Top Picks Lists
Artists with the Most Hot 100 Pop Hits During the '80s
Some 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.
Best Fictional '80s Songs from Movies
'80s music continues to retain a mystique and retro charm that often bleeds into contemporary and even current filmmaking. A number of movies both recent and occasionally even made during the '80s make significant use of actual '80s music to great effect, but a select few go as far as creating original fictional compositions that serve both to celebrate and parody the music of that era.
Long Shot '80s Rock Hall Candidates
Perhaps through its very nature, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is bound to snub dozens of deserving artists from its hallowed halls. Therefore, the act of narrowing down a list of '80s artists that will almost surely remain overlooked is quite a delicate one.
More '80s Rock Hall Suggestions
A number of pop/rock artists made the bulk of their impact during the '80s, but far fewer have also accomplished enough to warrant a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sometime during the upcoming decade.
Top '80s Acts with Geographical Names
Perhaps rock musicians are not best-known for being studious, but over the years many have shown a propensity for naming their bands after places, topographical features, countries and continents. Here's a look at some of the most prominent of these artists, which demonstrate the great variety of what's in a name.
Top '80s Music Artists That Should Already Be in the Rock and Roll Ha…
Not all '80s artists are even yet eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but there are more than a few that have been active up to three decades without being recognized. Here's a look at five '80s artists that should already be there.
Top '80s Solo Songs by Members of The Eagles
Following the break-up of The Eagles, one of '70s rock's most popular and critically revered bands, the group's members had talent to burn outside the confines of a band structure. All in all, six of the band's total of seven members released at least two records during the '80s as solo artists. While only a small proportion of these artists...
Top '80s Songs for Winter Moods
Winter has always been one of Nature's most maligned seasons, hated for its extreme cold, occasional fury and general dreariness. But with the aid of '80s music, it's revealing to explore the many facets of the season, especially when it comes to mood changes hinging on the pursuit of warmth or the endurance of cold. As always, '80s music is there to get us through the hard times.
Top '80s Songs of The Alarm
Although '80s Welsh rock band The Alarm received only limited critical respect for its impassioned, arena-ready guitar rock, the group produced plenty of strong melodic songs that at times stood tall among the best early alternative rock of the era. Constantly overshadowed by a band with a similar sound and career path - Irish superstars U2 -...
Top '80s Songs of The Church
Probably one of the finest and most prolific guitar rock bands of the '80s, The Church began its career with a hard-charging rock sound accompanied sometimes oddly by frontman Steve Kilbey's almost gothic vocal delivery. Later on, the band would soften its sound and become known for a far more mellow sound that hinged on haunting, arpeggiated...
Top '80s Songs of The Cure
With one of the most varied and challenging catalogues in all of '80s music, the Cure offer 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.
Top '80s Songs of The Fixx
English rock band The Fixx was one of the most consistent and prolific artists of the '80s, posting several hit singles and releasing five full-length albums. However, the high quality of the band's catalogue extends far beyond its most familiar tracks. For this reason, distilling the best songs from The Fixx during the group's peak era requires...
Top '80s Songs of The Outfield
English guitar rock band The Outfield managed for a time during the late '80s to be one of mainstream rock's fast-rising talents to watch. Here's a look at some of the group's best songs of the period.
Top '80s Songs of The Replacements
The Replacements remain one of the most important rock bands of the '80s even if they never received due attention during their peak era.
Top '80s Songs of The Smithereens
From the start of their career as the '80s began, New Jersey's Smithereens put their focus on pop music songcraft wrapped up in an aggressive, crunchy guitar rock package. The band's blend was quite singular and became a favorite in college rock and early alternative rock circles without falling into any obvious categories. Here's a look at this...
Top '80s Songs of The Who
Despite releasing only two studio albums during the early '80s before going on long-term hiatus, The Who produced some important and lasting music in the years immediately following original drummer Keith Moon's tragic death. This output may not have matched several of the band's classic album-length statements of the '60s and '70s, but the...
Top '80s Songs That Best Bear the Presence of Saxophone
If you're even a casual fan of '80s music, you're more than familiar with the rising use of saxophone in pop and rock music during that decade. It's hard to say exactly why the sax solo became so popular and yet so offputting during this period, but there are certainly examples of graceful '80s uses of the instrument.
Top 10 '80s Artists from Australia and New Zealand
Although largely Anglicized and therefore not obviously distinct from rock and pop musicians of the U.S. and U.K., artists from Australia and New Zealand spun an intriguing web of musical offerings during the '80s. The two island nations contributed a wide array of styles and demonstrated unique tinges of eclecticism, all of which rounded out...
Top 10 '80s Artists to Take Home to Meet the Parents...
Like a mighty pendulum swinging, '80s music encompassed artists stretching from one extreme to another and all regions in between. So, to help balance out the plentiful artists of the era known for clean-cut appearance and apple-pie wholesomeness, the '80s also harbored a number of artists that through image, behavior and style (often in combination) represented the threatening side of humanity.
Top 10 '80s Lead Singers Who Played an Instrument Most of the Time
Since at least the '60s, rock music has often shone its spotlight on lead singers, frontmen and frontwomen who drew primary attention from audiences through their charisma or image as much as their singing ability. While this has produced some interesting musical moments, I’ve always preferred lead singers who also stake a strong claim to being...
Top 10 '80s Love Songs of Heartache & Heartbreak
The '80s were heavily populated with over-the-top love songs, so a list of the most notable ones holds that much more significance for the selectivity involved. These songs allow the listener to wallow so completely in self-involved sorrow that the world outside ceases to exist. They're not necessarily the best love songs '80s pop music had to...
Top 10 '80s Makeovers Of Established Artists
In order to find success in the video-friendly '80s, some established artists of the '70s (and in some cases even the '60s) reinvented themselves, with varying results. The best of these evolved without selling out, taking advantage of both the new era and their unique talents.
Top 10 '80s Music Film & TV Crossover Artists
This phenomenon continues today stronger than ever, but in the '80s perhaps more than ever stars of the screen were just dying for music careers, and vice-versa. Some of their careers did almost expire during the process, but that didn't stop the fireworks in a car-wreck rubberneck sort of way. Step back in time for a look at the best and worst of these curiosities.
Top 10 '80s Solo Careers
Though 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.
Top 10 '80s Songs About Work
Songs 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, from gender roles to the erosion of America's industrial base.
Top 10 '80s Songs Featured on '80s Film Soundtracks
One 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...
Top 10 '80s Songs of Self-Pity & Self-Absorption
Those of us blessed with personalities that tend to get mired in melancholy know a thing or two about getting so caught up in our own internal struggles that we hardly notice the outside world. Luckily, pop and rock music has always had a keen eye toward this kind of self-centeredness. Here's a list of 10 of the best the '80s had to offer of this ilk.
