bands/musicians The Best New Wave Bands

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List Rules Only bands whose music is considered primarily New Wave or rose to fame during the periods of new wave from the 1980s and beginning of the 2000s. Though there can be exceptions, though these were the most popular periods

This New Wave bands list ranks the best New Wave groups and musicians by votes. This list of top New Wave artists let’s you see who jazz fusion fans think are the best in New Wave. New Wave was movement that took the music world by storm. It changed the landscape of popular music and was one of the most important genres of the 1980s. The best new wave bands had a profound impact on shaping music for decades to come. With their mix of glam, punk, goth, electronica, and art rock, new wave bands were very important in shaping pop culture. New Wave bands were also aided by the growth of MTV, which helped visualize their songs, and reach a broader audience. Thanks to iconic videos, many New Wave bands were able to capture the hearts and minds of young music fans. Even today, the best New Wave bands are still important and still sell out arenas and headline festivals around the world.

So, what are the best New Wave bands? Any list of New Wave bands has to include British bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears, Psychedelic Furs, Duran Duran, and The Police just to name a few. There are so many great New Wave bands that it's hard to limit naming them to just this few, but, that's the beauty of this list. If you like New Wave music, you should be familiar with many of the names on here. With the continued popularity of 80s New Wave bands, it's not surprising that it made a comeback in the early 2000s. Alternative rock acts like The Strokes, The Killers, and more citing New Wave music as helping shape their sound.

If you know New Wave, and think someone is missing from this list, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best New Wave bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest New Wave musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular New Wave bands that you might've heard of. 

1
+ - 460 214
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

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2
+ - 616 176
The Cure is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Cure New Wave, Gothic rock, Rock music

3
+ - 679 196
Depeche Mode is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Depeche Mode Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

4
+ - 518 133
New Order is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
New Order Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

5
+ - 392 163
Blondie is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Blondie Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave

6
+ - 486 196
Duran Duran is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Duran Duran Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

7
+ - 426 118
The Smiths is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Smiths Jangle pop, Indie pop, Alternative rock

8
+ - 405 184
The Police is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Police New Wave, 2 Tone, Ska punk

9
+ - 358 168
The Cars is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Cars Bubblegum pop, Synthpop, New Wave

10
+ - 331 172
The B-52's is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The B-52's New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

11
+ - 473 179
Tears for Fears is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Tears for Fears Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

12
+ - 288 127
Devo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

13
+ - 289 121
Eurythmics is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Eurythmics Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

14
+ - 326 124
Simple Minds is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Simple Minds New Wave, Rock music, Pop rock

15
+ - 318 110
The Human League is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Human League Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

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+ - 350 129
Pet Shop Boys is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Pet Shop Boys Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

17
+ - 343 106
The Psychedelic Furs is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Psychedelic Furs New Wave, Rock music, Alternative rock

18
+ - 304 144
INXS is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
INXS New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock

19
+ - 213 43
Echo & the Bunnymen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Echo & the Bunnymen New Wave, Neo-psychedelia, Alternative rock

20
+ - 235 122
XTC is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
XTC Indie pop, New Wave, Psychedelic pop

21
+ - 231 119
Elvis Costello is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Elvis Costello New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

22
+ - 110 15
Siouxsie & the Banshees is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Siouxsie & the Banshees New Wave, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

23
+ - 225 108
Adam and The Ants is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Adam and The Ants New Wave, Gothic rock, Glam punk

24
+ - 249 86
Omd is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Omd

25
+ - 249 135
U2 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

26
+ - 276 117
Billy Idol is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Billy Idol New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock

27
+ - 165 100
The Go-Go's is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Go-Go's Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music

28
+ - 188 81
Madness is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Madness New Wave, 2 Tone, Pop music

29
+ - 196 87
Gary Numan is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Gary Numan Synthpop, New Wave, Rock music

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+ - 198 110
Men at Work is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Men at Work New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

31
+ - 187 102
Thompson Twins is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Thompson Twins Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

32
+ - 196 89
Soft Cell is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Soft Cell Synthpop, New Wave, New Romanticism

33
+ - 152 96
Thomas Dolby is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Thomas Dolby Synthpop, New Wave, Pop rock

34
+ - 138 71
Violent Femmes is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Violent Femmes Alternative rock, Punk rock, Folk punk

35
+ - 106 58
Squeeze is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Squeeze New Wave, Rock music, Pop rock

36
+ - 187 102
Erasure is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Erasure Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

37
+ - 255 106
A Flock of Seagulls is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
A Flock of Seagulls Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

38
+ - 107 26
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Roxy Music New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

39
+ - 159 95
The Fixx is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Fixx Synthpop, New Wave, Rock music

40
+ - 89 13
Joy Division is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Joy Division Punk rock, Post-punk

41
+ - 79 24
The Pretenders is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best New Wave Bands

42
+ - 151 93
Yazoo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Yazoo Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

43
+ - 173 74
Talk Talk is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Talk Talk Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

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+ - 104 87
The Knack is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Knack New Wave, Rock music, Power pop

45
+ - 59 20
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the D... is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

46
+ - 144 75
The Stranglers is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Stranglers New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

47
+ - 192 90
Spandau Ballet is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Spandau Ballet Blue-eyed soul, Synthpop, New Wave

48
+ - 107 79
The Bangles is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Bangles Jangle pop, Girl group, New Wave

49
+ - 251 133
A-ha is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
A-ha Adult album alternative, Synthpop, New Wave

50
+ - 95 53
Frankie Goes to Hollywood is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Frankie Goes to Hollywood Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music