'80s Music

Punk and new wave bled from the '70s into the '80s -- with acts like the Beastie Boys, Joan Jett, Talking Heads, the Pretenders, and U2 -- and gave way to rap. The percolating pop of Madonna and Michael Jackson kept the dance floors full, and the romantic ballads of Whitney Houston and the melodic word beat of a resurgent Paul Simon filled the airwaves. Check out the lively musical mashup in our '80s list.

Browse '80s Music

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Probably Simon's best, certainly his most engaging.
By Paul Simon
(1986)
Catchy power pop from all-female new wave pioneers.
By The Go-Go's
(1981)
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Art-punk pioneers score with catchy pop album.
By Talking Heads
(1985)
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Rude, rowdy good-time power rockers' best album.
By AC/DC
(2003)
Original female rap trio likes to talk about sex.
By Salt-N-Pepa
(2008)
Simple Minds hit outshines synth-heavy '80s pop fluff.
By Various Artists
(1985)
Catchy hits fill soundtrack to 1984 teen dance movie.
By Various Artists
(1984)
Anthology showcases superstar's danceable hits.
By Madonna
(1989)
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Post-punk stars deliver soul-searching anthems.
By U2
(1987)
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Powerful debut by enduring female vocalist.
By Pretenders
(1980)
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Irresistible '80s pop rockers and ballads from quirky star.
By Cyndi Lauper
(1983)
Ultimate hair-metal album was top seller of 1987.
By Bon Jovi
(2010)
Remixes add some innuendo to a brilliant CD.
By Michael Jackson
(2008)
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Joan Jett claims rock 'n' roll for women in fierce debut.
By Joan Jett
(1981)
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Rappers' hit debut packed with girls, booze, and attitude.
By Beastie Boys
(1986)
Memorable but dated '80s rock.
By Various Artists
(1986)
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Harsh, loud, complex; probably best metal album of all time.
By Metallica
(1986)
Inventive fusion of genres sets hit-filled soundtrack apart.
By Prince and the Revolution
(1984)