Left to Right: '80's rock stars - Bono of U2, Michael Jackson, Run DMC, Madonna, and Prince.
1980's Rock Stars: U2, Michael Jackson, Run DMC, Madonna, Prince
Mainstream Rock: Pat Benatar, REO Speedwagon, Survivor, Tom Petty, Toto, Asia, Aerosmith, Journey, Rush, Bon Jovi, INXS, Genesis, Loverboy, Melissa Etheridge, J.Geils Band, Steve Winwood, Foreigner, Europe



Heavy Metal: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Skid Row, Tesla, AC/DC, Queensryche, Krokus, Scorpions, Accept, Pantera, Twisted Sister, Ozzy Osbourne, Def Leppard





Hair / Glam Metal: Motley Crue, Poison, Warrant, L.A. Guns, Guns & Roses, Cinderella, Winger, Whitesnake





Thrash / Speed Metal: Slayer,
Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Sepultura, Overkill, Gwar, Pantera, Suicidal Tendencies






Goth / Gothic Rock: Bauhaus, The Cure, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Killing Joke, Theatre of Hate, The Sisters of Mercy





Ska / Rockabilly Revival: The Stray Cats, Matchbox, The Rockats, The Cramps, The Blasters, The Specials, Madness, The Beat, The Selecter




Punk / Hardcore: Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, Fear, X, The Descendents, The Misfits, Bad Religion, The Circle Jerks, The Germs, Bad Brains, Minutemen, Social Distortion, Husker Du, Meat Puppets



Alternative: R.E.M., Violent Femmes, Camper Van Beethoven, The Pixies, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Smiths, Soul Asylum, Jane's Addiction, The Feelies, The Replacements, Sonic Youth, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry


Rock Music in the Eighties:

John Lennon is shot to death by a fan in 1980 just as he was coming back into the public eye with a new album. MTV (Music Television) is launched on 300 U.S. cable TV systems in 1981. By 1983 MTV is available on 2,000 cable systems. VH1 is launched in 1984 with a more classic rock format.
1980's Top 100 Best Selling Albums Worldwide:

