The Innovative Eighties

Patrick O'Connell

Patrick O'Connell, Editor-in-Chief

The time frame of January 1, 1980 to December 31, 1989 saw many changes in the world of music. The music created during this time had it’s own unique sound which made it distinctively 80s. During this time, many artists and bands were introduced including: Culture Club, Duran Duran, Tiffany, A-ha, Bananarama, Cyndi Lauper, Guns N’ Roses, Beastie Boys, and several others.

The two biggest artists of the 80s were undoubtedly the King and Queen of pop, Michael Jackson and Madonna. Released in 1982, Michael Jackson’s album “Thriller” is still the best-selling album of all time. Michael Jackson was enormously successful for his music in the 1980’s. Madonna’s album “True Blue” was the best-selling female record of the decade. Madonna and Jackson are still extremely popular. Although MJ is now deceased, he is still extremely popular throughout the world and so is Madonna, who still continues to make music.

The most popular genres of music during this time were pop, rock, hip-hop, and electronic. Many pop artists from this time included Prince, famous for songs like “When Doves Cry” and “Purple Rain” and Paula Abdul, most famous for her hit single “Straight Up.” Other famous pop artists during this time include Belinda Carlisle, David Bowie, and Pat Benatar.

Rock music was especially popular in the early 80s. Bands like Journey, Def Leppard, and AC/DC dominated the charts and sold millions of records. Although many rock bands of the 80s had their hey days in the 70s, the music they produced in the 1980’s helped give 80s music it’s unique sound. In the early 1980’s Hip-hop swept the nation and it was extremely popular with young people. Hip-hop allowed rap music to really become noticed. Electronic music also swept the nation in the early-1980’s where it was replacing disco music in nightclubs and parties.

Many innovations occurred in the way music reached people during this time. In 1981, MTV aired for the first time. This changed the music industry on a dramatic scale. MTV allowed people to listen to music from their television all the time and it allowed for music videos to become extremely popular because people now had a way to view them. Another major innovation to the music world was the creation of the compact disc (CD), which would later replace records, as a way to listen to music.

Also in the 80s, many racial and gender barriers were broken. Many African-American artists like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Prince dominated the music industry in a time when many believed that most African-American artists could never be so successful. The Go-Go’s, famous for their single “We Got The Beat,” and The Bangles, famous for “Walk Like an Egyptian,” were girl bands that wrote their own music and played their own instruments while making it onto the charts, which was something many never expected out of a girl band.

The 80s really was a time for change and innovation to the music industry, which helped give 80s music it’s unique sound.