Top 10 Best Bands of the '80s
There will never be the stage presence, lead vocalist, or charisma that will top Queen. Ever! Their songs are timeless and are constantly played on the radio, at sporting events, and serve as a major influence on musicians that followed. I have an absolute favorite, Bohemian Rhapsody, but there are so many fantastic songs that it makes it difficult to choose just one favorite.
Also, what rock band has had a lead singer also become a number-one opera singer? Freddie Mercury made a duet album that topped the world of opera - after being a rock singer. Usually, this process would happen in reverse, if at all. Freddie was on top of the world and is a legend in the world of music. I've never met a person who doesn't love Queen. They are the true test of talent, with songs that live on and outlive their creators. Queen wasn't just a band. They were true performers and true perfection. You can hear that perfection in every song. Love this band!
They were original from the beginning: music, lyrics, looks. Thirty years later, through all of life's bumps and highs, they are still rocking, writing, creating, and touring! They've created an internet universe for their fans to celebrate together. They are widely known for their kindness and generosity toward their fans. They've collaborated with everyone from Robert Palmer to Justin Timberlake, successfully! They are right back in the studio after just finishing a grueling world concert tour for All You Need is Now. They epitomize the '80s music scene at its best and have proven over 30 years that they are true artists.
Easily the number-one band of the '80s! They crafted amazing songs, playing their own instruments and writing their own lyrics. They made the most memorable music videos, like "Rio" and "Hungry Like The Wolf," wow! They had charm and confidence, as well as amazing looks and fashion! Let's name a few things: "Is There Something I Should Know" went straight to number one in 1983 (only the fourth music act to do that at the time, a rarity). Duran Duran, "Rio," "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" - all platinum albums. "The Reflex" reached number one in the UK and the US. "View to a Kill" was the first James Bond song to reach number one. And they are still going strong now with the amazing "Paper Gods" album. This is why Duran Duran are the best of the '80s! Thank you, Simon, John, Nick, and Roger! Also to Andy and Warren! You guys rock!
Duran Duran? Really? Guns N' Roses rocked the world. Up until Axl had his mental breakdown(s), they were ten times greater in their prime than Duran Duran. Guns N' Roses was so talented that not only did they make their own songs great, they made other bands' songs even greater. "Sympathy for the Devil," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," "Altitude," "Black Leather" - the list goes on and on. I mean, if a band can make the Stones, Bob Dylan, the Misfits, and the Sex Pistols sound better than they originally were, that's extreme talent. Just listen to the album "The Spaghetti Incident?" and you'll see. So, in summary: Guns N' Roses has more talent in any one member (Axl, Slash, Tracy, Steven) than Duran Duran could ever hope to have.
No one can hate Guns N' Roses! Even those who believe Axl Rose wasted his talents on such rubbish acts may rethink their opinions, because this band's music is just too awesome. They created a sound that no other band can imitate. There are people who don't know Duran Duran, but if someone who lived in the '80s doesn't know Guns N' Roses, then he seriously has some issues with what he chose to entertain himself with.
Metallica in the 80s was a great band, if not the greatest band of that era. The four albums they released during that era are elite from start to finish. They had some of the best musicians that have ever graced this earth: Burton and Mustaine, prior to their departure, drove this band into greatness. Burton had much more influence than Dave, but his impact is not overlooked by me. Sadly, when the real artists disappeared, so did the great music. The chump fans never appeared until Metallica went soft in the 90s, producing commercially accepted music.
I remember walking into the Monsters of Rock concert in the late 80s when Metallica was playing their first song. I was shocked at how loud and great they sounded from the parking lot. When I entered the stadium, I was blown away. The other bands playing that day, including Ozzy and Van Halen, simply did not measure up. I realized that Metallica, at that time, could be the best band of my lifetime.
They are just a perfect combination of musicians. Tico on drums provides amazing energy that you can't resist but move your head to. Dave on keyboards is one of the most underrated members of any band ever. His keyboard fills and backing vocals create a positive energy and full sound that you can't get enough of. Then there's Richie on guitar and vocals. He is the power engine of the band. He gives the songs the power they are known for and continues to create those riffs you can't get out of your head.
