Top 50 Bands Of The 80s - Rate Your Music
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A list by jweber14

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This list was a bit harder to create considering the 80s don't have many of my favorite artists, and the rankings were hard as well, since depending on my mood some bands are more enjoyable than others. Also it was hard to rank some of the metal bands and if some of the metal bands are ranked close to each other, well its just a coincidence, but the 80s truly was the golden age of heavy metal so that's why I included so many metal groups.
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1Purple Rain1.Prince

What is there to say about Prince, this is a guy who refuses to allow any of his songs on Youtube and made a huge effort to make his songs unavailable on the internet, also a guy who comedian Kevin Smith said during one of his sketches wanted his secretary to order a camel in the middle of the night one random time. Of course their's also his odd religious attitudes and the fact that he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol at one time, Prince is probably even odder than Michael Jackson, because I think being a child at heart is a lot more acceptable then making a huge effort to eliminate your music from the internet and making strange requests and intentionally trying to be mysterious and eccentric. Although he was definitely a genius in terms of music, the dude played pretty much every instrument on his albums, and he was a master of guitar. He perfectly blended funk, pop, and rock together, and some of the greatest melodies of the 80s came as a result. Prince was one of the biggest names of the 80s, and his music just straight out rocked hard. Prince of the 80s was such an awesome act, blending heavy synth sounds on top of heavy guitar riffs. Michael's music was a bit more focused on the vocal delivery and beats, where Prince was all about the melodies and solos, he was the cool side of pop music, where Michael and Madonna were more the mainstream friendly pop.

Best Album: Purple Rain
What is there to say about Prince, this is a guy who refuses to allow any of his songs on Youtube and made a huge effort to make his songs unavailable on the internet, also a guy who comedian Kevin Smith said during one of his sketches wanted his secretary to order a camel in the middle of the night one random time. Of course their's also his odd religious attitudes and the fact that he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol at one time, Prince is probably even odder than Michael Jackson, because I think being a child at heart is a lot more acceptable then making a huge effort to eliminate your music from the internet and making strange requests and intentionally trying to be mysterious and eccentric. Although he was definitely a genius in terms of music, the dude played pretty much every instrument on his albums, and he was a master of guitar. He perfectly blended funk, pop, and rock together, and some of the greatest melodies of the 80s came as a result. Prince was one of the biggest names of the 80s, and his music just straight out rocked hard. Prince of the 80s was such an awesome act, blending heavy synth sounds on top of heavy guitar riffs. Michael's music was a bit more focused on the vocal delivery and beats, where Prince was all about the melodies and solos, he was the cool side of pop music, where Michael and Madonna were more the mainstream friendly pop.

Best Album: Purple Rain
2The Number of the Beast2.Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden were pretty much the defining metal group of the 80s, okay Metallica might have been a bit bigger and had more record sales, but I personally feel like Iron Maiden were the top of the ladder, they released twice as many albums as Metallica in the 80s and all of them were good, and they are still releasing decent albums, where Metallica really only has 4 albums worth anything, and personally I only found 2 of those 4 to be groundbreaking, where Iron Maiden's entire 80s discography, save perhaps Killers and Somewhere in Time were groundbreaking metal albums. Iron Maiden pretty much took metal and gave it style, they branched off in a different direction than the thrashers or power metal guys. Everything about Iron Maiden from their incredible bass lines, high range vocals, and technical guitar solos allowed them to become masters of their genre. I saw them live a few years back because my aunt was able to get my family free tickets, and they were still really good, playing through their old songs flawlessly. They were at the top of their game, and managed to evolve their style, while staying relevant, and they could give some incredible riffs and solos.

Best Album: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Iron Maiden were pretty much the defining metal group of the 80s, okay Metallica might have been a bit bigger and had more record sales, but I personally feel like Iron Maiden were the top of the ladder, they released twice as many albums as Metallica in the 80s and all of them were good, and they are still releasing decent albums, where Metallica really only has 4 albums worth anything, and personally I only found 2 of those 4 to be groundbreaking, where Iron Maiden's entire 80s discography, save perhaps Killers and Somewhere in Time were groundbreaking metal albums. Iron Maiden pretty much took metal and gave it style, they branched off in a different direction than the thrashers or power metal guys. Everything about Iron Maiden from their incredible bass lines, high range vocals, and technical guitar solos allowed them to become masters of their genre. I saw them live a few years back because my aunt was able to get my family free tickets, and they were still really good, playing through their old songs flawlessly. They were at the top of their game, and managed to evolve their style, while staying relevant, and they could give some incredible riffs and solos.

Best Album: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
3Doolittle3.Pixies

If there needed to be one band that predicted the 90s, it would definitely be Pixies. While Pixies might not have been the first alternative rock band, they certainly were what I'd call the biggest pioneers. Sure you had the Stone Roses too, who came a little later, but Pixies. You'd think too with a name like Pixies they'd be sort of a soft sounding, relaxing band like the Smiths but they are a very in your face band. The vocals of Black Francis are so angry sounding at times that you can't bother but question his sanity, and of course their songwriting is superb, most of their songs are catchy and unforgettable and the fact that Pixies opted for the shorter pop song format proved successful. That's not to say Pixies were all about fast rocking songs, they did have a few slower songs in the mix, but they were just a band who rocked out, and wrote some of the greatest hooks. Much of the alternative rock to emerge in the 90s, plus a lot of grunge has Pixies to thank for setting the groundwork.

Best Album: Doolittle
If there needed to be one band that predicted the 90s, it would definitely be Pixies. While Pixies might not have been the first alternative rock band, they certainly were what I'd call the biggest pioneers. Sure you had the Stone Roses too, who came a little later, but Pixies. You'd think too with a name like Pixies they'd be sort of a soft sounding, relaxing band like the Smiths but they are a very in your face band. The vocals of Black Francis are so angry sounding at times that you can't bother but question his sanity, and of course their songwriting is superb, most of their songs are catchy and unforgettable and the fact that Pixies opted for the shorter pop song format proved successful. That's not to say Pixies were all about fast rocking songs, they did have a few slower songs in the mix, but they were just a band who rocked out, and wrote some of the greatest hooks. Much of the alternative rock to emerge in the 90s, plus a lot of grunge has Pixies to thank for setting the groundwork.

Best Album: Doolittle
4Disintegration4.The Cure

The Cure were the first goth group to matter, and that's the important thing, in fact they are the only goth group I really care for. Sure Bahaus gave us the first great goth song, Bella Lagusi is Dead, but The Cure gave us many great goth albums and perfected the genre to the point where all other goth sounds a bit dull. Smith's vocals are great, he pours so much emotion into his singing and the way he creates atmosphere over his layer of synth strings and laid back guitar riffs are just excellent. The Cure are the only band that could create a song called Just Like Heaven, and make it feel like you're experiencing heaven. They could play some very happy, feel good music, but at the same time play some dark and mysterious ones as well. If you want atmosphere the Cure are full of it and gave us the greatest goth albums ever.

Best Album: Disintegration
The Cure were the first goth group to matter, and that's the important thing, in fact they are the only goth group I really care for. Sure Bahaus gave us the first great goth song, Bella Lagusi is Dead, but The Cure gave us many great goth albums and perfected the genre to the point where all other goth sounds a bit dull. Smith's vocals are great, he pours so much emotion into his singing and the way he creates atmosphere over his layer of synth strings and laid back guitar riffs are just excellent. The Cure are the only band that could create a song called Just Like Heaven, and make it feel like you're experiencing heaven. They could play some very happy, feel good music, but at the same time play some dark and mysterious ones as well. If you want atmosphere the Cure are full of it and gave us the greatest goth albums ever.

Best Album: Disintegration
5Moving Pictures5.Rush

Rush in the 80s were an entirely different concept than the Rush of the 70s. Rush of the 70s were more prog rock, with less emphasis on synth and more emphasis on guitar riffs, but then came the 80s and synths became the biggest thing since tambourine in the 60s, and post 70s Rush is filled with lots of synth layers, while guitar takes more of a back seat role. It was an entirely different approach and quite honestly worked rather well, it sounded like something out of a science fiction setting, Rush were taking their concept to the next level, and well it met with mixed reactions. There were older fans who preferred the harder rocking Rush of the 70s, then there were those who preferred the more pop flavored Rush of the 80s including many new fans, but then there are fans who equally enjoy both.

Best Album: Moving Pictures
Rush in the 80s were an entirely different concept than the Rush of the 70s. Rush of the 70s were more prog rock, with less emphasis on synth and more emphasis on guitar riffs, but then came the 80s and synths became the biggest thing since tambourine in the 60s, and post 70s Rush is filled with lots of synth layers, while guitar takes more of a back seat role. It was an entirely different approach and quite honestly worked rather well, it sounded like something out of a science fiction setting, Rush were taking their concept to the next level, and well it met with mixed reactions. There were older fans who preferred the harder rocking Rush of the 70s, then there were those who preferred the more pop flavored Rush of the 80s including many new fans, but then there are fans who equally enjoy both.