Top 10 '80s U.S. Music Scenes
The fabric of American music, particularly of the underground variety, where distinctiveness could more easily be preserved, spread out to reveal a wonderful tapestry of innovation and energy. Along the way, a few geographical regions seemed to house most '80s musical activity.
Top 10 Albums of 1980
Here’s a look at 10 of the finest and most influential albums that made their most notable impact during the calendar year of 1980.
Top 10 Albums of 1981
Here's a look at some of 1981's finest full-length releases, with an eye toward capturing the great variety of music released that year in the ever-changing pop/rock landscape.
Top 10 Albums of 1982
Here's a look at 10 of the finest album releases that defined 1982, a year still driven by new wave but exhibiting a variety of rock and pop styles.
Top 10 Albums of 1983
Thanks to Michael Jackson's Thriller and its unprecedented reign atop the pop charts, 1983 was an exhilarating and head-spinning year for music. Here's a look at some of the other great records that didn't always get their due during the year the King of Pop ruled.
Top 10 Albums of 1984
While 1984 graced us with some of the strongest, most lasting albums of the '80s (Born in the USA, Like a Virgin, Purple Rain, and 1984, 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.
Top 10 Arena Rock Artists of the '80s
Because the genre occupied such a significant space within the fabric of '80s music, arena rock artists tend to pop up quickly in a discussion of the era's pop music offerings. Here's a look at some of the best.
Top 10 Bon Jovi Songs of the '80s
As 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...
Top 10 Canadian Artists of the '80s
Our neighbor to the north has always produced an impressive array of entertainers, from movies to TV and, of course, music. The '80s were a particularly kind decade to Canadian artists, as the U.S. mainstream rock and pop charts often left plenty of room for them to spread out and get comfortable.
Top 10 Dokken Songs of the '80s
I try to check my biases mostly at the door while serving as your '80s Music Guide, but occasionally I can't help but draw heavily from my personal taste. That may be the case here, but I truly believe that the four-studio-album catalogue of L.A. hard rock mainstays Dokken is substantially deep in quality. Having treated two …
Top 10 English Artists of the '80s
The sheer volume of rock and pop music since the Beatles that has originated from the relatively tiny land mass of England qualifies certainly as astounding. 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.
Top 10 Eric Clapton Songs of the '80s
Though valued mainly for his distinctive electric guitar sound as a lead guitarist in several legendary bands as well as his long solo career, British superstar Eric Clapton is also a fine singer-songwriter capable of success in various genres from pure blues to blues rock and classic rock. Here's a chronological look at Clapton's best tunes...
Top 10 European Artists of the '80s
Artists from 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.
Top 10 Genuine Country Artists Who Most Personified the '80s
Though the Nashville machine certainly held sway in the genre during much of the decade, '80s country music also harbored more than a few talented, visionary artists who made their greatest contributions during the decade.
Top 10 Hair Metal Ballads of the '80s
While no one would ever argue that hair metal was a genre full of variety, the form did boast a handful of archetypes, the most well-known of which is probably the glorious power ballad. Here's a look at 10 of the '80s most impressive representatives of that form.
Top 10 Hair Metal/Pop Metal Songs of the '80s
Contrary to popular belief, the prominent '80s genre labeled hair metal, pop metal or glam metal (depending on who was doing the classifying) contained far more than merely power ballads. Here's a look at some of finest rockers from this genre.
Top 10 Hall & Oates Songs of the '80s
Despite a versatility uncommon for musical artists of any era, few acts are more strongly linked to the '80s than the long-running duo of Daryl Hall & John Oates. During the first half of the decade, the pair forged an impressive status as reliable hitmakers that was simply unmatched.
Top 10 Hard Rock Frontmen of the '80s, Part 1
There is certainly no shortage of hard rock frontmen from the '80s that were significant, memorable and highly visible during the era. Here's a look at some of the most popular, flamboyant and even sometimes talented lead singers of '80s hard rock.
Top 10 Hard Rock Songs of the '80s
Hard rock during the '80s was a lucrative style of music that brimmed with multitudes of bands representing various genres. Therefore, separating out the best songs from such a large pool of possibility is quite the challenging enterprise. 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.
Top 10 Husker Du Songs
Initially, Husker Du's songs were short blasts of aggressive guitar, shouted vocals and breakneck tempos. However, as the trio grew and expanded its sound, a greater emphasis on melody and genre exploration began to define a Husker Du track. Along the way, the band was highly responsible for forging the emerging styles of modern rock,...
Top 10 John Mellencamp Songs of the '80s
With or without the "Cougar" designation, Indiana singer-songwriter John Mellencamp enjoyed a very deep '80s catalogue. Distilling his best material from that body of work is therefore challenging and rewarding for the patient listener. Here's a preliminary look at this essential artist's finest compositions.
Top 10 Kenny Loggins Songs of the '80s
As 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 ready niche in the era's soft rock format.
Top 10 KISS Songs of the '80s
Though 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.
Top 10 Least Worthy No. 1 Hits of the '80s
As we all know, just because a song reaches the top of the Billboard pop charts does not ensure that it's a great - or even a good - song. Therefore, it's easy to come up with a lengthy list of '80s No. 1 hits that are questionable if not cringe-inducing. Here's a short list of the most offensive violators in this category.
Top 10 Madonna Songs of the '80s
Perhaps few would argue that the '80s were Madonna's peak of influence, but coming up with a list of the top Madonna songs from that period is a particularly challenging enterprise.
Top 10 Male-Female Duets of the '80s
One of pop music’s best opportunities to explore its theatrical side reveals itself quite often in duets featuring aptly paired male and female performers. This form has persisted throughout many eras of music but perhaps never belonged more fully than during the '80s. Here’s a look at some of the decade’s finest both-gender pairings.
Top 10 Metallica Songs of the '80s
Despite releasing only four full-length studio albums during the band's most relevant decade, brand new Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Metallica delivered a strikingly high percentage of quality tunes during the '80s.
Top 10 Michael Jackson Moments of the '80s
Now that he's suddenly gone forever, Michael Jackson is guaranteed to receive various tributes and appear as the subject of all manner of remembrances. Here's a look at some of the star's most interesting '80s moments.
Top 10 Michael Jackson Songs of the '80s
With only three albums released within the decade, albeit big, successful ones, Michael Jackson is really best examined as a singles artist. As such, from a Billboard charts perspective, it’s tough to pinpoint his best work because he was such an '80s phenomenon. Here’s a look at 10 of his strongest tunes, warts and all.
