Top 10 Greatest Artists and Bands of the 80s

The Top Ten
1 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson (Michael Joseph Jackson; August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter. He passed away from cardiac arrest caused by a propofol and benzodiazepine overdose on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael is also known as The King of Pop (a title given to him by Elizabeth Taylor) or under the initials MJ... read more

Michael Jackson is the greatest and best music artist, philanthropist, humanitarian, and human being of all time and that ever lived. He is the King of Pop. I love him and I miss him so much always and forever. August 29th, 1958 - June 25th, 2009. Forever.

No single individual has had the impact that Michael Jackson has had on singers, dancers, producers, arrangers, and directors of live events. He set the benchmark - and then exceeded himself.

Michael is the greatest in any era. His music and stagecraft transcended the 80s and kept setting benchmarks in the 90s. Despite his death, This Is It did the same for the 21st century. Now that's longevity. That's greatness.

2 Spandau Ballet

Tony Hadley certainly had a better voice than Michael Jackson (how on earth is he number one?). His fans have been sharing this page on their forum again, no doubt.

The most amazing band of the '80s AND of all time! Music that continues to touch audiences through each decade since!

Awesome band. Too many people have forgotten how great they are. Front singer Tony Hadley's voice is better than ever!

3 A-ha A-ha is a Norwegian band formed in Oslo in 1982. The band was founded by Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Pål Waaktaar-Savoy.

One of the greatest groups of all time, not just of the '80s. Morten Harket's voice is absolutely amazing in its range and style. Songs like Out of Blue Comes Green, while never released as singles, could've cemented Pal Waaktaar's reputation as a great songwriter.

Unfortunately, being labelled a boy band and pigeonholed by the music industry damaged A-ha's chances to have their music heard and rated by a wider audience. Their reformation in the early 2000s gave the band new life, and their later music definitely rates as some of their best work.

One of the greatest bands of all time. Unfortunately, they are often written off as a boy band, but they've written some truly amazing songs like "Manhattan Skyline," "I've Been Losing You," and "Minor Earth, Major Sky." If you've only heard "Take on Me," go and check out some of their other stuff! They fully deserve their No.2 spot. They should probably be at number 1, but there is no one quite like Michael Jackson (who, by the way, loved A-ha and invited them to his Neverland ranch). And yes, they're better than Bon Jovi.

4 Guns N' Roses Guns N' Roses is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles formed in 1985. The classic lineup, as signed to Geffen Records in 1986, consisted of vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler. Apart from hard rock they are also associated with heavy metal... read more

They are an iconic band that was set apart from all the others. They are one of the most popular bands ever and have repeatedly created great songs. I've seen them, and they were astonishing!

Most of these bands either made it big in the 70s and weren't as great in the 80s, or are just plain overrated. Guns N' Roses might have had the UYI albums in the 90s, which were pretty great also (in fact, UYI2 is probably my favorite album by them), but they were an 80s band through and through.

Slash is an awesome guitarist, definitely my favorite. My favorite band ever.

5 Bon Jovi Bon Jovi is a hard rock/pop rock band formed in 1983, which had a streak of successful albums in the late 1980s. The band originally consisted of lead vocalist Jon Bon Jovi, guitarist Ritchie Sambora (left in 2013), bassist Alec John Such (left in 1994), keyboard David Bryan, and drummer Tico Torres. The band's most famous album is Slippery When Wet, released in 1986, and had multiple hit singles... read more

Along with Queen, they ruled stadium anthems.

It's incredible to listen to thousands at the same time singing Living on a Prayer or You Give Love a Bad Name.

Bon Jovi may not be number 1, but he should be right under Michael Jackson. A-ha only has one song that people actually remember - Take on Me. I admit it's a pretty good song, but Bon Jovi had way more hits than A-ha: Livin' On A Prayer, You Give Love A Bad Name, Wanted Dead or Alive, Bad Medicine, and that's only their 80s hits!

They belong at number 1. They have done it all and kept smiles on people's faces while doing it.

6 Queen Queen are an English rock band formed in London in 1970. The original lineup was Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), Roger Taylor (drums, vocals), and John Deacon (bass guitar, vocals). Before forming into Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had played together in a band named Smile. Freddie Mercury was a fan of Smile and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate... read more

I have always loved Queen and have been listening to them my whole life. I don't think Under Pressure is the song that everyone knows by Queen. I think the songs they are most known for are We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, and Bohemian Rhapsody. I even got to go to a concert this past summer in LA. I love how they wrote their songs. They just make me so happy and want to get up and dance!

Queen deserves this spot. They just never stopped making great songs (they have three greatest hits albums), not to mention they're practically a household name at this point.

But "Under Pressure" kills me. It's a great song, but for some reason, it's the only reason most people know Queen. "Hammer to Fall" is much better.

Queen has an amazing voice and unique songs. It should most definitely be ranked higher.