Best Album: Moving Pictures
6The Queen Is Dead6.The Smiths

The Smiths are one of RYM's most beloved groups, I mean how can you hate these guys just looking at their picture with a bunch of sincere looking guys with 80s style hairdos and the lead singer holding a bouquet of flowers. In all fairness I'm not the biggest Smiths fan but they have a unique style and quite honestly perfected the jangle pop style. I just love the laid back feel to Smiths songs, full of emotion and atmosphere, with some fine guitar work thrown in, you could tell they were very much influenced by R&B groups of the 60s and jangle groups of the 60s like Byrds or Hollies. I remember actually reading in a booklet to the Smith's box set that Morrisey was hugely inspired by girl groups of the 60s. Speaking of which I just love Morrisey's voice, it sounds kind of like Robert Smith of the Cure's but a bit more genuine and sincere. I can't think of anything not to love about the Smith's they are a fun band to listen to, and usually put me in a good mood, and well Morrisey might be unpleasant and have a huge ego, I still love what he did with the Smiths. Very good guitar work mixed with happy upbeat vocals will get me every time. And hey they were smart enough to break up before they possibly could start sucking so that's another positive.

Best Album: The Queen is Dead
The Smiths are one of RYM's most beloved groups, I mean how can you hate these guys just looking at their picture with a bunch of sincere looking guys with 80s style hairdos and the lead singer holding a bouquet of flowers. In all fairness I'm not the biggest Smiths fan but they have a unique style and quite honestly perfected the jangle pop style. I just love the laid back feel to Smiths songs, full of emotion and atmosphere, with some fine guitar work thrown in, you could tell they were very much influenced by R&B groups of the 60s and jangle groups of the 60s like Byrds or Hollies. I remember actually reading in a booklet to the Smith's box set that Morrisey was hugely inspired by girl groups of the 60s. Speaking of which I just love Morrisey's voice, it sounds kind of like Robert Smith of the Cure's but a bit more genuine and sincere. I can't think of anything not to love about the Smith's they are a fun band to listen to, and usually put me in a good mood, and well Morrisey might be unpleasant and have a huge ego, I still love what he did with the Smiths. Very good guitar work mixed with happy upbeat vocals will get me every time. And hey they were smart enough to break up before they possibly could start sucking so that's another positive.

Best Album: The Queen is Dead
7Rain Dogs7.Tom Waits

I first heard of Tom Waits after a song by his was featured in Shrek 2. For some reason, his song stuck out in the movie, and a temporary guitar player in a short lived band I had was a big Tom Waits fan, but it took me a while to get into him. Once I did, it was very rewarding, his voice is a mixture between some homeless beggar on the street and some drunk lunatic at the bar who nobody take serious. I'll admit, its a bit of an acquired taste, kind of like Springsteen or Dylan's voice, it grows as you listen to it more. I think the best part about Tom Waits, is that he is incredibly versatile, sure he has his odd graveyard polkas and Captain Beefheart style experimental blues, but he also can transition to soft folk songs or piano ballads, he goes from being the psychotic drunk to the humble beggar. I've never heard anyone like Tom Waits before, he has a unique style and when it comes to the blues, there's no denying, he's done it better than everyone else that came out after 1980, pretty much after Zeppelin broke up. His music just sounds so sincere and personal, and has a lot of variety to it, and it's hard not to admire the guy, even if his voice or style isn't particularly your type of interest.

Best Album: Rain Dogs
I first heard of Tom Waits after a song by his was featured in Shrek 2. For some reason, his song stuck out in the movie, and a temporary guitar player in a short lived band I had was a big Tom Waits fan, but it took me a while to get into him. Once I did, it was very rewarding, his voice is a mixture between some homeless beggar on the street and some drunk lunatic at the bar who nobody take serious. I'll admit, its a bit of an acquired taste, kind of like Springsteen or Dylan's voice, it grows as you listen to it more. I think the best part about Tom Waits, is that he is incredibly versatile, sure he has his odd graveyard polkas and Captain Beefheart style experimental blues, but he also can transition to soft folk songs or piano ballads, he goes from being the psychotic drunk to the humble beggar. I've never heard anyone like Tom Waits before, he has a unique style and when it comes to the blues, there's no denying, he's done it better than everyone else that came out after 1980, pretty much after Zeppelin broke up. His music just sounds so sincere and personal, and has a lot of variety to it, and it's hard not to admire the guy, even if his voice or style isn't particularly your type of interest.

Best Album: Rain Dogs
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8Unknown Pleasures8.Joy Division

I know its a bit controversial putting Joy Division on here since they were only around for 1 year in the 80s and in fact were more of a 70s band, but one of their two main albums was released in the 80s plus their big hit Love Will Tear Us Apart is from 80, so in all honesty, they are as much an 80s band as they are a 70s one, I'd say a pretty even split in terms of quality material. Anyway if you want a deeper analysis of Joy Division read my 70s list of top bands, otherwise I just have to say is Joy Division was at the top of their game, and well they bridged the way for several bands in the 80s to emerge.

Best Album: Closer
I know its a bit controversial putting Joy Division on here since they were only around for 1 year in the 80s and in fact were more of a 70s band, but one of their two main albums was released in the 80s plus their big hit Love Will Tear Us Apart is from 80, so in all honesty, they are as much an 80s band as they are a 70s one, I'd say a pretty even split in terms of quality material. Anyway if you want a deeper analysis of Joy Division read my 70s list of top bands, otherwise I just have to say is Joy Division was at the top of their game, and well they bridged the way for several bands in the 80s to emerge.

Best Album: Closer
9Violator9.Depeche Mode

There's really no denying synth pop dominated much of the early 80s, and dominated the billboard charts, it was pretty much the disco equivalent of the 80s, and when Depeche Mode started off, they were pretty much a typical clone of these other synth pop groups, but as they changed members and progressed further into the 80s, they evolved into a very dark and depressing synth group that even almost made the Cure look happy. They were the top of dark synth pop and gave some of the most chilling melodies. To be honest I can't think of a group that made better use of synths as lead instruments other than Kraftwerk.

Best Album: Music for the Masses
There's really no denying synth pop dominated much of the early 80s, and dominated the billboard charts, it was pretty much the disco equivalent of the 80s, and when Depeche Mode started off, they were pretty much a typical clone of these other synth pop groups, but as they changed members and progressed further into the 80s, they evolved into a very dark and depressing synth group that even almost made the Cure look happy. They were the top of dark synth pop and gave some of the most chilling melodies. To be honest I can't think of a group that made better use of synths as lead instruments other than Kraftwerk.

Best Album: Music for the Masses
10Remain in Light10.Talking Heads

Talking Heads are a band whose best work is split pretty evenly between the 70s and 80s, although most people think of them as an 80s band because they were ahead of their time in the 70s, and the fact that they were pretty well known for their weird MTV music videos. Talking Head of the early 80s were at their creative best period, they were constantly improving upon their previous albums, and with the release of Remain in Light, they proved to the 80s they could continue making unique and interesting albums, with intelligent lyrics, good dance beats, and diverse genres. Sure Talking Head starts going downhill in the mid 80s, but Talking Heads of the early 80s were quite possibly the greatest new wave/art rock band of their time. It's a good package for both fans of music, and fans of dancing or grooving.

Best Album: Remain in Light
Talking Heads are a band whose best work is split pretty evenly between the 70s and 80s, although most people think of them as an 80s band because they were ahead of their time in the 70s, and the fact that they were pretty well known for their weird MTV music videos. Talking Head of the early 80s were at their creative best period, they were constantly improving upon their previous albums, and with the release of Remain in Light, they proved to the 80s they could continue making unique and interesting albums, with intelligent lyrics, good dance beats, and diverse genres. Sure Talking Head starts going downhill in the mid 80s, but Talking Heads of the early 80s were quite possibly the greatest new wave/art rock band of their time. It's a good package for both fans of music, and fans of dancing or grooving.

Best Album: Remain in Light
11Hounds of Love11.Kate Bush

Kate Bush is sort of an odd place in music history, some sort of label her as a one hit wonder, others consider her the female equivalent of Peter Gabriel, others consider her music some form of spiritual enlightenment that speaks to them on a personal level, she does sing a song about running up a hill to talk with God after all. Despite the mixed opinions on Kate Bush's place in music history, there's really little debate over her uniqueness and originality. Bush started recording music for her first album when she was only 17 and was 19 when it was released, and comparing this to your average female pop stars of her time like Cyndi Lauper or Debbie Harry really showed she had a grasp on music composition, she wasn't just a pretty face and voice fronting a band, she was a brilliant composer of pretty complex melodies with layers of keyboards and I think being associated with Peter Gabriel is a bit unfair. They are both playing similar genres, but honestly they are both doing completely different things in their field, Gabriel was doing more ethnic music and Bush was doing more straight forward pop with art rock tendencies, similar to what Bjork did 10 years later in the 90s. She helped push female rock forward when it felt like it was struggling to do anything innovative.

