took us back to that classic, stripped down rock n' roll sound. Being part of the metal scene, the band's music was described as "Sleaze Metal". But this is just scraping the top of the surface - the band's music is identifiable, classic and just pure talent.
From the sound of Axl on lead to Slash playing one of the most memorable and complicated riffs in rock music history on "Sweet Child O' Mine" - this band had one of the decades biggest selling albums with "Appetite for Destruction", and a return to good old' rock n' roll.
5. Depeche Mode
This band is the biggest selling electronic/synth pop band in history. Period and enough said.
See a link to a post I did on (Depeche Mode).
4. Michael Jackson
Thriller had some of the greatest and most memorable songs in pop history - MJ was an intricate part of the 80's music scene. He was also one of the first black artists to be played on an "all-white" MTV back then. Thriller spawned the monstrous hits "Billie Jean" (which is my fave song from the 80's) and "Beat It".
MJ of course was also one of the more controversial artists out of the 80's - his personal life intrigued everyone and tales of wierdism always seems to plague the front page of many thrash tabloids.
MJ has left behind a legacy of great music and has influenced many of the modern R&B artists from Usher, Beyonce and Chris Brown. His voice and music is timeless and he regarded as one of the most loved artists in rock history!
Michael-mania still exists!
See- Michael Stipe had a full head of hair.
R.E.M. broke big on college radio and had a massive underground following before breaking big on mainstream pop radio in 1987 with their 5th album "Document".
When "Murmur" came out in 1983, it introduced a melodic, indie sound that was not heard maybe since the Beatles. The band had no intention about being pop stars - they were all about the music and sticking to their guns.
For me - hearing R.E.M. marked one of my 1st intros into "alternative music". The band is regarded as one of the most influential artists of all time and "Mumur" was voted as one of the best albums in rock era (as per Vh-1).
1. U2 and Madonna
OK - I don't have a # 2 - but we have a tie for #1. Both artists were highly regarded as significant artists from the time they launched; both artists have had some landmark albums and singles; both artists have influenced and continue to influence many of today's musicians; and both artists continue to make relevant music today.
Also both artists have evolved - Bono with his work on AIDS and Africa; and Madonna on Malawi.
OK - don't think of me as taking the easy way out - I just couldn't decide who was more influential. Let's start with U2 - this band had a mission - to conquer America and the World - and they did - they have won over 10 Grammys; had some of the decades most influential and critically acclaimed albums ("The Joshua Tree" and "Rattle and Hum"); and were a staple on MTV. Also when we think about the 80's - we can't forget this band.
Madonna - wow - everything about Madonna was controversial from the start - despite all of this her music was diverse; creative; she pushed the buttons on everyone and her contribution to the world of fashion - wow - it is a major imprint on the 80's.
Britney Spears has also cited Madonna as being major influence on her.
Madonna has also won the most MTV video awards (about 18) and she is regarded as the "Queen of Pop" - a title she rightly deserves.
Well - quite a number of artists were not mentioned but it was a tough list to come up with, but I'd just like to mention "Whitney Houston", "The Smiths" and "The Cure".
Anyways peeps - hope you enjoy! TTYL!!