100 greatest rock songs of the 1980s

Yet Adamson’s lyrics often seemed highly personal. Save for Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message,” nearly every hit from the genre was a corny dance song. Back in 1980, it was a different story: essentially a different band. It helps when your opening song has one of the most iconic guitar riffs of all time. Central Rain” makes the pop-sensibilities of R.E.M.‘s 1990s output all the less surprising. What they said at the time: “Louder, faster, harder.” Los Angeles Times. What they said at the time: “What you’re hearing could be as special as the first time you heard Metallica, or U2, or any original and new-thinking band.” Kerrang! “We were afraid he might have bad news to break, but instead David said: ‘You’ve got a great album here and the label’s behind you. The cover for the single of “Sexual Healing” has always seemed odd. But he is most responsible for The Clash’s most infectious hit “Rock the Casbah,” basing the song on a slick piano melody. By their third album, The Pogues had perfected their anarchic folk/punk fusion. What they said at the time: “Vaguely anthemic, vaguely riffy tunes, eminently fit for one’s less-alert moments of pop consumption.” Creem. The difference is we did harmonies and they didn’t. The strength of the album lies in the fact that we are still doing those songs live all these years later.”, What they said at the time: “These guys are stupid in the same sense that Ronald Reagan is unelectable.” Creem. In three days, the Texan essentially tracked his club set that had knocked ’em dead down in Austin. Which was precisely what they did with Frontiers. Guns N’ Roses – “Welcome to the Jungle”. “Every Breath You Take” has a complicated history when it comes to Sting and his bandmates. What they said at the time: “Killing Joke have an edge of violence crucial to their music.” NME. Is High ’N’ Dry the connoisseurs’ Def Leppard album? Robert Fripp has also been very complimentary about my guitar playing. But when he recorded it (in one take, no less) for SVR and Double Trouble’s debut album “Texas Flood” in 1981, the song became a game-changer. There was almost literally blood on the floor. Capturing its moment perfectly, Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) saw David Bowie return in triumph. Critical acclaim rained down, but it was never matched by the sales. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)” was the first indication the band could someday reach a level beyond dorm rooms. They’d had a couple of drinks, and Pink Floyd stored their backline at that place. “Plainsong” might be the opening track on “Disintegration.” But “Pictures of You,” and its extended intro, marks the point where you know you’re listening to something special. “Never Let Me Down Again” is a tune that condenses and smashes down its sonic parts to create a pop song you can’t get out of your head. His love of everything from the cultish, squishy horrors of HP Lovecraft to the quirks and power that changing time signatures, guitar harmonics and musical dynamics brought to Metallica’s irresistible way with a riff ring through the record. As synth-pop looked set to dominate the 80s, R.E.M. This is a damn good record.” The Village Voice! The Cars’ debut is one of the perfect pop albums to come out of the late 1970s. Before “Sucker M.C.‘s,” hip hop was a gimmick. “Gypsy” is one of those hyper-personal songs Stevie Nicks wrote for Fleetwood Mac that you can’t get enough of. Lead single You Might Think had The Cars’ quirky signature sound, but on Hello Again the band were barely present (around Ric Ocasek’s vocals it’s all Lange’s trickery), and Drive, sung by bassist Benjamin Orr, was the most immaculately textured rock ballad since 10cc’s I’m Not In Love. Foreigner 4 may have been the breakthrough record, but Agent Provocateur became the connoisseur’s choice. What they said at the time: “Hanoi Rocks rock’n’roll like they just invented it.” Melody Maker. It’s when the post-disco era of dance music took shape. Michael Jackson – “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”. Counting down the greatest tracks of the Eighties by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Bassist/vocalist Jack Blades described Dawn Patrol as “a full‑on kick-ass American rock record”, and so it was: supercharged, ultra‑melodic hard rock with Thin Lizzy‑inspired twin lead guitars and killer songs from end to end. The sounds at the beginning and end of “Man Out of Time” come from an original, more intense version of the song. As you know, it was not. Queen just so happened to ride it all the way to No. Tom Waits’ highly experimental “Rain Dogs” can be a difficult beast of an album to listen to. Due initially to the success of Better Days, Gun became familiar faces at the Top Of The Pops studios. Mason said: “It was a ghastly period with Roger, being treated more and more like a useless bit of kit and him wanting to take the whole thing over and saying menacingly: ‘If we want to make another record it will be different after this.’”