Best Album: Hounds of Love
Kate Bush is sort of an odd place in music history, some sort of label her as a one hit wonder, others consider her the female equivalent of Peter Gabriel, others consider her music some form of spiritual enlightenment that speaks to them on a personal level, she does sing a song about running up a hill to talk with God after all. Despite the mixed opinions on Kate Bush's place in music history, there's really little debate over her uniqueness and originality. Bush started recording music for her first album when she was only 17 and was 19 when it was released, and comparing this to your average female pop stars of her time like Cyndi Lauper or Debbie Harry really showed she had a grasp on music composition, she wasn't just a pretty face and voice fronting a band, she was a brilliant composer of pretty complex melodies with layers of keyboards and I think being associated with Peter Gabriel is a bit unfair. They are both playing similar genres, but honestly they are both doing completely different things in their field, Gabriel was doing more ethnic music and Bush was doing more straight forward pop with art rock tendencies, similar to what Bjork did 10 years later in the 90s. She helped push female rock forward when it felt like it was struggling to do anything innovative.

Best Album: Hounds of Love
12The Stone Roses12.The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses were, like Pixies, a transition band to the 90s. They were pretty much setting up the scene for alternative rock and paving the way for bands like Pavement and early Radiohead. The Stone Roses wrote some great melodies and quite honestly were a shade of light in the dark period of music which was during the late 80s. There is a quote from Noel Gallagher of Oasis, who I don't really care for much, but he said that the Smiths picked up where the Jam left off, then the Stone Roses picked up where the Smiths left off, and then of course Noel made a pretty big headed statement saying Oasis picked up where Stone Roses left off. Its true to be honest though, the Stone Roses do kind of a have a Smiths feel, like if the Smiths went a little more experimental and experimented went heavier. And I think that's what I like most, Stone Roses have variety. And with the Stone Roses the 90s were able to progress.

Best Album: The Stone Roses
The Stone Roses were, like Pixies, a transition band to the 90s. They were pretty much setting up the scene for alternative rock and paving the way for bands like Pavement and early Radiohead. The Stone Roses wrote some great melodies and quite honestly were a shade of light in the dark period of music which was during the late 80s. There is a quote from Noel Gallagher of Oasis, who I don't really care for much, but he said that the Smiths picked up where the Jam left off, then the Stone Roses picked up where the Smiths left off, and then of course Noel made a pretty big headed statement saying Oasis picked up where Stone Roses left off. Its true to be honest though, the Stone Roses do kind of a have a Smiths feel, like if the Smiths went a little more experimental and experimented went heavier. And I think that's what I like most, Stone Roses have variety. And with the Stone Roses the 90s were able to progress.

Best Album: The Stone Roses
13Spirit of Eden13.Talk Talk

Talk Talk were early pioneers of post rock, a genre that is kind of vaguely defined, but overall focuses more on atmosphere than actually playing solos or riffs. Talk Talk is a beautiful mix of keyboard layers with some atmospheric guitar riffs and bass, honestly Talk Talk made some of the most atmospheric music of their time, and their music might sound like its out of the 80s, but at the same time it sounds incredible. They were the Sigur Ros or Godspeed You of their time.

Best Album: Spirit of Eden
Talk Talk were early pioneers of post rock, a genre that is kind of vaguely defined, but overall focuses more on atmosphere than actually playing solos or riffs. Talk Talk is a beautiful mix of keyboard layers with some atmospheric guitar riffs and bass, honestly Talk Talk made some of the most atmospheric music of their time, and their music might sound like its out of the 80s, but at the same time it sounds incredible. They were the Sigur Ros or Godspeed You of their time.

Best Album: Spirit of Eden
14Don't Break the Oath14.Mercyful Fate

If there were 2 bands of the 80s considered to be considered the most evil and Satanic, I'd say they would hands down be Slayer and Mercyful Fate, although the difference between the two would be that none of Slayer's members actually were Satanists, while King Diamond was open about belonging to Satanism, although he no longer practices it. In all honesty Mercyful Fate might be my favorite of the 80s metal bands, Iron Maiden might have had more songs and consistency, but Mercyful Fate had great atmosphere and vocals, not to mention they were just great, it was dark metal with excellent guitar work, and it wasn't quite overly commercial like a lot of 80s metal tended to be.

Best Album: Don't Break the Oath
If there were 2 bands of the 80s considered to be considered the most evil and Satanic, I'd say they would hands down be Slayer and Mercyful Fate, although the difference between the two would be that none of Slayer's members actually were Satanists, while King Diamond was open about belonging to Satanism, although he no longer practices it. In all honesty Mercyful Fate might be my favorite of the 80s metal bands, Iron Maiden might have had more songs and consistency, but Mercyful Fate had great atmosphere and vocals, not to mention they were just great, it was dark metal with excellent guitar work, and it wasn't quite overly commercial like a lot of 80s metal tended to be.

Best Album: Don't Break the Oath
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15This Nation's Saving Grace15.The Fall

The Fall had to be one of the first post-punk bands, they came out even before Joy Division, but it wasn't until the 80s they released their best albums. The Fall mixed many different genres into their music, and experimented, they were sort of like punk but with additional elements. Of course they also loved releasing albums, which is a bit weird for a post-punk band since most of the other post-punk bands the time typically only released a handful of albums, while the Fall were pumping out an album every year for a while. Its a shame though that Joy Division sort of overshadowed these guys, because they are entirely different styles, and the Fall goes on the more artsy side of post-punk.

Best Album: This Nation's Saving Grace
The Fall had to be one of the first post-punk bands, they came out even before Joy Division, but it wasn't until the 80s they released their best albums. The Fall mixed many different genres into their music, and experimented, they were sort of like punk but with additional elements. Of course they also loved releasing albums, which is a bit weird for a post-punk band since most of the other post-punk bands the time typically only released a handful of albums, while the Fall were pumping out an album every year for a while. Its a shame though that Joy Division sort of overshadowed these guys, because they are entirely different styles, and the Fall goes on the more artsy side of post-punk.

Best Album: This Nation's Saving Grace
16Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II16.Helloween

During the 80s there were really 4 different sides of the mainstream metal spectrum, you had your thrash metal defined by bands like Metallica and Megadeth, NWOBHM which was lead my Iron Maiden, glam metal which had bands like Poison and Motley Crue, then finally you had power metal which is where Helloween came in. Helloween were pretty much the pinnacle of power metal, having more complex sounding riffs and relying on speedy solos. They sort of reminded me of if Iron Maiden was on steroids. Really they are one of those bands that speaks for itself, nothing short of outstanding metal.

Best Album: Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II
During the 80s there were really 4 different sides of the mainstream metal spectrum, you had your thrash metal defined by bands like Metallica and Megadeth, NWOBHM which was lead my Iron Maiden, glam metal which had bands like Poison and Motley Crue, then finally you had power metal which is where Helloween came in. Helloween were pretty much the pinnacle of power metal, having more complex sounding riffs and relying on speedy solos. They sort of reminded me of if Iron Maiden was on steroids. Really they are one of those bands that speaks for itself, nothing short of outstanding metal.

Best Album: Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II
17Misplaced Childhood17.Marillion

Ill admit, the 80s were a hard time for prog music, if you watched the BBC prog documentary it explains that most prog bands were either dead by the time the 80s rolled around, or were converting to more pop/radio friendly rock as was the case for Yes and Genesis. And well I guess there was still King Crimson although they were more like Talking Heads doing more art rock, so classic prog was dying out, and in comes neo prog, a genre that was more similar in structure to standard pop, neo prog wasn't about jamming or long improvised solos, but instead it relied more on atmosphere and clever composition. Unlike prog which was like philosophy and had no defined structure or planned out solos, neo prog was more like math, where the things had an equation and needed to be placed together properly. Marillion was perhaps the most popular of these neo prog groups, and they fully embraced synths. Marillion did feel like they were straight out of the 80s too, they were sort of a blend you'd get when you combine the lighter pop music of the 80s with a bit of prog from the 70s.

Best Album: Misplaced Childhood
Ill admit, the 80s were a hard time for prog music, if you watched the BBC prog documentary it explains that most prog bands were either dead by the time the 80s rolled around, or were converting to more pop/radio friendly rock as was the case for Yes and Genesis. And well I guess there was still King Crimson although they were more like Talking Heads doing more art rock, so classic prog was dying out, and in comes neo prog, a genre that was more similar in structure to standard pop, neo prog wasn't about jamming or long improvised solos, but instead it relied more on atmosphere and clever composition. Unlike prog which was like philosophy and had no defined structure or planned out solos, neo prog was more like math, where the things had an equation and needed to be placed together properly. Marillion was perhaps the most popular of these neo prog groups, and they fully embraced synths. Marillion did feel like they were straight out of the 80s too, they were sort of a blend you'd get when you combine the lighter pop music of the 80s with a bit of prog from the 70s.

Best Album: Misplaced Childhood
18Master of Puppets18.Metallica

It might feel like ages ago but there was a time when Metallica rocked and created some pretty good records. Sure that might have been 30 years ago, but there's a reason Metallica is the most popular metal group and has such a big influence in the industry. Metallica were pioneers of thrash and could create some great riffs on top of that they were mainstream sounding enough to achieve huge levels of success. Of course I don't consider Metallica the greatest metal band, but they do deserve credit where its due, and without Metallica of the 80s, metal might have evolved very differently.

Best Album: Master of Puppets or Ride the Lightning
It might feel like ages ago but there was a time when Metallica rocked and created some pretty good records. Sure that might have been 30 years ago, but there's a reason Metallica is the most popular metal group and has such a big influence in the industry. Metallica were pioneers of thrash and could create some great riffs on top of that they were mainstream sounding enough to achieve huge levels of success. Of course I don't consider Metallica the greatest metal band, but they do deserve credit where its due, and without Metallica of the 80s, metal might have evolved very differently.