To top it off, Jon's clear but energetic vocals make almost any song they produce unforgettable. Besides the musical quality, there's a true, positive, and rebellious note to their lyrics that evokes every cell in you to raise your head and live life to the fullest. Now, I've got to go get my dose of Bon Jovi for the day.
Face it: Bon Jovi is way better than Duran Duran. If you were to ask someone, "What comes to mind when I say 'Duran Duran'?" you'd get a variety of answers. Teens my age might say, "Kevin Durant?" Those a bit older, around 25, might say "'Rio' and 'Hungry Like the Wolf.'" People who are 40 and up might mention those as well as "The Wild Boys" and "Girls on Film."
Bon Jovi, on the other hand, would get almost universal recognition. Kids my age would likely say "Livin' on a Prayer." They might also say "You Give Love a Bad Name" and/or "Wanted Dead or Alive," and some might even name songs from "This House Is Not for Sale." At 25, they would mention all of the above, plus songs from "Burning Bridges," "Have a Nice Day," "Crush," "These Days," "Keep the Faith," and "New Jersey."
For those 40 and up, I think it's only a matter of time before they mainly remember "Livin' on a Prayer," "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Wanted Dead or Alive," "I'll Be There for You," and, with some luck, "Runaway." I think that outmatches Duran Duran.
I like all the bands on this list, of course, some more than others. The first time I experienced art through music was with U2. Heartbroken and depressed from the end of a relationship with my high school sweetheart, I sought help. My friends and family couldn't alleviate the suffering, but the song "With or Without You" did. I felt the art of that song. Somehow it eased my suffering. Each note and lyric phrase captured exactly how I felt.
U2's ability to make the impersonal very personal is an art few bands can achieve. The best bands can do that. They can empathize and heal in ways ordinary words can't. It's truly the magic of the artist. U2 has an innate deep understanding of the human spirit and the love, joys, and triumphs, along with the challenges, failures, and darkness that all people experience. Through their art, they heighten our appreciation or disgust for those experiences.
My first concert experience with U2 changed me, and I would imagine many fans really seared their love for them "live". U2 is the best band in the world for me because it's often more than just ear candy that I hear. Much love, respect, and deep appreciation I have for them. Now, if only I can see them live with front row seats will my life truly be complete!
One of the biggest reasons metal was in its golden age during the '80s was Iron Maiden. Along with Metallica, Iron Maiden defied the odds by not getting much airplay on the radio. They avoided the temptation of going the pop route, while consistently releasing thought-provoking material that was always top-notch during that decade.
None of their albums from this time period are anything less than great, and they're all different and distinguishable from one another. They either represent natural progressions of a previous album or take things in a new direction. Usually, having this kind of artistic ambition is costly to a band's popularity or critical acclaim, but these guys were always relevant, and their music still holds up beautifully today!
I see no good reason why Iron Maiden is not in the top ten. I could see how some would view this group as "too heavy" for their liking, but, unlike most metal bands then and now, you can actually understand Bruce Dickinson. He is a very high-quality vocalist. The guitarists, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray, are also high-quality and properly complement Dickinson's vocals to make a heavy, yet pure and complete sound. Just listen to "Run to the Hills," "The Trooper," or "Number of the Beast," and you will find that my words do not do it justice.
Only a musically illiterate teen would think that a band like Duran Duran is the #1 '80s band. Of course, Van Halen is #1! It's not really for Diamond Dave or Michael Anthony, but for Eddie Van Halen. He is one of the greatest guitarists in the world, with one of, if not the greatest, solos ever made/played (Eruption). Not to mention, he wrote all the tunes! Duran Duran is the One Direction of the '80s. Sorry, but they kind of suck. I mean, "Hungry Like the Wolf"? Really? I sit and talk with my friends, just bashing Duran Duran. Yes, they're that bad.
Van Halen is a top 3 band without question. They have chart-topping albums, sold-out concerts, and the best guitarist ever. They also had two great eras with two great frontmen, not to mention Michael Anthony's backing vocals. I like the '80s one-hit wonders, but there is absolutely no way they should be ahead of the great Van Halen. One-hit-wonder bands shouldn't be on the list because they don't have the long-standing history of bands like Van Halen.
