In the 1980s, music was everything about image. MTV got popular and images accompanying artists became significant. The music of that era had nothing in discreet – not the fashion nor the sound. It was the start of great income inequality and focused on affluence, which is reflected in the songs. Several new genres popped up including Hip-hop, Hair Metal, and the New Wave, which are still influencing today’s music.
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On Popculturemadness, you can learn more about 80s music bands, styles, and artists. MTV was a pioneer in showing music videos exclusively, since its inception in 1981. MTV first played ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ by the Buggles. It introduced a shift from lyrics and music to theatrics and fashion in the pop music world.
New pop superstars
The iconic mascots that defined the 1980s via talent, persona, and fashion were Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, and Whitney Houston. Their songs set standards for pop music, which is still flourishing in pop culture. Public interest even played a huge role because of technology music became easily available and people got interested in celebrity fashion and gossip. Even record labels marketed their artists as brands.
New solo careers of old pop stars
Older musicians popular as duos or groups re-emerged in their solo careers. Cher, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, and Paul McCartney had their portion of success in the 60s and 70s but adapted to a new musical landscape and became successful. The nostalgia of good old music days was revived in their songs with an updated style.
In the 1980s, artists could attain huge success with a single hit and vanish behind the scene. It was because of MTV and technology. The record labels were not prepared to experiment with new talent. As trends were quickly changing the artists found it hard to adapt. The talent pool got larger and larger because of globalization.
Hip-hop & Rap
The hip-hop and rap genres originated in the African-American communities in the 1970s but came into the pop culture mainstream in the late 1980s. MTV was reluctant to display music videos of the black artists, so the platform has to undergo myriads of criticism. Ultimately, MTV embraced Michael Jackson who grew popular and thus paved the path for hip-hop artists LL Cool J and Run DMC. It was MTV that made the hip-hop & rap genre globally phenomenal.
The New Wave genre started in the 1970s but got popular in the mid-80s. Music highlights artistic themes and sound is tied to dance music, synthesizers, punk rock, and several electronic instruments. MTV heavily promoted New Wave bands like Blondie, Duran Duran, Culture Club, the Talking Heads, and Billy Idol. New Waves artists and bands influenced the fashion world with their unique hairstyle and clothing, which youth culture adopted.
Hair metal bands popular in the 1980s are Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Poison, Aerosmith, and Guns n’ Roses. The genre originated in Los Angeles. It was influenced by traditional rock, heavy metal, and punk rock music. The song’s lyrics were catchy and sensible.