Top 10 Most Notable Band Splits of the '80s
Whether they broke up as the result of artistic differences or were ripped apart by tragedy, many major and essential artists called it quits during the '80s, even if only for a while.
Top 10 Most Tragic & Untimely Deaths of '80s Artists Since 1990
Since the end of the '80s nearly two decades ago, many of its musical artists have aged and matured in typical ways, either in or out of the business. Some, of course, dealt with that constant evolution better than others, while another group was silenced by sudden, accidental deaths.
Top 10 Most Tragic & Untimely Musician Deaths of the '80s
The '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.
Top 10 Musical Themes Composed Especially for '80s TV Shows
This is one of those lists that varies wildly depending on the ear and the beholder, but I like to think this countdown touches both on my personal favorites and some of the most interesting, emblematic themes implanted permanently in our collective memory.
Top 10 New Wave Artists of the '80s
When 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 pop/rock of the era.
Top 10 Obscure & Underground Artists of the '80s
As 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. This was most certainly the case with underground music of the '80s, a sweeping, varied category that stretched across punk, pop and early hip-hop styles and everywhere in between.
Top 10 Ozzy Osbourne Songs of the '80s
The '80s rebirth of Ozzy Osbourne after his 1979 firing from heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath was the first of several occasions in which the singer endured and overcame hardships to continue his success.
Top 10 Paul McCartney Solo Songs of the '80s
As a modest but only recently more serious Beatles fan, I'm pleased to announce that Paul McCartney's best '80s songs compare quite favorably to his finest work. Here's a survey of some of this music.
Top 10 Police Songs of the '80s
The 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.
Top 10 Pretenders Songs of the '80s
Although 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 but benefit also from a tuneful pop sensibility fueled by Hynde’s unique vocal style.
Top 10 Prince Songs of the '80s
Here's a countdown of the most essential tunes from the extraordinarily varied '80s catalogue of the true American original who at that time went by the simple but striking name of Prince. Find out why he still stands today as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist of the highest order.
Top 10 Punk Rock & Hardcore Bands of the '80s
The 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.
Top 10 R&B Artists of the '80s
Many R&B artists achieved crossover pop success during the '70s and '80s, but the latter decade provided plenty of great old-school moments from artists like these.
Top 10 R.E.M. Songs of the '80s
R.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.
Top 10 REO Speedwagon Songs of the '80s
Here's a look at the finest tracks from REO Speedwagon's commercial peak of the early and mid-'80s, a collection heavy on power ballads and accessible pop/rock.
Top 10 Rolling Stones Songs of the '80s
Though many probably figured the band's best days had passed, legendary classic rock band the Rolling Stones remained quite active during the '80s, contributing more than a few notable hits and album tracks to the era's musical landscape. The always eclectic quintet certainly made forays into dance music and glossy pop during this time,...
Top 10 Scorpions Songs of the '80s
Germany'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...
Top 10 Signature '80s Keyboard Riffs
The glorious '80s brought the 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 that allow the listener to make no mistake about what song is on its way.
Top 10 Soft Rock Songs of the '80s
The golden age of soft rock came during the mid to late '70s, when the singer-songwriter movement and the propensity of country-rock and folk-rock blends combined to forge a gentle pop/rock sound quite popular among mainstream music fans. However, this trend also extended successfully into the first few years of the '80s, as these songs attest.
Top 10 Songs Featured in John Hughes Films
The '80s films of John Hughes each rely significantly on pop music to help tell stories that blend comedy and drama arguably as well as Hollywood cinema has ever done. But Hughes was also no one-trick pony, employing music in often disparate ways to help make every cinematic experience feel rather new.
Top 10 Songs of 1980
Here'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 this year, but few of them truly epitomize the exciting transitional period between the '70s and '80s.
Top 10 Songs of 1981
By 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. In this way, '80s music began to fully embrace its own individual fashion and sound this year, and the results truly launched a new era of both making and experiencing music.
Top 10 Songs of 1982
As MTV continued to extend its influence, artists began to emerge and thrive almost on image alone. Even so, much quality music was released in 1982, ranging from straight-ahead rock to synth pop to guitar-based new wave.
Top 10 Songs of 1983
1983 may have been the year of Michael Jackson, but it was also a year that embraced an array of pop music perhaps like never before. So many artists from disparate backgrounds who performed in various styles found success this year, and that was only one thing that increased the dynamism of the Top 40 charts.
Top 10 Songs of 1984
At 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.
Top 10 Songs of 1985
Aside from being right in the middle of the '80s chronologically, 1985 was undoubtedly a central year in the decade’s musical offerings. Many of the most popular and highest-quality tunes this year stood as big, sweeping statements of both style and substance.
Top 10 Songs of 1986
Here'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.
Top 10 Songs of 1987
Kindly peruse my list of the top songs from 1987, in no particular order and certainly with no claim toward a collection that cannot be challenged. Here is simply a notable sampling of some of the year's most memorable songs.
Top 10 Songs of 1988
Here's a look at 10 of the most striking, singular tunes from 1988, a year dominated by some pretty lame pop hits and hair metal posturing but somehow still rich with delightful musical surprises.
Top 10 Songs of 1989
Here's a musical look at the last calendar year of the '80s, a time during which much pop music was already in the process of saying goodbye to the previous decade.
Top 10 Songwriting Teams of the '80s
Every decade has had its share of groundbreaking and moving songwriting, but it's less often when a team of two or three songwriters can sustain a consistent career of collaboration. Here's a look at some premium '80s examples of this type of artistic collaboration.
Top 10 Talking Heads Songs of the '80s
In terms of lively eclecticism and independent pop spirit, perhaps no other American band active during the '80s comes close to matching New York's original punk/new wave pioneers Talking Heads. Here's a look at some of the band's finest songs from that period.
Top 10 Tom Petty Songs of the '80s
As one of the most prolific and high-quality performers of the '80s, rocker and singer-songwriter Tom Petty sometimes slips off the radar of music fans when they consider the most important artists of the '80s. But that's a regrettable oversight easily remedied upon close examination.
Top 10 U2 Songs of the '80s
U2 evolved from a post-punk jangle guitar outfit to arena rockers before finishing out the '80s delving into roots rock. Along the way, the band produced some of the highest-quality, most intriguing music of the rock era, not to mention the decade. Here’s a look at 10 of the best '80s songs from one of rock’s greatest bands.
Top 10 Van Halen Songs of the '80s
Although Southern California’s hard rock heroes Van Halen made quite a splash in the late '70s when the band debuted, the group certainly built its lasting legacy through its prolific work during the '80s.