Best Album: Master of Puppets or Ride the Lightning
19Youth of America19.Wipers

Wipers are such an incredible 80s punk/post-punk band, and they have some incredible guitar riffs. They create an incredible atmosphere with their heavy guitar riffs. They sort of remind me of a more experimental version of the Dead Kennedys too, minus the high vocals of course. Wipers are just put so much energy in their music, and have some of the catchiest guitar.

Best Album: Youth of America
Wipers are such an incredible 80s punk/post-punk band, and they have some incredible guitar riffs. They create an incredible atmosphere with their heavy guitar riffs. They sort of remind me of a more experimental version of the Dead Kennedys too, minus the high vocals of course. Wipers are just put so much energy in their music, and have some of the catchiest guitar.

Best Album: Youth of America
20Epicus Doomicus Metallicus20.Candlemass

By the mid 70s, Doom metal had been established with Sabbath but never fully explored, Sabbath shifted more towards heavy metal, and many metal bands in the 80s tended to go towards faster more technical styles leaving the doom metal to mainly go to Scandinavian bands like Candlemass, heavily influenced by Sabbath. Candlemass was basically an extension of early 70s era Sabbath, except well darker and heavier of course. To be honest doom is a genre that can be difficult to mess up, all you need are heavy guitar riffs played in a specific scale, and then dark lyrics with a decent lead singer, and you basically have the core of doom. Candlemass of course are really the only doom band I care for, Sabbath were not really a doom band, they were just metal/hard rock in general. Candlemass took doom to the next level.

Best Album: Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
By the mid 70s, Doom metal had been established with Sabbath but never fully explored, Sabbath shifted more towards heavy metal, and many metal bands in the 80s tended to go towards faster more technical styles leaving the doom metal to mainly go to Scandinavian bands like Candlemass, heavily influenced by Sabbath. Candlemass was basically an extension of early 70s era Sabbath, except well darker and heavier of course. To be honest doom is a genre that can be difficult to mess up, all you need are heavy guitar riffs played in a specific scale, and then dark lyrics with a decent lead singer, and you basically have the core of doom. Candlemass of course are really the only doom band I care for, Sabbath were not really a doom band, they were just metal/hard rock in general. Candlemass took doom to the next level.

Best Album: Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
21Let It Be21.The Replacements

What were the Replacements exactly, well I like to think of them as a continuation of the band Big Star. After Big Star broke up in the 70s, power pop sort of declined, then came the Replacements inspired by the power pop of the 70s, but incorporating the 80s jangle sound similar to that of the Smiths. It was a great combination, they wrote some great hooks and melodies and of course Paul Westerberg's vocals are great. Of course they didn't last too long either, they broke up after about 10 years, but their albums are great works of the power pop sound.

Best Album: Let it Be
What were the Replacements exactly, well I like to think of them as a continuation of the band Big Star. After Big Star broke up in the 70s, power pop sort of declined, then came the Replacements inspired by the power pop of the 70s, but incorporating the 80s jangle sound similar to that of the Smiths. It was a great combination, they wrote some great hooks and melodies and of course Paul Westerberg's vocals are great. Of course they didn't last too long either, they broke up after about 10 years, but their albums are great works of the power pop sound.

Best Album: Let it Be
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22Power, Corruption & Lies22.New Order

Ian Curtis was dead and you had the 3 members of Joy Division wondering where they would go next, it was obvious Joy Division had to break apart, without Curtis there just was no Joy Division, it's like continuing The Cure without Robert Smith or Rush without Geddy Lee. So they did the smart thing, which many bands should have done (I'm looking at you 90s era Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, as well as Pink Floyd without Waters), they formed a new group and added a a new member. Unlike Joy Division though, they were becoming more synth based, in fact New Order basically was a synth pop group with some post punk influences.  New Order is just upbeat synth music that makes you want to dance, that's simply it, it's nothing super deep but its super catchy and well produced nonetheless. If you listen to the song Perfect Kiss with headphones on the intro is just incredible where the synth switched from one speaker to another and then both headphones explode into a pool of synths. It's moments like this that I realize listening to music is such an enjoyable activity. There are even parts about New Order I enjoy more than Joy Division, sure you can't beat Ian Curtis' dark voice and the atmosphere of their music, but New Order was in my opinion, the greatest synth pop group, well that is if you don't consider late 80s era Depeche Mode synth pop, but the way they mixed their music and used synths were nothing short of incredible.

Best Album: Power, Corruption & Lies
Ian Curtis was dead and you had the 3 members of Joy Division wondering where they would go next, it was obvious Joy Division had to break apart, without Curtis there just was no Joy Division, it's like continuing The Cure without Robert Smith or Rush without Geddy Lee. So they did the smart thing, which many bands should have done (I'm looking at you 90s era Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, as well as Pink Floyd without Waters), they formed a new group and added a a new member. Unlike Joy Division though, they were becoming more synth based, in fact New Order basically was a synth pop group with some post punk influences.  New Order is just upbeat synth music that makes you want to dance, that's simply it, it's nothing super deep but its super catchy and well produced nonetheless. If you listen to the song Perfect Kiss with headphones on the intro is just incredible where the synth switched from one speaker to another and then both headphones explode into a pool of synths. It's moments like this that I realize listening to music is such an enjoyable activity. There are even parts about New Order I enjoy more than Joy Division, sure you can't beat Ian Curtis' dark voice and the atmosphere of their music, but New Order was in my opinion, the greatest synth pop group, well that is if you don't consider late 80s era Depeche Mode synth pop, but the way they mixed their music and used synths were nothing short of incredible.

Best Album: Power, Corruption & Lies
23Paranoid23.Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath in the 80s might have been inconsistent but they deserve to be on this list simply just for the fact that they had 2 great albums with Dio and managed to pull themselves out of the gutter after Ozzy was gone. 80s Sabbath was more metal, more intense and a different band. They finally made the transition between hard rock and heavy metal, and well they were metal as hell, and Dio is one of the greatest metal singers, he brought a different style to Sabbath Ozzy couldn't, plus his high pitched vocals worked incredibly well. Although the bad news is after Dio Sabbath wen through some rough times and it ended up being where everyone left except Iommi and they became a generic metal band, but again let's no think about this and focus on Dio era Sabbath because that was a huge highlight of 80s metal, and helped pave the way for Dio's solo career as well as other metal bands to emerge in the mid 80s off this influence.

Best Album: Heaven and Hell
Black Sabbath in the 80s might have been inconsistent but they deserve to be on this list simply just for the fact that they had 2 great albums with Dio and managed to pull themselves out of the gutter after Ozzy was gone. 80s Sabbath was more metal, more intense and a different band. They finally made the transition between hard rock and heavy metal, and well they were metal as hell, and Dio is one of the greatest metal singers, he brought a different style to Sabbath Ozzy couldn't, plus his high pitched vocals worked incredibly well. Although the bad news is after Dio Sabbath wen through some rough times and it ended up being where everyone left except Iommi and they became a generic metal band, but again let's no think about this and focus on Dio era Sabbath because that was a huge highlight of 80s metal, and helped pave the way for Dio's solo career as well as other metal bands to emerge in the mid 80s off this influence.

Best Album: Heaven and Hell
24Nebraska24.Bruce Springsteen

By the 80s Springsteen was an icon, he might as well have worn a cape with an American flag on it and dyed his hair red, white, and blue because he was pretty much the musical symbol of America, when people think of America they think apple pie, statue of liberty, and Bruce Springsteen, because quite honestly I can't think of a more American musician, his album was named Born in the USA for God's sake, and well let's just say American's loved Springsteen, he was at the top of his game, had several hits, and was selling out stadiums. 80s Springsteen was a bit different than the humble Springsteen of the 70s, he was more confident, and to be honest it did come to bite back because with he started to go mainstream and loose his creativity he once had. But the main reason I'm ranking Springsteen is because during the early 80s he was still in his prime giving great albums, and as a live act he was pretty much unmatched, I can't think of any other 80s non metal artist that could put on a better live act in the 80s except maybe Rush. Springsteen could practically reinvent his songs live and play them different than their studio versions. Plus lets face it, Springsteen cared a lot about his fans at this point so he gave incredible live shows, and it was the last decade Springsteen was relevant unfortunately.

Best Album: The River
By the 80s Springsteen was an icon, he might as well have worn a cape with an American flag on it and dyed his hair red, white, and blue because he was pretty much the musical symbol of America, when people think of America they think apple pie, statue of liberty, and Bruce Springsteen, because quite honestly I can't think of a more American musician, his album was named Born in the USA for God's sake, and well let's just say American's loved Springsteen, he was at the top of his game, had several hits, and was selling out stadiums. 80s Springsteen was a bit different than the humble Springsteen of the 70s, he was more confident, and to be honest it did come to bite back because with he started to go mainstream and loose his creativity he once had. But the main reason I'm ranking Springsteen is because during the early 80s he was still in his prime giving great albums, and as a live act he was pretty much unmatched, I can't think of any other 80s non metal artist that could put on a better live act in the 80s except maybe Rush. Springsteen could practically reinvent his songs live and play them different than their studio versions. Plus lets face it, Springsteen cared a lot about his fans at this point so he gave incredible live shows, and it was the last decade Springsteen was relevant unfortunately.

