Were the 80s a lost decade for music, or am I full of it

I know that musical tastes are supposedly determined by what you listen to in your teens and 20s, but for me it seems like there was a lot of quality music and growth of genres in the 60s, 70s, 90s and arguably the aughts, not as much in the 1980s.

The rise of hair metal and genres like hip hop and gangsta rap in the 1980s just doesn’t really compare to the impact alternative rock in the 90s or 70s rock had.

There was some decent pop music and catchy pop tunes in the 1980s, but even with that many musicians were just holdovers from the 70s playing music in a new decade. David Bowie, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, etc.

Looking through my library…

Ray Lynch

I don’t have it in my library, but Dead Can Dance were good as well.

So, I can’t offer a huge selection at least. I assume that there were good bands. They were just mostly drowned out by MTV and now they’re mostly lost to time.

Depeche Mode. Cure. Smith’s. Guns n Roses. Run DMC. Public Enemy. U2.

The 80s saw several new genres explode. IMO the 80s were a great decade for music.

I forgot about punk, that came on the scene in the 80s also.

No, you are full of it.

The Pixies
The Violent Femmes
The Dead Kennedys
The Clash
The Talking Heads
The Pretenders
Gang of Four
The Meat Puppets
Jane’s Addiction
The Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Police
Paul Simon’s Graceland album
Husker Du
They Might Be Giants
The Pogues
The Replacements
Mission of Burma
Eric B and Rakim
The beastie Boys
Dinosaur Jr
Public Enemy
Minor Threat
Sonic Youth
Black Flag
My Bloody Valrntine
Elvis Costello
Michael Jackson
De La Soul
Tom Waits Island records recordings
Joy Division
The Smiths
Boogie Down Productions

All from the 80s.

That’s just off the top of my head. Give me some time and I can really dig up stuff.

Punk really peaked in the late 70s before being commercialized but point taken. :slight_smile:

Missed the edit.

The alternative music of the 90s doesn’t exist without most of what’s on the above list. Hell Nirvana recorded Bleach in the 80s.

Also I managed to forget The Cure.

Well, what do you feel are the high points of other eras that made them stand out?

The early 80’s were basically an extension and continuation of what hard rock bands were doing in the mid/late 70’s. Everyone wanted to be a guitar god and crank out the wailing solos, tormenting their parents. The costumes and sets got more and more ridiculous and over the top, and the hair metal scene exploded. Male bands wore enough hairspray, makeup, and lace to equip the Playboy mansion. The rebels became the mainstream.
At some point everyone got sick of things and there was a huge backlash against the hair band scene, which led to the grunge rock era.

But there were some good bands and good songs in the 80’s. Sure, there was a lot formulatic, uncreative, repetitive drivel, but a lot of my favorite bands and tunes are from the 80’s.

The Specials
The Decendents
The Minutemen
The Vandals

I would hazard to guess it depends entirely on what your looking for.

If your benchmark is “70s rock and 90s alternative,” then the 80s will look like a desert in comparison. In many ways, music of the 80s was a rejection of moody 70s guitar rock and and the “alternative” of the 90s was a similar rejection of the pop of the 80s.

The 80s was the pop decade, and when it comes to music, you have to accept and embrace it. The overriding feature was fun. Late disco, post-disco pop, synth-pop/new-wave, hair bands, all had the conjoining, 80s-esque feature of fun. For once, since the 60s, the best music really was at the top of the charts. A synthesizer wasn’t a bad thing.

As far as overlap, there wasn’t some sea-change at midnight 1979 just like there wasn’t in 1969.

Why do you think American Hardcore (aka “punk” to those that weren’t part of it) came onto the scene?

Punk started as a class driven music in the UK though.

Hardcore was as different from UK punk of the 70s as Led Zeppelin was from Robert Johnson. And post punk was another thing too.

There is as much good 80’s music as there is bad music today.

Just some of the 80s-centric genres I like:
No Wave
Ska Revival
Indie - most especially the works on:
4AD: Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Birthday Party, Bauhaus, Pixies, Throwing Muses, Clan of Xymox, This Mortal Coil…
Mute: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Crime & The City Solution, Frank Tovey/Fad Gadget, Wire, Yazoo, Nitzer Ebb…
Creation: My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Pastels, House Of Love, Momus…
Rough Trade: The Smiths, of course

The 80s was the golden age of music.

I do think that mainstream (as in top 40) pop music in the 80’s was indeed more intertwined with the trends and fashions of the time than ever before. That made for very successful bands that haven’t really stood the test of time, and are seen as a bit cheesy nowadays.

I mean, let’s face it, if you want to enjoy your Prefab Sprout in this time and age, you have to pretend that you are doing it ironically, like a hipster.

Odd choice. I can see that being the case for, say, A Flock Of Seagulls or some other haircut&parachute pants band. But Prefab Sprout are f’ing timeless and I have no shame enjoying them completely unironically.

The 80s were one of the best decades for music, right after the 70s. The latter were a golden age for rock and the former for electronic/pop. Lots of new sounds cropped up, music videos were new, exciting and innovative. Several posters have already listed some of the great bands and genres that appeared or hit it big in the 80s. Since I agree with most of them, I won’t repeat what they’ve said. Suffice it to say that there was a lot of exciting things going on. A bit of everything for everyone.

The 50s and 60s are more of a mixed bag. Some legendary artists and albums next to, well, an awful lot of juvenile, amateurish dreck.

If I get to save 15 songs from the 90s, I’ll be happy. 20 would be plenty. Whiny grunge, techno and gangsta rap? I’ll pass, thanks.

As for 2000-2016, half a dozen songs will do.

IMO (and maybe showing my age), of course.

Well, that saves me the time of having to write an answer! All of the above is excellent; and it’s not just nostalgia that makes me say this—I was born in the eighties, but my music listening really only began in the following decade. I did have the benefit of having two older sisters, though.

Rio, by Duran Duran