Top 10 Women of '80s Rock
'80s rock harbored a number of worthy artists that often played second fiddle to the era's prominent pop stars. Here's a look at some of the finest female rock artists of this era.
Top 10 X Songs
With music of such high quality in its catalogue, X makes it difficult to select only 10 songs to showcase. But it's the good kind of difficulty often referred to as a challenge, and time spent culling the top tunes from the band's five studio albums becomes a rewarding endeavor instantly.
Top 5 Fashion Anti-Heroes of the '80s
In a decade linked closely to fashion trends, many '80s artists were nothing but image while others overshadowed their music with the way they looked. So I thought it would be enlightening to take a look at the ones that most ignored fashion despite the potentially lucrative lure of image overload.
Top 5 Motivational '80s Songs to Drive Your Job Search
Lists of generally inspirational '80s pop/rock songs can be long and plentiful, but I thought it might be interesting in these times of layoffs and economic crisis to pick out the ones best suited to galvanize a job search.
Top 6 .38 Special Songs of the '80s: A Full Chamber
Rooted deeply in Southern rock and a hard-driving '70s rock sound, .38 Special actually did not become a distinct entity with its own sound until the band developed a smooth, tuneful hybrid of hard rock and melodic, guitar-oriented pop in the early '80s.
Top 6 Air Supply Songs of the '80s
Australian duo Air Supply dominated the pop music charts during the first half of the '80s, even if rock music purists cringed at the very realization of the group's existence. However, that certainly didn't stop legions of adult contemporary and soft rock record buyers from making the singing partnership of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock...
Top 6 Bangles Songs of the '80s
All-female '80s rockers the Bangles have always been most well-known for music its members contributed the least, but the truth of this fine band's legacy can be gleaned from its highly original '60s-tinged, guitar-based pop sound.
Top 6 Go-Go's Songs of the '80s
The Go-Go's made quite a splash as one of rock's first entirely self-reliant, highly successful rock bands. In the process, the band released an impressive variety of quality music over three studio albums. Here's a look at the group's best.
Top 6 Heart Songs of the '80s
'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.
Top 6 Loverboy Songs of the '80s
Though several of Loverboy’s five full-length album releases of the '80s had their share of filler tracks and silly slices of cheesy machismo, the best songs from this one-of-a-kind new wave/arena rock band stand proudly as some of the best music of the decade.
Top 6 Men at Work Songs of the '80s
Despite 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. And unlike many of its contemporaries, the group did so by focusing squarely on making great, eclectic rock music like these fine tunes.
Top 6 Night Ranger Songs of the '80s
Melodic hard rock outfit Night Ranger produced some of the most memorable melodies found in '80s hard rock, even if the group failed to gain much critical respect from rock audiences. Here's a look at some of the band's finest, most well-crafted songs of its seminal period.
Top 6 Spinal Tap Songs of the '80s
As the top parody rock band of the '80s, Spinal Tap provided both commentary on contemporary music and functioned as a vital artist in its own right. Here's a look at the "fictional" band's best and most representative hard rock songs.
Top 6 Stevie Nicks Solo Songs of the '80s
One of the most iconic and beloved pop music figures of both the '70s and '80s, Stevie Nicks became a full-fledged superstar during the latter decade. Here's a look at some of her best songs of the era.
Top 6 Survivor Songs of the '80s
The American melodic power rock band Survivor was always more of a singles act than a producer of consistent albums, but the group's best songs truly capture a moment in time during the early '80s. Stop in here for a look at the group's essential tracks, all celebrations of excessive romantic bombast.
Top 7 '80s Artists Known for Accessorizing
At least on the surface, which is often all that matters, the '80s were more about fashion than music, as the images projected by artists sometimes lasted longer than the music they put on record. Here’s a look at some of the most iconic artists of the decade from a style perspective. Accessories always included.
Top 7 Bob Seger Songs of the '80s
Heartland rocker Bob Seger delivered some of the '80s finest, quietly moving mainstream rock and did so with a greater consistency than almost any of his peers. Despite only three studio albums, his impact on the decade's musical landscape was significant enough to put him on the short list of important rock artists for both the '70s and '80s....
Top 7 Human League Songs of the '80s
Though known primarily for two of the most lasting pop tunes of the '80s in "Don't You Want Me" and "Human," Sheffield, England's Human League exerted much more influence on the era's pop music landscape than it surely seemed at the time.
Top 7 Lionel Richie Songs of the '80s
For 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.
Top 7 Nick Lowe Songs of the '80s
The problem with high expectations can be that anything less than meeting them feels like a disappointment. That's a phenomenon that has hounded British singer-songwriter and alternative pop roots rocker Nick Lowe from his earliest pub rock efforts of the early '70s.
Top 7 Motley Crue Songs of the '80s
As one of pop metal's most successful acts of the '80s, Motley Crue thrived in the MTV generation as a photogenic glam metal quartet that was unique in its snarl and dark edge. Here's a look at some of the group's best songs.
Top 7 Poison Songs of the '80s
One of hair metal's most popular and vilified bands of the '80s, Poison made some of the era's most defining music, for better or for worse depending on your perspective.
Top 7 Rick Springfield Songs of the '80s
Though often unfairly labeled as a teenybopper’s fantasy lacking in artistic substance, Rick Springfield was actually one of the '80s finest practitioners of mainstream rock, striking a singular marriage between a power pop obsession with melody and a rebel rocker’s penchant for guitar riffs.
Top 7 Rush Songs of the '80s
Because the sound of Geddy Lee's voice can at times feel like heated glass shards in my brain, I haven't done all that much listening to Canadian power trio Rush over the last 15 years or so. Even so, I've never even tried to build an argument that the group's dense compositions aren't musically impressive. Here's a look at the group's best.
Top 7 Stevie Wonder Songs of the '80s
Here's a look at the finest '80s songs from Motown & soul legend Stevie Wonder.
Top 7 ZZ Top Songs of the '80s
As one of the decade's most iconic bands in terms of visual image and sound, Texas blues-rock legends ZZ Top made the transition to full-tilt mainstream pop/rock with flair, conviction, and, most importantly, some pretty solid songs.
Top 8 '80s Songs That Address a Person by Name in the Title
Here's a look at some of the best music of the '80s addressed directly to another person, an interesting list of top hits and lesser-known album tracks from various genres.
Top 8 Bryan Adams Songs of the '80s
Many people may not be aware that Canadian mainstream rocker Bryan Adams enjoyed his greatest success in the '90s as a balladeer and movie theme crooner. Nonetheless, his chart success in the '80s was nothing to scoff at, not to mention the fact that his music during that period was much more interesting. Here’s a look at some of the singer’s...
