If new wave had a sex appeal it would be Terri Nunn of Berlin. Berlin produced one of the greatest new wave tracks ever recorded "The Metro" - is it safe to say that this song is a classic? Yep - in the early days of MTV, the band and their music were on heavy rotation, and this song continues to rock audiences every time it's performed - both by the band and by other artists.
Front-woman, Terri Nunn had major sex appeal - she wasn't afraid to explore this in her music, the way she delivered her vocals and her stage antics. Also with a song title like.."Sex, I'm A...." well you get my point.
Despite this, Berlin produced some of the tightest music of the new wave era. You might remember "Take My Breath Away" a power pop track that rocked America by reaching all the way to the top - this is probably as pop as the band ever got, beyond this song, there lies the true "Berlin" - a new wave phenomenon that is truly a classic band!
Classic Tracks: The Metro, Masquerade, Sex, I'm A...
19. The Psychedelic Furs
Pretty in Pink (the movie) was inspired partly by the song of the same name!
The band was formed in the late 70's out of the punk scene in the UK, but quickly developed a more suttle, post punk sound that was the formula for some of their classic tracks, like "The Ghost in You" and "Heartbreak Beat" - the latter being the band's biggest hit in the US, by breaking the Top 40.
In 1986, in the John Hugh's classic film "Pretty in Pink", the band's music was brought to attention, as the song was featured in the movie of the same name. The song was originally released in 1981, and helped inspired the movie of the same name.
"The Ghost In You" was also featured in a reggae down version in the Adam Sandler flick "50 First Dates" (which by the way is an excellent soundtrack).
The band is still around these days, and they continue to tour.
My friend Howie did a two part post on this amazing band.....see link to Part 2 of his post!
Classic tracks: Pretty in Pink, The Ghost in You, Heartbreak Beat
18. The Eurythmics
Before the 1980's, I can't remember when I ever saw a a female rock artist, deliberately dress up in men's clothing, with side burns as well to express music and art this way.....along came the super duo of Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox who reached #1 with their first single "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". The song had an infectious light synthizer/electronic sound, whose keys you kept humming along to....quite catchy and avant garde.
Annie is regarded as one of the leading female artists of our times, and I voted her one of the "Top 10 Female Artists of Rock".
I remember her performance at the 1984 Grammy's where she had her hair dyed in black, wearing a man's suit and super long side burns - now that's rock n' roll!
Classic Tracks: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Here Come the Rain Again, Right By Your Side.
17. The Human League
"Don't You Want Me" was the classic sounding new wave single - I was so glad it reached the top spot!
I was so surprised (but pleasantly so) to see "Don't You Want Me Baby" hit #1. The heavy synthizer, and electronic sound on this single made this 80's classic a main stay on the dance floor and modern rock radio.
The band continued to have major success and had it's second #1 with "Human" circa 1986.
Classic tracks: Don't You Want Me (Baby), Fascination, Human.
Like many bands crossing the pond, ABC was part of the new romantic movement. "The Look of Love" was soulful with the vocal delivery by Martin Fry. The band continued to have Top 10 hits in both the US and UK with "When Smokey Sings" and "Be Near Me".
The band fused, soul, funk and jazz to produce some of the classiest sounding music of the 80's. Their singing style and music was also heavily influenced by American R&B, which is evidenced on their tribute to Smokey Robinson on "When Smokey Sings".
Classic Tracks: Look of Love Part 1, Poison Arrow, Be Near Me.
15. New Order
I like this modern look for the band - they still make some innovative music!
Like a Phoenix rising out of the ashes of Joy Division came New Order. The name of the band suggested a regime moving forward, as former members of JD meshed dance, electronica, new wave, synth pop with post punk in a way better than most bands who tried - the end result was the biggest selling 12" single in music history - "Blue Monday".
New Order produced classic produced one new wave hit after the other in the 80's to an amazing repertoire of dance music (such as "Bizzare Love Triangle", "Perfect Kiss", "True Faith"). The band has a massive following in the US and their music continues to be remixed by DJ's across the globe, giving new life to their music to a new generation.
I also mentioned New Order as one of the Most Influential Artists from the 80's (they ranked at #10).
Classic tracks: True Faith, Blue Monday, Perfect Kiss.
14. A Flock of Seagulls
That hair style is classic!
In 1982, who knew that "I Ran" would become one of the most memorable and biggest New Wave tunes ever recorded. It touched pop radio and the band were an instant success on MTV. The band's characteristic "seagull" hairstyle of frontman helped defined the new wave era of fashion - not only for clothes - but also the hairstyles as well. In other words - being new wave is everything - from clothes - to hair - to accessories - to attitude!
Classic tracks: I Ran, Space Age Love Song, Wishing (If I Had A Photograph of You).
The 80's would not be the same without this catchy ditty!
The name is short for "Devolution" but this band surely set the stage for the new-era of New Wave with "Whip It" - a classic in it's own right. The band also had that cool video and are known for wearing flower-pots on their heads, complete with sleeveless black tees and knee-length shorts.
Classic tracks: Whip It, Working in a Coalmine.
12. The Cure
Frontman Rob Smith was a sad, goth, but happily married person...a bit contradictory, but The Cure's blend of great pop melodies, awesome lyrics and the goth-sadness of Rob, made this band one of the most influential artists in modern rock.
Unlike their fellow melancholy sadsters from Manchester - The Smiths, The Cure had major play on MTV and went on to chart several times in the US.
Classic tracks: Boys Don't Cry, Just Like Heaven, In Between Days.
11. Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Elvis Costello has fused many genres but was one of the forerunners in the new wave/post punk era. With a killer debut album in 1977 "My Aim is True" (also the name of one of the blogs I follow)....and anarchy in Radio Radio on SNL, Elvis has a subtle side for new wave but nevertheless it does not make him any less important in terms of his contribution to the genre.
Classic tracks: Radio Radio, King of America, Allison.
OK peeps - the final is soon here!