. Pete Townshend’s first proper solo album is a tough, acutely personal pop record, and fleeting proof that he could cut it without The Who. What they said at the time: “Doggone if David Lee Roth’s second solo album isn’t the most flat-out rambunctiously enjoyable hard rock album since, well, David Lee Roth’s first solo album.” LA Times. And how true it proved for Newcastle’s Venom, the band that, with Welcome To Hell, invented a genre that flourished globally without them. The Attractions were seething after being sidelined for King Of America’s restrained Americana, and about to be sacked. A new decade and the change of name from the whimsical Yesterday And Today to the more succinct Y&T ushered in a new era for the Californian band. It’s a full-blown love song and one hell of one at that. Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell Exit Ozzy, enter Ronnie James Dio– and a new lease of life for heavy metal’s forefathers. The opening of U2′s “The Joshua Tree” is rather astonishing. Peter Gabriel wasted no time showcasing the sweeping pop of his hit album “So.” It opens with the magnificent and dramatic “Red Rain.” Gabriel had several inspirations for the song, but “Red Rain” would come to be representative of some of the more devastating moments of the 1980s, including the AIDS pandemic. There’s comedy in Cohen’s misery and we feel it, too. He and Rankin had been invited to a breakfast meeting with David Rose, the label’s head of A&R. Or perhaps outright disbelief would be a more accurate description. U2 – “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. But they’re able to do it with confidence because of The Cure. Do you believe in love? On two songs, Tomorrow and Shandi, Stanley himself achieved power-pop perfection. “They locked us away and allowed us time to make the right album, instead of rushing out something and seeing it flop.”, In those days of rigidly defined genres, Gun’s mix of pop and rock really stood out. Mellencamp doesn’t get enough credit for his initial run, which kicked off in 1982. What they said at the time: “If anybody ever makes Conan The Barbarian into a musical, it should sound something like this” Record Mirror. Dead Ringer was not supposed to have been Meat Loaf’s second album. “The fact was that I was making this record. Utopia followed the opposite trajectory to The Beatles: their 1974 debut was a complex-prog meisterwerk, but by their sixth album they were purveying three-minute pop nuggets. Although we’d had a Top 20 album and toured the States, we had no money. But the fun-loving vibes of previous singles had been replaced by a sentiment (and great Byrne vocal) that’s enough to melt your heart. Any of the singles would have been good enough to make Jackson a star. That song became Let It Go. The amazing new wave sounds are still there. Christine McVie has a look of sultry invitation as she puts her hand on Lindsey Buckingham’s shoulder. On his third solo album, the Irishman came screaming into his heavy period, armed with songs stockpiled during his tenure with Greg Lake and backed by the thunderous rhythm section of Ian Paice and Neil Murray. What they said at the time: “One of Bruce Springsteen’s finest albums and easily his best this decade.” NME. The decade had its first blues superstar – at last. - The Human League 7. “With or Without You’s” message might be misunderstood at times. The downbeat mood meant the album sold a fraction of predecessor Born In The USA, but the songs on Tunnel Of Love still ring powerful and true. The song and its upbeat dance-pop flavor certainly called for it, becoming one of the biggest hits from “Rhythm Nation.”