Top 8 Cars Songs of the '80s
Removing the Cars’ excellent first two albums from consideration would seem like a pretty devastating handicap, but the 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.
Top 8 Colorfully Named Artists of the '80s
Here's a look at a number of '80s bands that offered vibrant touches through their music as well as the splashes of color in their names.
Top 8 Cyndi Lauper Songs of the '80s
Cyndi Lauper became an unforgettable '80s icon through her unique blend of punk/new wave style and a distinctively free-spirited persona. But it's the strength of her best songs that will continue to ensure that she is remembered fondly as an important '80s pop music artist as well as a highly visible one.
Top 8 Def Leppard Songs of the '80s
This quintet from Sheffield, England took early glam rock and British heavy metal leanings and transformed them into a hitmaking juggernaut in the '80s. And the result of that metamorphosis was, naturally, a bevy of good songs, high on hooks but still possessing a genuine hard rock drive.
Top 8 Duran Duran Songs of the '80s
When asked to name important artists of the '80s, very few music fans of that era would leave Duran Duran off their short lists. Here are eight reasons why the band has become so inextricably tied to the glamorous, shimmering decade it matched so perfectly.
Top 8 Elvis Costello Songs of the '80s
Although Elvis Costello made his biggest splash in the late '70s as a pub rock/punk/new wave singer-songwriter, the decade in which he demonstrably proved his eclecticism and broad range of talents was undoubtedly the '80s.
Top 8 Foreigner Songs of the '80s… Plus Lou Gramm Solo
While the meticulous nature of group leader Mick Jones helped limit Foreigner’s '80s output to just three albums, the reinvented '70s arena rock band produced some of the decade’s most memorable and iconic tunes.
Top 8 Joe Jackson Songs of the '80s
Although singer-songwriter Joe Jackson quickly became a journeyman stylistically, the first decade or so of his career displays a sort of cohesion in terms of musical quality and consistent output. Here's a look at the finest songs from Jackson's most commercially and critically successful period.
Top 8 Journey Songs of the '80s
Over the course of only three albums, former prog rockers turned rock balladeers Journey churned out an impressive array of hit singles and prime album tracks. Almost all are worthy of praise, but it’s also notable that a handful of these tunes have not only withstood the test of time but stand up well to focused scrutiny.
Top 8 Most Memorable Pop/Rock Holiday Songs of the '80s
Any list of songs, best or worst and in between, contains the potential of inspiring polar emotional responses, but perhaps on no topic is this more true than Christmas music. Here's a look at my picks for the most memorable pop/rock holiday tunes of the '80s.
Top 8 Multiple-Guitar Songs of the '80s
The 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.
Top 8 Sheena Easton Songs of the '80s
Though far from critically acclaimed during her remarkably consistent and eclectic '80s pop career, Scottish singer Sheena Easton always maintained a solid status as major star.
Top 8 Wham! & George Michael Songs of the '80s
Throughout his glossy '80s journey to superstardom, George Michael stood firm as perhaps the era’s purest pop singer-songwriter. His obsession with glamorous melodic content fueled the music of Wham!, the duo he founded with childhood pal Andrew Ridgeley, and also drove his massive success as a solo artist.
Top 8 Worst Band Names of the '80s
All music artists may recognize the importance of choosing a strong band name, but that doesn't stop a significant number of them from making silly decisions in that regard anyway. Here's a look at some of the most cringeworthy, head-scratching and downright goofy band names of the '80s.
Top 8 XTC Songs of the '80s
Few '80s artists representing any genre released music as ambitious and solidly built on songcraft as XTC, one of the decade's primary masters of quirky British post-punk. Here's a look at some of the group's most signature tunes of the period.
Top 9 Genesis Songs of the '80s
Few 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.
Top 9 INXS Songs of the '80s
As one of Australia's most successful musical exports to the United States, the long-lasting sextet INXS also ranks as one of the most consistent pop/rock acts of the '80s. From its early rough-edged pub rock/new wave days to full-fledged pop superstardom, this band explored various genres in always solid songwriting.
Top 9 Psychedelic Furs Songs of the '80s
Aside 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.
Top 9 Violent Femmes Songs of the '80s
Exploring the back catalogue of a band like the Violent Femmes, one of rock music’s all-time cult favorites, is a rewarding enterprise just on its own merit. But when placed against the backdrop of the '80s music landscape, it’s a particularly eye-opening experience.
Top ABC Songs of the '80s
Though active throughout the '80s as a musical entity, Britain's ABC presented most of its lasting work on its wonderful 1982 debut, 'The Lexicon of Love.' A brilliant combination of elegant synth pop, R&B and funk allowed the band to distinguish itself from more morose contemporaries.
Top Adam Ant Songs of the '80s
Stylish rock star Adam Ant took his inspiration from the original wave of punk rock in England, but he created his own musical style and a distinct image as a solo artist during the '80s.
Top Alabama Songs of the '80s
Alabama emerged during the '80s as a major act not only in commercial country music but also as a serious crossover pop threat. Here's a look at the group's top songs of this period.
Top Asia Songs of the '80s
Arena rock quartet Asia never received critical praise during its early-'80s run as chart threats. However, some of the band's best songs blended catchy melodies with a powerful, complex and distinctive mainstream rock sound.
Top Berlin Songs of the '80s
Synth pop band Berlin produced some fine songs within its genre during the first half of the '80s. Here's a look at the group's best work.
Top Billy Idol Songs of the '80s
In a visual and musical sense, Billy Idol has consistently remained one of the most memorable and beloved icons of the '80s. Here's a look at some of Idol's finest work from that era.
Top Billy Joel Songs of the '80s
Singer-songwriter and pop superstar Billy Joel certainly had an abundance of hits during the '80s, but he also suffered from a significant gulf between his critical and commercial reception. Nonetheless, Joel's best work has always exhibited great melodic sense, and he can be a fine, serious songwriter when he wants to be.
Top Billy Squier Songs of the '80s
Seasoned mainstream rock artist Billy Squier may have seemed like a new face when he emerged with his debut album in 1980, but actually he had been plying his trade for years in Piper, a band that never quite made it big in '70s rock. That experience helped Squier hit the ground running, and he perfected a certain brand of big rock through six...
Top Blustery Vocal Performances of the '80s
'80s music certainly had its share of over-the-top performances, especially on the part of singers emoting so much they had to be close to physical collapse. Here's a look at a few of the most extreme of such blustery vocal performances.
Top Bonnie Tyler Songs of the '80s
Scottish singer Bonnie Tyler built an iconic '80s mainstream rock sound that remains significant even if her chart relevance was limited. Here's a look at her best songs of the period.
