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-   -   Was the 1980s the Best Decade for Music? (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/music-talk/440000-1980s-best-decade-music.html)

wendersfan 10-03-05 02:04 PM

I really don't see the difference in quality between various decades to vary that much, to be honest. If I had to pin it down, I'd say that the 60s had a lot of great singles, while the 70s had better albums. Now, I know each decade produced a lot of great albums and singles, but that's the way I prefer to think of it.

The problem with the 60s is that it didn't really "begin" until 1964, with a few notable exceptions. Sure, it had <i>Revolver</i>, <i>Astral Weeks</i>, <i>Forever Changes</i>, and <i>Blonde on Blonde</i>, but the 70s had <i>Marquee Moon</i>, <i>Exile on Main Street</i>, <i>London Calling</i>, <i>Low</i>, <i>Armed Forces</i>, <i>Another Green World</i>, <i>Who's Next</i>, <i>Horses</i>, <i>Muswell Hillbillies</i>, <i>Rocket to Russia</i>, and <i>I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight</i>, along with many others.

The 80s had equally great music, by all kinds of remarkable bands, from The Smiths to AC/DC to REM to The Replacements. My main issue with that decade's music is that it all sounds so dated because of the huge snare drum sound everyone used. I know that's an idiosyncratic complaint, but since I record music as a hobby I listen for those things. :)

I can't talk objectively about the 90s, since it hasn't been long enough.

Michael Corvin 10-03-05 02:36 PM


Originally Posted by wendersfan
The problem with the 60s is that it didn't really "begin" until 1964,

That is what I was thinking. The best decade should be 1965-1975.

digitalfreaknyc 10-03-05 02:38 PM


Originally Posted by Daytripper
Let's not forget:

The Smiths
New Order
Tears For Fears
The English Beat
U2
The Police
The Go-Go's
INXS
Squeeze
The Pretenders
The Human League
Simple Minds

While I'm not sure the 80's was the best decade for music, it sure had a lot of fun music/bands.

What about Prince?

And I completely agree that this was the best decade. 90's were probably the worst.

RichC2 10-03-05 03:12 PM

Not at all, one of the worst in my book.

Solid lyrical aspects put to some truly terrible music.

Numanoid 10-03-05 07:09 PM

Frankly, if what you consider to be representative of an era is only what was heard on top 40 radio, then every decade sucks.

I've said it here before, and I say it again - 1978 - 1983 were the BEST years for music ever (the advent of New Wave; the introduction of the synthesizer as the foundation of songs, not just as a novelty or background instrument; the cult-like style of the New Romantics; etc.) By contrast, 1986 - 1990 were the WORST years for music ever.

Every cool thing that had happened in the early '80s by experimental pioneers was commandeered by talentless hacks and commercialized beyond recognition. The dark oddity of Punk and New Wave fashion turned into the preposterousness of the hair band look. Ripped-up punk jackets were replaced by neon ski jackets. Black Doc Marten boots were replaced with pastel L.A. Gear sneakers. The anarchy and angst of a group of brooding European men was replaced by the light little ditties of American teenage girls. The menacing growl of an analogue synth that took hours to tune was replaced by the bouncy happiness of a Casio that you could pick up at K-Mart.

So, to answer your question: Yes. And No.

PopcornTreeCt 10-04-05 12:42 AM

No. Glad I missed it.

johnbook 10-04-05 01:09 AM


Originally Posted by Dubya
Hair metal bands were a prominent part of the 80's, therefore no it wasn't the best decade :D

Hair metal bands were a prominent part of the 80's, therefore YES it WAS the best decade. :rock:

Thank god for xm radio i've recently got this for my vehicle and man am i loving that station "the boneyard" so much 80's metal and hard rock.

rexinnih 10-05-05 09:55 AM

Yes. And I ran..............

The Bus 10-05-05 10:05 AM

I'd say the 90s were great.

Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, plus Puccini is born, Schubert... lots of good stuff.

slacker6 10-06-05 04:22 PM

I think it largely depends on when you grew up. I was born in 1973 thus the 80's were the foundation of my music from age 10-19, when most people really begin to listen and appreciate music. Granted, I love hairbands, specifically Motley Crue who actually began as a more raw, punkish band and evolved into the more glam metal.

Other notable bands being attributed to the 80's that actually started in the 70's:

Genesis
Aerosmith
Van Halen
AC/DC
KISS
Yes
J. Geils Band (Everybody only remembers Centerfold and Freeze Frame)

Some other excellent 80's music not previously mentioned (I think):

The Go-Go's
Peter Gabriel
Robert Palmer
Thomas Dolby
Murray Head (One Night in Bangkok) great song
Simple Minds
Peter Wolf (guitarist of J. Geils Band)

Some of my favorite one-hit wonders from the 80's:

Nu Schooz-I Can't Wait
Timbuk3-The Future's So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)
Arcadia-Election Day
Glass Tiger-Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone

All that being said, I would say that 1965 to 1975 is the most influential era of music.

wendersfan 10-06-05 04:25 PM


Originally Posted by slacker6
Other notable bands being attributed to the 80's that actually started in the 70's:

Genesis
Yes

Both these bands released their debut albums in 1969.

slacker6 10-06-05 04:52 PM


Originally Posted by wendersfan
Both these bands released their debut albums in 1969.

Ooops, my fault...knew I was pretty close:)

Rogue588 10-06-05 04:55 PM


Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
What about Prince?

Took 29 posts... -ohbfrank-

Mordred 10-06-05 05:31 PM

I'm kind of surprised no one has mentioned Metallica. Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and ...and Justice for All is the metal trifecta.
From a metal standpoint the '80s are easily the greatest decade ever.

I rank 'em:
80s
70s
60s
90s
00s

nodeerforamonth 10-06-05 05:52 PM


Originally Posted by Mordred
I'm kind of surprised no one has mentioned Metallica. Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and ...and Justice for All is the metal trifecta.
From a metal standpoint the '80s are easily the greatest decade ever.

I rank 'em:
80s
70s
60s
90s
00s

SO many great metal bands in the '80s! It would take about 2 pages to list all the great bands (everything from Artillery to Zoetrope). For metal, I'd rank them:

80s
70s
90s
00s
60s

cactusoly 10-06-05 06:13 PM

Judas Priest, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Motley Crue, Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, all put out there best albums in the 80s. Black Sabbath and Deep Purple also put out some Classics. AC/DC Back in Black and Def Leppard Pyromania and GnR Appitite for Destruction were the best selling hard rock albums of alll time... the 80's were great!

cactusoly 10-06-05 06:13 PM

oops duplicate post

Tarnower 10-06-05 06:53 PM

Although I don't feel the 80s was the best decade for music (that would be the 70s, IMHO), it certainly produced some incredibly talented artists/bands. I mean, any decade that produces Talking Heads (which is criminally absent from any of the previous posts in this thread), Prince, R.E.M., U2 and Madonna deserves accolades. And, at least, most of the music coming out of the 80s contained hooks and good song structuring. I don't feel the same can be said from around 1995 to the present. While I do like some hip hop (Outkast are brilliant!), but there's way too much of it being featured in today's marketplace. It's taken away a lot of attention that normally would have gone to rock and roll bands. Because of that, it seems a lot of today's youth have not even bothered to self-educate themselves to popular musical heritage from the recent and distant past. So, my list would look like this...

1. 70s
2. 60s
3. 80s
4. 90s
5. 00s

redhenry 10-10-05 01:10 AM


Originally Posted by Daytripper
Let's not forget:

The Smiths
New Order
Tears For Fears
The English Beat
U2
The Police
The Go-Go's
INXS
Squeeze
The Pretenders
The Human League
Simple Minds

While I'm not sure the 80's was the best decade for music, it sure had a lot of fun music/bands.