  1   Michael Jackson - Thriller - 1982
  2   Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms - 1985
  3   U2 - The Joshua Tree - 1987
  4   Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA - 1984
  5   Michael Jackson - Bad - 1987
  6   Prince - Purple Rain - 1984
  7   The Police - Synchronicity - 1983
  8   Paul Simon - Graceland - 1986
  9   Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston - 1986
10   Phil Collins - No Jacket Required - 1985
11   Guns n' Roses - Appetite For Destruction - 1987
12   Lionel Richie - Can't Slow Down - 1983
13   George Michael - Faith - 1987
14   Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet - 1986
15   Original Soundtrack - Dirty Dancing - 1987
16   Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman - 1988
17   Def Leppard - Hysteria - 1987
18   AC/DC - Back In Black - 1980
19   Madonna - True Blue - 1986
20   U2 - Rattle & Hum - 1988
21   Whitney Houston - Whitney - 1987
22   John Lennon - Double Fantasy - 1980
23   Madonna - Like A Prayer - 1989
24   Original Soundtrack - Flashdance - 1983
25   Phil Collins - ... But Seriously - 1989
26   Madonna - Like A Virgin - 1984
27   Prince - Sign 'O' The Times - 1987
28   Culture Club - Colour By Numbers - 1983
29   Tears For Fears - Songs From The Big Chair - 1985
30   The Rolling Stones - Tattoo You - 1981
31   Bryan Adams - Reckless - 1985
32   Peter Gabriel - So - 1986
33   Barbra Streisand - Guilty - 1980
34   Bruce Springsteen - The River - 1980
35   Men At Work - Business As Usual - 1982
36   Paul McCartney - Tug Of War - 1982
37   The Police - Ghost In The Machine - 1981
38   Bob Marley - Legend, The Best Of Bob Marley - 1984
39   Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel Of Love - 1987
40   The Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill - 1986
41   Phil Collins - Face Value - 1981
42   Sting - The Dream Of The Blue Turtles - 1985
43   Original Soundtrack - Footloose - 1984
44   Sting - ...Nothing Like The Sun - 1987
45   U2 - The Unforgettable Fire - 1984
46   Toto - Toto IV - 1982
47   David Bowie - Let's Dance - 1983
48   Wham! - Make It Big - 1984
49   Fine Young Cannibals - The Raw & The Cooked - 1989
50   Roxy Music - Avalon - 1982
51   INXS - Kick - 1988
52   ZZ Top - Eliminator - 1983
53   U2 - War - 1983
54   Asia - Asia - 1982
55   Tina Turner - Private Dancer - 1984
56   The Human League - Dare! - 1981
57   The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead - 1986
58   Billy Joel - Glass Houses - 1980
59   Foreigner - 4 - 1981
60   Bon Jovi - New Jersey - 1988
61   Queen - Queen's Greatest Hits I - 1981
62   The Police - Zenyatta Mondatta - 1980
63   Terence Trent D'Arby - Introducing The Hardline - 1987
64   Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual - 1984
65   Pink Floyd - The Final Cut - 1983
66   The Cure - Disintegration - 1989
67   Traveling Wilburys - Volume I - 1988
68   Original Soundtrack - Top Gun - 1986
69   REO Speedwagon - Hi Infidelity - 1981
70   Foreigner - Agent Provocateur - 1985
71   Sade - Promise - 1985
72   Janet Jackson - Control - 1986
73   Prince - Batman - 1989
74   Prince - Lovesexy - 1988
75   Sade - Diamond Life - 1984
76   Rick Astley - Whenever You Need Somebody - 1988
77   The Eurythmics - Be Yourself Tonight - 1985
78   Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love - 1985
79   Dire Straits - Love Over Gold - 1982
80   Bruce Springsteen - Live 1975-1985 - 1986
81   Van Halen - 5150 - 1986
82   The Rolling Stones - Emotional Rescue - 1980
83   Paula Abdul - Forever Your Girl - 1989
84   Van Halen - 1984 (mcmlxxxiv) - 1984
85   Genesis - Genesis - 1983
86   Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation 1814 - 1989
87   Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra
       Xanadu - 1980
88   Queen - The Game - 1980
89   Paul Young - No Parlez - 1983
90   Billy Joel - An Innocent Man - 1983
91   Prince - Around The World In A Day - 1985
92   Fleetwood Mac - Tango In The Night - 1987
93   Abba - Super Trouper - 1980
94   Dire Straits - Making Movies - 1980
95   Prince - 1999 - 1982
96   Electric Light Orchestra - Time - 1981
97   Simon & Garfunkel - The Concert In Central Park - 1982
98   The Eurythmics - Touch - 1983
99   Genesis - Invisible Touch - 1986
100 Huey Lewis & The News - Sports - 1984

1980's Top 100 Best Selling Singles Worldwide:

  1   Pink Floyd - Another Brick in the Wall (part 2) - 1980
  2   Irene Cara - Flashdance... What a Feeling - 1983
  3   Michael Jackson - Billie Jean - 1983
  4   The Police - Every Breath You Take - 1983
  5   Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes - 1981
  6   Madonna - Like a Prayer - 1989
  7   Survivor - Eye of the Tiger - 1982
  8   Stevie Wonder - I Just Called to Say I Love You - 1984
  9   Barbra Streisand - A Woman in Love - 1980
10   USA For Africa - We Are the World - 1985
11   George Michael - Careless Whisper - 1984
12   John Lennon - (Just Like) Starting Over - 1980
13   Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - I Love Rock 'n' Roll - 1982
14   Culture Club - Karma Chameleon - 1983
15   Lipps Inc - Funkytown - 1980
16   Diana Ross - Upside Down - 1980
17   The Human League - Don't You Want Me - 1982
18   Phil Collins - Another Day in Paradise - 1989
19   Prince - When Doves Cry - 1984
20   Whitney Houston
      I Wanna Dance With Somebody - 1987
21   Michael Jackson - Beat It - 1983
22   Los Lobos - La Bamba - 1987
23   Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up - 1987
24   David Bowie - Let's Dance - 1983
25   Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - 1984
26   Culture Club - Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? - 1983
27   Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder
       Ebony & Ivory - 1982
28   Men At Work - Down Under - 1982
29   A-Ha - Take On Me - 1985
30   Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
      (I've Had) the Time of My Life - 1987
31   Blondie - Call Me - 1980
32   U2 - With Or Without You - 1987
33   Berlin - Take My Breath Away - 1986
34   Dexys Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen - 1982
35   Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy - 1988
36   Starsound - Stars On 45 - 1981
37   Phil Collins - A Groovy Kind of Love - 1988
38   Falco - Rock Me Amadeus - 1986
39   The Bangles - Eternal Flame - 1989
40   Diana Ross & Lionel Richie - Endless Love - 1981
41   Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra - 1982
42   Bon Jovi - Livin' On a Prayer - 1987
43   Madonna - Papa Don't Preach - 1986
44   Soft Cell - Tainted Love - 1981
45   Richard Marx - Right Here Waiting - 1989
46   J Geils Band - Centrefold - 1982
47   Nena - 99 Red Balloons - 1983
48   Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart - 1983
49   UB40 - Red Red Wine - 1983
50   Tina Turner - What's Love Got to Do With It? - 1984
51   The B52s - Love Shack - 1989
52   George Michael - Faith - 1987
53   Roxette - The Look - 1989
54   Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go Go - 1984
55   Olivia Newton-John - (Let's Get) Physical - 1981
56   Queen - Another One Bites the Dust - 1980
57   Foreigner - I Want to Know What Love Is - 1985
58   Guns n' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine - 1988
59   Fine Young Cannibals - She Drives Me Crazy - 1989
60   Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas? - 1985
61   The Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls - 1986
62   Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax - 1984
63   Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
       Up Where We Belong - 1982
64   Dionne Warwick & Friends
       That's What Friends Are For - 1986
65   John Lennon - Woman - 1981
66   Jefferson Starship
       Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now - 1987
67   U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - 1987
68   Queen - Crazy Little Thing Called Love - 1980
69   Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra               Xanadu - 1980
70   Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers
       Swing the Mood - 1989
71   Phil Collins - In the Air Tonight - 1981
72   Phil Collins
      Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now) - 1984
73   Prince - Batdance - 1989
74   Irene Cara - Fame - 1980
75   Van Halen - Jump - 1984
76   F R David - Words - 1982
77   Tears For Fears - Shout - 1985
78   Musical Youth - Pass the Dutchie - 1982
79   U2 - Desire - 1988
80   Madonna - Like a Virgin - 1984
81   The Bangles - Walk Like an Egyptian - 1986
82   Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer - 1986
83   Tiffany - I Think We're Alone Now - 1988
84   Ray Parker Jr - Ghostbusters - 1984
85   Billy Ocean
       Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car - 1988
86   Lionel Richie - All Night Long (All Night) - 1983
87   Belinda Carlisle - Heaven is a Place On Earth - 1988
88   Kaoma - Lambada - 1989
89   Kenny Loggins - Footloose - 1984
90   Abba - The Winner Takes it All - 1980
91   Chicago - Hard to Say I'm Sorry - 1982
92   Lionel Richie - Hello - 1984
93   Kool & The Gang - Celebration - 1981
94   INXS - Need You Tonight - 1988
95   Michael Jackson - Thriller - 1984
96   Madonna - Who's That Girl? - 1987
97   The Eurythmics
       Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - 1983
98   Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
       Say Say Say - 1983
99   Europe - The Final Countdown - 1986
100 Lionel Richie - Say You, Say Me - 1985