Top Bruce Cockburn Songs of the '80s
Here's a look at some of singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn's best song contributions during the '80s, a fertile and passionate period of his long career.
Top Bruce Springsteen Songs of the '80s, Part 1 - Familiar Tunes
Bruce 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.
Top Bruce Springsteen Songs of the '80s, Part 2 - Deeper Tracks
Because his catalogue is too big and too good for just one list, here's a second collection of essential '80s songs from legendary rocker and singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen.
Top Cheap Trick Songs of the '80s
The pride of Rockford, Illinois, Cheap Trick perfected a unique form of melodic mainstream rock and generated some classic tunes during both the '70s and '80s.
Top Chicago Songs of the '80s
Here's a look at the cream of the crop from Chicago's distinctive if somewhat disappointing '80s phase, a list of songs far shorter than the Billboard charts back then might have suggested.
Top Christopher Cross Songs of the '80s
Soft rock singer-songwriter Christopher Cross enjoyed massive success during the early '80s even if he didn't always receive matching respect as an artist. Here's a look at his finest songs of the period.
Top Cinderella Songs of the '80s
Though sometimes maligned as a typical hair metal band as glossy as its image, Cinderella was actually often a gritty, blues-based hard rock band with genuine menace and roots rock credibility.
Top Corey Hart Songs of the '80s
Montreal 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. Immediately upon the release of his debut album, Hart became a star in both the U.S. and his homeland. And even though that trend would...
Top Country Pop Songs of the '80s
Though artists like Kenny Rogers and Alabama probably took greatest advantage of the late-'70s and early-'80s rise of country pop, that form has never really stopped being a factor in pop music.
Top Cover Versions of '80s Songs
'80s music has long held a nostalgic appeal for those who came of age during the era, but in recent years new fans and up-and-coming artists are grasping that an appreciation of the period's pop music need not be an embarrassing enterprise. A cover can always serve as a demonstration of pop culture parody, but these particular versions generally focus on respect for quality material. Here's a loo…
Top Crowded House Songs of the '80s
Though Australia-based guitar pop band Crowded House released only two full-length albums and a smattering of singles during the '80s, the group made a major mark on that decade. For nearly a decade extending into the '90s, in fact, Crowded House held a proud flag aloft for thoughtful mainstream rock with a touch of alternative rock sensibility....
Top Culture Club Songs of the '80s
As one of the most recognizable if short-lived superstar acts of the early '80s, Culture Club released some remarkably consistent soul-inflected pop that has stood the test of time. Led outlandishly by the stylishly androgynous Boy George, the band released two classic albums and racked up a number of deserving hit singles.
Top Dan Fogelberg Songs of the '80s
It may be customary to exaggerate the achievements of musicians after they die young, but the fact remains that singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg will probably always remain a bit underrated. Even so, he was a major pop star through the '70s and '80s, presenting some of the latter decade's most melodic music that did not have any use for trends.
Top David Bowie Solo Songs of the '80s
'70s glam rock icon David Bowie entered the '80s as an active, relevant artist and quick fit into the post-MTV landscape as a continuously stylish singer-songwriter. Here's a look at his best songs from the latter decade.
Top Deep Purple Songs of the '80s
Though known for its memorable '70s output, British hard rock band Deep Purple also produced a number of underrated songs during an '80s period of reformation.
Top Dire Straits Songs of the '80s
Most people don't really consider British rockers Dire Straits to be an '80s band, aside from the group's No. 1 hit from 1985, "Money for Nothing," and its music video. But in reality, when active, Dire Straits was one of the decade's most important and unique contributors to the music landscape.
Top Donna Summer Songs of the '80s
Some music observers may not realize that R&B/dance pop singer-songwriter Donna Summer enjoyed almost as much success in the '80s as she did during the '70s, when she became a bona fide disco diva superstar. In fact, Summer was arguably more active during the latter decade, releasing six studio albums compared to the five she produced during...
Top Eddie Money Songs of the '80s
Mainstream rock singer for the masses Eddie Money amassed a total of 23 charting singles during the first, more commercially relevant half of his career, which stretched roughly a decade and a half from 1977 to 1992. The clear majority of those songs were released during the '80s, a decade in which Money produced five solo albums and posted his...
Top ELO Songs of the '80s
Most music fans associate ELO most strongly with classic rock and a string of memorable pop hits, but the British band also produced plenty of worthwhile music during the '80s.
Top Elton John Songs of the '80s
By the end of the '70s Elton John was unmistakably one of the biggest pop stars in the world, even if some would suggest that his career appeared to be in a measure of decline at that point. Still, once his collaboration with long-time songwriting partner Bernie Taupin became fully renewed, John churned out some high-quality '80s tunes.
Top Eurythmics Songs of the '80s
British 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. However, the singular, soul-inflected vocals of Annie Lennox combined with Dave Stewart's analytical musical approach helped distinguish the group from a wide array of...
Top Fleetwood Mac Songs of the '80s
Though ultimately remembered best for its massive '70s output, legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac managed to remain quite active and successful throughout the '80s.
Top Gloria Estefan Songs of the '80s
As lead singer and frontwoman of Latin pop band Miami Sound Machine, Gloria Estefan became a major star in English-speaking markets. Here's a look at her best '80s songs.
Top Hoodoo Gurus Songs of the '80s
Australia's Hoodoo Gurus became one of the finest early alternative rock bands of the '80s, producing a string olf solid guitar pop songs.
Top Howard Jones Songs of the '80s
English keyboardist and singer-songwriter Howard Jones quietly became a major pop music artist of the mid '80s, delivering plenty of memorable melodies and thoughtful material.
Top Iron Maiden Songs of the '80s
From almost the beginning of its long, distinguished career, British heavy metal band Iron Maiden created powerful, consistent hard rock built for the long haul. Here's a look at the band's best songs of the '80s.
Top J. Geils Band Songs of the '80s
Though as a consistent, full-fledged six-piece powerhouse rock ensemble its best work was already in the past, the J. Geils Band made a vital contribution to the pop and mainstream rock landscape of the early '80s. With its two albums before frontman Peter Wolf left for a solo career, the group produced eclectic, bluesy music that also embraced...
Top Huey Lewis & the News Songs of the '80s
As one of the '80s most quintessential bands, Huey Lewis & the News actually carved out a rather independent if middle-of-the-road path to pop stardom. After all, while other artists responded to changing trends and adapted to emerging genres, the Bay Area band continued to play its accessible brand of bar band heartland rock throughout the decade.
Top Jefferson Starship & Starship Songs of the '80s
Never a critical favorite, the arena rock version of Jefferson Starship morphed into the even more maligned slick pop outfit Starship with much commercial success. The group's output certainly suffers from mixed quality but does have its moments.
