Huge artists who first made a name for themselves in the 80s





Bon Jovi


Never liked these guys in the 80s, but have come to love "Livin' on a prayer". 





Bryan Adams


Not really a fan of any of his music, but he made his mark on the 80s.





Cyndi Lauper


Cyndi was mainly an 80s sensation, but boy was she sensational and has continued to win many awards for her music.  Her debut album in 1983 “She’s so unusual” made her an instant star. 




Crowded House


New Zealand’s most successful band at this point. Neil Finn left Split Enz to start his own band with a couple of Aussies. The rest is history. 







Def Leppard


They gained success quickly and were at their peak in 1987 with “Hysteria”, 




Duran Duran


These guys were like the Beatles of the 80s, they were that popular. However their popularity waned quite a bit in the late 80s. 





The Eurythmics


This weird looking woman, Annie Lennox seemed to do everything right in the 80s. They were a little bit different. 



George Michael


George started off strong with Andrew Ridgely as Wham! As successful as that duo was, it would not be until he released his first solo album “Faith” in 1987 that he would gain true fame and respect. His hit “Careless Whisper” (which he had while still with Wham!) was the song that even Wham! haters loved.





Gloria Estefan


Started off in Miami Sound Machine, but then it became Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine so that she could be nominated for awards, which she was. She made latin music popular. 






Guns N Roses


There debut album in 1987 “Appetite for Destruction” has become one of the biggest selling albums ever. Despite only having released a handful of albums in the 80s and early 90s, they have always gone platinum. 



Huey Lewis & the News


My earliest memories of this band were in the early 80s as I travelled to and from school in the bus. I think no trip ever went by without a Huey Lewis song being played. They had 4 really good albums before they started to wane in popularity in the early 1990s. 


Human League


These guys had that classic 80s sound. I never thought much of them at the beginning, but they ended up becoming one of my favourite 80s bands. 






I loved their first real big hit "Original Sin" and it has continued to be my favourite of their's. 




Iron Maiden



This is the heavy metal band that defines heavy metal for most fans. 



 Janet Jackson


Janet was the only Jackson apart from Michael to hit the big times. Latoya, Marlon and Jermaine gave it a crack in the 80s, but failed. (They still had their chance though!)







Joan Jett & the Blackhearts




Kylie Monogue



Yes, the 80s is where even an Aussie soap star can become a huge hit. She would possibly be the only 80s sensation who would lose their popularity in the 90s and then make a massive comeback later, producing even bigger albums than before. (2000s). 

Lionel Ritchie


Leaving the Commodores behind him in 1982, Lionel decided to go solo and it turned out to be a great move. Instant success and his 2nd album, “Can’t slow down” even went diamond due to a string of hits including “All night long”, “Running with the night”, “Hello”, “Penny Lover” and “Stuck on You”.  Of course, like with many artists, once the 80s came to an end his popularity began to wane, even though he continued to produce successful albums. 





What needs to be said about Madonna, possibly the most successful female artist ever? Certainly in the 80s, when successful female soloists were few. Her string of diamond and platinum albums continues to this day. 





I wish I could say something good about these guys, but I can't stand them!

Midnight Oil


Hugely successful down under. A great heavy rock sound. Lead singer Peter Garrett is one bizarre chap, with the way he dances and sings, but he's great. 



Ozzy Osbourne


One of my old friends used to rave about Ozzy in the mid 80s, however I was unfamiliar with any of his music and I was no Black Sabbath fan.



Pat Benatar


Pat always seemed to be on the charts with one hit or another. Yet another artist from the 80s that went no further than the 80s.






Pet Shop Boys


These guys seemed to come out with hit after hit from the mid to late 80s. 

Phil Collins


Phil, was the lead singer of Genesis when he released his first solo album, “Face Value” in 1981, an album which would far surpass the greatness of any Genesis album up until that point.  His success as a solo performer then seemed to impact the success of Genesis. Phil was always on the radio (either on his own or with Genesis) throughout the 80s. Perhaps that is why when the 90s arrived his popularity waned. Nevertheless, his albums have all sold well despite that.







His Purple Rain hits were the Prince I knew. Even though he continued to have great success, I could never see beyond that album. 




Simply Red


Was this a band or a solo performer? Yep, it was a band who were supposed to be known as simply "Red" until a misprint was made on one of their posters. 


Spandau Ballet


I remember a friend telling me, "Hey, listen to this new song! It's great". And "True" came on the TV. I didn't like it at all to being with. However it quickly became one of my favourites of all time, the band included. 




U2 released their first album “Boy” in 1980 and from then on had huge album after huge album. Since 1987’s, “The Joshua Tree”, all but their latest album (Songs of Innocence - 2014) have reached number 1 in the majority of countries.



In 1980 I fell in love with their debut single... "Food for Thought". It was my favourite song for weeks and weeks and even now is my favourite song of all times.



Van Halen 


Strangely enough, this band did not do all that well in New Zealand. "Jump" and "Why can't this be love" are the only songs I ever remember being played on the radio down here. 





Whitney Houston


I could never understand the appeal of this woman's songs, but there's no denying how successful she was. 











Others worthy of mentioning




The Beastie Boys

Chris De Burgh

Chris Rea

The Cure

Depeche Mode

Echo & the Bunnymen


Fine Young Cannibals

Grace Jones

Ice House

Jimmy Barnes


New Edition

The Pretenders



Simple Minds

Steve Winwood

Suzanne Vega

Tracey Chapman


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