In my humble opinion, Journey is the best band of all time, and Steve Perry's voice is the best voice I have ever heard. They have written so many classics, beautiful love songs such as Patiently and Sweet And Simple, and rock songs such as Mother Father, Line Of Fire, and Edge Of The Blade. The vocals are always incredibly impressive, and unlike most rock singers, Perry can sing in a rock style while still making the music beautiful. This is something I enjoy immensely, since the point of music is beauty.
Greatest rock vocals of all-time, a virtuoso on the guitar, a machine gun on the drums, and bass and keyboard players at the top of their game, Journey is the one. They are the quintessential music band, and not just an 80s band. They have made timeless music. It stretches across all generations. Journey will still be a favorite a hundred years from now.
Journey is, no doubt, the best band in the world and the universe! Steve Perry is the voice of Journey. They were huge in the '80s! To this day, they play Journey's music, featuring Steve Perry, on countless radio stations all over the world. The new Journey does not compare to the Journey of 1977-1986 and 1997. It's karaoke-wannabe compared to when Steve Perry was the lead vocalist. Steve Perry put Journey on the music map!
My all-time favorite band is AC/DC. I'll love them until their last breath. Angus and Malcolm have come far in their careers. I was at the Thunderstruck concert in 1988, and it was amazing! I also went to their last tour concert in 2014. Yes, they have aged, but they still produce absolutely fabulous music and creative lyrics. They're just a little slower than before.
AC/DC would be, without a doubt, #1 if Highway to Hell had been released a year later. Still, I believe they should be #1. Back in Black, For Those About to Rock, Fly on the Wall, and Flick of the Switch are all great albums. Duran Duran shouldn't even be in the top ten.
How is Duran Duran better than the raw power and energy that is post-Bon Scott AC/DC? Case in point: For Those About to Rock or Thunderstruck vs Hungry Like the Wolf. The cannons of AC/DC blow the wolf to bits!
The Police have a unique blend of punk, reggae, and a bit of jazz. None of their songs are bad. Each one is either extremely good, good, or okay. Lyrics of their popular songs are mostly based on subtle dark themes mixed up with the tunes. Sting, before his solo career, shows his stellar vocals and incredible creativity with songwriting. Andy Summers can arguably be on the list of top 5 underrated guitarists. His riffs are an integral part of The Police's work. Stewart Copeland is on the list of top 4 drummers of all time, no doubt. He is even responsible for some of their early songs' songwriting.
In their working time, they released 5 albums, which collectively have sold over 75 million records. Had they stayed together and calmed themselves down to remove the creative tension they had with each other, they would have probably surpassed all of the rock bands on this list. Even without a lot of years, they are still top 5 for me.
Mötley Crüe is the best representation of that "Glam Metal" era, in which many bands like Poison were a part. However, Mötley Crüe, in my opinion, takes the prize. This is mainly because they have the best drummer (Tommy Lee), a great guitar player who plays with powerful harmonics (Mick Mars), the best bass player (Nikki Sixx), and an awesome lead voice (Vince Neil).
Mötley Crüe was absolutely the best back in the '80s. They started in the early punk phase with Too Fast for Love, which they originally produced themselves. They then moved on to Shout at the Devil, followed by the more commercial Theatre of Pain and Girls, Girls, Girls, ending with Dr. Feelgood. They kicked ass and maintained their debauchery with booze, drugs, women, and have the tattoos to prove it!
When I think of '80s music, the first genre that comes to mind is hair metal/glam rock. When I think of the first hair metal/glam rock band, Mötley Crüe is the first band that comes to mind.
Tears for Fears is an amazing band that has written, and still writes, so many very meaningful songs. They are beautiful inside and out. They deserve to be the best. Not just because they want to rule the world, but because they have written songs out of painful truths that touch so many. Don't let me forget to mention they were kind of cute in the '80s. I haven't had the chance to see them live, but when I do, I will be crying because of the beauty of their music, not because I am a giddy schoolgirl who loves their looks. <3 TFF always
When I think of the sounds of the '80s, TFF comes first to my mind. They were the more complex, intelligent, and accomplished British import who don't really fit neatly into categories like New Wave, Synth, etc. All of their albums show reinvention but with an identifiable TFF influence. What can hurt their ranking is their slow, methodical, and protracted time between albums. A new one is due to drop soon.
