Scroll Down To Continue

30 Musicians Who Ruled the 1980s

Elton John

There’s no denying that Elton John was and is and superstar, and that’s evidenced by the staggering 309 weeks during the 80s that his music was on the Billboard charts. Like many other iconic musicians of the decade, John was a part of the famous 1985 Live Aid Performance in London. 

(image via Pinterest)

Madonna

Love her or hate her, Madonna was a force to be reckoned with in the 80s. From her daring lyrics to her oh-so-80s fashion sense, she became a household name during the decade thanks to her hits like “Like a Virgin”, “Material Girl”, and “Papa Don’t Preach.” 

(image via Pinterest)

Phil Collins

Whether you were into Phil Collins as a solo artist or as a member of the award-winning band Genesis, there were very few people who didn’t know and love him in the 80s. Hit albums for the decade included Genesis and No Jacket Required.  

(image via Pinterest)

David Bowie

David Bowie may have hit his stride in the 1970s, but he showed no signs of slowing down during the 80s. His hits for the decade include “Ashes to Ashes” and “Under Pressure” (which was a collaboration with the band Queen). 

(image via Wikipedia)

Morrissey

With his bleak lyrics and too-cool-for-school persona, Morrissey was no less than a god to angsty teenagers in the 80s. With the help of his band, The Smiths, he released four albums during the decade (as well as one solo album). While his music performed better in the UK than the US, Morissey managed to break the top 100 multiple times during the 80s. 

(image via Pinterest)

Cyndi Lauper

It only took Cyndi Lauper two years to go from her debut album (1983) to winning a Grammy (1985). Her hit songs of the decade, which include “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time”, are to this day some of the most iconic 80s music ever produced. 

(image via Pinterest)

Prince

When it comes to commercial success, not many can top Prince during the 1980s—he holds the distinction of being the artist who spent the most weeks on the Billboard Top 100 during the decade. His hits of the era included “Purple Rain”, “When Doves Cry”, and “Alphabet St.” 

(image via Pinterest)

U2

It’s hard to believe, but there was a time before U2 was a household name. That all changed with the release of their 1987, Grammy-winning album, The Joshua Tree. Once it hit the airwaves, there was no stopping the meteoric rise of this iconic band. 

(image via Wikipedia)

Kenny Loggins

Top Gun. Footloose. Caddyshack. All three of these were iconic 80s movies, and all three featured songs from the incomparable Kenny Loggins. If anyone has a claim to the title of “King of the Soundtracks” it’s him!  

(image via Wikipedia)

Queen

You can’t talk about rock music in the 80s without mentioning Queen. Their hits for the decade included “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Under Pressure”, which they performed with David Bowie. They spent a respectable 174 weeks on the charts during the 80s.  

(image via Pinterest)

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston had 12 hit songs in the 1980s, and seven of those made it to number one on the charts. These included “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “Greatest Love of All.” Houston has more than earned her position as one of the biggest musicians of the 1980s. 

(image via Pinterest)

George Michael

George Michael took the 80s by storm, both as a solo artist and a member of the English group Wham!. His memorable classics of the decade included “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Faith”, and “Last Christmas”. 

(image via Pinterest)

Tina Turner

In case you slept through the 80s, Tina Turner was kind of a big deal. A really big deal. In fact, many people consider the decade as a major comeback for the singer after her divorce from husband and musical partner Ike Turner in the late 70s. 

(image via Pinterest)

Billy Joel

Let’s be honest—is there any decade that hasn’t been a major win for Billy Joel? Probably not, but you could argue that the 80s were when Joel reached his peak. His hits for the decade included “Uptown Girl”, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, and “Goodnight Saigon”. 

(image via Pinterest)

Lionel Richie

Hello, is it Lionel Richie you’re looking for? It is if you’re looking for one of the most critically and commercially successful artists of the 80s! In addition to co-writing the iconic, charity-inspired song “We Are the World”, Richie was also known in the 80s for hits such as “Hello” and “All Night Long”. 