Top Joan Jett Songs of the '80s
Following a stint with the Runaways, Jett embarked on a successful if never fully realized solo career that helped cement her place as rock legend. Here's a look at some of the singer's finest songs of the era.
Top Kansas Songs of the '80s
The American rock band Kansas experienced an onslaught of change during the '80s, ranging from personnel shifts, a rise in spiritual and even outright Christian lyrical themes, and a steady move away from its original heartland take on progressive rock. Most critics saw these changes in an almost exclusively negative light, but the various '80s...
Top Kenny Rogers Solo Songs of the '80s
As the '70s became the '80s, few musical artists existed on the planet who were more widely popular than country music veteran and soft rock specialist Kenny Rogers. Although his biggest hits had probably already happened by the turn of the decade, Rogers remained a huge crossover pop artist for the first half of the '80s.
Top Kool & the Gang Songs of the '80s
Here's my take on the best tracks from the most commercially successful years of the classic funk/soul band Kool & the Gang. Although the music certainly took on a strong pop flavor as the decade wore on, the band pumped out a consistent string of high-quality hits such as these, presented in chronological order.
Top Laura Branigan Songs of the '80s
Pop singer Laura Branigan may not be the first artist to make a short list of female singers from the '80s, but her career contained some impressive moments especially during the decade's first half.
Top Marshall Crenshaw Songs of the '80s
Singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw emerged on the pop music scene at the right time for his melodic, throwback rock and roll to find an immediate niche. During the early '80s, a power pop revival of sorts along with the popularity of new wave allowed music fans to hear his accomplished but accessible guitar pop. Unfortunately, the remaining...
Top Michael Jackson Songs of the '80s, Part 2
Following the untimely and mysterious death of '80s superstar Michael Jackson, I assumed that the public's massive fascination with his life and music would eventually lose some of its intensity. But I must say that fan respect and appreciation for Jackson's greatest legacy - his music - has convinced me that admirers aren't deterred by his loss.
Top Mr. Mister Songs of the '80s
'80s pop/rock band Mr. Mister rarely gets much respect from music enthusiasts looking back on its somewhat safe sound, but the group became major hitmakers in 1985 and scored some genuine classics along the way.
Top Music Moments of 1981
For some reason it always takes a year or two for a new decade to kick in musically, as vestiges of the previous decade cling for dear life before fading or morphing into something else. 1981, for example, maintained a bridge not only to the disco sounds of the late '70s but also some of music's biggest stars of the past.
Top Pat Benatar Songs
From 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.
Top Phil Collins Songs of the '80s
Pop-oriented Genesis frontman Phil Collins hasn't always received a lot of respect as a rock artist, but his solo work during the '80s provides no shortage of evidence that he released plenty of high-quality music as he made the transition from rock to full-fledged pop throughout the decade.
Top Pixies Songs of the '80s
Alternative rock legends the Pixies produced some of modern rock's most acclaimed music of the late '80s, paving the way for the commercial explosion of alternative music in the '90s.
Top Queen Songs of the '80s
Operatic '70s hard rock superstars Queen ultimately generated nearly as much success during the band's '80s run as it did in its earliest phase, and that's no accident. The venerable British quartet released five full length albums during the latter decade, featuring eclectic music that spanned genres as disparate as funky dance-pop, roots...
Top Randy Travis Songs of the '80s
Randy Travis emerged on the country music scene during the mid '80s and helped usher in a new traditionalist era for the genre that focused on the genre's roots.
Top Ratt Songs of the '80s
'80s pop metal band Ratt combined a heavy, menacing sound with pop-tinged melodies to become one of the era's best and most underrated hard rock bands of the era.
Top Richard Marx Songs of the '80s
Here's a look at the best Richard Marx songs culled from a small but potent body of late '80s work.
Top Robert Palmer Songs of the '80s
It was tempting to dismiss British singer Robert Palmer as a slick product of the '80s and a pop star in the most superficial sense of the term. However, upon closer examination, Palmer had already built a stunningly eclectic, surprisingly accomplished pop/rock career by the time he became a superstar during the mid '80s. Here's a chronological...
Top Rod Stewart Songs of the '80s
Throughout a long and still-thriving career in the music business, British rocker, songwriter and pop music icon Rod Stewart has not always done what's expected of him. Here's a look at some of Stewart's finest eclectic '80s offerings.
Top Roxy Music Songs of the '80s
Despite a highly limited output during the '80s that consisted of only two studio albums featuring about 16 full-length original tracks, '70s art rock band Roxy Music made a significant mark during the latter decade. Having reformed and reinvented the group as a lush pop vehicle for his songwriting, frontman Bryan Ferry was accused at times of...
Top Singing Drummers of the '80s
Full-time rock music drummers who also spent a significant amount of their time singing lead for their bands are rare commodities indeed. The landscape of '80s music is no different in this regard, although the biggest names may not always be the best examples of this musical phenomenon. Here's a look at the best singing drummers of the '80s.
Top Songs by British Alternative Legends The Smiths
I know I'm taking a huge risk by even attempting a list like this, but sometimes an '80s music guide has to do what an '80s music guide should have done months before. After all, it's safe to say that fans of the Smiths, Britain's premier indie rock band of the decade and one of alternative music's most influential acts, are about as rabid as...
Top Songs from MTV's First Day of Music Video Broadcasting
Almost everyone remembers that the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" was the inaugural music video shown on MTV at its August 1, 1981 launch. But here's a look at the best of the rest.
Top Songs of The Motels
Though dependent on the feminine attributes of lead singer Martha Davis, The Motels also presented an array of quality music during the first half of the '80s.
Top Spandau Ballet Songs of the '80s
England's Spandau Ballet produced at least one unforgettable '80s classic during its active career during that era. However, the group's output also contains some unexpected pleasant surprises.
Top Squeeze Songs of the '80s
U.K. new wave and guitar pop band Squeeze brought a certain sophistication to '80s music with urbane songwriting and bright, complex melodies. Here's a look at some of the group's best songs of the era.
Top Steve Earle Songs of the '80s
Though active for nearly a decade previously as a burgeoning singer-songwriter on the Texas music scene, eclectic country rock artist Steve Earle seemed to emerge suddenly as an important figure during the latter half of the '80s. Across three albums of genre-busting material, Earle reflected an outlaw renegade spirit that allowed him to explore...
Top Steve Winwood Songs of the '80s
Rock legend Steve Winwood contributed a number of permanent pop classics to the '80s music landscape. Here's a look at his best work of that period.