...and..

The Thompson Twins
Spandau Ballet
Wham
ABC
Simply Red
Pink Floyd
Crowded house
Midnight Oil
Erasure
Pet Shop Boys
Huey Lewis
The The
Paul Young
Howard Jones
Style Council
Phil Collins
Nik Kershaw
Dire Straits
Michael Jackson (the 'real' one)
Ultravox
Boomtown Rats
A-ha
ABBA
Talking heads
Prince (at his most consistent)
Queen
Pointer Sisters
Pat Benetar
OMD
Madness
LRB
Kim Wilde
Icehouse
Hall and Oates
Cars
Genesis
Eurythmics
Dead or Alive
The Cure
Blondie
Robert Palmer
Soft Cell
Tina Turner (the comeback)
Men At Work
soooo many more

I know some of these are still active and some were also 70s bands - but the 80s was by and large their more successful period.

Live Aid was a perfect role call. Can anyone imagine Live Aid in 2005 having the same line up of megastars? Live 8 was nice, but there were more 'oldies' than newbies.

Ayre 10-10-05 08:24 AM

Just looking at the lists of what is good reminds me of just how bad the 80's were.

The Smiths were about the only band I would agree with.

90's was a return to self-indulgent art rock. But that is what I like.

90's
70's
00's
80's
60's

dhmac 10-10-05 10:59 AM

The years 1978-1992 (roughly) were the absolute best years of College Music (I think the music from these years is now a format called "Alternative Gold").

It featured bands such as...
The Clash
B-52s
Joy Division
The Smiths
R.E.M. (their best years)
U2 (their best years)
The Cure (their best years)
Pixies
Echo & the Bunnymen (their best years)
Violent Femmes (their best years)
The Pogues (their best years)
They Might Be Giants (their best years)
My Bloody Valentine
...and others I can't think of off the top of my head

It was a great time for music if you had a good College Radio in your area. So great, that I didn't think it would end. But after Grunge broke through, the next generation of bands, while many were good, seemed to lack something - I don't know what - that these earlier bands had.

redhenry 10-10-05 11:03 AM

It's all an opinion of course, but I really believe it depends on your age and what the songs of any decade bring back memory-wise. I turned 15 in 1980 and the next 5-7 years were senior high school, university, first job etc. Great times, with great people - and those 80s bands remind me of high school discos, university parties, first love, first heartbreak etc, so the music genuinely seems better to me than what a lot of it really was - but I still love the 80's as much as I always did.

Having said that though, music from the last ten years by and large really sux!!!

RMSpuhler 10-10-05 12:25 PM

A quick shout for 10,000 Maniacs in the 80s category (post 48! Damn.).

Anyway, I thought the 80s were great - better than the 90s *on the whole*, though the early 90s were pretty bleeding impressive.

RS

Michael Corvin 10-10-05 02:07 PM


Originally Posted by slacker6
I think it largely depends on when you grew up. I was born in 1973 thus the 80's were the foundation of my music from age 10-19, when most people really begin to listen and appreciate music. Granted, I love hairbands, specifically Motley Crue who actually began as a more raw, punkish band and evolved into the more glam metal.


I was born in 75 and gotta go with 65-75, and then 90's over 80s. The 80s had some great hard rock/ hair metal, but the rest of the music scene from that time is too cheesy to listen to.

So for me age plays no factor since I did not grow up in the 60s.

Numanoid 10-11-05 01:36 AM


Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
So for me age plays no factor since I did not grow up in the 60s.

But apparently Top 40 radio does, as most of the '80s bands I like (what would be considered true New Wave (post-punk alternative)) are far from the "cheesy" pop bands of the same era. In fact, most of the music in that genre is dark...very dark.

I'll battle Starship's "We Built This City" with Ultravox's "The Thin Wall" any day of the week.


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