Music of the 1980s

    open/close all folders 

  • Alternative Rock: Otherwise known as college or modern rock back in the early days, alternative in this era was more a conglomeration of disparate left field styles (i. e. jangle pop, synthpop, post-punk, noise rock, hardcore, early alternative metal, etc.), all of which nonetheless served as an alternative to the homogeny of mainstream rock and top 40 radio. Steadily became more popular as more bands scored major airplay and started joining major labels as the decade came to a close, helping set the stage for the genre's mainstream success the following decade..
  • MTV debuted and had a huge influence on the popularity of acts during this decade.
  • Italo Disco
  • Heavy Metal: This decade was major for the genre, with many of its subgenres seeing major development during it.
    • Doom Metal: Bands began expanding upon Black Sabbath's sound during this decade in a very deeply underground scene.
    • Hair Metal: Massively popular, often pop-leaning style possibly best remembered for outrageous fashions and the power ballads.
    • Power Metal: First saw popularity around the middle of the decade, mostly in Europe.
    • Thrash Metal: A massive underground scene for this sonically violent, punk-infused genre developed as a backlash to hair metal throughout the decade, accumulating in some mainstream success at the very end of it before falling off at the start of The '90s.
      • Black Metal: Got its seeds planted throughout the decade, although didn't reach its best known form until The '90s.
      • Death Metal: Slowly began being codified throughout the later half of the decade.
  • The rise of New Wave Music and its offshoot sub-genres like New Romanticism.
  • Hip-Hop: The Golden Age of Hip Hop starts late in this decade (circa 88).
  • There was a huge wave of synth heavy R&B acts during the early to mid 80's. Usually called Synth Funk, Post-Disco, Electro Funk (or Boogie), or "New Wave R&B". Most of the time R&B would overlap with those aforementioned genres. Especially artists from The '70s who were trying to stay relevant in the early 80's like The Whispers, and Cameo who all started out as either Funk, or Soul.
  • The hip hop/R&B fusion genre New Jack Swing got its official start in 1987 with Keith Sweat's debut album Make It Last Forever.