For all of its reputation as a decade of greed and excess, the 80s was a golden era for pop music: fashion styles were unique and plentiful, a new world of musical and technological innovation was welcomed in, and the rise of MTV heralded a new breed of superstar to rival the Hollywood star system. To find out who embodied the decade, here is our list of the best 80s musicians – 20 great artists who have become inseparable from that unforgettable time.
Listen to the best of the 80s here, and check out our best 80s musicians, below.
20: Van Halen
One of the most influential bands of their generation, Van Halen turned nearly every 80s kid into headbangers thanks to their era-defining fusion of hard rock and glam metal. The band owed its lasting success to their legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen, whose innovative two-handed tapping technique reignited people’s passion for rock’n’roll. To their credit, Van Halen were never afraid of pop crossover – the iconic Oberheim synth hook on their US No.1 hit, Jump, vaulted them into the mainstream as one of the biggest bands on the planet. It would be a crime to leave Van Halen off this list of best 80s musicians.
Must hear: Jump