The 80s were a great time for rock music. Many iconic bands emerged during this decade, and their influence is still felt today. In this blog post, we will take a look at the 54 most influential 80s rock bands. These bands helped shape the sound of rock music in the 80s, and their influence can still be heard in modern music.
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With popular hits such as “Hold On Loosely” and “Caught Up in You,” .38 Special was one of the most successful rock bands during the 1980s.
Formed in 1974, they found success playing a blend of Southern rock, pop, and hard rock that made them stand out from other acts of the era.
They scored eight Top 40 hits throughout their career, and two of their albums went platinum. .38 Special was known for its energetic live concerts, performing over 100 shows each year.
The band is still active today, and continues to tour regularly with founding member Don Barnes on lead vocals.
One of the most popular and iconic rock bands to come out of the 80s. AC/DC made a name for themselves with their unique mix of hard-hitting bluesy riffs and gritty, rebellious lyrics.
Formed in Australia in 1973 by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, they quickly gained traction in the US with songs like “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black”.
With their heavy metal sound, AC/DC went on to become one of the most influential rock bands ever, selling over 200 million albums worldwide.
As they continue to tour and record, AC/DC remains a popular choice for fans of all ages looking for an unforgettable rock experience.
Aerosmith is widely recognized as one of the most successful and influential rock bands of the 1980s. The band achieved success with a string of top 10 singles, including “Dream On,” “Sweet Emotion,” and “Walk This Way.”
Aerosmith’s albums Toys in the Attic (1975) and Rocks (1976) are seen as two of the greatest classic rock albums of all time.
The band had a unique blend of hard rock, pop and blues influences that made them stand out from their peers in the 80s.
Aerosmith’s members are Steven Tyler (lead vocals), Joe Perry (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass guitar), Joey Kramer (drums) and Brad Whitford (guitar).
Their music continues to be popular today and their influence on rock music of the 1980s is undeniable.
Aerosmith has sold over 150 million albums worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands in history. They continue to tour and perform, delighting fans across generations with their classic sound.
Comprised of brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, the Bee Gees created some of the most iconic and beloved hits of the 80s. Formed in 1958 and hailing from England, they released their first single in 1963.
Over the course of their career they have sold over 220 million records worldwide and have been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Some of their most iconic hits include “Staying Alive”, “Night Fever”, “More Than a Woman”, and “How Deep Is Your Love.”
They remain one of the most beloved bands to come out of the 80s, thanks to their timeless melodies and unforgettable lyrics.
In addition to their music career, they have also starred in two feature films; Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) and Saturday Night Fever (1977), both of which contain some of their biggest hits.
Despite the loss of Maurice Gibb in 2003, the Bee Gees remain one of the most influential and iconic 80s rock bands.
One of the most iconic rock bands of all time, Black Sabbath rose to fame in the early 1970s as pioneers of heavy metal music.
While their dark, gothic sound was ever-evolving throughout the years, they remained one of the most influential and popular bands of the 1980s.
Led by frontman Ozzy Osbourne, and backed by guitarists Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath released some of their most successful albums of the decade including Heaven & Hell (1980), Mob Rules (1981), Live Evil (1982) and Seventh Star (1986).
The band’s classic singles such as “Paranoid” and “Iron Man” remain staples in rock music to this day. Black Sabbath’s influence is still felt in the rock music of today and their legacy will live on for years to come.
Responsible for popularizing the new wave and punk rock movements of the 1980s, Blondie was founded in New York City by singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein.
With their iconic sound, they topped the charts with such singles as “Call Me” and “Heart of Glass”. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
Blondie is one of the most iconic bands of the 80s, and continues to influence artists today.
Formed in 1983, Bon Jovi is one of the most successful rock bands to come out of the 1980s. Their combination of hard-rocking melodies and power ballads made them a massive success, with multiple hit singles and albums.
The band’s lead singer Jon Bon Jovi wrote many iconic songs such as “Livin’ On a Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Bon Jovi has long been associated with charity work, and the band continues to tour the world to this day.
The Windy City has long been home to some of the best rock musicians in the world. One band that made a huge impact on the music scene in the 80s was Chicago.
With iconic hits like “25 or 6 to 4” and “Saturday In The Park,” they quickly became one of the most successful bands of the decade.
With their trademark blend of horns and vocal harmonies, they created a sound that was both classic and timeless.
