The Best New Wave Bands Bands/Musicians

The Best New Wave Bands

20,341 votes 1,392 voters 90,805 views 367 items tags f p @

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. 


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  1. 1
    + 377
    - 100


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

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  2. 2
    + 301
    - 113

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Stop Making Sense, Remain in Light, Fear of Music

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  3. 3
    + 435
    - 132


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

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  4. 4
    + 315
    - 125


    Rio, Come Undone, Greatest

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  5. 5
    + 262
    - 113


    Synchronicity, Ghost in the Machine, Zenyattà Mondatta

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  6. 6
    + 319
    - 117


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

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  7. 7
    + 263
    - 90


    Parallel Lines, Heart of Glass, Blondie

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  8. 8
    + 324
    - 86

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

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  9. 9
    + 211
    - 103

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

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  10. 10
    + 215
    - 65

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

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  11. 11
    + 228
    - 114


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

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  12. 12
    + 219
    - 74


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

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  13. 13
    + 219
    - 84


    Actually, Very, Behaviour

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  14. 14
    + 202
    - 91


    Kick, Full Moon, Dirty Hearts

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  15. 15
    + 151
    - 77

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

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  16. 16
    + 206
    - 69


    Dare, Greatest Hits, Hysteria

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  17. 17
    + 183
    - 74


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

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  18. 18
    + 219
    - 75

    ranked low on reranks
    Should God Forget: A Retrospective, Forever Now, Mirror Moves

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  19. 19
    + 181
    - 85


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

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  20. 20
    + 189
    - 75


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

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  21. 21
    + 146
    - 41

    added by RobinGallego

  22. 22
    + 139
    - 82


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

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  23. 23
    + 117
    - 50


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

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  24. 24
    + 137
    - 69

    added by RobinGallego
    The Joshua Tree, War, Achtung Baby

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  25. 25
    + 149
    - 74


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

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  26. 26
    + 176
    - 70


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

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  27. 27
    + 104
    - 61


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

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  28. 28
    + 74
    - 15

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

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  29. 29
    + 123
    - 60


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

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  30. 30
    + 101
    - 60


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

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  31. 31
    + 122
    - 62


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

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  32. 32
    + 125
    - 61


    Ultravox!, Rage in Eden, Quartet

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  33. 33
    + 126
    - 56


    Metal Rhythm, The Pleasure Principle, Telekon

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  34. 34
    + 124
    - 73


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

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  35. 35
    + 103
    - 62


    Night and Day, Body and Soul, Look Sharp!

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  36. 36
    + 130
    - 80


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

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  37. 37
    + 89
    - 55


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

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  38. 38
    + 97
    - 60


    Phantoms, Want That Life, Ink

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  39. 39
    + 88
    - 45


    No More Heroes, The Stranglers, Aural Sculpture

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  40. 40
    + 63
    - 53

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    I Just Can't Stop It, What Is Beat?, Special Beat Service

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  41. 41
    + 123
    - 66


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

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  42. 42
    + 123
    - 60

    ranked low on reranks
    She's So Unusual, True Colors, Girls Just Want to Have Fun

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  43. 43
    + 70
    - 42

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

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  44. 44
    + 131
    - 66


    Through the Barricades, Journeys to Glory, True

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  45. 45
    + 117
    - 72


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

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  46. 46
    + 69
    - 36

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

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  47. 47
    + 38
    - 6


    Roxy Music, Country Life, For Your Pleasure

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  48. 48
    + 112
    - 50

    ranked low on reranks
    Laughing Stock, Spirit of Eden, The Colour of Spring

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  49. 49
    + 67
    - 54

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

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  50. 50
    + 55
    - 28

    added by looksharp
    East Side Story, Singles: 45's and Under, Play

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