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. 
list ordered by

1
+ - 586 147
New Order is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
New Order Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

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2
+ - 685 208
The Cure is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Cure New Wave, Gothic rock, Rock music

3
+ - 757 213
Depeche Mode is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Depeche Mode Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

4
+ - 511 255
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

5
+ - 489 134
The Smiths is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Smiths Jangle pop, Indie pop, Alternative rock

6
+ - 543 220
Duran Duran is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Duran Duran Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

7
+ - 439 194
Blondie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Blondie Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave

8
+ - 457 207
The Police is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Police New Wave, 2 Tone, Ska punk

9
+ - 397 190
The Cars is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Cars Bubblegum pop, Synthpop, New Wave

10
+ - 528 202
Tears for Fears is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Tears for Fears Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

11
+ - 367 199
The B-52's is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The B-52's New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

12
+ - 363 137
Simple Minds is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Simple Minds New Wave, Rock music, Pop rock

13
+ - 320 145
Devo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

14
+ - 310 138
Eurythmics is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Eurythmics Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

15
+ - 346 123
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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16
+ - 385 145
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
+ - 382 118
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
+ - 340 158
INXS is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
INXS New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock

19
+ - 256 56
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
+ - 259 136
XTC is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
XTC Indie pop, New Wave, Psychedelic pop

21
+ - 142 21
Siouxsie & the Banshees is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Siouxsie & the Banshees New Wave, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

22
+ - 259 137
Elvis Costello is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Elvis Costello New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

23
+ - 278 97
Omd is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Omd

24
+ - 246 126
Adam and The Ants is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Adam and The Ants New Wave, Gothic rock, Glam punk

25
+ - 284 157
U2 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

26
+ - 304 130
Billy Idol is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Billy Idol New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock

27
+ - 218 98
Soft Cell is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Soft Cell Synthpop, New Wave, New Romanticism

28
+ - 218 123
Men at Work is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Men at Work New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

29
+ - 194 112
The Go-Go's is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Go-Go's Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music

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30
+ - 226 96
Gary Numan is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Gary Numan Synthpop, New Wave, Rock music

31
+ - 214 112
Thompson Twins is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Thompson Twins Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

32
+ - 208 93
Madness is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Madness New Wave, 2 Tone, Pop music

33
+ - 166 109
Thomas Dolby is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Thomas Dolby Synthpop, New Wave, Pop rock

34
+ - 154 86
Violent Femmes is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Violent Femmes Alternative rock, Punk rock, Folk punk

35
+ - 136 21
Joy Division is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Joy Division Punk rock, Post-punk

36
+ - 126 38
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Roxy Music New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

37
+ - 283 115
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
+ - 192 83
Talk Talk is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Talk Talk Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

39
+ - 86 29
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the D... is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

40
+ - 123 74
Squeeze is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Squeeze New Wave, Rock music, Pop rock

41
+ - 204 119
Erasure is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Erasure Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

42
+ - 100 37
The Pretenders is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best New Wave Bands

43
+ - 171 109
The Fixx is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Fixx Synthpop, New Wave, Rock music

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44
+ - 167 108
Yazoo is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Yazoo Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

45
+ - 164 88
The Stranglers is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Stranglers New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

46
+ - 214 102
Spandau Ballet is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Spandau Ballet Blue-eyed soul, Synthpop, New Wave

47
+ - 120 91
The Bangles is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Bangles Jangle pop, Girl group, New Wave

48
+ - 115 104
The Knack is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
The Knack New Wave, Rock music, Power pop

49
+ - 272 149
A-ha is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
A-ha Adult album alternative, Synthpop, New Wave

50
+ - 149 81
Oingo Boingo is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best New Wave Bands
Oingo Boingo Synthpop, New Wave, Gothic rock