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The Best New Wave Bands

List Criteria: 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. 

The Best New Wave Bands Bands/Musicians
  • 13 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 325
    - 82


    Disintegration, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, Boys Don’t Cry

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  2. 2
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    - 97

    most listed
    Stop Making Sense, Remain in Light, Fear of Music

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  3. 3
    + 386
    - 110


    Violator, Songs of Faith and Devotion, Music for the Masses

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  4. 4
    + 276
    - 103


    Rio, Come Undone, Greatest

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  5. 5
    + 278
    - 98


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

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  6. 6
    + 218
    - 92


    Synchronicity, Ghost in the Machine, Zenyattà Mondatta

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  7. 7
    + 223
    - 76


    Parallel Lines, Heart of Glass, Blondie

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  8. 8
    + 285
    - 77

    ranked low on reranks
    Power, Corruption & Lies, Low-Life

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  9. 9
    + 186
    - 86

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    The B-52’s, Wild Planet, Planet Claire

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  10. 10
    + 199
    - 94

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Candy-O, The Cars, Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology

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  11. 11
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    - 53

    added by JasonWindsor
    The Queen Is Dead, Meat Is Murder, The Smiths

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  12. 12
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    - 62


    Neon Lights, Don't You (Forget About Me), Glittering Prize 81/92

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  13. 13
    + 195
    - 69


    Actually, Very, Behaviour

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  14. 14
    + 180
    - 75


    Kick, Full Moon, Dirty Hearts

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  15. 15
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    - 57


    Dare, Greatest Hits, Hysteria

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  16. 16
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    Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Touch, Be Yourself Tonight

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  17. 17
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    - 65


    Should God Forget: A Retrospective, Forever Now, Mirror Moves

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  18. 18
    + 159
    - 77


    Freedom of Choice, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, Fresh

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  19. 19
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    - 63

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Skylarking, Apple Venus Volume 1, Drums and Wires

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  20. 20
    + 168
    - 66


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

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  21. 21
    + 120
    - 27

    ranked low on reranks & added by RobinGallego

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  22. 22
    + 129
    - 60


    Kings of the Wild Frontier, Dirk Wears White Sox, Prince Charming

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  23. 23
    + 156
    - 59


    A Flock of Seagulls, Listen, The Light at the End of the World

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  24. 24
    + 116
    - 73


    This Year's Model, Armed Forces, Get Happy!!

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  25. 25
    + 109
    - 56

    added by RobinGallego
    The Joshua Tree, War, Achtung Baby

    ;
  26. 26
    + 91
    - 52


    Beauty and the Beat, We Got The Beat / Our Lips Are Sealed, Vacation

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  27. 27
    + 103
    - 40


    Our House: the Original Songs, The Rise & Fall, One Step Beyond…

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  28. 28
    + 107
    - 51


    Hold Me Now, In the Name of Love, The Stone

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  29. 29
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    - 47


    Metal Rhythm, The Pleasure Principle, Telekon

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  30. 30
    + 110
    - 51


    Ultravox!, Rage in Eden, Quartet

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  31. 31
    + 118
    - 70


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

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  32. 32
    + 90
    - 54


    Night and Day, Body and Soul, Look Sharp!

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  33. 33
    + 49
    - 9

    added by muzziac
    People Are Strange, Evergreen, Crocodiles (bonus disc)

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  34. 34
    + 108
    - 49


    12inch Mixes, The Art of Falling Apart, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

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  35. 35
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    - 68


    Business as Usual, Cargo, '81 - '85 / Business as Usual

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  36. 36
    + 86
    - 53


    Phantoms, Want That Life, Ink

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  37. 37
    + 110
    - 61


    The Lexicon of Love, How to Be a Zillionaire, Alphabet City

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  38. 38
    + 90
    - 53


    The Golden Age of Wireless, Aliens Ate My Buick, The Flat Earth

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  39. 39
    + 76
    - 44


    In Your Room, The Complete Situation, The 12 Inch Mixes

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  40. 40
    + 106
    - 56


    The Circus, Hits! The Very Best of Erasure, Wild!

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  41. 41
    + 117
    - 58


    Through the Barricades, Journeys to Glory, True

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  42. 42
    + 108
    - 53


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

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  43. 43
    + 57
    - 28

    added by looksharp
    Manic Monday, Walk Like an Egyptian, Greatest Hits

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  44. 44
    + 77
    - 36


    No More Heroes, The Stranglers, Aural Sculpture

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  45. 45
    + 56
    - 33

    added by looksharp
    Violent Femmes, Add It Up (1981–1993), Machine

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  46. 46
    + 169
    - 95


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

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  47. 47
    + 60
    - 47

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Normal as the Next Guy, ... But the Little Girls Understand, Get the Knack ...

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  48. 48
    + 58
    - 43


    I Just Can't Stop It, What Is Beat?, Special Beat Service

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  49. 49
    + 69
    - 43


    Dead Man's Party, Dark at the End of the Tunnel, Boingo

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  50. 50
    + 72
    - 40


    After the Snow, Mesh & Lace, Ricochet Days

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