As a teenager growing up with eighties music, I found myself listening to all different styles of music. For me the eighties brought out proper musicians who wrote proper music. Yes this was the era of synthesiers, but it was also about talented individuals and groups, many of whom are still admired and played today
The 80’s decade which bought along with it much change and upheaval all around the globe, whether in Politics, Music or Fashion..
Similar to the 60’s the eighties music saw much unrest and protesting to their governments, over nuclear weapons, war and along side of it many millions helped save a Nation. With the horrendous footage broadcast by the general media, of the starving in Africa, bought with it a huge outcry which got together some of the biggest stars of the era to bring about the biggest musical event of the millenium, Live Aid.
Eventually with the end of the Cold War saw the fall of the Berlin Wall. Other highlights musically were:
The launch of MTV in the USA which probably lead to the mainstream uptake of music videos within the music industry. Early on in the eighties groups such as Devo and Haircut 100 were the pioneers of this, while artists such as Madonna and Michael Jackson mastered the idea and help make it mainstream.
The takeup by many of these 80’s groups of new technology such as, synthesizers and electronic keyboards, along with drum machines, gave an electronic, distinct sound to most 1980s records.
New Wave music, or Synthpop, a form of synthesized pop-rock, is popular throughout decade, especially the early eighties.
Rap music, began in ghettos by African American youths debuts in the pop cultural scene as early as 1979, by the Sugar Hill Gang’s single release Rapper’s Delight. In 1988, MTV picked up rap music videos by a one-hour format “YO, MTV Raps!” to a racially diverse audience.
The Hip hop scene evolves to become a powerful musical force, bringing with it several dance styles. Hip hop also brings artists like Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow and N.W.A. to the forefront; hip hop’s spread outside of New York City, especially to Los Angeles, accelerates and then by 1990, takes off beyond America’s shores.
Top-charting artists of the 1980s include The Police, Pat Benatar, Lionel Richie, The Go-Go’s, Dire Straits, Duran Duran, Van Halen, Foreigner, Phil Collins, Huey Lewis and the News, Juice Newton, Def Leppard, Deacon Blue, Bryan Adams, Queen, U2, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Cher, Rick Springfield, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Olivia Newton-John, Prince, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Beastie Boys, Amy Grant, Laura Branigan and Bon Jovi.
Massive sales for Ethiopian famine relief records by Band Aid (“Do They Know It’s Christmas?”) and USA for Africa (“We Are the World”), followed by Live Aid famine relief concert in London and Philadelphia.
Other artists push for nuclear disarmament, racial harmony (Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney in a 1981 duet release: Ebony and Ivory), and AIDS awareness. American singer Prince, French band Indochine (“3e sexe”), Canadian singer Norman Iceberg (“Be My Human Tonight”), Spanish band Mecano (“Mujer Contra Mujer”) were all part of a huge new worldwide movement of artists who wrote innovative lyrics sometimes with sexual innuendos that reflected the then popular and highly fashionable androgynous style.
In the US, contemporary Christian eighties music gains popularity in the mid-80s with such crossover artists as Amy Grant, Kathy Troccoli, BeBe and CeCe Winans and Michael W. Smith. Hard Rock became extremely popular in 1980s, and became one of the most dominating music genres of the 1980s. Artists such as Van Halen, Twisted Sister, Aerosmith, Poison, Ratt, Skid Row, Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Cinderella, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, and AC/DC got extensive airplay.
Thrash metal becomes underground sensation originating in the Bay Area, California. Bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer become popular, and are frequently seen as the alternatives to the poppier metal bands.
House music – a new development in dance music mid-way through the decade, growing out of the post-disco scene early in the decade, later developing into acid house – a harder form of dance often associated with the developing late eighties music drug culture.
Indie Rock is born, with bands such as The Smiths, Sonic Youth and Pixies as pioneers, and as music becomes more commercial, thousands of new bands form all over the country and spring up in opposition by making music faster, louder, harder and injecting a larger amount of political and social awareness into the lyrics.
Known as Hardcore punk, it would go on to influence and create other musical genres well into the 21st century. Popular bands included Dead Kennedys in San Francisco, Minor Threat in Washington DC, Black Flag in Los Angeles and Reagan Youth in New York.
El General records first album and reggaeton is born in Panama.
Many of the big names from above are still around and selling Albums now 20 + years on, we are going to be highlighting alot of the more obscure80’s artists alongside the better known.