The Cure doesn't sound like they belong in any decade. Their music is unique, timeless, and constantly alternative to what is happening in the music scene. For this reason, it's hard to describe them as an '80s band. They just happened to be the best band that existed in the '80s. Robert Smith has more genius in his crow's nest bonnet than any of his so-called contemporaries.
U2, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and A-Ha are great bands (you'll understand only if you really listen to them. E.g., Rolling Thunder and their record in Rock in Rio, their live shows in the '90s, etc.). The Smiths suck all the way. Disintegration is on the same level as Joshua Tree. The Cure were the opposite of U2. U2, Depeche Mode, The Cure, and A-Ha are the best and most influential bands from the '80s.
Duran Duran, The Cure, Modern English, New Order, OMD, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, The Church, Men at Work, Genesis (Phil Collins), The Police, Tears for Fears, Ultravox, Dead or Alive, Human League, ABC - all English, all good, number-one bands. Most American bands spout nonsense, meaningless talk about raunchy sex and drugs. Blah blah blah. No class at all.
Poison has made amazing songs and amassed millions of fans all over the world. They have a great, inspiring guitar player for those who play the instrument, a good drummer, a cool bass player, and a great lead singer. They all serve as an inspiration for those who want to be in a band or create one. They treat each other almost like family, which can inspire other bands that are falling apart. I am one of their number one fans, and they inspire me!
Poison has many great songs. They were the number-one band played on MTV, right along with Motley Crue and Bon Jovi. Every Rose Has Its Thorn was one of their best songs, and it really makes me feel good to hear that song. They may not be as high up there as Motley Crue, but I think with all of their great songs and how quite a few made it on the charts, they should have a higher rating than this. I am not saying it because they are my favorite band. I mean it.
Poison are icons of the '80s. Their albums "Look What the Cat Dragged In" (3x Platinum in the US), "Open Up & Say Ahhh" (5x Platinum in the US), and "Flesh & Blood" (3x Platinum in the US) were all released in the '80s. They were incredibly popular and are considered one of the best rock bands of all time.
No one had even dared to have a concert at the Rose Bowl. The promoters warned the band that they wouldn't fill the stadium and it would be a negative mark against them. They went forward with the decision to have a concert there. The concert sold out in hours, and they were the first group since the Beatles to sell out the stadium! This group deserves to be in the top 5 of the '80s, along with U2 and The Pet Shop Boys. They weren't just a group with a successful album. They had album after album that were huge! They were the kings of "alternative" or "new wave" music during the '80s and into the '90s.
Depeche Mode is the greatest '80s/'90s band of all time with their 48 singles and brilliant minds. Most of their songs are gold, and people just don't get that. I don't think they are underrated, but they are better than a lot of other bands on the website. They're up there with Duran Duran, Journey, Queen, AC/DC, Metallica, Bon Jovi, and others. Definitely better than the Beatles, who were only popular because of their unusual way of doing things.
It is absolutely ridiculous that this band is listed at 28 on this list. Was the person who made this list alive and a teenager in the 80s? If not, that explains it. If so, I'm not sure what rock they were living under. It didn't get much bigger than INXS during their "Kick" phase. And Michael Hutchence... go back and watch his performances. One of the best front men of all time then and always. Any list that doesn't have them AT LEAST in the top ten is a joke.
Looking back now, I see such similarities that Michael Hutchence had in common with Jim Morrison. Additionally, the keyboard player wrote most of the melody. Musically, both are really far apart from each other. You have to recognize that they made an impact, especially during the time when the '80s alternative wave of music came from overseas to the United States. I have to put them at number 3 behind U2 and Duran Duran.
I'm absolutely stunned that INXS didn't even crack the top 5. They were a phenomenon in their own way. Creating a 'new wave' sound that worked to impress people is an incredible feat. Michael, being the superstar that he was, teamed up with Andrew to create incredible songs. One of the greatest and most underestimated bands the world has ever seen. They are my top band.