They continued to produce music well into the 2000s, making them one of the longest running rock acts in history.
Formed in 1977 in Sheffield, England, Def Leppard gained fame as one of the biggest hair metal bands of the ’80s. With hits such as “Photograph,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Animal,” they are still one of the most popular rock bands to this day.
They have sold over 100 million albums worldwide and have won numerous awards, including two Grammy nominations.
Def Leppard’s signature sound combines hard rock with a touch of glam metal, which made them stand out from the rest of the ’80s rock bands.
Their influence on the genre can still be heard in today’s rock music. In 2017, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their lasting impact on rock and roll.
Def Leppard remains a timeless classic that will live on forever in the hearts of fans all over the world.
Founded by two sets of brothers, Gerald and Bob Casale, and Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, Devo rose to fame in the 1980s with their unique blend of new wave rock.
Drawing from a variety of influences including punk rock, electronic music, and pop culture, Devo created a sound that was both cutting-edge and accessible.
Their most successful single, “Whip It,” helped to establish the band as a major presence in 1980s rock music.
Devo continued to make music throughout the decade, releasing several more albums before their break-up in 1991.
Although they have not released any new material since then, Devo remains an important part of 1980s rock history and a beloved icon of the era.
One of the most successful bands of all time, Eagles is an American rock band that formed in Los Angeles in 1971.
The band’s style spanned many genres including soft rock, hard rock and country-rock. They had several hits throughout their career, such as “Hotel California” and “Take It Easy”, both of which were released in the 1970s.
The Eagles were a huge influence on the sound of 80s rock music and their albums are still popular today. They disbanded in 1980 but reunited again in 1994 and continue to release new music to this day.
They have sold over 150 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. Their timeless songs and unique sound make them one of the most iconic 80s rock bands.
Emerging in the late 1960s in England, Fleetwood Mac is one of the most successful and enduring bands of the 1980s.
Led by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, their album “Rumours” was a huge hit and included some of their biggest hits such as “Go Your Own Way,” “Don’t Stop,” and “Dreams.”
After the album’s success, Fleetwood Mac experienced a series of personnel changes, but Nicks and Buckingham remained a constant force on their releases throughout the decade.
The band had several hits in the 80s such as “Hold Me,” “Gypsy,” and “Little Lies.” Their signature blend of rock and pop made them a popular choice for radio and MTV throughout the decade.
Even today, their music continues to resonate with fans of all ages, making them one of the most important rock bands from the 80s.
An English-American rock band formed in 1976, Foreigner quickly rose to fame with the release of their debut album.
Through the years, they have released several hit songs such as “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Cold As Ice”.
Their music style is a mix of pop rock, hard rock and progressive rock. They are one of the most successful rock bands of the 80s, with worldwide sales estimated at over 80 million albums.
To this day, they continue to tour, bringing their classic sound and hits to fans around the world. Foreigner is a true powerhouse in the world of rock music.
Guns N’ Roses.
Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1985, Guns N’ Roses soon rose to fame with its hard-edged rock sound and iconic hits like “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”
Led by frontman Axl Rose, the band went on to become one of the most popular rock bands of all time.
The other members included Slash on lead guitar, Izzy Stradlin on rhythm guitar, Duff McKagan on bass, and Steven Adler on drums.
Guns N’ Roses released a number of classic albums in the 80s and early 90s including Appetite for Destruction (1987), Use Your Illusion I & II (1991) and the covers album The Spaghetti Incident? (1993).
Though the band had a tumultuous break up in 1996, they reunited in 2016 and have been touring and performing ever since.
The legacy of Guns N’ Roses is one that has endured through time and will likely continue to influence generations to come.
Hall and Oates.
A soft rock duo from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Daryl Hall and John Oates achieved their first hit single with “Sara Smile” in 1976.
During the 1980s, they produced a string of chart-topping hits that included classics such as “Maneater”, “Out of Touch” and “Kiss on My List”.
These songs all featured a unique blend of R&B, rock and pop that made them popular among mainstream audiences.
The duo’s distinctive look and sound helped to define the 80s music scene and they remain one of the most successful duos in history to this day.
To date, Hall & Oates has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. With their timeless songs and unforgettable style, Hall & Oates remains one of the most influential bands of the 1980s.
Led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, this band was one of the most successful and iconic groups of the 80s.