Top Styx Songs of the '80s
At first glance, it might not seem that Chicago-based arena rock band Styx released enough records to fill a lengthy '80s best-of songs list. However, the band's deep catalogue is probably underrated in terms of consistent quality, as not enough credit goes to the band's arsenal of three distinctive and collaborative songwriters. As a result,...
Top Supergroups of the '80s
Although 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. Here's a look at a few of the most prominent, important and memorable supergroups from the '80s.
Top Tears for Fears Songs of the '80s
Tears for Fears developed a deserved reputation as one of the premier rock music bands for sensitive, thoughtful audiences. Here's a look at the British group's finest work of the '80s.
Top Toto Songs of the '80s
Never one of rock music's most critically acclaimed bands, Toto nonetheless achieved impressive levels of success during its heyday from the very late '70s through the mid '80s. And although the group's best music doesn't extend far beyond its biggest hits and most familiar tracks, that handful of eclectic pop songs continues to stand as some of...
Top Warren Zevon Songs of the '80s
Here's a look at American rock singer-songwriter Warren Zevon's finest songs from the '80s, his second decade as a major recording artist.
Top Weird Al Yankovic Songs of the '80s
For some '80s music fans, Weird Al Yankovic and his song parodies became almost as memorable as the songs they're based upon. Here's a look at Yankovic's best tunes of his initial era.
Top Whitesnake Songs of the '80s
Though the Led Zeppelin comparisons and pop metal characterizations have dogged Whitesnake leader David Coverdale throughout his long career, the essence of Whitesnake actually amounts to a bit more than most observers saw during the late '80s. Steeped in blues rock as well as classic rock, '70s hard rock and heavy metal, this band's musical...
Top Whitney Houston Songs of the '80s
Although Whitney Houston burst on the scene only 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.
True One-Hit Wonders of the '80s
The term "one-hit wonder" has been applied to dozens of artists over the years, sometimes even to performers that have enjoyed multiple stays on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart. I don't mind a slightly broader definition of the term, but I thought it would be revealing to find out which '80s artists earned the designation in the truest and most complete sense.
Unique Canadian '80s Number One Pop Hits
In most cases, pop hits that reached No. 1 in Canada closely reflected the top of the charts in either or both the U.S. and U.K. However, on a few occasions a pop song reached the promised land in Canada but remained totally obscure almost everywhere else.
Worthy But Underrated Arena Rock Songs of the '80s
Arena rock enjoyed its moment in the sun for as many as six years stretching from the late '70s through the early '80s, which is a pretty good run indeed for one of rock's most maligned genres. Here's a look at some songs in the genre that don't always receive their due.
Top '80s Songs of The Call
American rock band The Call delivered some of the finest emotive, theatrical music of the '80s, even if not enough listeners noticed at the time. Here's a look at this group's best songs of the decade, pulled from several high-quality '80s albums.
Top BoDeans Songs of the '80s
American roots rock band BoDeans received a fair amount of critical acclaim with its initial '80s albums, eventually becoming an under-the-radar favorite among early fans of alternative music. The group's music centered on the songwriting team of leaders Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas.
Top Judas Priest Songs of the '80s
One of the finest hard rock bands of the '80s delivered a surplus of classic tunes during that decade. Here's a look at just a few.
Top Yes Songs of the '80s
Most fans of classic '70s Yes probably don't hold the group's '80s work in equally high regard, but the truth is the reconfigured band's three '80s albums contain some fine mainstream rock moments. Here's a look at the best Yes songs from the group's less-heralded '80s era.
Top Lou Reed Songs of the '80s
Rock legend Lou Reed produced a number of strong albums during the '80s, and his songs during that period typically employ his raw and direct sense of poetry and songcraft.
Top Jackson Browne Songs of the '80s
Veteran singer-songwriter Jackson Browne continued his deliberate, thoughtful solo career during the '80s, mixing literate, romantic subject matter with an increasing social conscience. Here's a look at Browne's best songs of the period.
Top John Waite Solo Songs of the '80s
British artist John Waite enjoyed a successful solo career during the heart of the '80s, mainly on the strength of a handful of polished mainstream rock singles.
Top Ramones Songs of the '80s
Not all fans agree that a significant portion of The Ramones' '80s output stands among the band's best work, but here's a list of songs that might challenge negative evaluations of the group's second decade.
Top Joan Armatrading Songs of the '80s
Joan Armatrading's eclectic singer-songwriter rock blended various elements of her Caribbean and British heritage, including soul, folk, reggae and a shimmering pop sensibility. Ultimately, she came up with a number of classic '80s tunes during that decade, her most active and commercially successful period.
Top Rosanne Cash Songs of the '80s
Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash bridged the era's transition from country pop to New Traditionalist country music. Her emotionally resonant compositions met with plenty of critical and commercial acclaim during the '80s, and she has sustained a career that is still going strong after more than three decades.
Top Peter Criss Solo Songs of the '80s
Original and former KISS drummer Peter Criss has not enjoyed a particularly lengthy or prolific solo career, but he did produce two generally overlooked solo albums during the '80s that contain some memorable mainstream rock songs.
Top Split Enz Songs of the '80s
New Zealand rock band Split Enz enjoyed a wildly varied career throughout the '70s and into the '80s, ultimately emerging as a guitar pop band of consequence.
Top '80s Songs of The Feelies
Underground American rock band The Feelies released three albums during the '80s, all filled with dense, mesmerizing guitar parts and precise, melodic exploration. Here's a look at the best Feelies songs of this era.
Top Richard Thompson Songs of the '80s
British singer-songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson has enjoyed a dynamic music career spanning more than four decades. Although the '80s was a highly transitional period for him as an artist, Thompson remained quite active and creative during the period, producing these exemplary tunes.
Thompson Twins Artist Profile
England's Thompson Twins sometimes seemed to be merely a glossy, flamboyant example of post-new wave pop, but the group managed to put together a consistent and successful international career throughout the '80s.
Top Bryan Ferry Solo Songs of the '80s
Stylish English singer-songwriter Bryan Ferry produced a number of memorable pop songs during the '80s, both as leader of his longtime band, Roxy Music, and as a solo artist.
Top Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio Songs of the '80s
American soul/R&B singer Ray Parker, Jr. enjoyed a successful '80s career as both a member of Raydio and as a solo artist. Here are some of the singer-songwriter's best songs from his peak commercial period.
Top 'Til Tuesday Songs of the '80s
Boston new wave band 'Til Tuesday initially emerged as a synthesizer-reliant pop outfit focused on leader Aimee Mann's striking image more than anything else. However, in the case of three albums during the latter half of the '80s, the group produced plenty of fine guitar pop based on Mann's growing songwriting prowess.
Top Tina Turner Songs of the '80s
Already 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.