The 80s were a wild and crazy time for music, but as this 80s pop bands list proves, there were some softer, tamer sounds, too. And some groups and songs that stamped their place in music history, living on in our hearts — and stuck in our heads — all these years later. Which is YOUR favorite?
Wham! formed in England after George Michael met Andrew Ridgeley at a show about ten years earlier, and they were both instantly attracted to each other musically as well (according to George’s autobiography). They released their first album independently on the label Wham Records before signing with Innervision Records, and it included the 80s pop hits “Wham Rap!” and “Young Guns (Go For It!)”.
Their final album was 1986’s Music From The Edge Of Heaven, which went double platinum in a matter of days following release but marked the end of Wham!’s run when George Michael decided to go solo.
REO Speedwagon formed in 1967 and released their first album six years later, which went gold. Their 80s pop hits included “Keep On Loving You”, “Take It on the Run”, and “Can’t Fight This Feeling”. They have had a few lineup changes over the decades but are still performing all these years later
Uptight rock band U-turn released their first album “Boy” in 1980 and were an 80s pop hit with singles like “I Will Follow”, “An Cat Dubh (The Black Cat)”, and the ballad, “October”. They have continued to release albums over the decades since then.
This 80s pop band was formed in Los Angeles, California and had a string of 80s hits including “Walk Like an Egyptian”, their cover of the Prince’s song, “Manic Monday” (written by The Cars’ singer Ric Ocasek), and one of my personal favorites, “Eternal Flame”.
Their last 80s single was 1988’s “Be With You” which made it on the charts at #11. The Bangles have continued to release albums and tour ever since then.
Tears for Fears
Tears for Fears formed in 1981 and were most well-known for their 1983 album The Hurting, which contained the song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. They had a lot of success with singles like “Sowing the Seeds of Love”, “Shout” and their cover version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. The band pulled back from touring in 1994.
Duran Duran formed in 1978 and their 80s pop hits included “The Reflex”, “Girls on Film” and the theme song to James Bond movie A View to Kill. They have had a few lineup changes but are still performing all these years later. And, really, did any band bring out that distinctive 80s sound better than Duran Duran?
Depeche Mode formed in 1980 and recorded several hits during the decade, among them hits included “Just Can’t Get Enough”, “People are People” and their cover of the Beatles’ song, ‘She’s Lost Control’. The band continues to make movies here in the 2020s with a big hunk of their original lineup still intact.
Formed in 1980 the Eurythmics reached their pinnacle of success later in the decade. They recorded a string of hits including “Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)”, “Sweet Dreams” and one of my personal favorites, “Would I Lie to You?” The group’s lead singer Annie Lennox is also well known for her solo work as well, sporting one of the most distinctive voices in the biz.
This 80s pop bands list would not be complete without mentioning The Cars. They were around as far back as 1976 but the 80s is where they really got revving, with hits like “Drive”, “Just What I Needed” and “I’m in Touch With Your World.”
The Smiths, who formed in 1982, were fronted by one of my favorite singers ever, Morrissey, and influential and sometimes controversial figure in indie music. The 80s is where they really exploded and scored hits like “The Queen Is Dead” and “Panic.” They split in 1987, with Morrissey going on to a solo career.
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