Their mix of hard rock and folk influences made them stand out from their contemporaries, with hits like “Barracuda” and “Alone” becoming perennial favorites.
They were one of the first all-female rock bands to achieve mainstream success, and their influence on the sound of 80s rock can still be heard today.
They have maintained a devoted fanbase over the decades, with many of their classic songs still played frequently on radio stations across the world.
Heart continues to tour and perform regularly, ensuring that they remain an integral part of modern rock music.
Huey Lewis And The News.
This band emerged in the early 1980s with a unique fusion of rock and pop. Their debut album Picture This was released in 1982, featuring hits such as “Do You Believe In Love” and “Workin’ For A Livin'”.
The group went on to release a string of successful albums over the next decade, including Fore! (1986), Small World (1988) and Hard At Play (1991).
With their signature blend of rock and R&B, Huey Lewis And The News became one of the most popular bands of the 1980s.
They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2018. Their music continues to be enjoyed by generations of fans around the world.
Formed by Neal Schon in 1973 and originally called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section, Journey was one of the most successful rock bands of the 80s.
Led by Steve Perry’s iconic vocals, Journey released a string of hit albums and singles that remain among some of the most recognizable songs from the decade.
Albums like Escape (1981) and Frontiers (1983) featured classics like “Don’t Stop Believing”, “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”, and “Faithfully” which forever cemented Journey as a major influence in the 80s rock scene.
In addition to their chart success, Journey also pioneered the use of music videos in the rock genre and were one of the first bands to make extensive use of MTV.
To this day, Journey’s unique blend of arena rock and pop sensibilities stands testament to their legacy as one of the most beloved 80s rock bands.
Judas Priest was one of the biggest heavy metal bands in the 1980s. They formed in 1969 in Birmingham, England and released their debut album Rocka Rolla in 1974.
Their signature sound combined hard rock guitars with soaring vocals and complex song structures. The band had a string of successful albums such as British Steel (1980), Screaming For Vengeance (1982) and Defenders of the Faith (1984).
They were also one of the most popular touring bands in the 1980s, playing to packed stadiums around the world.
Their influence on later metal acts such as Metallica, Megadeth and Pantera is undeniable. They remain an active band today, having released their eighteenth studio album Firepower in 2018. Judas Priest are widely considered one of the greatest metal bands of all time.
One of the most iconic 80s rock bands, Kiss rose to fame with their outrageous costumes and even more outrageous stage antics.
From fire breathing to levitating drum sets, they set a new standard for live performances that has kept fans coming back for decades.
Throughout the 1980s and beyond, they have released classic hit songs such as “I Was Made for Lovin’ You,” “Rock and Roll All Nite” and “Heaven’s on Fire.” Kiss has stood the test of time as one of the most beloved bands from the 1980s.
Ever since lead singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page formed the band in 1968, Led Zeppelin has been one of the most influential rock bands of all time.
Their unique blend of blues-rock and hard rock paved the way for countless other bands in the 80s and beyond.
Songs like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Kashmir”, and “Black Dog” are classic staples of rock music that still bring joy to fans today.
Led Zeppelin’s long-lasting legacy is a testament to the power of their music and how it has shaped the way we listen to rock music today.
Led by singer Mike Reno, this Canadian rock band was one of the most popular in the 1980s. They had massive hits like “Turn Me Loose”, “Working for the Weekend” and “Lovin’ Every Minute of It.”
Their songs often featured a combination of hard rock riffs accompanied with synth-pop keyboards, making them stand out from other groups of the era.
Their music video for “Working for the Weekend” also helped to solidify their place as one of the most popular rock bands of the 1980s, and they continued on to become one of Canada’s best selling musical acts. To this day, Loverboy is still active and performing live shows around the world.
One of the most iconic names in 80s rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd is best known for their classic hits “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird”.
Formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1964, the band’s blend of Southern rock and blues-rock helped make them one of the biggest groups of the decade.
Their albums included the 1978 hit Street Survivors and 1984’s Southern By The Grace Of God. Sadly, the band was marred by tragedy when three members were killed in a 1977 plane crash.
But the legacy of Lynyrd Skynyrd still lives on today with their influence seen on countless rock bands from the past 30 years. They will always remain an integral part of the 80s rock landscape.
Arguably one of the most iconic and influential 80s rock bands, Madness took their name from a Prince Buster song and burst onto the music scene in 1979.
