Picture this – you’re at a party and someone asks what your favorite decade in music history is.
The answers around the room will surely vary, but there is a solid trend in people who claim the 80s as the best decade for innovative, catchy music that remains as relevant today as it was back then. The 80s music scene was something special and as well as top-class artists, there were also some of the best music groups to listen to as well.
Whether you’re a fan of pop-rock or hip-hop, take a look at some of the best music groups from the 80s that you should add to your playlist.
Bringing a new wave and the New Romantic scene to the charts, Duran Duran was formed in the UK in 1978. Their first big hit came in 1981 with ‘Girls On Film’ which had an extremely controversial music video to go along with the hit song.
Their second album, Rio, propelled them to true success in 1982, with chart hits ‘Rio’ and ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ remaining instantly recognizable classics. For fans of 007 films, the band even had great success with their Bond theme song of ‘A View To A Kill’ for the 1985 film of the same name.
If you prefer to listen to the latest music and trending tracks, Duran Duran are actually still active today and recently released their 15th studio album, Future Past, in 2021. This year, Duran Duran is also to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, cementing their status as icons of the 80s and beyond.
Epitomizing edge, Beastie Boys was formed as a rap group in 1981 and went on to achieve local renown in New York City before hitting the mainstream after going on tour with Madonna in 1985. In 1986 the band really began to gain momentum with their album Licensed to Ill, which had hits you may have heard such as ‘Fight for Your Right’ and ‘No Sleep till Brooklyn’.
The album has been revered as an enduring hip hop classic and was followed by Paul’s Boutique in 1989. While it was not so popular at the time, it is definitely worth a listen today and is just one of the many best hip hop vinyl records to add to an 80s music collection.
As one of the defining girl groups of the decade, The Bangles epitomised pop-rock. Forming in 1981, this girl group achieved real renown in the mid-eighties when they found the sound that attracted a wider audience. Going on tour with the iconic Cyndi Lauper, The Bangles went on to release hits like ‘Manic Monday’, which hit the number two position across the world, followed by ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’, which charted just as successfully.
The Bangles largely attracted a young, female audience and achieved their greatest success with their 1988 album, Everything, which featured their biggest selling single, the instant-classic ‘Eternal Flame’. The band broke up in 1989, reforming in 1998 and releasing music as recently as 2018. As well as other 1980’s groups like Sister Sledge and Bananarama, The Bangles are known to be one of the best girl bands of all time.
No list of great 80s bands would be complete without Bon Jovi. Releasing two albums in 1984 and 1985, the band only became globally recognised with their 1986 album, Slippery When Wet. This band mixes glam metal with arena rock, pop-rock, and a lot of other rock, pop and metal subgenres, to create the catchiest songs of the 80s, such as ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ and ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’.
Over the years, Bon Jovi have released music steadily since the 80s, either as a band or individually. Enjoying success even to this day, Bon Jovi released their latest album, 2020, in the year it was named for, and entered the top ten spot in many countries.
While there have been many other great artists and groups over the decades, these are some of the best music groups from the 80s whose songs are still incredible today – with some even continuing to release new music for new generations to enjoy. Why not head to your favourite streaming app to check them out, or better yet go classic and grab some vinyl records to really experience a trip back in time.