A Year In Music – The 1980s

Introduction:

This page features year-by-year snapshots of what was happening in the world of Top 40 music in the 1980s. Written by radio and music industry veteran Ed Osborne, each overview highlights the important trends and some of the representative songs and artists that shaped the music landscape and occupied the Top 40 charts that year,
This music impacted our lives in many ways and Top40weekly hopes that you find these commentaries informative and enjoyable.

Table of Contents

A Year in Music – 1980

Disco final relinquished its grip on the Hot 100 and was succeeded by New Wave’s Blondie…rock icons Pink Floyd, Queen, Billy Joel (all had chart-topping singles), and Bruce Springsteen (a #5 45)…superstar-in-the-making Michael Jackson with his second platinum-seller…and balladeers Air Supply (two Top 3 records). John Lennon’s first single in over five years was in the Top 10 on its way to #1 when he was tragically shot and killed on December 8.

Ed Osborne © 2022

Stay tuned for a complete overview of the year…coming soon.

A Year in Music – 1981

The third major event in rock ’n’ roll history (after Elvis in 1956 and The Beatles in ’64) occurred when MTV launched on August 1. Jackie DeShannon had the top record of the year — as the composer of “Bette Davis Eyes” — and John Lennon had his last #1 single…Daryl Hall & John Oates began their rise as the top duo of the ‘80s with two #1s and a #5 hit…Blondie’s two million-sellers made them the most successful of the New Wavers…and country artists had a strong pop crossover year, led by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.

-Ed Osborne © 2022

Stay tuned for a complete overview of the year…coming soon.

A Year in Music – 1982

Rock had a big Top 40 comeback led by Joan Jett, The J. Geils Band, John Cougar (Mellencamp), and Steve Miller, all of whom earned gold singles…new sounds that defined the early ‘80s arrived courtesy of the Alan Parsons Project, The Human League, The Cars, and The Go-Gos…Chicago returned to the Top 10 after five years with another Adult Contemporary ballad…and a duet between Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder tied Joan Jett’s seven weeks at #1.

Ed Osborne © 2022

Stay tuned for a complete overview of the year…coming soon.

A Year in Music – 1983

Michael Jackson’s Thriller album spent 37 weeks at #1 and spun off three smash singles while Synchronicity by The Police accounted for another 17 weeks on top and yielded the #2 single of the year…movies and music made for a good marriage that produced two of the year’s top hits…aided by regular video exposure on MTV, synth pop bands such as Eurhythmics, Culture Club, and Duran Duran scored big on the Hot 100…and Australian imports Men At Work delivered three Top 10 discs.

-Ed Osborne © 2022

Stay tuned for a complete overview of the year…coming soon.

A Year in Music – 1984

With his Purple Rain album on top for 24 weeks and three gold or platinum singes, Prince was the #1 artist of the year…and twenty-four years after her debut (with husband Ike) on the singles chart, Tina Turner grabbed her first #1 record. Solo female singers Madonna and Cyndi Lauper broke through the music biz glass ceiling, collectively scoring seven Top 10 hits. Top male honors went to Lionel Richie with his four Top 10 pop, R&B, and AC chart singles.

-Ed Osborne © 2022

Stay tuned for a complete overview of the year…coming soon.

A Year in Music – 1985

Four Top 5 solo and one duet record (three of them went to #1 and three sold gold) earned Phil Collins the year’s top artist award…after five Top 10 records, Huey Lewis & The News scored their first of three career #1s…FM radio, MTV and album stars Dire Straits released a multi-platinum LP that included their only chart-topping single “Money For Nothing”…and the surprise record of the year was a multi-artist, for- charity 45 — “We Are The World” — which sold four times platinum.

-Ed Osborne © 2022

Stay tuned for a complete overview of the year…coming soon.

A Year in Music – 1986

Nineteen eighty-six was a terrific year for female singers — solo and otherwise — who occupied the #1 position for 26 weeks. Among them were Whitney Houston with her second and third (of 11) chart-toppers, Madonna (two of 12), Janet Jackson (three gold), and Dionne Warwick (top record of the year)…along with all-female rockers The Bangles and female-led Heart. American acts were overshadowed by international artists, among them the Pet Shop Boys, Peter Gabriel, Berlin, and Billy Ocean.

-Ed Osborne © 2022

Stay tuned for a complete overview of the year…coming soon.

A Year in Music – 1987

International acts made another strong showing, notably Ireland’s U2, England’s George Michael, and Australia’s Crowded House. Bon Jovi and Huey Lewis & The News carried the torch for American rock ’n’ roll…R&B was represented by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam’s two #1s…pop divas Whitney Houston and Madonna continued their remarkable run of hits…and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack dominated the album chart and delivered the Oscar winning song “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.”

-Ed Osborne © 2022

Stay tuned for a complete overview of the year…coming soon.

A Year in Music – 1988

Rockers such as Guns N’ Roses, Cheap Trick, INXS, Def Leppard, and Foreigner had a good year…hit juggernaut Michael Jackson added two more #1s (out of 12 total) to his resume while George Michael notched three (out of 10)…newcomers Rick Astley and Terence Trent D’Arby had their moment in the spotlight, joined by veterans George Harrison and Steve Winwood…and Latin superstar Gloria Estefan stepped out solo with a #1 single.

-Ed Osborne © 2022

Stay tuned for a complete overview of the year…coming soon.

A Year in Music – 1989

Female artists stole the show, walking away with seven of the year’s Top 10 singles…former New Edition member Bobby Brown stepped out in style with five huge hits…pop dancer Paula Abdul was the female singer of the year, racking up three #1 singles…her male chart counterparts were Richard Marx and Phil Collins…New Kids On The Block placed six sides in the Top 10, kicking off the boy band craze…and Milli Vanilli exploded with four gold records before it was discovered that they had sung on none of them.

-Ed Osborne © 2022

Stay tuned for a complete overview of the year…coming soon.

This content is protected by US and International copyright laws. Reproduction and/or distribution without written permission of the author is prohibited. Ed Osborne © 2022.