The band’s ska-infused pop sound quickly gained them popularity amongst British audiences and they soon became well known for their energetic live performances and catchy songs such as “House of Fun” and “Our House”.
With their unique style and witty lyrics, Madness was able to bridge the gap between punk rock music and more traditional pop sounds. As a result, their albums reached number one in both the UK Singles Chart and Albums Chart.
The band achieved great success throughout the 80s before eventually disbanding in 1986. However, they have since reunited several times, performing at a variety of live shows and festivals, cementing their place as one of the most beloved 80s rock bands.
Their influence can still be heard in today’s music, from punk to pop and everything in between. To this day, Madness remains an important part of British musical heritage.
One of the biggest bands of the 80s, Metallica is most famously known for their albums “Ride the Lightning” and “Master of Puppets.”
The band formed in 1981 and quickly rose to fame with a unique blend of thrash metal, speed metal, and heavy metal.
They popularized the genre in becoming one of the world’s top-selling bands and have released nine studio albums in total.
While their sound has changed over the years, Metallica still retains their original spirit of hard-hitting rock music and powerful lyrics.
They continue to tour around the world with a passionate fan base that continues to grow. Metallica is truly one of the greatest groups to come from the 80s and their influence continues to be felt today.
One of the most iconic bands to come out of the 80’s rock era, Mötley Crüe is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1981.
Their hard-partying lifestyle and catchy tunes made them one of the biggest acts of their time with hits like “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Dr. Feelgood.”
Led by charismatic frontman Vince Neil, the band has gone on to sell over 100 million albums worldwide and is widely considered one of the most influential bands in rock history.
With anthems like “Kickstart My Heart” that still get audiences cheering even decades later, Mötley Crüe is a classic example of 80s rock at its best.
Motorhead was one of the most successful and influential rock bands of the 1980s. Formed in 1975, they released their debut album “Motorhead” in 1977 and quickly became known for their hard-hitting sound.
Their second album, 1979’s Bomber, is widely regarded as a classic of early heavy metal and the band went on to have a successful career throughout the 80s.
They released a number of well-received albums, including Ace of Spades and No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith. Motorhead’s influence can still be heard in many modern rock bands, as they pioneered much of the genre’s sound and attitude.
Their signature song “Ace of Spades” is still a regular at rock concerts around the world, and their influence continues to be felt in many ways.
Motorhead was an iconic 80s rock band that helped define the era for many music fans. They are still remembered fondly by fans of all genres today.
Pink Floyd, formed in 1965 in London, England, was one of the most influential and celebrated rock bands of the 1980s.
With their unique blend of psychedelic rock, progressive rock and art rock, they created a sound all their own that resonated with music fans across the world.
Led by Roger Waters and David Gilmour, Pink Floyd became one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed bands of their time, selling over 250 million records worldwide.
Their albums The Wall (1979) and Dark Side of the Moon (1973) are two of the best-selling albums in history, with both being certified as diamond record status by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Formed in 1983, this glam-metal band brought together Bret Michaels and Bobby Dall to create some of the most iconic 80s rock anthems ever. Their signature sound fused hard rock with heavy doses of pop sheen for a unique style that blended the best of both worlds.
With songs like “Talk Dirty To Me” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, Poison made it to the top of the charts and stayed there throughout the 80s.
And don’t forget about their hair, tight leather clothing, and wild stage antics – Poison took glam-metal to a whole new level!
They continued to tour and make new music into the 2000s with plenty of fans still singing along to classic hits like “Unskinny Bop” and “Nothin’ But a Good Time”. Even today, Poison remains one of the most beloved 80s rock bands around.
One of the most iconic bands of the 80s, Queen was a British rock band that came to prominence in 1974. Led by their legendary frontman Freddie Mercury, they were known for their unique sound and flamboyant live performances.
They released a number of classic albums such as A Night at the Opera (1975), The Game (1980) and The Works (1984).
They released a number of classic songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You,” and “Another One Bites the Dust.”
Queen was one of the most successful bands of the 1980s and remains beloved to this day. Their influence can be heard in many modern bands from the 2000s and beyond.
Queen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, cementing their legacy as one of the greatest rock bands ever.
R.E.M. is an iconic American rock band from Athens, Georgia that was formed in 1980. R.E.M.’s signature sound combined post-punk and alternative genres, creating a unique musical style that resonated with people around the world.