Rap / Hip-Hop: Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Salt n Pepa, Public Enemy, Ice T, NWA, Tone Loc, Beastie Boys, De la Soul, Queen Latifah





R&B / Urban: Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson, Lionel Richie




Pop: Madonna, Bryan Adams, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Taylor Dayne, Millie Vanilli, Paula Abdul, Bette Midler, Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers, Phil Collins, Kylie Minogue, Expose, Huey Lewis, New Edition, Wham!, Paul Young


New Wave: Talking Heads, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, The Eurythmics, Berlin, Simple Minds, Psychedelic Furs, Echo & The Bunnymen, Love & Rockets, Blondie, Squeeze, The Police, The Bangles, The Go Go's, Nena





SynthPop / Electronic: Devo, Soft Cell, The Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Gary Numan, The Human League, Swing Out Sister
Eighties Rap, Hip Hop, Run DMC, album
Eighties R&B, Urban, Michael Jackson, Album - Thriller
The prevalance of music videos as a 24/7 marketing tool
is influential in bringing numerous new bands and music styles into the mainstream, including a resurgence in heavy
metal, the emergence of synthpop, new wave, rap and hip hop. The number of successful female artists, across many genres, is reflected in singles and album sales.

Records and concerts to benefit charity are supported by many rock music artists. These include Band Aid, We Are The World, plus the Live Aid and Farm Aid concerts.

Eighties Genres / Key Artists:
Eighties Pop music, Madonna, Album
Eighties New Wave music, Duran Duran, Album - Rio
80's Synthpop music, DEVO, Album
Eighties Heavy Metal music, Iron Maiden, album
80's Hair Metal, Glam Metal music, Motley Crue, Album - Shout at the Devil
Eighties Goth, Gothic rock music, The Cure, Album - Disintegration
80's Ska, Rockabilly Revival, The Specials, album
80's punk rock, hardcore, Black Flag, Album - Damaged
Eighties Alternative rock music, R.E.M., Album - Document
80's Mainstream rock music, Pat Benatar, album
Eighties Thrash, Speed Metal, Metallica, Album - Master of Puppets
  1: Prince
  2: Madonna
  3: U2
  4: Michael Jackson
  5: Bruce Springsteen
  6: Phil Collins
  7: Dire Straits
  8: Queen
  9: The Police
10: The Rolling Stones
11: Billy Joel
12: The Eurythmics
13: The Cure
14: David Bowie
15: Whitney Houston
16: Elton John
17: Duran Duran
18: Iron Maiden
19: Barbra Streisand
20: The Smiths
21: Lionel Richie
22: Paul McCartney
23: AC/DC
24: Van Halen
25: Depeche Mode
Top 50 Music Artists of the 1980's
Based on Worldwide Sales of Singles and Albums
26: Genesis
27: Bon Jovi
28: Rod Stewart
29: Simple Minds
30: Culture Club
31: Tina Turner
32: John Lennon
33: Talking Heads
34: REM
35: Diana Ross
36: John Cougar Mellencamp
37: Foreigner
38: George Michael
39: Elvis Costello
40: Tears For Fears
41: The Pet Shop Boys
42: Pat Benatar
43: Def Leppard
44: Peter Gabriel
45: Stevie Wonder
46: Abba
47: Kiyoko Matsuda
48: Wham!
49: Guns n' Roses
50: Pink Floyd

MTV logo
Live Aid crowd 1985 - Wembley Stadium, London
The lists above and at right are based on worldwide sales. The worldwide sales information is from Tsort and uses a formula based on splitting the world into four regions based on sales, the USA (about 35%), other English speaking countries (about 20%), the rest of Europe (about 25%) and the rest of the world (about 20%).  We feel this is the best methodology available to show the global impact of a song or album. More detailed chart info is available on the Tsort website. Actual US & UK charts are linked at the bottom of each year timeline on this site.

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