. In the age of synth-pop and plastic funk, Big Country led the clarion call for what became known as The Big Music, sharing with U2 a mind-set that suggested windblown guitar rock was the only guide you’d ever really need. Even if you’re not into The Dead, you’ve heard “Touch of Grey,” probably at a grocery store or doctor’s office. Depeche Mode – “Never Let Me Down Again”. But the melody and Bono’s vocals bring an overpowering beauty to the forefront. The album teamed the Sunset Strip’s biggest ego with the best rock musicians on the planet: guitarist Steve Vai, bassist Billy Sheehan, drummer Gregg Bissonette. What they said at the time: “Specialising in decibels and cock-strutting bravado, they put forth the proposition that Might Is Always Right, and the proof on their third LP is pretty convincing.” Rolling Stone, In 1970, Black Sabbath defined a new genre in rock music with not one but two of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time – the debut, Black Sabbath, and Paranoid. 100 greatest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame songs of the 1980s Posted Aug 12, 2020 Counting down the greatest tracks of the Eighties by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Related Song Features for Big Rock Top 200 Songs Of The 1980's. Robert Plant spent the first half of the 80s running away from Robert Plant; as in the preening, tight-trousered Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin days. Meticulous drums triggered nagging programmed bass lines, treated vocals lurched from haranguing, edge-of-breakdown, primal screaming to nursery-rhyme creepiness. Talking Heads might have better songs. The Final Cut expands on The Wall but this time it’s personal, Waters honing in on the death of the father he never knew at the Battle of Anzio in 1944 and then focusing his ire on the Falklands War. It took three-chord punk and gonzo surf into biting political satire – Kill The Poor, California Über Alles, Holiday In Cambodia – while retaining a trashily humorous aesthetic. It’s completely over the top with no hint of subtlety. A re-recording of the title track of their debut album, We Care A Lot, earned FNM their first bit of radio/MTV play, the title track was their most explosive yet, while Martin’s guitar was front-and-centre on The Crab Song. It’s symphonic-electronic music with euphoric results. What they said at the time: “The biggest jerk in the world.” Kerrang! What they said at the time: “Not only does he write melodies – he fucking edits them.” Christgau’s Consumer Guide. And then with High ’N’ Dry we had to wait for him to finish the Foreigner album 4. A song like “About a Girl” is a simple, yet devastating ode to heartbreak that sounds like an edgier version of something Cobain’s idols in R.E.M. More An altogether tougher proposition than their previous two records (less soft-focus band portraits, more grandstanding guitars and vocals), the songs were punchy and precise, the colour and musical dexterity baffling at times. Venom called it black metal. It was a perfect match: new-wave hipsters The Cars plus über-producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange (AC/DC, Def Leppard, Foreigner). There’s no denying how sugary sweet “Touch of Grey’ is. On the verge of dropping the ‘Cougar’ from his professional name, John Mellencamp secured his place in the American canon of blue-collar songwriters with The Lonesome Jubilee, a collection that reflects on death and disappointment and the passing of generations. Varnished almost to the point of invisibility, it was dismissed as ersatz muzak for the vapid nouveau riche from the one-time masters of postmodern derring-do. Not surprisingly, numerous artists have sampled it over the years. It’s a journey you want to follow along to. After being diagnosed with cancer, Bob Marley created, perhaps, his most vulnerable piece of music. 810 The list on this page is for all #1 hit Rock & Roll singles for 1970 using proprietary methods. 677 The song worked its way to No. In stark contrast to their colourful, energetic music, the grainy black-and-white cover photograph of Taking On The World showed the five members of Gun on the dockside at the River Clyde, walking purposefully towards the camera – a grim setting that made them resemble a street gang. The 80s weren’t kind to Bob Dylan, and by the decade’s end this one‑time sacred cow was widely perceived as being a spent force. The video single-handedly broke down racial barriers of MTV. It should have been their Slippery When Wet. U2 released three singles before “I Will Follow.” But it represents the band’s coming-out party as a creative force. The result is a