The 80s music was full of energy, new wave music powered by the synthesizer and the drum machine, took the airwaves and the dance floors by storm, and is often what comes to mind when you think about the music in the 80s.
But there was much more to the 80s music scene – who could forget the big-haired hard rock bands whose driving electric guitars and pounding rhythms sold out arenas?
Or the 80s music hip hop acts who rose out of the underground to make Adidas a household name and when people were out listening to the music in the 80s with there boom boxes on their shoulders?
80s Music Videos
When MTV came on the air in 1981, it revolutionized the music industry.
New music reached the ears and eyes of American’s youth quickly and easily.
Now visible to the public like never before, musicians in the 80s became fashion icons and trendsetters.
Pop music was at the top of its game in the 1980s, and combined with their extravagant fashion trends, colorful musicians such as Cyndi Lauper and Boy George of Culture Club became as famous for their music as their 80s makeup, clothes and hair.
80s Pop Music
Madonna, who made a name for herself with catchy tunes and scandalous lyrics, quickly became one of the most imitated musicians of the decade.
Women everywhere adopted her look, and she put out hit after hit such as Like a Virgin, and Material Girl, eventually becoming the best-known female musician in the 80s and beyond.
Madonna’s male counterpart in superstardom was Michael Jackson. The newly dubbed King of Pop took advantage of the new 80s music video format and created one of the most popular music videos of all time with Thriller.
Hit songs like Beat It and Billie Jean, helped Jackson rise to become the best-selling male artist of the decade, and set many 80s fashion trends of his own.
New Wave Music of the 80s
The electronic New Wave music in the 80s started as alternative but eventually became more mainstream.
Groups like Eurythmics, Depeche Mode, and Duran, Duran were only a few of the many who skipped traditional instruments in favor of synthesizers.
Their music was modern and different, and became the defining sound of the decade. It was catchy, easy to dance to, and sing along with.
Hits like Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, The Thompson Twins Doctor Doctor and Kajagoogoo’s Too Shy are still the songs that make people in the 80s bop their heads to the beat.
80s Rock Music
The 80s was also the era when long-haired men in makeup took to the stage with electric guitars in hand.
Bands like Poison, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses and Van Halen brought hard rock and heavy metal to the forefront.
The music was loud, the hair was big, the jeans were skin-tight and strategically ripped.
These 80s music bands mixed heavy fast-paced rock anthems with power ballads that had everyone in the crowd swaying in time.
80s Hip hop Music
Break-dancing and ghetto blasters came out of the inner city and into popular culture in the 80s.
Ground-breaking hip hop acts like Run-DMC and Public Enemy gained fans from all walks of life.
Hip hop music in the 80s started with the social commentary of African-American urban youth – but morphed into lighter sounds and more radio-friendly lyrics as it gained popularity.
The music sounds of the 80s were as widely varied as the fashion – and the two were undeniably related.
The decade that had us shaking our hips and banging our heads to the beat left a lasting mark on the music industry, and the 80s Night that has become a staple of the night club scene helped the music in the 80s to live on long past its heyday.