They released their first album, Murmur, in 1983 and quickly became one of the most popular bands of the decade.
Their other popular albums from the 80s include Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) and Document (1987), both of which solidified their status as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
R.E.M.’s influence on modern music is undeniable, as their unique sound has become incredibly influential for future generations of musicians.
This band was a key part of the glam metal scene in the 1980s, with hits such as Round and Round, Lay It Down, and Wanted Man.
Ratt was formed in San Diego, California; their original lineup included singer Stephen Pearcy, guitarists Robbin Crosby and Warren DeMartini, bassist Juan Croucier, and drummer Bobby Blotzer.
The band’s signature sound was a mix of hard rock and pop-influenced glam metal, with Pearcy’s gruff vocals commanding the songs.
Their early albums, including Out of the Cellar and Invasion of Your Privacy, were huge hits in the mid-80s and solidified their status as one of the most popular bands of the time.
The band was also known for their raucous live shows and outrageous stage antics, earning them a loyal and devoted fanbase.
While they disbanded in 1992, they reunited in 1996, releasing two more albums before splitting again in 2010.
Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Formed in 1983, this funk-rock band from Los Angeles rose to prominence in the 1980s and continued to be a major influence on modern rock music.
Their classic lineup includes lead vocalist Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist John Frusciante.
The band’s musical style has shifted over time, but throughout the 1980s and beyond, their sound has been heavily influenced by funk and punk rock.
They have released 11 studio albums since 1984, with hits such as “Give It Away”, “Under The Bridge”, “Californication”, and “Scar Tissue”.
Red Hot Chili Peppers have sold over 80 million albums worldwide and are one of the most successful rock bands of the 1980s. They remain iconic figure in the rock world, continuing to tour and produce music even today.
Formed in 1967, this band has gone on to become one of the most popular and successful rock acts of all time. Their hit single “Keep On Loving You” is still a staple of classic rock radio stations.
With anthems like “Roll with the Changes”, “Take It on the Run”, “Can’t Fight This Feeling”, and other hits, REO Speedwagon has earned the right to be called one of the greatest rock bands of the 1980s.
The band is still performing today and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. They remain a favorite among classic rock fans everywhere.
Savatage is an American heavy metal band from Florida that was active in the 1980s. The group was formed by brothers Jon and Criss Oliva, who had a passion for metal music and progressive rock.
Throughout their career, they released nine studio albums that showcased their unique sound blending metal with classical influences. Their most successful album of the 80s was their 1986 release, Fight for the Rock.
This album featured some of their most beloved songs such as “Edge of Thorns” and “Strange Wings”. Savatage earned a devoted cult following throughout the 80s with their unique sound and energetic live performances.
The group disbanded in the late 90s but made a comeback in 2001 to continue their legacy. Today, Savatage is still actively touring and performing for fans around the world. Their timeless sound continues to be appreciated by music lovers all over the globe.
Saxon is an English heavy metal band formed in Barnsley, England, in 1976. They are considered one of the leaders of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and are a major influence on many other bands.
Saxon had 8 UK Top 40 albums in the 1980s including Wheels Of Steel (1980), Denim and Leather (1981) and Crusader (1984).
They were also one of the first bands to make videos for their singles, creating a trend that was followed by other major 1980s rock bands.
Saxon had many hit songs in the 80s such as “Wheels Of Steel”, “Power And The Glory” and “Crusader”.
Their music is still popular today and they continue to tour, performing their classic 80s hits as well as newer material. Saxon remains an important part of the history of rock music in the 1980s.
This heavy metal band was formed in 1986 and became popular with their album Slave To The Grind. They had a string of hits, including “I Remember You,” “18 And Life,” and “Youth Gone Wild.” Skid Row has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide and continues to perform live.
This legendary rock band formed in 1981 and became an iconic figure in the 80s alternative rock scene. Their unique brand of experimental noise rock combined elements of punk, indie, and pop to create something truly special.
Sonic Youth’s influence could be heard in numerous acts that followed them, including Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., and many more.
The band released numerous critically acclaimed albums throughout the decade, including ‘Daydream Nation’ and ‘Goo’.
Sonic Youth disbanded in 2011, but their legacy continues to live on today. Their music still resonates with fans of all generations, making them a timeless symbol of 80s rock.