7 Madonna Madonna Louise Ciccone, known professionally as Madonna, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She influenced a lot of singers such as: Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Beyonce Knowles and Britney Spears. She is known as Queen of Pop and at modern pop culture specifically in 2012 "Madge" or MDNA. She has 14 studio albums (Madonna, Like a Virgin, True Blue, Like a Prayer,... read more

Any list that doesn't have Madonna as the number one artist is suspect. She was dominant from the beginning of the decade to the end. Unlike Michael, she progressed as an artist, surprising us at every turn. For me, it's 1. Madonna, 2. Prince (think of all the songs he wrote for others like Sinead O'Connor, The Bangles, and Sheena Easton), 3. Michael Jackson, 4. The Police.

The '80s without Madonna would have been like a hamburger without the meat!

No one makes music for the ages like her. She is the sound of the generations she has performed for and will be.

8 Metallica Metallica is an American Heavy/Thrash Metal band formed in 1981. The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single "Enter Sandman"... read more

They're in a class by themselves. Well, metal, yeah, of course, but we're talking '80s - not so much '80s, but they are loved.

They are the best. But this list is obviously biased towards metal.

9 Prince Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 - April 21st, 2016) was an American musician, best known for being one of the most popular and influential artists from the 80s, with songs such as "Purple Rain", "Little Red Corvette", "1999", and "When Doves Cry" .

What made Prince such a big deal and huge influence was that he was pretty much the right artist at the right time. He was basically the backlash to what was going on during the 80s, in which everything was overly produced, especially with the pop music that was mostly just super flashy, big dance numbers, and pretty much else that was mostly for cash-grabbing commercialism. Prince was the people's person trying to be genuine. He was trying to be about the music, not about the traditional music scene thing like, "Oh, look at this guy. He's got spotlights on him. This guy is like a god."

Prince was the top-charting artist of the '80s in the US, with 378 weeks on the Hot 100 chart. He was there the first week and the last week of the decade. He was the top-charting artist worldwide with 5 #1 albums and 28 top 20 singles. He was also the most prolific artist of that decade.

He wrote songs for and introduced artists such as Vanity 6, Sheila E, Morris Day and The Time, Wendy & Lisa, and Apollonia. He wrote songs for Chaka Khan, Sheena Easton, and The Bangles. His work was covered by Tom Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Morgan, and The Pointer Sisters. A musician and songwriter extraordinaire.

10 The Police The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. For the majority of their history, the band consisted of Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland. They are most known for their songs "Message In A Bottle", "Don't Stand So Close To Me", "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", "Roxanne", And "Every Breath You Take" .

Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers fused sounds that took the music industry by storm. Even in the short time they were together, they created classics.

They made great music and were on top for a bit. It really sucks that they broke up.

The best band ever! And Sting is great too. Listen to King of Pain, people!

The Contenders
11 Van Halen Van Halen was an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. From 1974 until 1985, the band consisted of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Michael Anthony.

Van Halen has to be one of the greatest bands of all time. Eddie rocked on the guitar, Alex was awesome, Diamond Dave was one of the most entertaining lead singers ever, and they didn't start as a boy band put together by executives to make money. They just rocked it out.

This has to be one of my very favorite bands. If you just listen to their songs, you will be blown away by the talent in this band!

The talentless pop artists in the top ten will never be better than Van Halen.

12 Heart Heart is an American rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and worldwide.

Heart was very underrated, coming into a world dominated by male rockers where women were disco queens or dance artists. They blazed through the 70's, 80's, and 90's, leaving some great songs and guitar riffs.

Heart is awesome, duh.

13 Ozzy Osbourne John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne was born on December 3, 1948. He is also known as ''The Prince of Darkness''. Ozzy is an English singer, songwriter, and television personality. He rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of the band Black Sabbath. Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath in 1979 and has since had a successful solo career, releasing 11 studio albums.
14 AC/DC AC/DC are a Australian hard rock band, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who continued as members until Malcolm's illness and departure in 2014 . They were fronted by Bon Scott until his untimely death due to alcohol poisoning in 1979, after which they hired Brian Johnson to front the band. Commonly referred to as a hard rock or blues rock band.

What? AC/DC is one of the best bands ever, not to mention in the '80s. These guys should be first, with Rush second and Van Halen third.

The best band ever.

15 Motley Crue Mötley Crüe is an American metal band formed in Los Angeles, California on January 17, 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, lead vocalist Vince Neil and lead guitarist Mick Mars.

These guys partied hard and knew how to rock and roll. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll is and was a lifestyle only a few people can survive.

Mötley Crüe should be in the top five bands of the '80s. Their music and style were unique, inspiring other bands to follow in their steps.

Best rock band to survive the '80s. Could have been much bigger but they were their own worst enemies.

16 Aerosmith Aerosmith is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as "the Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band".