modern soul and funk sound that had endless appeal for fans of both dance music and traditional R&B. There’s a familiarity to it. Please refresh the page and try again. Prior to “Just Like Heaven,” post-punk dudes in guyliner were only making the saddest music imaginable. who quickly became the “touchstone”. What they said at the time: “This record is from the heart and the gutter.” Kerrang! Their previous LP, the discofied bacchanalia of Hot Space, was the ultimate musical identity crisis – one which lost them half their audience overnight. All rights reserved. The album starts with “Modern Love” and its drum-happy new wave sound. Even the more experimental material on the album – and the trio’s mutual loathing – didn’t stop them becoming the world’s biggest band. But the genius of the song really belongs to producer Jimmy Iovine. Three albums in, however, they’d started to become tired of the formula. The heavy emotions carried into the real world – a schism had opened up between Fish and the rest of the band, and the album was his swansong with Marillion. Needless to say, the effect was polarising. But that’s what happens on “Let’s Dance.” Nile Rodgers’ funky brand of new wave is mesmerizing. CLEVELAND, Ohio – There are better and more important decades of music than the 1980s. We get it. And yet, it’s hard to escape its feeling of unbridled joy. So when we were making that album he threw a lot of sticks through the walls. What they said at the time: “A 1980s twist into three-chord updates of Chuck Berry, the Rolling Stones, Little Feat and the Faces.” New York Times. What they said at the time:“This may be art rock’s crowning masterpiece.” Rolling Stone. With his second album, featuring the title track and electra-gliding ballad Eyes Without A Face, Billy Idol became the biggest British star of the USA’s early MTV era. It was released as the fifth single from Houston’s ballad-loaded debut album and became its biggest single. Did it help that Anthrax, Maiden’s Steve Harris and Lemmy of Motörhead all stood up for the band? Their solution was to return to basics for The Works, a record which took the anything-goes approach of the 70s and gave it a sleek 80s makeover. What they said at the time: “Moore’s solos are indeed works of art.” Guitar World. “The shit-talking was annoying, but we signed to A&M because it was a smaller label, almost like a family,” guitarist Giuliano Gizzi explains. Songwriters Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford were even hailed as the latter-day Lennon & McCartney for their endless flow of deft melodies and adroit lyrics. There was a problem. One of our most popular series ever, this 2015 list of the 1980s best "alternative" music has it all, from new wave to punk and post-punk to goth. The decade is gone…but the music remains. would create. “The first time, for Better Days… that was it for me. It’s easily the band’s most repeat-worthy track. 17. If, as Bono said, “war seemed to be the motif for 1982”, this was an apt soundtrack. The Love Reaction were filthy, hairy cretins, and the sounds they made were like AC/DC being sucked through a turbine engine, but somehow they made one of rock’n’roll’s most holy artefacts. You can pinpoint this album and their next, Mother’s Milk, as the inspiration for all of those funk-metal acts that thrived afterwards. But anyone expecting the globe-trotting Clash to completely abandon the dressing-up box underestimated their breadth of vision. Arriving four months after Live Aid, the Mary Chain’s debut album of feedback-drenched guitar noise was like a splash of cold water on the face, an invigorating antidote to stadium bombast and boring, beige chart pop. Rap, heavy metal, post-punk, new wave and funk. To the faithful few, though, the witty, poignant I’m An Adult Now, Ten Fingers and She’s So Young played like the glorious soundtrack to an imaginary John Hughes movie: Still Pretty In Pink, perhaps? Being in a confrontational Afro-American hard rock band and doing it for very little money was a hard sell. What they said at the time: “Rooted so specifically in a New York situated exactly halfway between the Velvet Underground and The Ramones.” Melody Maker. Jackson wasn’t exactly doing anything new, borrowing from acts like Funkadelic, Ohio Players and Kool & The Gang, among others. Jett’s version of “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” is one of those cover songs most people don’t even know is a cover. You’re