Formed by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker in 1972, Steely Dan is a rock band that brought forth the sounds of jazz fusion with their unique blend of rock and roll.
One of the most successful bands from the 80s, they had five number one singles on various Billboard charts during this time period, including “Hey Nineteen,” “Babylon Sisters,” and “Do It Again.”
Their sound is a combination of rock, jazz, blues, funk, R&B and pop music. With their lyrically dense songs that often featured intricate musical arrangements and harmonies, the band was praised for its unique style.
They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands from the 80s and beyond. Steely Dan continues to tour and record new music today, with their most recent album being released in 2017.
They are perhaps best known for their late-1970s and early-1980s hit singles “Lady”, “Babe”, and “Come Sail Away”. Styx is the first band to have four consecutive multi-platinum albums.
Their songs often showcased a mix of hard rock stomp, power ballads, complex arrangements, and lyrical sophistication.
Fronted by vocalist/guitarist and songwriter Dennis DeYoung, Styx drew inspiration from many different musical genres, which show in their diverse discography.
Throughout the 80s they released a series of successful albums such as Paradise Theatre (1981), Kilroy Was Here (1983) and Edge of the Century (1990).
This all-female band from Los Angeles, California, emerged during the ’80s with their jangly power pop sound. Their biggest hits include “Walk Like an Egyptian,” “Manic Monday” and “Eternal Flame.”
The Bangles were part of the so-called Paisley Underground scene in L.A., which blended 1960s pop music with the sounds of the ’80s. They were one of the first all-female groups to become successful and helped pave the way for other female rockers.
The Beach Boys.
This legendary band’s influence can be felt in the music of so many other bands in the 80s and beyond. The Beach Boys’ classic hits, such as “Good Vibrations,” “Kokomo,” and “Surfin’ USA” are still some of the most recognizable songs in popular culture.
With their signature pop harmonies and catchy melodies, The Beach Boys defined the sound of early 80s rock. Their influence on genres such as punk, new wave, and even hip hop was undeniable. Today, they remain one of the most iconic bands in American music history.
The Cars, formed in 1976 and led by vocalist Ric Ocasek with Ben Orr on bass, was a groundbreaking band that blended elements of punk, new wave and power pop to create a unique sound.
With hits like “Just What I Needed”, “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Shake It Up”, The Cars had a string of successful albums in the 80s and were one of the defining bands of the decade.
Although they disbanded in 1988, their influence can still be heard today. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, cementing their legacy as one of the most influential rock bands ever.
Formed in 1976, The Cure is one of the most influential British rock bands of the late 20th century. Led by frontman and songwriter Robert Smith, their sound included elements of post-punk, pop, gothic rock, and new wave.
Their signature sound changed over time but has remained highly recognizable throughout the decades. The band released their debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, in 1979, and went on to release a string of critically acclaimed albums throughout the ’80s.
They achieved massive commercial success with singles such as “Just Like Heaven,” “Lovesong,” and “Friday I’m in Love.”
The Cure has been named one of the pioneers of alternative rock music and has remained active since their formation in 1976, recently releasing their fifteenth studio album, 4:13 Dream, in 2008. The band is still touring and has a dedicated fan base that continues to celebrate their music today.
This all-female band from Los Angeles was the first female group that both wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to ever have a No. 1 album in the US.
The Go-Go’s were influenced by punk rock, but also incorporated elements of classic pop music. Their hits included “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “We Got the Beat,” and “Vacation.”
They were one of the most successful groups in the new wave style of rock music that was popular during the 1980s.
The group had a reunion tour in 1999, and has periodically performed together since then. In 2020 they released their first new song in nearly 20 years. The Go-Go’s remain one of the most significant groups in rock music history.
The Marshall Tucker band.
One of the most iconic Southern rock bands of all time, formed in Spartanburg SC in 1971. They were known for their unique blend of country, blues, gospel and rock music, which earned them a devoted fanbase that spanned the globe.
The band had many hit singles over the course of their career and released 7 gold albums and 3 platinum albums.
They were known for their musicality and their ability to produce a unique and entertaining live show featuring lead singer Doug Gray’s soulful vocals and guitarist Toy Caldwell’s stunningly beautiful solos.
The band continued to tour until 1983 when they disbanded, but reunions have been held since then and the legacy of The Marshall Tucker Band still lives on in the hearts of its devoted fans.