I do believe there were better artists in the 80s, but Aerosmith isn't getting enough credit, especially for hanging on when they flopped in the music industry. They ended up making one of the hugest comebacks of the 20th century, topped only by Elvis. Most artists gave up when their music took a turn for the worse, and I respect Aerosmith because not only did they refuse to give up, but they also made some of the most classic rock songs of the 20th century in doing so.

They ruled in the '70s, but wait a minute! Aerosmith made fantastic music in the '80s too. Don't you like hits like "Janie's Got a Gun", "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", "Angel", "Rag Doll", "Love in an Elevator", "Hangman Jury"? Come on, this band must be in the Top 10.

Steven Tyler's daughter, Liv Tyler, appeared in Armageddon (1998). If it weren't for Aerosmith, The Polar Express (2004) would just be another horrible children's Christmas movie.

17 Bryan Adams Bryan Guy Adams is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer, guitarist, photographer, philanthropist and activist.

Extremely talented and a personal favourite of mine, Bryan Adams manages to pull off some lively, rocky songs, e.g., "She's Only Happy When She's Dancing", "Summer of '69", and "Can't Stop This Thing We Started". He can also pull off very relaxed, slower songs such as "Star", "Heaven", and "Everything I Do, I Do It for You". So, whatever mood I'm in, I can turn on some Bryan Adams and I won't be disappointed.

With such a repertoire of fine rock music and slow, romantic songs, Bryan Adams has stood out for me as the greatest musician of the 80s and of all time. Honorable mentions definitely go to Def Leppard, Whitesnake, and Bon Jovi.

He is one of my all-time favorites! Sings a great variety of music!

Best of the best, Bryan.

18 Bruce Springsteen Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and humanitarian. He is known for his work with the E Street Band. Nicknamed "The Boss", Springsteen is widely known for his brand of poetic lyrics, Americana, working class and sometimes political sentiments centered on his native New Jersey, his distinctive voice, and his lengthy and energetic... read more

He's called "The Boss" for a reason. He released numerous hits in the 80s and was always on the radio because he was as much a part of the 80s as Prince or Madonna.

The first time I saw him in concert in Barcelona, I was 14. Now at 42, I never get tired of going to his concerts whenever I can!

After the '60s (Beatles, Stones, etc.), Springsteen is the next biggest influence in rock music. In the '80s, he should rank number 1.

19 Iron Maiden Iron Maiden are an English Heavy Metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The most critically acclaimed period for the band was from 1983-1989. With vocalist Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, lead guitarist Dave Murray, rhythm guitarist Adrian Smith, and drummer Nicko McBrain. Smith left the band in 1989 and was replaced by Janick Gers... read more
20 U2 U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group's musical pursuits, they have maintained a sound built on melodic instrumentals. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery,... read more

U2 made the biggest impact in the '80s and is still going strong. You know this list is a joke when Bono isn't ranked higher than Heart. He is one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

U2 deserves number 1. Forget Michael Jackson, his contribution to music was nothing compared to U2's.

Presence and passion. This is not even close! Time magazine's Band of the Decade.

21 Duran Duran Duran Duran are an English new wave/synthpop band formed in Birmingham in 1978. They were a successful band of the 1980s and a leading band in the MTV-driven "Second British Invasion" of the US.

I think one of the reasons why Duran Duran deserves a high spot is because they were the right band at the right time. They were a part of the New Romantic movement, which was a backlash to the UK's Punk scene during the late 70s. In this scene, everything was about being aggressive, looking torn up, and "play as fast as you can!" The New Romantic movement was society's way of trying to be more innovative, elegant, and flamboyant, like, "Hey, it's a couple of straight guys trying to look all glamorous and be more reinventive (like back in the early 70's Glam scene)." It was literally a backlash against Punk. The only difference is that Duran Duran were the top dogs of the movement. They brought that scene to the mainstream and adapted it to the MTV generation. People wanted it, people loved it. They fell in love with it, it changed a lot of people's hearts and minds, and that was partly the sound of the 80s.

22 The Cure The Cure are an English post-punk/gothic rock band formed in Crawley, West Sussex, in 1978. The band has experienced several line-up changes, with vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member.

Love The Cure!

23 Def Leppard Def Leppard are an English hard rock band formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement.

How is Def Leppard not in the top 10? They're undisputedly my favorite band of all time, and they've had tons of hits. And yet, A-ha is in second place, even though the only song they have that could even compare to any Def Leppard song is Take on Me!

What the freak! You place one-hit wonders like Spandau Ballet and A-ha high on this list, while Def Leppard sits down here. Maybe they're both big overseas, but here, not so much.

Def Leppard is one of the greatest bands to rule the 80s. Everyone has heard a lot of their songs. Pyromania was one of the greatest albums of that decade!

24 Run DMC
25 K.S. Chithra Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra, often credited as K. S. Chithra or simply Chithra, is an Indian playback singer from Kerala. Chithra also sings Indian classical, devotional, and popular music.

In the 80s, Chithra was a new face, but she captured the music world with a single song.

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