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80s Music Online: Background on the Genre

By Jamie Macedo

80s music 80s Music Online: Background on the GenreWho can forget 80s Music Radio? The 80s was a time period which transitioned into its own music genre, lead in part by dramatic changes in recording technology, notably the widespread use of samples, synthesizers and keyboards. Before today’s 80s music streaming online, the genre incolved of the most dramatic changes in music. The defining changes to the music industry in the 80′s occurred in the 1981 with the launch of MTV (a.k.a. Music Television). Ironically, the first video ever played on MTV was “Video Killed the Radio Star”, by The Buggles. This new music platform quickly gained mainstream popularity and was clutched tightly by artists such as Duran Duran, Madonna and Michael Jackson, turning the once auditory centric music industry into an visual explosion of audio and visuals.

80′s Music: Genre Revolution

vinyl record 80s Music Online: Background on the GenreIt could be argued that the biggest mark on 80′s Music was artist’s heavy reliance on the synthesizer, which came around 1980. However, perhaps more intriguing is the movement from artists in existing genres towards new and uncharted waters. Many unique genres which sprouted up and become accepted mainstream genres were in their infancy in the 80′s.

Metal – Metallica and Megadeth become increasingly popular in the early to mid 80′s.

Alternative – Alternative bands start to enter mainstream music.

Indie Rock – Indie rock bands have their roots in the early 80′s

Teen Pop – Teen pop also hails to the 80′s. This new genre includes groups like: New Kids on the Block, Tiffany, Stacey Q, and The Bangles.

Pop Music – Pop music in general became extremely popular, becoming a global phenomenon

Hip-hop – While Hip-hop began in the 70′s, in the 80′s Hiphop became mainstream and had a strong influence on pop music in the late 1980′s

Latin Music – Latin music begins taking strides, with artists such as Julio Iglesias and Juan Gabriel making waves.

Top 40 Music of the 80s: Key Events


Year Event
1980 - Joy Division singer Ian Curtis commits suicide
- John Lennon is murdered outside the Dakota Building in New York City
- Accidental death of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham
- Death of Tim Hardin
- Death of Vinicius de Moraes
- Iron Maiden release their debut self-titled album.
- AC/DC release Back In Black.
1981 - MTV first airs
- Death of Bob Marley
1982 - Death of Thelonious Monk, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Glenn Gould
- Michael Jackson releases Thriller, the best-selling album of all time
- Blondie disband
- The compact disc is introduced
1983 - Death of Muddy Waters
- New Order release “Blue Monday”
- Def Leppard releases Pyromania
- The Police’s Synchronicity tour starts
- Metallica releases their first album Kill ‘Em All
- Madonna releases her 5x Platinum self-titled debut album.
1984 - Death of Marvin Gaye
- Release of Bob Marley & The Wailers collection Legend, the best-selling reggae album of all time
- Madonna releases “Like A Virgin” which goes Diamond
- Akhnaten by Philip Glass premieres in Stuttgart
- Prince releases the album and film Purple Rain
- Van Halen release the Diamond-certified 1984, which contains the #1 single “Jump” and becomes their last studio album to feature David Lee Roth on vocals
1985 - Death of Rick Nelson
- Live Aid and Farm Aid benefit concerts
- Whitney Houston releases her first self-titled album which becomes the most successful feminine debut album of all time
- The famous hard rock band ‘Guns N’ Roses‘ was formed in LA, USA.
1986 - Aerosmith re-records “Walk This Way” with rap group Run-DMC which blends rock and rap music, introduces rap music to a mainstream audience for the first time
- Bon Jovi releases Slippery When Wet which stays at #1 on the Billboard 200 for 15 weeks, the longest ever for a hard rock album
- Madonna releases the hit album True Blue
- Pixies form in Boston.
1987 - Michael Jackson releases the album Bad, which is the first and only album to have 5 consecutive #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Guns N’ Roses releases Appetite for Destruction
- Def Leppard releases Hysteria
- U2 release the mult-platined album The Joshua Tree
- Whitney Houston releases her second album Whitney with one of the biggest hit singles of 80s I Wanna Dance With Somebody
- Death of legendary record producer John H. Hammond.
1988 - Living Colour releases first studio album Vivid;
- Bon Jovi releases New Jersey, which charts five consecutive Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, the most ever for a hard rock album
- Formation of the Traveling Wilburys
- Death of Roy Orbison.
1989 - Madonna releases the hit Like a Prayer album.

80′s Music Radio Online: The Current Phenomenon

rick astley 80s Music Online: Background on the GenreRick Astley’s Rick Roll is one big hit which was originally created in the 80′s, but gained massive popularity only within the last few years as an 80s online streaming radio sensation. This artist, and more precisely the song they created in the 80′s, has been seen on YouTube over 36 million times in just the last few years.  Even spawning its own internet meme, “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley, is arguably the most popular 80′s song on the internet today (although this popularity is not necessarily reflected in online music radio and not exclusively for its own musical merits). The music video is typically shared with others via a bait and switch method, in which a person provides a link to some material online (typically obfuscated) with the intent of leading others to believe the material is relevant to the current topic of discussion. Once they click the link, the visitor taken to a page where a Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” video is playing, this scenario is now colloquially known as  “getting Rick Rolled”, or “RickRoll’d”.

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  • About the Author:
    Jeff Bachmeier is owner of, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile.

    For more information please visit
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