Best Album: The River
25Achtung Baby25.U2

U2 at one point were actually solid, not saying they were God's gift to man like Bono would like you to believe, but they did write some very solid pop rock. They were on the softer more melodic side. I really won't waste much time talking about U2 since they are pretty straight forward, but during the 80s they meant something. Plus I don't want to stroke Bono's ego anymore than it's already been stroked, especially after the Itunes controversy.

Best Album: The Joshua Tree
U2 at one point were actually solid, not saying they were God's gift to man like Bono would like you to believe, but they did write some very solid pop rock. They were on the softer more melodic side. I really won't waste much time talking about U2 since they are pretty straight forward, but during the 80s they meant something. Plus I don't want to stroke Bono's ego anymore than it's already been stroked, especially after the Itunes controversy.

Best Album: The Joshua Tree
26Murmur26.R.E.M.

R.E.M. were one of the college rock bands in the late 80s, you know bands that college students were all into but much people outside of college communities knew much about these groups, well at least until Loosing My Religion which introduced R.E.M. to a more mainstream audience (sure It's the End of the World was a minor hit but it didn't really introduce the band to a much bigger audience), but R.E.M. started off as a jangle pop group, actually not too different than the Smiths. They were like what the Smiths would be if they were American and a bit more commercial sounding. What is there really to say R.E.M. are a big name group and Stipes vocals are a big part of their sound along with the jangle guitar. 80s R.E.M. were a great force, consistently giving good albums, and its before the group became mainstream. They just had some good guitar riffs in their early albums, and was very upbeat happy music.

Best Album: Murmur
R.E.M. were one of the college rock bands in the late 80s, you know bands that college students were all into but much people outside of college communities knew much about these groups, well at least until Loosing My Religion which introduced R.E.M. to a more mainstream audience (sure It's the End of the World was a minor hit but it didn't really introduce the band to a much bigger audience), but R.E.M. started off as a jangle pop group, actually not too different than the Smiths. They were like what the Smiths would be if they were American and a bit more commercial sounding. What is there really to say R.E.M. are a big name group and Stipes vocals are a big part of their sound along with the jangle guitar. 80s R.E.M. were a great force, consistently giving good albums, and its before the group became mainstream. They just had some good guitar riffs in their early albums, and was very upbeat happy music.

Best Album: Murmur
27Texas Flood27.Stevie Ray Vaughan

When Hendrix died in the early 70s, there was a lot of fear that their would never be a guitarist like him, and that he would not be surpassed, sure there were incredible progressive guitarists like Steve Howe or Robert Fripp that could do more with scales, rhythm, improvisation, and solos than Hendrix ever could, and of course there was still Clapton who was going more the pop route and losing his touch he had in the 60s, and I guess you also had metal and hard rock guitarists in bands like UFO, Iron Maiden, or even Van Halen who could both outshred Hendrix and sound heavier, but in terms of similar style and guitar tone, most guitarists didn't come close to repicating Hendrix, nor was there really a need to, his style was kind of best fit in the late 60s and when he died, so did the style of music that the 60s embodied, music was becoming more diverse and branching off, getting heavier, and even more complicated in ways, Hendrix laid the groundwork for hard rock and metal bands. Then along came an unknown guitarist out of Texas during the 80s, who had a style that brought back Hendrix and Mike Bloomfield. Stevie Ray Vaughan sounded like he was straight out of the late 60s, yet it was the 80s, a time where most rock music was either really heavy or soft and full of synths. Of course his style was a bit different then Hendrix and quite honestly a bit more of what Hendrix would have become if he continued recording music and hadn't died. It's almost as if Hendrix faked his own death to live a life in privacy, but decided to take on a student and train him to play guitar and become his successor. Vaughan might not have been the most original musician, he was pretty much just playing standard blues music, but adding his own guitar improvs and riffs, but to hear a man who could play guitar so well in this style at a time where people were forgetting about these blues was sort of a relief. He definitely was one of the greatest in his field if not the greatest.

Best Album: Texas Flood
When Hendrix died in the early 70s, there was a lot of fear that their would never be a guitarist like him, and that he would not be surpassed, sure there were incredible progressive guitarists like Steve Howe or Robert Fripp that could do more with scales, rhythm, improvisation, and solos than Hendrix ever could, and of course there was still Clapton who was going more the pop route and losing his touch he had in the 60s, and I guess you also had metal and hard rock guitarists in bands like UFO, Iron Maiden, or even Van Halen who could both outshred Hendrix and sound heavier, but in terms of similar style and guitar tone, most guitarists didn't come close to repicating Hendrix, nor was there really a need to, his style was kind of best fit in the late 60s and when he died, so did the style of music that the 60s embodied, music was becoming more diverse and branching off, getting heavier, and even more complicated in ways, Hendrix laid the groundwork for hard rock and metal bands. Then along came an unknown guitarist out of Texas during the 80s, who had a style that brought back Hendrix and Mike Bloomfield. Stevie Ray Vaughan sounded like he was straight out of the late 60s, yet it was the 80s, a time where most rock music was either really heavy or soft and full of synths. Of course his style was a bit different then Hendrix and quite honestly a bit more of what Hendrix would have become if he continued recording music and hadn't died. It's almost as if Hendrix faked his own death to live a life in privacy, but decided to take on a student and train him to play guitar and become his successor. Vaughan might not have been the most original musician, he was pretty much just playing standard blues music, but adding his own guitar improvs and riffs, but to hear a man who could play guitar so well in this style at a time where people were forgetting about these blues was sort of a relief. He definitely was one of the greatest in his field if not the greatest.

Best Album: Texas Flood
28Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables28.Dead Kennedys

The 80s was sort of a dark time for punk rock, The Clash devolved into a dance punk/new wave group, Ramones saw a huge drop in quality as well, and Buzzcocks also declined, post punk was beginning to outshine the punk rock that originally helped influence it. However there was one punk band to emerge in the 80s and prove that punk wasn't dead yet, and that would be Dead Kennedys. They were the perfect blend between what you'd get if you mixed a traditional punk band like Ramones with a surf rock performer like the Ventures or Dick Dale, and then throw in a singer with Geddy Lee-like vocals. Its a band that honestly would not normally work, but Dead Kennedys make it sound like the coolest thing, and of course their music was pure chaos and just downright catchy. They had some of the greatest riffs and basslines and deserve credit for keeping punk alive in the 80s.

Best Album: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
The 80s was sort of a dark time for punk rock, The Clash devolved into a dance punk/new wave group, Ramones saw a huge drop in quality as well, and Buzzcocks also declined, post punk was beginning to outshine the punk rock that originally helped influence it. However there was one punk band to emerge in the 80s and prove that punk wasn't dead yet, and that would be Dead Kennedys. They were the perfect blend between what you'd get if you mixed a traditional punk band like Ramones with a surf rock performer like the Ventures or Dick Dale, and then throw in a singer with Geddy Lee-like vocals. Its a band that honestly would not normally work, but Dead Kennedys make it sound like the coolest thing, and of course their music was pure chaos and just downright catchy. They had some of the greatest riffs and basslines and deserve credit for keeping punk alive in the 80s.

Best Album: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
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29Daydream Nation29.Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth I feel are one of those bands that grows on you the more you listen to them. They are a bit minimalist and are very laid back but they do deserve the credit they get for their innovative work on noise and alternative rock. It was highly experimental music and well it worked, and well they were cool enough to find themselves guest starring on the Simpsons so they deserve credit where credit is due.

Best Album: Teenage Riot
Sonic Youth I feel are one of those bands that grows on you the more you listen to them. They are a bit minimalist and are very laid back but they do deserve the credit they get for their innovative work on noise and alternative rock. It was highly experimental music and well it worked, and well they were cool enough to find themselves guest starring on the Simpsons so they deserve credit where credit is due.

Best Album: Teenage Riot
30Peter Gabriel30.Peter Gabriel

When Peter Gabriel left Genesis there was a lot of concert from fans, Gabriel was sort of the voice of Genesis not to mention the stage presence, and with his departure it was questionable whether or not Genesis would start to slump since he was a main songwriter, and there was also concern if Gabriel could succeed on his own because his band worked so well with him, but rest assured things worked out both ways. With Steve Hackett still in Genesis, they still were a solid rock group, and well even if quality wise they went downhill after Hackett's departure, they did achieve new levels of pop success that I'm sure none of the band members were complaining after checking their bank accounts. Then of course Gabriel also had success, even more-so then he did with Genesis. He actually managed to even break the American billboard, and in the 80s he helped revolutionize the music video industry with the animations used for his Sledgehammer song. Of course Gabriel solo was a lot different than Genesis, it was still progressive but in a different way, his music went for more of an experimental approach, even going into more world music. It was a lot different than most other artists of the 80s were doing, Gabriel mainly sang over laid back synth strings and maybe some piano and easy guitar. Gabriel managed to stand out as a solo artist and well the rest speaks for itself, his eccentricity paid off and there's no denying his solo work is very relaxing and pleasant music.