(image via Pinterest)

Culture Club

While Culture Club may have been most well known for member Boy George’s eccentric fashion choices, their music was a force to be reckoned with in the 1980s. They spent 167 weeks on the charts during the decade, thanks to hits such as “Karma Chameleon” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”. 

(image via Pinterest)

Joan Jett

Joan Jett was a take-no-prisoners hard rocker in the 1980s, all but securing her position as one of the decade’s most influential artists. She experienced success as the leading member of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, who were famous for songs such as “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” and “Bad Reputation”. 

(image via Pinterest)

Kate Bush

Although Kate Bush might not have as many number one hits as some artists on this list, her musical output in the 1980s was considered an unqualified critical hit. Known for her theatrical, experimental approach to pop music, her hits of the decade included “Running Up That Hill”, “Babooshka”, and “This Woman’s Work”—which was featured on the soundtrack to the 1988 film She’s Having a Baby. 

(image via Pinterest)

Hall & Oates

Volumized hair, an iconic moustache, and catchy pop music is what made this duo so memorable in the 80s. The pair spent 351 weeks on the charts during the decade with hits like “Private Eyes”, “Rich Girl”, and “Maneater.” 

(image via Pinterest)

John Mellencamp

Aside from Bruce Springsteen, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more all-American musician than John Mellencamp. His populist lyrics and straightforward musical style was a recipe for success in the 80s, and he rocked the world with songs such as “Jack & Diane”, “Hurts So Good”, and “Cherry Bomb”. 

(image via Pinterest)

The Pointer Sisters

If you’re looking for some of the decade’s best R&B music, look no further than The Pointer Sisters! These Grammy-winning artists dominated the 80s music scene with hits such as “I’m So Excited” and “Jump (for My Love)”. 

(image via Pinterest)

Diana Ross

Disco may have died with the 70s, but that didn’t stop Diana Ross from continuing to dominate the decade that followed! Her hits from the 80s included songs like “I’m Coming Out”, “If We Hold On Together”, and “All of You”. 

(image via Pinterest)

Donna Summer

Donna Summer may have been a 70s staple, but she was still rocking it in the 80s too! She spent at total of 184 weeks on the charts during the decade and had a top 40 hit song every year from 1980 to 1984. 

(image via Pinterest)

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks is known as the Queen of Rock and Roll, and she more than deserves the title! While her band Fleetwood Mac rose to prominence in the 70s, they had several 80s hits, and Nicks found popularity as a solo artist during this decade as well. She is most well-known during the era for songs such as “Edge of Seventeen” and “Gypsy”. 

(image via Wikipedia)

The Bangles

The Bangles sometimes get mistakenly branded as a one-hit wonder, thanks to their massive 1986 hit “Walk Like an Egyptian.” However, during the decade they proved to be much more than that, with other chart-topping songs like “Manic Monday” and “Eternal Flame”. 

(image via Pinterest)

Pet Shop Boys

During the 80s, the Pet Shop Boys had a sound that wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but that didn’t stop them from critical and commercial success. In fact, according to The Guinness Book of Records, they are the most successful UK musical duo of all time. That’s thanks in no small part to their 80s hit “West End Girls”. 

(image via Pinterest)

Dolly Parton

While Dolly Parton may have dominated the country music scene in the 1970s, she became a true pop star in the 80s. Her biggest hit of the decade was by far the song “9 to 5”, which was the title track for the classic film of the same name. 

(image via Pinterest)

Paula Abdul

From choreographer to pop star, the 80s were a busy time for Paula Abdul! She began the decade designing dance moves for The Jackson 5, and by 1989, she had multiple hit songs under her belt. These most famously included “Straight Up” and “Opposites Attract”. 

(image via Pinterest)

Ray Parker Jr.

Ray Parker Jr. only had one major hit during the 80s, but boy, was it a big one! Parker is most famously known for creating the theme song to the Emmy-nominated 1984 film Ghostbusters

(image via Pinterest)

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was on his way up during the 1970s, but it was the 80s when he really reached superstardom. His 1982 album, Thriller, is still the best-selling album of all time, and when you factor in his nine number-one singles on the charts during the decade, it’s clear why we call him the King of Pop.  

(image via Pinterest)