Formed in England in 1978, this band was heavily influenced by punk and New Wave music, leading to a unique sound that blended influences from all genres.
Lead singer Chrissie Hynde, along with her powerful vocals, created an iconic look for the group with her signature black leather jacket and edgy attitude.
The Pretenders had numerous hits throughout the 80s, such as “Back On The Chain Gang,” “My City Was Gone,” and “Don’t Get Me Wrong.” Their influence on rock music can still be heard in modern bands all over the world.
Formed in Manchester, England in 1982, the Smiths were an influential alternative rock band of the 1980s. Led by singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, the band drew influence from punk, folk and soul music.
Their distinct sound featured jangly guitar riffs paired with Morrissey’s baritone vocal style. The Smiths are credited with the introduction of indie rock to mainstream audiences, a genre that has since become popular worldwide.
They’re best known for their singles “How Soon is Now?”, “Bigmouth Strikes Again” and “This Charming Man”. The Smiths disbanded in 1987 but remain an iconic band of the 1980s, influencing generations of musicians after them.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers are an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida.
Originally formed in 1976, the classic lineup of the band featured Tom Petty as the lead singer and guitarist, Mike Campbell on lead guitar, Ron Blair on bass guitar, Stan Lynch on drums and Benmont Tench playing keyboards.
Together they created some of the most iconic rock music of the 1980s, including songs like “American Girl” and “Free Fallin.” Their sound was a blend of classic Americana, rock and roll, blues, country, and folk that made them stand out from other 80s bands.
One of the most famous and successful 80s rock bands, Toto was an American rock band based in California. The band is best known for their hits “Africa,” “Rosanna,” and “Hold the Line.” Their music was a mix of pop, rock, jazz, funk and soul.
Toto had several members over the course of their career, including Steve Porcaro, Jeff Porcaro, Bobby Kimball, David Paich and Mike Porcaro.
The band was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2009 and continues to tour today. Fans of Toto’s music recognize them as a major influence on 80s rock bands.
Their sound has been praised for its sophisticated use of harmonies, intricate arrangements and masterful songwriting.
Toto has influenced a new generation of rock bands, from Coldplay to Maroon 5. With their timeless sound and memorable hits, they remain one of the most beloved 80s rock bands.
This hard-rocking band from Long Island, New York, was one of the most successful acts to come out of the 1980s. Formed in 1972 by vocalist Dee Snider, Twisted Sister is best known for their anthems “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock,” which are still heard everywhere from radio to television commercials.
The band’s over-the-top stage shows and dynamic sound made them a regular headliner at arenas across the US and Europe throughout the 80s. Twisted Sister was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006, solidifying their place as one of the great rock bands of the 80s.
Their legacy lives on today, with a new generation discovering their classic hits and enjoying their music. Whether you’re listening to them at a concert or just spinning one of their albums in your car, Twisted Sister will always remain one of the defining rock acts of the 1980s.
U2 is one of the most iconic and successful rock bands to come out of the 1980s. Formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1976, U2 quickly rose to worldwide fame thanks to their unique combination of arena rock and post-punk influences.
The band’s sound has been described as anthemic, passionate and politically charged – a perfect encapsulation of the decade’s changing social and political climate.
U2 has released over thirteen studio albums, including their most popular releases, The Joshua Tree (1987) and Achtung Baby (1991).
With their powerful lyrics, infectious melodies and stadium-filling sound, U2 has remained a beloved mainstay in rock music for decades, continuing to tour and record new albums to this day. Their impact on rock music in the 80s, and beyond, is undeniable.
This iconic blues rock band was formed in 1970, and is best known for their hits like “Legs,” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” all of which were released in the 1980s.
They quickly rose to fame, with their signature sound that blended Texas honky-tonk with boogie-rock and blues, and their larger-than-life personas.
With a career spanning almost 50 years, ZZ Top are still going strong today, with their most recent album released in 2019. They’ve managed to withstand the test of time, proving that they truly are one of the most iconic 80s rock bands.
The 1980s were a golden age for rock music. With major bands like Journey, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, and Guns N’ Roses dominating the airwaves, it’s no wonder that these groups remain some of the most beloved rock acts to this day. The impact of their songs and style continues to be felt today in both classic and modern rock music. The 80s rocked, and that’s a fact!