Best Album: Peter Gabriel III
When Peter Gabriel left Genesis there was a lot of concert from fans, Gabriel was sort of the voice of Genesis not to mention the stage presence, and with his departure it was questionable whether or not Genesis would start to slump since he was a main songwriter, and there was also concern if Gabriel could succeed on his own because his band worked so well with him, but rest assured things worked out both ways. With Steve Hackett still in Genesis, they still were a solid rock group, and well even if quality wise they went downhill after Hackett's departure, they did achieve new levels of pop success that I'm sure none of the band members were complaining after checking their bank accounts. Then of course Gabriel also had success, even more-so then he did with Genesis. He actually managed to even break the American billboard, and in the 80s he helped revolutionize the music video industry with the animations used for his Sledgehammer song. Of course Gabriel solo was a lot different than Genesis, it was still progressive but in a different way, his music went for more of an experimental approach, even going into more world music. It was a lot different than most other artists of the 80s were doing, Gabriel mainly sang over laid back synth strings and maybe some piano and easy guitar. Gabriel managed to stand out as a solo artist and well the rest speaks for itself, his eccentricity paid off and there's no denying his solo work is very relaxing and pleasant music.

Best Album: Peter Gabriel III
31This Year's Model31.Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello was ready to take the 80s on when they arrived, considering he was already playing new wave in the late 70s and pretty much was an early pioneer of the genre, and by the 80s Costello was still giving some great music. Costello really is one of those artists that you'd assume had more hits, but outside of UK he really was more obscure, of course his legacy allowed him to have his name become bigger than his music even, but Costello was giving more new wave and finding ways to put new twists on it, and all I can say is Costello was the best at that, and as a songwriter is one of the greatest of all time.

Best Album: Get Happy
Elvis Costello was ready to take the 80s on when they arrived, considering he was already playing new wave in the late 70s and pretty much was an early pioneer of the genre, and by the 80s Costello was still giving some great music. Costello really is one of those artists that you'd assume had more hits, but outside of UK he really was more obscure, of course his legacy allowed him to have his name become bigger than his music even, but Costello was giving more new wave and finding ways to put new twists on it, and all I can say is Costello was the best at that, and as a songwriter is one of the greatest of all time.

Best Album: Get Happy
32Thriller32.Michael Jackson

While it may be debatable if Jackson really is the king of pop, there's no denying he was hands down one of the greatest singers of his time. He had such great control of his voice, and his song writing, he was the best in his field no doubt, not pop particularly, but when it came to catchy hits, we can't argue, Michael was not beaten in terms of pop hits, I'm not going to bring up Elvis or the Beatles because I'm talking strictly pop music, sure Elvis and Beatles were essentially pop for their time, but I'm talking the pop with synths and electronic drums. He was the biggest thing to hit America and everyone wanted Jackson's albums. He was king of the 80s and he ruled MTV, nothing more to say other than he was the biggest cultural icon of this time, and it was before he went downhill and started to look more like a zombie than a human.

Best Album: Thriller
While it may be debatable if Jackson really is the king of pop, there's no denying he was hands down one of the greatest singers of his time. He had such great control of his voice, and his song writing, he was the best in his field no doubt, not pop particularly, but when it came to catchy hits, we can't argue, Michael was not beaten in terms of pop hits, I'm not going to bring up Elvis or the Beatles because I'm talking strictly pop music, sure Elvis and Beatles were essentially pop for their time, but I'm talking the pop with synths and electronic drums. He was the biggest thing to hit America and everyone wanted Jackson's albums. He was king of the 80s and he ruled MTV, nothing more to say other than he was the biggest cultural icon of this time, and it was before he went downhill and started to look more like a zombie than a human.

Best Album: Thriller
33Painkiller33.Judas Priest

80s Priest were a lot different than 70s Priest, they were more commercial, more confident, and more well more metal. If there's anything Priest proved to us is that the most metal, badass, and masculine band could actually be fronted by a gay man. I mean Elton John and Freddie Mercury could understandably fit the gay bill with little surprise considering their styles of music but Halford well it was awesome that he was breaking down these barriers. At the same time the music was pretty strong, and Priest were at the top of their game, earning a spot among bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden in the top metal circuit. Priest was definitely one of the 5 biggest metal bands of the 80s, and to be honest are one of the least debatable ones, because once you hear Priests awesome rips and Halford's voice you're instantly pulled into their music. It's everything that's awesome about heavy metal.

Best Album: Screaming for Vengeance
80s Priest were a lot different than 70s Priest, they were more commercial, more confident, and more well more metal. If there's anything Priest proved to us is that the most metal, badass, and masculine band could actually be fronted by a gay man. I mean Elton John and Freddie Mercury could understandably fit the gay bill with little surprise considering their styles of music but Halford well it was awesome that he was breaking down these barriers. At the same time the music was pretty strong, and Priest were at the top of their game, earning a spot among bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden in the top metal circuit. Priest was definitely one of the 5 biggest metal bands of the 80s, and to be honest are one of the least debatable ones, because once you hear Priests awesome rips and Halford's voice you're instantly pulled into their music. It's everything that's awesome about heavy metal.

Best Album: Screaming for Vengeance
34Zen Arcade34.Hüsker Dü

The band might not have been German but they were pretty innovative. Husker Du were the start of a genre known as post hardcore, a genre that combined elements of noise rock with punk but quite honestly like post punk, I just like to think of post hardcore as more experimental punk, only a bit heavier than post punk. Husker Du were pretty much everything in one album, they could seamlessly change genres between songs and in a way the concepts of their albums were not too different from the Minutemen where they opted to have several short songs only 2-3 minutes each over several decent length songs. That's not to say they weren't good musicians, they could give some excellent guitar solos and riffs. Plus lets face it, its pretty awesome seeing some American bands being so crucial in the creation of a genre, the 80s were so dominated by British new wave bands that it was nice to see a few American ones emerge.

Best Album: Zen Arcade
The band might not have been German but they were pretty innovative. Husker Du were the start of a genre known as post hardcore, a genre that combined elements of noise rock with punk but quite honestly like post punk, I just like to think of post hardcore as more experimental punk, only a bit heavier than post punk. Husker Du were pretty much everything in one album, they could seamlessly change genres between songs and in a way the concepts of their albums were not too different from the Minutemen where they opted to have several short songs only 2-3 minutes each over several decent length songs. That's not to say they weren't good musicians, they could give some excellent guitar solos and riffs. Plus lets face it, its pretty awesome seeing some American bands being so crucial in the creation of a genre, the 80s were so dominated by British new wave bands that it was nice to see a few American ones emerge.

Best Album: Zen Arcade
35Rust in Peace35.Megadeth

Megadeth sort of emerged as a middle finger to Metallica, after Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica of course for being a dumbass, and well there is no denying Mustaine is a huge asshole and egotistical dick, his band Megadeth were by far one of the best metal bands of the 80s. Mustang's style was a lot different than the other metal bands of the time, Megadeth opted for more of a bluesy type of approach, and their metal was a lot more technical, consisting of some insane solos. Megadeth sounded the most sinister, maybe not most satanic that would go to Slayer or King Diamond, but they did sound the most sinister, almost like if Black Sabbath were to turn to a thrash band. Of course that's really why their are the big 4 thrash bands, because each of the big 4 pioneered grunge in a different way, Metallica was about diversity and took more of a pop approach, Megadeth were more sinister bluesy, Slayer was more technical and speedy, and Anthrax was sort of just a bland.

Best Album: Peace Sells But Who's Buying
Megadeth sort of emerged as a middle finger to Metallica, after Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica of course for being a dumbass, and well there is no denying Mustaine is a huge asshole and egotistical dick, his band Megadeth were by far one of the best metal bands of the 80s. Mustang's style was a lot different than the other metal bands of the time, Megadeth opted for more of a bluesy type of approach, and their metal was a lot more technical, consisting of some insane solos. Megadeth sounded the most sinister, maybe not most satanic that would go to Slayer or King Diamond, but they did sound the most sinister, almost like if Black Sabbath were to turn to a thrash band. Of course that's really why their are the big 4 thrash bands, because each of the big 4 pioneered grunge in a different way, Metallica was about diversity and took more of a pop approach, Megadeth were more sinister bluesy, Slayer was more technical and speedy, and Anthrax was sort of just a bland.

Best Album: Peace Sells But Who's Buying
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36Behaviour36.Pet Shop Boys

Its sad that today people really consider this type of music to be gay and if you were caught listening to this music you'd probably be made fun of and called names, at least in high school, but I can't see many people at the college I went to being open about this music either. It makes me wish we were back in the 80s where this music was tolerated and was in fact considered the opposite of gay, ever girl wanted a piece of these two guys back in the mid 80s. Let's face it, synth pop was never more fun than this, its so catchy and upbeat and at the same time atmospheric, I love Tennant's voice, it's just so distinct and fits the style so well. They were very much a singles band, but still they made some of the greatest singles of their time, and I hope one day people consider music like Lady Gaga or One Direction to be gay because I feel more masculine and straight listening to this than anything by those bands. Besides since how is being called gay an insult anymore, oh well, I guess conservative suburbs will have close minded idiots. I'll listen to Pet Shop Boys and have an awesome attractive girlfriend that will make all these judgmental assholes cower into their corners.

