The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s

159k votes 13k voters 989k views 276 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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  • 73 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 3,777
    - 2,288

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

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  2. 2
    + 2,295
    - 1,960

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

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  3. 3
    + 2,081
    - 1,309
    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

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  4. 4
    + 3,095
    - 2,010

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

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  5. 5
    + 1,662
    - 1,070

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

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  6. 6
    + 1,039
    - 842

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

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  7. 7
    + 2,456
    - 1,591


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

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  8. 8
    + 2,305
    - 1,616


    Faith, Listen Without Prejudice, Volume 1

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  9. 9
    + 1,379
    - 969

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

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  10. 10
    + 691
    - 434


    Reckless, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, 11

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  11. 11
    + 1,116
    - 959


    Synchronicity, Ghost in the Machine, Zenyattà Mondatta

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  12. 12
    + 538
    - 480

    added by ElizabethKistner
    Diva, Why, Songs of Mass Destruction

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  13. 13
    + 1,446
    - 1,296


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

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  14. 14
    + 437
    - 330


    Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits, Making Movies

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  15. 15
    + 1,410
    - 1,656

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

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  16. 16
    + 1,240
    - 1,330

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

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  17. 17
    + 263
    - 163

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

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  18. 18
    + 1,207
    - 826

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

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  19. 19
    + 602
    - 653

    often listed
    Sports, Fore!, Picture This

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  20. 20
    + 902
    - 570

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

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  21. 21
    + 1,212
    - 931


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

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  22. 22
    + 1,048
    - 1,049


    Slippery When Wet, New Jersey, Cross Road

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  23. 23
    + 799
    - 741


    Songs in the Key of Life, Innervisions, Talking Book

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  24. 24
    + 1,167
    - 1,012

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

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  25. 25
    + 737
    - 929

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

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  26. 26
    + 365
    - 329

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

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  27. 27
    + 629
    - 524


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

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  28. 28
    + 594
    - 408

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

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  29. 29
    + 709
    - 509

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

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  30. 30
    + 162
    - 68

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

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  31. 31
    + 850
    - 830


    The Stranger, Piano Man, 52nd Street

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  32. 32
    + 644
    - 531

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

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  33. 33
    + 1,034
    - 959

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

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  34. 34
    + 1,008
    - 827


    Escape, Frontiers, Evolution

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  35. 35
    + 1,458
    - 1,419


    Xanadu, Grease, The Christmas Collection

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  36. 36
    + 1,192
    - 847

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

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  37. 37
    + 986
    - 1,247

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

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  38. 38
    + 621
    - 591


    Crimes of Passion, Greatest Hits, Best Shots

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  39. 39
    + 581
    - 466

    added by dan808
    Van Halen, 1984, Diver Down

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  40. 40
    + 785
    - 751


    Can't Slow Down, Tuskegee, Coming Home

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  41. 41
    + 140
    - 59

    added by Danny Marks
    Saturday Night Fever, Main Course, Spirits Having Flown

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  42. 42
    + 700
    - 772

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

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  43. 43
    + 881
    - 869


    The Joshua Tree, War, Achtung Baby

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  44. 44
    + 548
    - 469

    added by ElizabethKistner
    Murmur, Green, Automatic for the People

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  45. 45
    + 660
    - 551


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

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  46. 46
    + 167
    - 94

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

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  47. 47
    + 567
    - 419

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

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  48. 48
    + 666
    - 663


    H2O, Maneater, Abandoned Luncheonette

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  49. 49
    + 478
    - 421

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

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  50. 50
    + 443
    - 364


    Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago II, Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna ...

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277 +

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