The 80s was a period when existing species became more popular and degenerated with the influence of mass culture. In these years marked by Michael Jackson and Madonna, dance music experienced its golden age with the development of the digital recording system and the instrument called synthesizer. The New-wave genre produced good examples, especially among British bands, that are still relatively listened to today. Hundreds of different bands have written their names in history and disappeared with one or two albums and hit songs.
In those years, almost everyone who listened to music and had a deep relationship with music will remember, but today 80’s have turned into nostalgic objects that no one else knows except those aged 35-40 if they have a special interest in music history. On the other hand, names like Prince, U2, REM, The Cure, The Smiths, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, New Order, Genesis, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Pet Shop Boys, Bruce Springsteen, George Michael, Eurythmics; showed themselves in these years. Great legends such as Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, George Harrison, Elton John, Elvis Castellogists that have marked music from the 60s and 70s continued their work in the 80s. In the field of metal and rock, there are also successful examples like Metallica, which were established in the 80s and continued their musical life for many years.
Those who look at the list will immediately see that some of the most important soloists and bands of those years were absent. Except for the most popular names such as Madonna and Michael Jackson, I did not include bands and soloists that defined that period such as Bruce Springsteen, George Michael, Guns N Roses, Metallica, Beastie Boys, and Cydie Lauper; because this is a discovery list. I also did not add a name like Leonard Cohen who is a man of culture beyond a musician. Cohen made two very good albums in the 80s: Various Positions and I’m Your Man… But Cohen is a timeless musician and I think he has a special place beyond any list. A similar situation is valid for Pink Floyd. Nobel Prize winner Bon Dylan, who made a very good album with Oh Marcy (1987), of course also took part in this group.
10. Crazy Rhytms – The Feelies (1980)
The Feelies, a cult group that creates a small fan base, made a work with a musical understanding far beyond its period in 1980. The Velvet Underground, one of the first predecessors of today’s Indie Music and one of the most interesting bands of the 60s and 70s, which has a deep impact on the American Indie Rock scene, has been composed 40 years ago, but it does not lose anything from its timeliness and influence.
9. Bete Noire – Bryan Ferry (1987)
Bryan Ferry, with an album like Avalon, put on top of the career of Roxy Music, the biggest name in glam-rock music with David Bowie. After the group’s official departure, Brian Eno and Bryan Ferry had very successful solo careers. Brian Eno has developed a unique ambiant and electronic music language and is today considered one of the most influential and innovative names in music history. Bryan Ferry, on the other hand, became an interesting figure not only with his musicianship but also as a modern period gentleman. Knighted by the Queen, the greatest aristocrat of pop music ever, “an art object” as defined by Peter York, a “chanteur” with “deluxe” behavior shown by GQ as one of the best dressed men in history.
8. Actually – Pet Shop Boys (1987)
That magical year is 1987 and another great album from that year… Pet Shop Boys are probably the most successful and long-running electronic music group in the history of pop music. Each period has managed to change and develop by preserving the essence of music and has become the most successful duo in the history of British music.
7. Graceland – Paul Simon
Graceland, released by Paul Simon in 1986, is the artist’s most successful solo work, who has made 13 solo albums in total. After a trip to South Africa, Simon, who was impressed by the street music he listened to there, made a successful change from folk-rock to world music with this album, which he created in an eclectic style that he knits with African rhythms. The album, which is a great classic, especially Boy in the Bubble, Call Me Al and Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, which makes the album feel the African influences most, is innovative enough to break a new era in western folk-pop music.
6. The Queen is Dead – The Smiths (1986)
There are very few bands in the world who use guitars so melodically and harmoniously. It wouldn’t be possible without a The Smiths album, among the best albums of the 80s. At this point, I was stuck between the albums, especially the two albums The Smiths (1984) and The Queen is Dead (1986). NME described the album as “the best album of all time” in its 2013 ranking. The album was ranked 18th in the “500 Best Albums of All Time” list of Rolling Stones magazine of 2018.
5. Substance – New Order (1987)
New Order was born from Joy Division, one of the most cult bands in music history, after the suicide of the band’s brainchild, Ian Curtis, and so its early years were spent in the shadow of Joy Division and Ian Curtis. Over time, they created a unique music by combining electronic and dance music with pop-rock. Although New Order made some of its most successful albums in the 1980s, it is a long-running project that managed to reach the present day with the occasional change of the band members. The biggest proof of this is the release of Be A Rebel, the last ‘single’ from the group, in November 2020. Substance is a compilation album released in 1987, in the most musically rich year of the 80s. The band’s two big hits in the 80s, Blue Monday, Bizarre Love Triangle, and True Faith, one of the most important electronic-pop-dance pieces of all time, are featured in this selection.
4. Invisible Touch – Genesis (1986)
Founded in 1967, the band, which stood out with an original progressive rock style that blends classical, jazz and rock music, lost a lot of its intellectual and innovative style with the departure of Peter Gabriel, but this group was the most successful pop group of the 1980s and 90s under the leadership of the charismatic great musician Phil Collins. It’s not the best of Genesis, but Invisible Touch is a very good album in itself and by 80s standards.
3. Songs to Learn and Sing – Echo & The Bunnymen (1985)
Founded in 1978; Echo & The Bunnymen, a Liverpool-based post-punk band that rose to a cult status with its 1984 Ocean Rain album and its Silverve Seven Seas tracks, especially the legendary Killing Moon piece, has also been used by new generations with the use of Killing Moon in Donnie Darko (2001). was discovered. With its distinctive dramatic music, the band managed to gain a special place in the history of music with the characteristic voice of Ian McCulloch, who is a soloist and also plays guitar and piano. Song to Learn and Sing, a compilation album of 1985, which includes selections from the albums made by the band between 1980-84, should be included in the archives.
2. All of This and Nothing – The Psychedelic Furs (1988)
Founded in 1977, The Psychedelic Furs is a post-punk, new-wave and art-pop group that gained fame and success in the 80s. In 1986, John Hughes, one of the most influential directors of the 80s and the legendary name of youth films, used the song Pretty Pink, one of the band’s hit songs, in his movie of the same name. Soloist Richard Butler’s original voice, positioned between the intellectual and the popular, using elements of different genres, and guitar solos accompanied by saxophone solos, has a timeless meaning. As the author of their 1988 album All of This and Nothing AllMusic perfectly puts it, ‘the band’s evolution from a left-of-the-middle British rock band to a stylish alternative pop group is very well summed up. Way is also featured on the soundtrack album for the movie Call Me By Your Name.
1. Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits (1985)
It goes without saying much about the album: it ranks 51st among the 100 greatest British Albums ever, 352 (2002) 10 years apart and 418 (2012) in the list of the 500 greatest albums ever in history. The album is the 8th best-selling album of all time in British history. Of course the best-known track of the album is Money for Nothing, which was played at the MTV opening… Mark Knopfler’s brilliant guitar solo and Sting vocal… Still, my favorite Dire Straits song is Sultans of Swing from 1977…. less performance has come close.