Best Album: Actually
Its sad that today people really consider this type of music to be gay and if you were caught listening to this music you'd probably be made fun of and called names, at least in high school, but I can't see many people at the college I went to being open about this music either. It makes me wish we were back in the 80s where this music was tolerated and was in fact considered the opposite of gay, ever girl wanted a piece of these two guys back in the mid 80s. Let's face it, synth pop was never more fun than this, its so catchy and upbeat and at the same time atmospheric, I love Tennant's voice, it's just so distinct and fits the style so well. They were very much a singles band, but still they made some of the greatest singles of their time, and I hope one day people consider music like Lady Gaga or One Direction to be gay because I feel more masculine and straight listening to this than anything by those bands. Besides since how is being called gay an insult anymore, oh well, I guess conservative suburbs will have close minded idiots. I'll listen to Pet Shop Boys and have an awesome attractive girlfriend that will make all these judgmental assholes cower into their corners.

Best Album: Actually
37Last Rights37.Skinny Puppy

Well forget Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and even Coil, because these guys were doing industrial before anybody else really. Skinny Puppy were a Canadian industrial band that relied on harsh keyboard sounds, and of course they are also famous for their animal rights activism. I really can't say much about Skinny Puppy other than they are quite possibly the peak of industrial metal, they consistently gave some great industrial albums that were more true to the genre than some of the bigger name groups, and its kind of a shame they were buried under bands like Nine Inch Nails or Ministry because while NIN and Ministry were good, Skinny Puppy literally helped invent the genre.

Best Album: Vivisect VI
Well forget Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and even Coil, because these guys were doing industrial before anybody else really. Skinny Puppy were a Canadian industrial band that relied on harsh keyboard sounds, and of course they are also famous for their animal rights activism. I really can't say much about Skinny Puppy other than they are quite possibly the peak of industrial metal, they consistently gave some great industrial albums that were more true to the genre than some of the bigger name groups, and its kind of a shame they were buried under bands like Nine Inch Nails or Ministry because while NIN and Ministry were good, Skinny Puppy literally helped invent the genre.

Best Album: Vivisect VI
38Walk Among Us38.Misfits

Combining horror and punk seemed like a strange idea and to be honest Misfits seem like one of those bands you'd think would be some annoying emo band based on their names and even looks, but they are actually an awesome punk group that has been around longer than it seems like they would. Misfits gave some really fun punk riffs, and to be honest that's really what the Misfits are, they are a fun band, playing catchy punk. I won't even analyze them because that's really the point of Misfits, they were a fun band that put a creative twist on punk.

Best Album: Walk Among Us
Combining horror and punk seemed like a strange idea and to be honest Misfits seem like one of those bands you'd think would be some annoying emo band based on their names and even looks, but they are actually an awesome punk group that has been around longer than it seems like they would. Misfits gave some really fun punk riffs, and to be honest that's really what the Misfits are, they are a fun band, playing catchy punk. I won't even analyze them because that's really the point of Misfits, they were a fun band that put a creative twist on punk.

Best Album: Walk Among Us
39Reign in Blood39.Slayer

Slayer was metal, that's really all I can say, you compare these guys to Metallica and Iron Maiden and well those two bands just look like Frank Sinatra. Slayer was the most intense metal band of their time period, sure you also had bands like Death and Morbid Angel emerging but Slayer was the first of their kind to emerge, they were playing some of the fastest, most intense metal for their time, and they were the first band to take the whole satanic thing to the next level. Instead of alluding the Satan in their lyrics, they actually put demons and pentagrams on their album covers and with their intense riffs, I honestly thing most people were convinced these guys  were a bunch of Devil worshipers trying to corrupt the youth, I'm almost positive Slayer is half the reason metal heads are stereotyped as being satanic and immoral. The funny thing is the band members aren't even Satanists and most of their influence has been blown out of proportion, I doubt Slayer was responsible for converting many metal heads to Satanism and I doubt their music has cause much corruption, in fact I think its awesome Slayer decided to push the boundaries, I think music should be about expressing the values of the band, and they wanted to make badass metal with satanic themes, which to be honest who doesn't find the idea of demons and mysterious Satanic ritual stuff to be interesting fantasy stuff, hell if you don't you should stay away from the video games Silent Hill and Doom. And lets face it what is more metal than hell and Satan, metal is about rocking hard and finding pleasure in the intensity, if you could imagine God or angels rocking out to Slayer and head banging, then well I'd question which religion you belong to. Slayer were great at creating some of the most intense metal and well I think that's all that needs to be said.

Best Album: Reign in Blood
Slayer was metal, that's really all I can say, you compare these guys to Metallica and Iron Maiden and well those two bands just look like Frank Sinatra. Slayer was the most intense metal band of their time period, sure you also had bands like Death and Morbid Angel emerging but Slayer was the first of their kind to emerge, they were playing some of the fastest, most intense metal for their time, and they were the first band to take the whole satanic thing to the next level. Instead of alluding the Satan in their lyrics, they actually put demons and pentagrams on their album covers and with their intense riffs, I honestly thing most people were convinced these guys  were a bunch of Devil worshipers trying to corrupt the youth, I'm almost positive Slayer is half the reason metal heads are stereotyped as being satanic and immoral. The funny thing is the band members aren't even Satanists and most of their influence has been blown out of proportion, I doubt Slayer was responsible for converting many metal heads to Satanism and I doubt their music has cause much corruption, in fact I think its awesome Slayer decided to push the boundaries, I think music should be about expressing the values of the band, and they wanted to make badass metal with satanic themes, which to be honest who doesn't find the idea of demons and mysterious Satanic ritual stuff to be interesting fantasy stuff, hell if you don't you should stay away from the video games Silent Hill and Doom. And lets face it what is more metal than hell and Satan, metal is about rocking hard and finding pleasure in the intensity, if you could imagine God or angels rocking out to Slayer and head banging, then well I'd question which religion you belong to. Slayer were great at creating some of the most intense metal and well I think that's all that needs to be said.

Best Album: Reign in Blood
40The Ape of Naples40.Coil

Coil made some of the best industrial music of their time. Honestly if anyone wants to know what true industrial is just put on 80s era Coil and be amazed, very energetic mix of heavy guitars and saxophones. Its kind of creepy looking back at this band and realizing both of the members have died but they honestly are one of the creepiest groups of all time.

Best Album: Horse Rotorvator
Coil made some of the best industrial music of their time. Honestly if anyone wants to know what true industrial is just put on 80s era Coil and be amazed, very energetic mix of heavy guitars and saxophones. Its kind of creepy looking back at this band and realizing both of the members have died but they honestly are one of the creepiest groups of all time.

Best Album: Horse Rotorvator
41Songs From the Big Chair41.Tears for Fears

Tears for Fears were a pretty big duo from the 80s, a time period where duos were pretty cool, you know like Hall and Oates, Pet Shop Boys, and then Tears for Fears. Tears for Fears had a number of big hits, but their early years are pretty overlooked in terms of popularity, most of the bands hits came from Big Chair while their debut album was a fine haunting synth pop album. Tears for Fears were kind of like Depeche Mode if they were a bit more accessible to the mainstream, and well they had some pretty interesting material. There are plenty of things the 80s had to be embarrassed about being popular, Hall and Oates were one of those and who can forget Rick Astley or all that cheesy glam and hair metal, but Tears for Fears was far from an embarrassing moment for 80s culture, they proved synth rock didn't have to be cheesy over overblown, and also they inspired a new generation of hipsters with their Mad World being remade for Donnie Darko and rising to great levels of popularity.

Best Album: The Hurting
Tears for Fears were a pretty big duo from the 80s, a time period where duos were pretty cool, you know like Hall and Oates, Pet Shop Boys, and then Tears for Fears. Tears for Fears had a number of big hits, but their early years are pretty overlooked in terms of popularity, most of the bands hits came from Big Chair while their debut album was a fine haunting synth pop album. Tears for Fears were kind of like Depeche Mode if they were a bit more accessible to the mainstream, and well they had some pretty interesting material. There are plenty of things the 80s had to be embarrassed about being popular, Hall and Oates were one of those and who can forget Rick Astley or all that cheesy glam and hair metal, but Tears for Fears was far from an embarrassing moment for 80s culture, they proved synth rock didn't have to be cheesy over overblown, and also they inspired a new generation of hipsters with their Mad World being remade for Donnie Darko and rising to great levels of popularity.

Best Album: The Hurting
42Blizzard of Ozz42.Ozzy Osbourne

After Sabbath, it was no surprise Ozzy would go solo, he was a big name in the metal community, and while he was at the point in his life where he was so messed up on drugs that he really could do anything. What he does came as a shock, he created some great metal albums that had some of the greatest riffs and guitar work. Sure Randy Rhoads helped a lot, but Ozzy sounds good too, he doesn't sound washed up or tired like he did on his final albums with 70s Sabbath. And it was with Ozzy's solo career the icon was built up, and all his bizarre stories were made. Ozzy may perhaps be the biggest name in metal, and the dude's blood basically consists of cocaine and heroin and I'm also convinced Ozzy invented his own language and needs a translator when he wants to talk to someone. Still he's Ozzy and that alone makes him awesome, he helped create metal with Sabbath and has one of the most recognizable voices, and his solo work was a welcome change.