My favorite band of all time, no contest. It's such a shame that they are no longer touring. Neil Peart, probably the greatest lyricist of our time, combined with the guitar genius Alex Lifeson and vocal guru Geddy Lee, are the best trio to grace the stadiums of the globe. They get my vote.
I've partied with Rush. I am a former neighbor of Geddy Lee. Yes, they sure do know how to party. They are some of the greatest musicians of all time! Nobody does it better. Rolling Stones? Nope. KISS? (As cool as they are) Not quite. Even The Beatles? They just do not match up to the quality and talent that is Rush.
What can you say about Rush that hasn't already been said? They're brilliant, along with The Police and Cream - the best rock trio ever! One brilliant album after another, and they're still great friends! That's the trick!
One of the best lyricists there's been. See the Nebraska album. One of the best showmen and performers there's been - three-hour-plus energetic gigs, reaching four hours on the last tour. He can still sell out some of the biggest stadiums in Europe and was the highest ticket-selling band of 2016. Treats fans with huge respect. Will come on stage hours before the concert begins to play a few acoustic tunes for those who've turned up early. He really is one of the finest performers and songwriters there's been - Thunder Road is a fine example. Undoubtedly up there with the greats who've come from America in the past four-plus decades.
What can you say about Bruce? While Born to Run and Darkness were two of the finest records ever released, he has continued to come close through every decade since. The River was breathtaking, as were The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, Nebraska, and Magic! One of the finest songwriters ever, and such a great band to play with!
I don't love this list. Queen was an amazing band but had very little that was worthwhile from the '80s. They were a great '70s band and a great band overall, but when it comes to the 1980s, R.E.M. was easily the greatest band. They're probably the most influential band on this list. This is because they were one of the very first bands to play alternative rock, and they were definitely the best to play that genre during this decade.
I think the Pixies were a great band too and are, in my opinion, the second-greatest band of the '80s. However, I see them more as an indie rock band. R.E.M. had an addictive, revolutionary new sound in their 1980s period that no other band had done before. As a result, they pioneered and began the genre we know and love: alternative rock.
If you listen to this genre, then you have to listen to R.E.M. Once you've listened to Murmur and Document, you will love R.E.M. as much as I do. If you like alternative rock, then you have to put these guys at number 1. They're the greatest.
Because they were more of a '70s band than an '80s band?
Why aren't they any higher?
I can completely understand anyone who says they don't like The Smiths. They're a hard band to like. However, those who do appreciate them understand just how good a band they were and how extensive their catalogue of music is, despite only being around for five years and releasing just four studio albums. Plus, there's their cult following that keeps on growing.
All of their songs had an indescribable, brilliant quality. Their albums were structured near enough to perfection, and the music itself is fantastic. Morrissey's witty and powerful lyrics place him among the best lyricists of all time. Johnny Marr and Andy Rourke produced some of the best pop and bass riffs ever - seriously, listen to This Charming Man or How Soon Is Now? for examples. Mike Joyce essentially laid the foundations for every alt-rock drum beat since the late '80s.
I can't think of any other band that has had such a mix of styles or range of music. The Smiths aren't just the best band of the '80s. They're one of the best bands of all time.
Before New Order, rock and dance music were distinct and separate. New Order showed how they could be melded to create a very influential body of work. Thirty-three years after releasing the #1 best-selling 12" single of all time, they are still putting out killer records and selling out arena tours worldwide, where half the setlist is recent material. Regardless of what this survey returns, New Order is the most influential band of the 1980s.
After the unfortunate death of Ian Curtis, who was the lead singer of Joy Division, the remaining members decided to continue the band under the newly titled "New Order." Their music has become so unique and catchy over time with hits like Bizarre Love Triangle, Perfect Kiss, Temptation, and Blue Monday. Even though they aren't as popular today, their music is great.
True pioneers of the '80s - no confusion at all! Plus, the best-selling 12" of all time, Blue Monday. Come on!
Are we not men? Why on earth is this band not at the top of the list? Nothing says the '80s like the Spuds!
Best concert I've ever been to.
They are known for several of their hit songs, which include “Painkiller”, “Breaking The Law”, You’ve Got... read more
J.P.'s '70s music was progress, but when they hit the '80s, everyone wanted a piece!
The founding fathers of heavy metal...
The best rock band of all time...hammer.