The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s

148k votes 12k voters 935k views 279 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Pop stars, artists, and groups popular during the 1980s

The 1980s was a huge decade in terms of breaking pop stars. '80s artists benefited from the rising popularity of cable television. MTV was a cultural phenomenon that became a kingmaker in terms of helping create larger than life '80s pop stars. Singers like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna, largely considered three of the biggest '80s pop stars, were greatly impacted by these new outlets. Their iconic music videos revolutionized the way people consumed music.

In a sense, the '80s turned run of the mill musicians into major pop stars. Artists like Billy Ocean, Huey Lewis & The News, Rick Springfield, and Richard Marx all had brushes with fame during this decade. While the merits of their respective widespread fame and acclaim can be debated, no one can doubt or diminish their achievements as some of the biggest stars of the 1980s and most widely known and remembered '80s groups. Some of the decade's biggest pop artists and pop artists have endured to the present day. Bon Jovi, Journey, and the late Whitney Houston are examples of '80s singers whose music was able to endure and are considered classics from that time period.

Here is your chance to pick the best 1980s pop stars. This Ultimate List will determine who was the greatest pop star of the decade, and it's up to you decide who takes the honor.
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  • 66 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 3,594
    - 2,207

    the people's #1
    Thriller, Bad, Off the Wall

    ;
  2. 2
    + 2,156
    - 1,873

    most listed & ranked high on reranks
    Purple Rain, Sign 'O' the Times, 1999

    ;
  3. 3
    + 2,006
    - 1,205
    Cyndi Lauper is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s


    She's So Unusual, True Colors, Girls Just Want to Have Fun

    ;
  4. 4
    + 2,979
    - 1,898

    added by jsnungaray
    Like a Virgin, Like a Prayer, Music

    ;
  5. 5
    + 1,517
    - 1,007

    added by hbg1968
    A Night at the Opera, Queen, Innuendo

    ;
  6. 6
    + 928
    - 776

    often listed & added by looksharp
    Face Value, Both Sides, No Jacket Required

    ;
  7. 7
    + 2,368
    - 1,528


    The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album, Whitney Houston, My Love Is Your ...

    ;
  8. 8
    + 2,229
    - 1,555


    Faith, Listen Without Prejudice, Volume 1

    ;
  9. 9
    + 1,042
    - 908

    ranked high on reranks
    Synchronicity, Ghost in the Machine, Zenyattà Mondatta

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  10. 10
    + 1,296
    - 899

    added by hbg1968
    The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory, ...

    ;
  11. 11
    + 485
    - 406

    added by ElizabethKistner
    Diva, Why, Songs of Mass Destruction

    ;
  12. 12
    + 617
    - 379

    ranked low on reranks
    Reckless, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, 11

    ;
  13. 13
    + 1,196
    - 1,279

    often listed
    Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Touch, Be Yourself Tonight

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  14. 14
    + 1,386
    - 1,239


    Private Dancer, What's Love Got to Do With It, Simply the Best

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  15. 15
    + 1,343
    - 1,597

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Rio, Come Undone, Greatest

    ;
  16. 16
    + 374
    - 268


    Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits, Making Movies

    ;
  17. 17
    + 198
    - 97

    added by Crabbs
    The Wall, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here

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  18. 18
    + 850
    - 516

    ranked low on reranks & added by dan808
    Make It Big, The Best of Wham!: If You Were There..., The Final

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  19. 19
    + 1,161
    - 775

    added by Coolza
    Parallel Lines, Heart of Glass, Blondie

    ;
  20. 20
    + 1,167
    - 874


    Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, Culture Club, Colour by Numbers

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  21. 21
    + 543
    - 613

    often listed
    Sports, Fore!, Picture This

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  22. 22
    + 1,112
    - 971

    added by ElizabethKistner
    Songs From the Big Chair, The Hurting, Everybody Wants to Rule the World ...

    ;
  23. 23
    + 334
    - 266

    added by ElizabethKistner
    Total Eclipse of the Heart, Heart Strings, It's a Heartache

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  24. 24
    + 979
    - 1,001


    Slippery When Wet, New Jersey, Cross Road

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  25. 25
    + 581
    - 484


    ...Nothing Like the Sun, Ten Summoner's Tales, Mercury Falling

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  26. 26
    + 954
    - 786


    Escape, Frontiers, Evolution

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  27. 27
    + 981
    - 921

    added by sandy01
    Hunting High and Low, Minor Earth | Major Sky, Take On Me

    ;
  28. 28
    + 605
    - 484

    added by KevinBeyon
    Violator, Songs of Faith and Devotion, Music for the Masses

    ;
  29. 29
    + 1,164
    - 804

    ranked low on reranks & added by frantix16
    Bad Girls, Christmas Spirit, The Summer Collection: Greatest Hits

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  30. 30
    + 1,437
    - 1,373


    Xanadu, Grease, The Christmas Collection

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  31. 31
    + 752
    - 702


    Songs in the Key of Life, Innervisions, Talking Book

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  32. 32
    + 808
    - 795


    The Stranger, Piano Man, 52nd Street

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  33. 33
    + 670
    - 465

    ranked low on reranks & added by Coolza
    Rumours, Fleetwood Mac, Tango in the Night

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  34. 34
    + 944
    - 1,214

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Disney's Sing-Along: The Lion King, Captain ...

    ;
  35. 35
    + 750
    - 715


    Can't Slow Down, Tuskegee, Coming Home

    ;
  36. 36
    + 632
    - 513


    Rebel Yell, Happy Holidays, Idol Songs: 11 of the Best

    ;
  37. 37
    + 98
    - 21

    added by Donald Luttman
    Back in Black, Highway to Hell, Let There Be Rock

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  38. 38
    + 544
    - 432

    added by dan808
    Van Halen, 1984, Diver Down

    ;
  39. 39
    + 528
    - 383

    added by monty46
    The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Genesis, Foxtrot

    ;
  40. 40
    + 667
    - 727


    Actually, Very, Behaviour

    ;
  41. 41
    + 445
    - 372

    added by Coolza
    Disintegration, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, Boys Don’t Cry

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  42. 42
    + 691
    - 887

    often listed
    Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A., The Rising

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  43. 43
    + 586
    - 558


    Crimes of Passion, Greatest Hits, Best Shots

    ;
  44. 44
    + 835
    - 836


    The Joshua Tree, War, Achtung Baby

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  45. 45
    + 516
    - 428

    added by ElizabethKistner
    Murmur, Green, Automatic for the People

    ;
  46. 46
    + 628
    - 641


    H2O, Maneater, Abandoned Luncheonette

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  47. 47
    + 114
    - 42

    added by IanHarvey
    Appetite for Destruction, G N' R Lies, Use Your Illusion I

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  48. 48
    + 410
    - 333

    added by hbg1968
    Toto IV, Legend: The Best of Toto, Turn Back

    ;
  49. 49
    + 612
    - 655

    added by thecollo67
    Kick, Full Moon, Dirty Hearts

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  50. 50
    + 535
    - 409

    added by dan808
    Hysteria, Pyromania, On Through the Night

    ;
280 +

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