'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

Graceland Music Poster Image
Probably Simon's best, certainly his most engaging.
By Paul Simon
(1986)
(1986)
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Beauty and the Beat Music Poster Image
Catchy power pop from all-female new wave pioneers.
By The Go-Go's
(1981)
(1981)
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Little Creatures Music Poster Image
Art-punk pioneers score with catchy pop album.
By Talking Heads
(1985)
(1985)
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Back in Black Music Poster Image
Rude, rowdy good-time power rockers' best album.
By AC/DC
(2003)
(2003)
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The Best of Salt-N-Pepa Music Poster Image
Original female rap trio likes to talk about sex.
By Salt-N-Pepa
(2008)
(2008)
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The Breakfast Club: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Music Poster Image
Simple Minds hit outshines synth-heavy '80s pop fluff.
By Various Artists
(1985)
(1985)
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Footloose Soundtrack Music Poster Image
Catchy hits fill soundtrack to 1984 teen dance movie.
By Various Artists
(1984)
(1984)
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The Immaculate Collection Music Poster Image
Anthology showcases superstar's danceable hits.
By Madonna
(1989)
(1989)
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The Joshua Tree Music Poster Image
Post-punk stars deliver soul-searching anthems.
By U2
(1987)
(1987)
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Pretenders Music Poster Image
Powerful debut by enduring female vocalist.
By Pretenders
(1980)
(1980)
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She's So Unusual Music Poster Image
Irresistible '80s pop rockers and ballads from quirky star.
By Cyndi Lauper
(1983)
(1983)
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Slippery When Wet: Special Edition Music Poster Image
Ultimate hair-metal album was top seller of 1987.
By Bon Jovi
(2010)
(2010)
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Thriller: 25th Anniversary Edition Music Poster Image
Remixes add some innuendo to a brilliant CD.
By Michael Jackson
(2008)
(2008)
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Bad Reputation Music Poster Image
Joan Jett claims rock 'n' roll for women in fierce debut.
By Joan Jett
(1981)
(1981)
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Licensed to Ill Music Poster Image
Rappers' hit debut packed with girls, booze, and attitude.
By Beastie Boys
(1986)
(1986)
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Pretty in Pink: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Music Poster Image
Memorable but dated '80s rock.
By Various Artists
(1986)
(1986)
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Master of Puppets Music Poster Image
Harsh, loud, complex; probably best metal album of all time.
By Metallica
(1986)
(1986)
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Music from the Motion Picture Purple Rain Music Poster Image
Inventive fusion of genres sets hit-filled soundtrack apart.
By Prince and the Revolution
(1984)
(1984)
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