Best Album: Blizzard of Ozz
After Sabbath, it was no surprise Ozzy would go solo, he was a big name in the metal community, and while he was at the point in his life where he was so messed up on drugs that he really could do anything. What he does came as a shock, he created some great metal albums that had some of the greatest riffs and guitar work. Sure Randy Rhoads helped a lot, but Ozzy sounds good too, he doesn't sound washed up or tired like he did on his final albums with 70s Sabbath. And it was with Ozzy's solo career the icon was built up, and all his bizarre stories were made. Ozzy may perhaps be the biggest name in metal, and the dude's blood basically consists of cocaine and heroin and I'm also convinced Ozzy invented his own language and needs a translator when he wants to talk to someone. Still he's Ozzy and that alone makes him awesome, he helped create metal with Sabbath and has one of the most recognizable voices, and his solo work was a welcome change.

Best Album: Blizzard of Ozz
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43Transcendence43.Crimson Glory

People might have thought progressive metal began with Dream Theater, but in all reality prog metal's roots came from the 80s with bands like Queensryche, Fates Warning, and of course Crimson Glory. The thing about Crimson Glory is they just have some very awesome sounding heavy metal, its almost what you'd expect if Queensryche combined with Iron Maiden. They have the heavy riffs of Maiden and the symphonic feel of Queensryche. It's really a shame they were sort of buried beneath the bigger bands at the time.

Best Album: Transcendence
People might have thought progressive metal began with Dream Theater, but in all reality prog metal's roots came from the 80s with bands like Queensryche, Fates Warning, and of course Crimson Glory. The thing about Crimson Glory is they just have some very awesome sounding heavy metal, its almost what you'd expect if Queensryche combined with Iron Maiden. They have the heavy riffs of Maiden and the symphonic feel of Queensryche. It's really a shame they were sort of buried beneath the bigger bands at the time.

Best Album: Transcendence
44Double Nickels on the Dime44.Minutemen

Minutemen may seem like a weird name for a band, but when you look at their albums at first it seems intimidating, seeing nearly 50 songs on an album, then when you look at the time of each song, you realize many of them are only a minute or less long, and they rarely give a song over 3 minutes. This is actually a pretty cool concept, because well if you don't like a song on one of their albums, instead of skipping it you just have to wait a minute for it to end. They were a pretty enjoyable group giving several cool riffs and songs, and the fact that they were one of the earliest bands to create the concept of these short minute songs.

Best Album: Double Nickels on the Dime
Minutemen may seem like a weird name for a band, but when you look at their albums at first it seems intimidating, seeing nearly 50 songs on an album, then when you look at the time of each song, you realize many of them are only a minute or less long, and they rarely give a song over 3 minutes. This is actually a pretty cool concept, because well if you don't like a song on one of their albums, instead of skipping it you just have to wait a minute for it to end. They were a pretty enjoyable group giving several cool riffs and songs, and the fact that they were one of the earliest bands to create the concept of these short minute songs.

Best Album: Double Nickels on the Dime
45Skylarking45.XTC

XTC were sort of the result of mixing art rock with new wave, however they also touched into psychedelic rock on some of their albums as well, in fact they also had a side band they worked on called Dukes of Stratosphere that played standard psychedelia, I didn't want to include them on the list though because I consider them and XTC more or less the same. XTC made some really interesting and creative albums, I mean the 80s might have been as anti psychedelic as any other decade, but XTC embraced it and they found ways to make new wave sound unique.

Best Album: Skylarking
XTC were sort of the result of mixing art rock with new wave, however they also touched into psychedelic rock on some of their albums as well, in fact they also had a side band they worked on called Dukes of Stratosphere that played standard psychedelia, I didn't want to include them on the list though because I consider them and XTC more or less the same. XTC made some really interesting and creative albums, I mean the 80s might have been as anti psychedelic as any other decade, but XTC embraced it and they found ways to make new wave sound unique.

Best Album: Skylarking
46Abigail46.King Diamond

King Diamond leaving Mercyful Fate was well a fatal blow to the band, let's just say Mercyful Fate was put on hold while Diamond formed his own band after his name. King Diamond was pretty good, and a bit like an extension of Mercyful Fate, the same dark concepts and it was all pure metal, concepts like King Diamond's ultimately had a huge impact on genres like black metal where creating stories and concepts around dark subjects became standard. Plus lets face it, King Diamond scared a lot of people, my parents were metal heads back in the 80s (roughly speaking), and even they were scared of King Diamond, my mom told me she stopped really caring for him because she thought he was this crazy satanist, of course it was all an act for the most part, I doubt King Diamond is much of a threat to society or an evil hedonist bent on spreading evil and corruption but let's just say he scared the hell out of many people, and so did his music, but to be honest compared to bands like Death or Emperor, King Diamond is actually pretty tame. Anyway that's what King Diamond is, an extension of Mercyful Fate, and he gave the same great high vocals and guitar solos/riffs.

Best Album: Abigail
King Diamond leaving Mercyful Fate was well a fatal blow to the band, let's just say Mercyful Fate was put on hold while Diamond formed his own band after his name. King Diamond was pretty good, and a bit like an extension of Mercyful Fate, the same dark concepts and it was all pure metal, concepts like King Diamond's ultimately had a huge impact on genres like black metal where creating stories and concepts around dark subjects became standard. Plus lets face it, King Diamond scared a lot of people, my parents were metal heads back in the 80s (roughly speaking), and even they were scared of King Diamond, my mom told me she stopped really caring for him because she thought he was this crazy satanist, of course it was all an act for the most part, I doubt King Diamond is much of a threat to society or an evil hedonist bent on spreading evil and corruption but let's just say he scared the hell out of many people, and so did his music, but to be honest compared to bands like Death or Emperor, King Diamond is actually pretty tame. Anyway that's what King Diamond is, an extension of Mercyful Fate, and he gave the same great high vocals and guitar solos/riffs.

Best Album: Abigail
47Ace of Spades47.Motörhead

At first I never cared much for Motorhead, all I knew about them was they had that Lemmy guy who appeared in a lot of documentaries about rock and metal and had a huge mole and handlebar mustache. Well go back to the 80s and Motorhead suddenly makes sense, they are one of the stable heavy metal groups, actually managing to find their unique sound, and that's the thing about metal, if a band can find a unique, original sound, then it can thrive and feed on a new fountain of creativity. Motorhead were very much influenced by the punk movement on the late 70s, you can hear in the way Lemmy sings and their sloppy almost amateurish style, if the Ramones went full on metal, they would be much like Motorhead I think. Motorhead were also mostly about the riffs. They were wild, they were raw, and they were the more energetic side to metal. They looked rough, they lived rough, and they played rough and that pretty much is the most accurate description of the band.

Best Album: Ace of Spades
At first I never cared much for Motorhead, all I knew about them was they had that Lemmy guy who appeared in a lot of documentaries about rock and metal and had a huge mole and handlebar mustache. Well go back to the 80s and Motorhead suddenly makes sense, they are one of the stable heavy metal groups, actually managing to find their unique sound, and that's the thing about metal, if a band can find a unique, original sound, then it can thrive and feed on a new fountain of creativity. Motorhead were very much influenced by the punk movement on the late 70s, you can hear in the way Lemmy sings and their sloppy almost amateurish style, if the Ramones went full on metal, they would be much like Motorhead I think. Motorhead were also mostly about the riffs. They were wild, they were raw, and they were the more energetic side to metal. They looked rough, they lived rough, and they played rough and that pretty much is the most accurate description of the band.

Best Album: Ace of Spades
48Operation: Mindcrime48.Queensrÿche

The legacy of symphonic prog lies here, with Queensryche, early innovators of the progressive metal lies here. Queensryche pretty much laid the groundwork for prog metal and was it a bit cheesy, maybe, but it was pretty awesome too.

Best Album: Operation: Mindcrime
The legacy of symphonic prog lies here, with Queensryche, early innovators of the progressive metal lies here. Queensryche pretty much laid the groundwork for prog metal and was it a bit cheesy, maybe, but it was pretty awesome too.

Best Album: Operation: Mindcrime
49Blood Fire Death49.Bathory

Bathory might have been the first true viking metal band and definitely were early pioneers of the genre as well as black metal. I've never been much of a huge fan of viking metal, but Bathory are pretty good, and a lot different than the metal scene going on in the US and UK.

Best Album: Blood Fire Death
Bathory might have been the first true viking metal band and definitely were early pioneers of the genre as well as black metal. I've never been much of a huge fan of viking metal, but Bathory are pretty good, and a lot different than the metal scene going on in the US and UK.

Best Album: Blood Fire Death
50Vs.50.Mission of Burma

Was indie rock even a thing in the early 80s, I honestly don't know but you could make a somewhat convincing argument that these guys bordered indie. They only released a single album and EP in the 80s but they were a pretty creative force in the post punk scene.

Best Album: Vs.
Was indie rock even a thing in the early 80s, I honestly don't know but you could make a somewhat convincing argument that these guys bordered indie. They only released a single album and EP in the 80s but they were a pretty creative force in the post punk scene.

Best Album: Vs.
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