The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s Bands/Musicians
Ultimate List
21  reranks 31,167 votes 1,613 voters 129,223 views more info

The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s

List Criteria: Best musicians who were active in the 1980s, judged on the quality of their '80s projects.

The greatest and most prolific artist of music's most colorful decade are remembered on this list. As I did with the greatest albums and artists of the '90s, I decided to do the same for the artist that broke ground and expanded and influenced generations to come. Keep in mind, this list is based solely on the artists' work in the 1980s. Though, there may be better George [Michael], better RHCP, better Sade, or better...okay, maybe not better Sting, in previous or future decades, we will acknowledge each artists for the impact they made in the 80s. From synth pop, to hair metal, to the rise of punk rock, to the fall of disco, to the birth of hip-hop. All genres are recognized, and classic albums, equally classic singles should also play a hand in how people vote on the countdown of legends.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 21 ReRanks
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    • Region
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</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 449
    Down 389

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Michael Jackson

    Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music More
    91
  2. 2
    Up 354
    Down 303
    Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music More
    84
  3. 3
    Up 305
    Down 323
    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave More
    82
  4. 4
    Up 267
    Down 232
    Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music More
    81
  5. 5
    Up 338
    Down 349
    Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    81
  6. 6
    Up 258
    Down 322

    often listed
    The Police

    New Wave, 2 Tone, Ska punk More
    77
  7. 7
    Up 238
    Down 239
    Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B More
    74
  8. 8
    Up 295
    Down 277
    Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music More
    73
  9. 9
    Up 231
    Down 206
    Blue-eyed soul, Synthpop, New Wave More
    73
  10. 10
    Up 234
    Down 340

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Guns N' Roses

    Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    72
  11. 11
    Up 236
    Down 228
    Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music More
    71
  12. 12
    Up 215
    Down 184
    Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    71
  13. 13
    Up 219
    Down 231
    New Wave, Gothic rock, Rock music More
    70
  14. 14
    Up 204
    Down 139

    ranked low on reranks
    Tears for Fears

    Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music More
    69
  15. 15
    Up 229
    Down 318

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    U2

    Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock More
    69
  16. 16
    Up 195
    Down 180
    Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock More
    69
  17. 17
    Up 215
    Down 261

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Van Halen

    Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    69
  18. 18
    Up 198
    Down 219
    Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music More
    68
  19. 19
    Up 178
    Down 165
    Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues More
    68
  20. 20
    Up 150
    Down 135
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music More
    68
  21. 21
    Up 135
    Down 163

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Heart

    Pop music, Rock music, Folk rock More
    68
  22. 22
    Up 173
    Down 134
    Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop More
    68
  23. 23
    Up 137
    Down 123
    New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk More
    68
  24. 24
    Up 161
    Down 175
    Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    68
  25. 25
    Up 180
    Down 195
    Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    68
  26. 26
    Up 151
    Down 138
    New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock More
    68
  27. 27
    Up 225
    Down 164

    ranked low on reranks
    Cyndi Lauper

    Adult contemporary music, New Wave, Pop music More
    68
  28. 28
    Up 175
    Down 217
    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock More
    68
  29. 29
    Up 188
    Down 103

    ranked low on reranks
    Phil Collins

    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music More
    67
  30. 30
    Up 208
    Down 328

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Duran Duran

    Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music More
    67
  31. 31
    Up 166
    Down 192
    Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    67
  32. 32
    Up 176
    Down 199
    Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    67
  33. 33
    Up 145
    Down 138
    Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music More
    67
  34. 34
    Up 115
    Down 90

    ranked low on reranks
    Men at Work

    New Wave, Pop music, Rock music More
    66
  35. 35
    Up 120
    Down 153

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Beastie Boys

    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop More
    66
  36. 36
    Up 140
    Down 107
    Doo-wop, Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul More
    65
  37. 37
    Up 184
    Down 170
    Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave More
    65
  38. 38
    Up 116
    Down 102
    New Wave, Rock music, Alternative rock More
    65
  39. 39
    Up 122
    Down 92
    Blue-eyed soul, New Wave, Rock music More
    65
  40. 40
    Up 181
    Down 104

    ranked low on reranks
    A-ha

    Adult album alternative, Synthpop, New Wave More
    65
  41. 41
    Up 158
    Down 180

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Stevie Wonder

    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music More
    64
  42. 42
    Up 147
    Down 115
    New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock More
    64
  43. 43
    Up 145
    Down 161

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

    Blues-rock, New Wave, Classic rock More
    64
  44. 44
    Up 131
    Down 92
    New Wave, Pop music, Rock music More
    63
  45. 45
    Up 129
    Down 109
    Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave More
    63
  46. 46
    Up 113
    Down 53

    ranked low on reranks
    Journey

    Rock music, Jazz fusion, Pop rock More
    62
  47. 47
    Up 116
    Down 98
    Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock More
    62
  48. 48
    Up 101
    Down 69
    Rock music, Heavy metal, Pop rock More
    62
  49. 49
    Up 101
    Down 79
    Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock More
    60
  50. 50
    Up 113
    Down 123

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Iron Maiden

    New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock More
    60
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