The 1980s saw the emergence of electronic music and many 'One Hit Wonders'
Alternative Rock throughout the 1980s, was mainly an underground phenomenon, gaining momentum mainly from England with some in the US. While on occasion a song would become a commercial hit or albums would receive critical praise in mainstream publications like Rolling Stone, alternative rock in the 1980s was primarily relegated to independent record labels, fanzines and college radio stations. Alternative bands built underground followings by touring constantly and regularly releasing low-budget albums. Some bands of this genre included: Billy Idol, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, R.E.M, The Smiths, Soft Cell, Stray Cats, U2 and the Violent Femmes.
Hard Rock by the early 1980’s, saw the resurgence of hard rock music and the emergence of its glam metal subgenre. Bands such as AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, Joan Jet (late 1970s into 1980s), Mötley Crüe, Queen, Quiet Riot, Scorpions, Poison, Ratt, Twisted Sister were among the most popular acts of the decade. The 1980s saw the emergence of wildly popular hard rock band Guns N’ Roses in the late 1980s. The success of hard rock acts like Van Halen spanned throughout the entire decade, along with their singer as solo David Lee Roth. Additionally, a few women managed to achieve stardom in the 1980s hard rock scene: Pat Benatar (late 1970s into 1980s), Heart, who had been around since the mid 1970s. Both hard rock and heavy metal were extremely popular live genres and bands toured extensively around the globe.Hardcore punk is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. It’s roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes and addresses social and political topics with “confrontational, politically-charged lyrics.” Hardcore sprouted underground scenes across the United States in the early 1980s, particularly in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and some influences in Washington, D.C., Boston, and New York. Styles included torn jeans, leather jackets, spiked armbands, dog collars, mohawk hairstyles. Noteable bands are: Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, Social Distortion and X.
Heavy Metal/Glam Metal was also extremely popular throughout the decade, with Ozzy Osbourne achieving success during his solo career; bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest were also widely popular British acts. Speed metal pioneer Motörhead maintained its popularity through the releases of several albums. Underground scenes produced an array of more extreme, aggressive Metal subgenres: Thrash Metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Anthrax, and Megadeth. By the late 1980s, Metallica would achieve mainstream success and would become one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Other styles like death metal and black metal would remain a subcultural phenomena.
Hip Hop and Rap into the 1980’s became known as the ‘New School Hip Hop’ came predominantly from New York City. T. Some popular artists were Grandmaster Flash, Beastie Boys Run DMC, Ice T (well into the 1990s), LL Cool J (late 1980’s-1990’s), and Public Enemy. Scratching is most associated with hip hop music, where it emerged in the mid-1970s, from the 1990s it has been used in some styles of rap rock
MTV was a 24-hour American cable music video channel officially launched on August 1, 1981. Based in New York City, it serves as the flagship property of the MTV Entertainment Group, part of Paramount Media Networks, a division of Paramount Global. The channel originally aired music videos and related programming as guided by television personalities known as video jockeys, or VJs. In the years since its inception, it significantly toned down its focus on music in favor of original reality programming for teenagers and young adults. MTV has spawned numerous sister channels in the United States and affiliated channels internationally, some of which have since gone independent. Approximately 90.6 million households in the US received MTV as of January 2017.
New Wave an electronic dance music, also known as Modern Rock, became a popular music in the teenagers circle, many called ‘The One-Hit Wonders’ . As disco fell out of fashion in the decade’s early years, genres such as post-disco, New Romantic, Euro disco, and dance-pop became more popular” neon color/lights. House music high-tempo, electronic dance music that originated in Chicago in the early 1980s and gained popularity in 1990s & spread internationally. Born in Chicago clubs that catered to gay, predominantly black and Latino patrons, house fused the symphonic sweep and soul diva vocals of 1970s disco with the cold futurism of synthesizer-driven Eurodisco. The MTV video channel showcased a lot of this, launching the first video “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles in 1981. Some popular groups included: Ah Ha, Billy Idol, Culture Club, Go-Gos, Eurythmics, New Order, The Smiths and The Talking Heads.
Pop music saw the reinvention of Michael Jackson, one of the most successful pop music artists in history and has been nicknamed the “King of Pop”. Along with him was the worldwide superstardom of Prince, Madonna and Whitney Houston, who were all among the most successful musicians during this time. Madonna was the best-selling female pop music artist of the decade and was named artist of the decade by several magazines and awards. She made music videos a marketing tool and was among the first to make them an art form. Other popular groups included: Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, The Cars, Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie, Hall & OatesJanet Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, MC Hammer, Paula Abdul, Pat Benatard, Peter Gabriel, The Police, Pat Benatard, Tina Turner and Tom Petty. Some major groups included: Huey Lewis, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston.
A Regae and Ska Revival happened this decade. The popularity would mainly be in the UK and in US with bands like: The English Beat, Madness, The Specials. Regae’s biggest artist Bob Marley gained some commercial success right up until his death. Some other bands like The Clash were heavily influenced as well