The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s

139k votes 12k voters 887k views 278 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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  • 56 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 3,446
    - 2,138

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Thriller, Bad, Off the Wall

    ;
  2. 2
    + 2,875
    - 1,798

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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 2,011
    - 1,824

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

    ;
  4. 4
    + 2,298
    - 1,484


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

    ;
  5. 5
    + 2,152
    - 1,508


    Faith, Listen Without Prejudice, Volume 1

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  6. 6
    + 1,921
    - 1,157
    Cyndi Lauper is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s


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

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  7. 7
    + 1,407
    - 970

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

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  8. 8
    + 839
    - 735

    added by looksharp
    Face Value, Both Sides, No Jacket Required

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  9. 9
    + 976
    - 868


    Synchronicity, Ghost in the Machine, Zenyattà Mondatta

    ;
  10. 10
    + 1,220
    - 867

    ranked low on reranks & added by hbg1968
    The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory, ...

    ;
  11. 11
    + 1,284
    - 1,562

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

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  12. 12
    + 1,145
    - 1,245

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Touch, Be Yourself Tonight

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  13. 13
    + 798
    - 489

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

    ;
  14. 14
    + 1,118
    - 750

    ranked low on reranks & added by Coolza
    Parallel Lines, Heart of Glass, Blondie

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  15. 15
    + 1,331
    - 1,216


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

    ;
  16. 16
    + 1,114
    - 846


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

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  17. 17
    + 1,061
    - 948

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

    ;
  18. 18
    + 946
    - 895

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

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  19. 19
    + 547
    - 460


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

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  20. 20
    + 910
    - 757


    Escape, Frontiers, Evolution

    ;
  21. 21
    + 931
    - 978


    Slippery When Wet, New Jersey, Cross Road

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1,131
    - 781

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

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  23. 23
    + 1,410
    - 1,341


    Xanadu, Grease, The Christmas Collection

    ;
  24. 24
    + 718
    - 679


    Songs in the Key of Life, Innervisions, Talking Book

    ;
  25. 25
    + 560
    - 462

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

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  26. 26
    + 766
    - 778


    The Stranger, Piano Man, 52nd Street

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  27. 27
    + 437
    - 375

    added by ElizabethKistner
    Diva, Why, Songs of Mass Destruction

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  28. 28
    + 718
    - 691


    Can't Slow Down, Tuskegee, Coming Home

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  29. 29
    + 627
    - 451

    added by Coolza
    Rumours, Fleetwood Mac, Tango in the Night

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  30. 30
    + 562
    - 348

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

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  31. 31
    + 598
    - 491


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

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  32. 32
    + 898
    - 1,200

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

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  33. 33
    + 509
    - 414

    added by dan808
    Van Halen, 1984, Diver Down

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  34. 34
    + 496
    - 363

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

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  35. 35
    + 624
    - 705

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Actually, Very, Behaviour

    ;
  36. 36
    + 414
    - 349

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

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  37. 37
    + 381
    - 309

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

    ;
  38. 38
    + 550
    - 541


    Crimes of Passion, Greatest Hits, Best Shots

    ;
  39. 39
    + 487
    - 408

    added by ElizabethKistner
    Murmur, Green, Automatic for the People

    ;
  40. 40
    + 594
    - 618


    H2O, Maneater, Abandoned Luncheonette

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  41. 41
    + 789
    - 815


    The Joshua Tree, War, Achtung Baby

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  42. 42
    + 503
    - 384

    ranked low on reranks & added by dan808
    Hysteria, Pyromania, On Through the Night

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  43. 43
    + 575
    - 639

    added by thecollo67
    Kick, Full Moon, Dirty Hearts

    ;
  44. 44
    + 548
    - 545


    4, Complete Greatest Hits, Agent Provocateur

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  45. 45
    + 417
    - 429


    Candy-O, The Cars, Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology

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  46. 46
    + 554
    - 491


    Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, janet., Control

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  47. 47
    + 357
    - 311


    Dare, Greatest Hits, Hysteria

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  48. 48
    + 648
    - 867

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A., The Rising

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  49. 49
    + 485
    - 618

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Manic Monday, Walk Like an Egyptian, Greatest Hits

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  50. 50
    + 504
    - 588


    Sports, Fore!, Picture This

    ;
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