a “Pour Some Sugar on Me” guy. But things have changed over time. Socially conscious rap was born, leading to the careers of Public Enemy, KRS-One, Dead Prez, Mos Def, Common and so many others. This was largely frontman Fish’s album, a slice of tortured introspection that mixed the personal (loneliness, failed romance, alcohol and drug abuse) with the global (most noticeably on the bleak White Russians). The backbone for Rush’s signature song was already in place before Neil Pert wrote its lyrics. Read the full article about Lou Reed’s New York here. His best record of that decade was Southern Accents, with its glorious, Dixie-referencing anthem Rebels, hypnotic left-field single Don’t Come Around Here No More and the beautiful, elegiac title track. What they said at the time:“When they camp it up or slide like nylon over leather, when Farrell hits on a left-handed ruby-in-fist degenerate poetry, they can be wickedly sweet.” Melody Maker. And while with their self-titled debut album Skid Row were first looked upon as a hair-metal band, they would wisely harden up their image and sound on later releases. It didn’t work: the shimmering Pictures Of You, the bleakly beautiful Lovesong and the unsettling Lullaby were all too hooky to lurk in a subterranean goth club, and they dragged Disintegration to The Cure’s best-ever sales. For years, the song has served as the standout moment at live shows, stretching behind its nearly 6-minute album version to reach epic emo heights. What they said at the time: “Proves The Clash can just as easily make a sprawl of a single album as a triple.” Record Mirror. What they said at the time: “Exhibits an admirable willingness to take a stab at something different.” Rolling Stone. Rock songs became popular with youth around the globe. R.E.M.‘s first single is the blueprint for everything the band would go on to create, from lyrics that are hard to make out to Peter Buck’s guitar sound. But, you have to hold on to what you got. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? Luckily those two stinkers are right at the end of the album. Written as U2 watched turmoil unfold in the Falklands and the Middle East, tracks like Seconds and the wiry Like A Song… were markedly harsher than the stadium-ready sweep of their later work. darkness shrouded lyrics, beat poetry rubbed shoulders with keffiyeh-ed Casbah chic, broader horizons lent a cinematic aspect to each musical vignette. The vitriol rains down unrelentingly, from the opening Post War Dream, with its caustic attack on the nature of war, to the dark humour of The Fletcher Memorial Home where Waters spits out his condemnation of the world’s ‘incurable tyrants’, Thatcher, Galtieri, Reagan and Brezhnev among them. He produced “Sexual Healing” using flourishes of reggae and dance music. “Master of Puppets” is the sound of thrash changing the entire landscape of metal music. 3) Justify it Why should you care? Thumpers like Don’t Take Me For A Loser and the foot-down Rockin’ Every Night had the listener clinging on by the fingernails, but even those were sluggish compared to End Of The World, whose neo-classical intro came on like a gauntlet being slapped down four years after Eruption. But in Springsteen’s hands, it never ceases to be compelling. But it’s also easy to see why college radio fell in love with its jangly vibes. It’s kind of ridiculous that “Smooth Criminal” was a single. But its ultimate message involves mortality. But the breathtaking “Edge of Seventeen” is worthy of any and all praise it receives. These themes were tangible in the album’s more downbeat moments, particularly Chance and Close Action. Who needs a bass line? In songs like King, Shot Of Love, Power Of Love and Goldilox are ideas and sounds that spread outwards like ripples towards everyone from Alice In Chains to Dream Theater and beyond. What they said at the time: “The Crossing frequently achieves the epic drama it’s after.” Creem. On the follow-up, the Seattle band went deep into new territory, with a more progressive rock mind-set allied to state-of-the-art production. When you listen to rock songs of the 70s you cannot but help seep into nostalgia. Prince was a genius even in his minimalism. Electro-dance meets heavy metal? What they said at the time: “No band but The Kinks could have made such a record in 1983, and no band deserves more to be at the very top.” Rolling Stone. didn’t invent gangsta rap. There were great songs on that