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1980s Music

The 1980s - the decade that style forgot. You’ll often hear people complain about how nothing good musically came out of the 80s, while in their next breath they are singing along to Girls On Film or proclaiming Take On Me is their favourite song… ever!

Musically speaking the 80s were pure gold – this was the decade when some of the biggest acts of all time arrived on the scene, remember Madonna’s Like A Virgin? Jacko’s Thriller? Even some of today’s biggest stadium rock bands like U2 and REM were born in the eighties. OK, so this was the era responsible for Kajagoogoo but we all make mistakes.

While you were wearing leg warmers and stonewash denim (didn’t it just look great with that permed mullet?) ska was going through a huge revival with bands like The Specials and Madness hitting the charts, with songs you’ll still hum along to today, while house music was making its way slowly but surely out of the underground, evolving out of the 70s disco scene and eventually becoming one of the biggest musical movements of the late 80s.

But pop music is what we really have to thank the 80s for, with icons Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet at the helm – these two bands had a feud matched only by Blur and Oasis in the 90s and the hysteria surrounding them hadn’t been seen since the time of The Beatles.

Synthesisers were taking over from ‘real’ instruments (Gary Numan, The Human League), rock was still big, the advent of the MTV generation mseant ‘manufactured’ pop acts started making their way onto the scene and Bros and New Kids On The Block paved the way for the boy bands of the 90s.

Women began to assert themselves in the music scene ; where before it was sometimes difficult for a girl to get herself a band, now the fairer sex were all over the charts with Cyndi Lauper and Bananarama leading the way.


Number 1 Hits in 1980's
Year Track Title Artist Name
1980 Call Me Blondie
1981 Bette Davis Eyes Kim Carnes
1982 Physical Olivia Newton-John
1983 Every Breath You Take The Police
1984 When Doves Cry Prince
1985 Careless Whisper George Michael
1986 That's What Friends Are For Dionne Warwick
1987 Walk Like an Egyptian The Bangles
1988 Faith George Michael
1989 Look Away Chicago

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