album. And then the 80s happened. Rock n Roll America's Top 1,000 Classic Rock Songs (Our Base Song List) At times it pushes your body to move. For some, Signals leans too far towards Geddy Lee’s synthesisers, yet it’s an album that almost forced guitarist Alex Lifeson to reinvent how he played. There was no makeup or songs about pouring sugar on anyone. Mellencamp (then going by John Cougar) capped things off with “Pink Houses” off of 1983′s “Uh-huh.” All three songs were massive. With his own band, he made a great debut album and then topped it with this superb follow-up. What they said at the time: “Ronnie James Dio has injected a whole new energy into the group. It’s a song you can’t imagine anyone else nailing, which is why even at many Prince tributes, the best artists in the world don’t dare play it. But it didn’t matter. What they said at the time: “Yes sound more like Yes here than they recently have with their classic members.” Sputnik Music. “Those guys invited us to their parties – we jammed on Muddy Waters and ZZ Top songs with Ronnie Wood,” Gizzi says, marvelling at the memory. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)”. The album’s biggest hit, Oh Sherrie, written for his then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford, reached No.1 on the US Billboard Rock chart. By Classic Rock (Classic Rock) 23 December 2016. “That album,” said guitarist Tony Iommi, “gave us a new lease of life.”, And in this, the resurrection of Black Sabbath, the key figure was the guy who had the balls of steel to take the place of Ozzy Osbourne as the band’s new singer. The result? Viewed in retrospect, this appears to be a trend-setting record, with Cinderella abandoning the cheery hair metal of Night Songs for an album of darkness and depth. Diseased Sinatra pastiches sit alongside ballads such as Innocent When You Dream. Which, for you, are the best songs on the album? Where Eat ’Em & Smile was raw, visceral and a critical success, Skyscraper divided the faithful for the same reason Van Halen had bugged some of their fans with the 1984 album: for being keyboard heavy, slick and far too polished. The title track is a lesson in stripped-down hard rock. 97. “When Doves Cry” became the top-selling single for all of 1984, one of the biggest years in pop music history. What they said at the time: “Have to admit I’ve had some good times inspired by Foreigner.” Creem. But it wasn’t exactly original. Released in October of 1989, Nine Inch Nails’ “Pretty Hate Machine’s” impact on the future of hard-rock music is unmeasurable. After wandering up several grammatical blind alleys, with much huffing, puffing and sighing, Perry eventually settles upon a question: “Um, whatever possessed you guys to pick that one?” Read the full feature about Aerosmith’s Done With Mirrors here. By 1984, Journey were beginning an extended break that would last for another two years (and would include a substantial line-up shake-up before they returned with 1986’s Raised On Radio). What they said at the time: “Harder hitting than either of its predecessors… a raw-knuckled dose of rock’n’roll.” Rolling Stone. At the time it was also a contender for their least well-regarded, an ignominy it then shared with its immediate predecessor, Rock In A Hard Place, made without Perry and when the great Boston band were at their lowest ebb. “We did that show maybe five times,” Gizzi estimates. Top 100 songs for the year 1980 from the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 charts. That segue, Bringin’ On The Heartbreak into Switch 625, was a touch of genius. By We were working with AC/DC’s producer, in the same studio where Highway To Hell was recorded. 100 Best Songs Of The 1980s. Stuart Adamson was no conventional guitar hero, Read the full extended feature on Mirage here, drummer Razzle was killed in DUI Vince Neil’s speeding car, Dysfunctional Days & Crazy Nights: The Epic Story Of Kiss In The 80s, overshadowed by the career-defining hits that came before and after it, Read the full story behind Meat Loaf’s Dead Ringer here, Read the full article about Lou Reed’s New York here, most under-appreciated album – and their most frustrating, For Bruce Springsteen, the late-80s was a time of partings, Read the full article on David Lee Roth’s, Read the full article on Blue Öyster Cult’s, Read the full feature about Aerosmith’s Done With Mirrors here, Lute Gone Wild!

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