80s Music 200 Greatest Icons in Pop Music of the MTV Generation  

malmrphy
16.5k views 200 items

List Rules Only artists who were huge in the era of MTV, vh1, and music videos. Image, style, influence, and icon status

The music world will never be the same, ever since "video killed the radio star". In honor of this we are listing the best artists of the video era. All of these artists included on this list had a major impact on pop music in the last thirty years. This list begins in no particular order. Of course, this countdown isn't limited to pop artist--iconic artists that have had major impact in the video era of rock, hip-hop, and R&B are also included. Music fans, remember to look at each artist for their iconic status--looks, image, style, uniqueness, stage presence, as well as their videos. This list is also re-rankable, in case you don't see your favorite artist. But please only artists who have made music videos. At first, MTV started off as a place to see your favorite white rock bands like Van Halen and Bon Jovi jam out. Since Michael Jackson's breakthrough, however, MTV has became a diverse musical haven, making bonafide stars out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem, the Backstreet Boys, Mariah Carey, The Notorious B.I.G, George Michael, Lady Gaga, and many more on this list. Of course, one of the era's biggest breakthroughs was Madonna, who has been making music as long as the time frame of this list, and has introduced a new format for women in the last thirty years of music, influencing Britney Spears, Beyonce, and others. David Bowie and Boy George are also recognized on this list for experimenting with androgyny and human sexuality. And in addition to Jackson opening doors for black artists to be bonafide superstars, Prince, Whitney Houston, and others broke through easily. Since the '80s, and '90s have died down, many fresh faced pop stars are carving their place in music history for the 21st century. So where would artists like Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus, or One Direction rank? With your votes, it's your call.
Also: There is a limited time to vote, so hurry up and vote while you have the opportunity, just in case you might not like your favorite artists' rating.

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Michael Jackson Gary, Indiana, United States of America - Influences: James Brown, The Beatles, Elvis Presley Peers: Stevie Wonder, Prince, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Madonna Followers: Usher,  Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown

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Madonna New York City, New York, United States of America - Influences: Marilyn Monroe, Cher Peers: Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Prince, George Michael Followers: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Beyonce

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David Bowie Brixton, London, United Kingdom - David Bowie is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, and actor. He is also a painter and collector of fine art. Bowie has been a major figure in the ...more

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Eminem Detroit, Michigan, United States of America - Influences: Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2pac Peers: Busta Rhymes, Lil' Wayne, Jay-Z Followers: 50 Cent, Asher Roth, The-Game, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar  

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Radiohead Abingdon, United Kingdom - Influences: David Bowie, U2, Bjork, Dinosaur Jr. Peers: Oasis, Blur, Beck Followers: Coldplay, Death Cab for Cutie, Snow Patrol, Matt Kearney 

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Britney Spears Kentwood, Louisiana, United States of America - Influences: Madonna, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey Peers: Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson Followers: Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Hilary Duff

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Nirvana Aberdeen, Washington, United States of America - Influences: The Pixies, R.E.M., Sonic Youth,The Beatles Peers: Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Hole Followers: Foo Fighters, Breaking Benjamin, Silverchair 

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Sting Wallsend, United Kingdom - Influences: Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello Peers: Annie Lennox, George Michael, Rod Stewart, Peter Gabriel Followers: Maroon 5, John Mayer, Rob Thomas

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U2 Dublin, Republic of Ireland - Influences: David Bowie, The Ramones, The Clash Peers: The Smiths, Depeche Mode, The Cure Followers: Radiohead, Oasis, Coldplay, The Killers, MUSE

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Tupac Shakur Marin City, California, United States of America - Influences: NWA, Ice-T, Too $hort Peers: Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, The Notorious B.I.G. Followers: Canibus, Game, Lil' Wayne, Kurupt

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Janet Jackson Encino, California, United States of America - Influences: Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Tina Turner Peers: Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul Followers:  Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Aaliyah

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Red Hot Chili Peppers Los Angeles, California, United States of America - Influences: Chuck Berry, Parliament Funkadelic Peers: REM, Guns N' Roses Followers: Sublime, 311, No Doubt, Pepper, Incubus

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Green Day Berkeley, California, United States of America - Influences: The Sex Pistols, Black Flag, The Who Peers: Nirvana, Bad Religion, Weezer, blink-182 Followers: Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, sum-41, Fall Out Boy     

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Mariah Carey Influences: Gladys Knight, Teena Marie, Minnie Riperton Peers: Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige Followers: Brandy, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson,  Beyoncé 

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George Michael London, United Kingdom - Influences: Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson Peers: Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Prince, Madonna, Duran Duran Followers: Robbie Williams, Ricky Martin, Maxwell, Justin Timberlake   ...

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R.E.M. Athens, Georgia, United States of America - Influences: Iggy Pop, The Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan Peers: Talking Heads, Morrissey, David Bowie, The Police   Followers: Nirvana, Radiohead, Tori Amos

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Outkast Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America - Influences: UGK Peers: Three 6 Mafia, Goodie Mobb Followers: T.I., Ludacris, Lil' Scrappy, the Yin Yang Twins

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Beck Los Angeles, California, United States of America - Influences: Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Sonic Youth Peers: Radiohead, Bjork, Luscious Jackson, The Flaming Lips, Garbage, Cake Followers: Gorrilaz, Ben Kweller, LCD Soundsystem, MIA, Air, Ke$ha

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Beyoncé Houston, Texas, United States of America - Influences: Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson Peers: Alicia Keys, Ashanti, Britney Spears, Pink, Justin Timberlake Followers: Rihanna, Ciara, Nicole Scherzinger, Frank Ocean   

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Metallica Los Angeles, California, United States of America - Influences: Led Zeppelin, Lynard Skynard, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath Peers: Megadeath, Anthrax, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Black Label Society Followers: Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Godsmack

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Prince Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America - Influences: Al Green, Santana, Jimi Hendrix Peers: Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, George Michael, Madonna, David Bowie Followers: Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Pharrell Williams, Lenny Kravitz    

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Beastie Boys New York City, New York, United States of America - Influences: Bad Brains Peers: LL Cool J, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Run-DMC Followers: Kid Rock, Eminem, 311, Cypress Hill

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Aerosmith Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America - Influences: The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Deep Purple Peers: Queen, Motley Crue, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake Followers: Metallica, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Soundgarden, The Black Crowes 

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Queen/Freddie Mercury London, United Kingdom - Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor. Queen's earliest works were influenced by progressive ...more

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Whitney Houston East Orange, New Jersey, United States of America - Influences: Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan Peers: Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Madonna, Janet Jackson Followers: Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Brandy  

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The Police London, United Kingdom - Influences: Bob Marley, David Bowie,the Sex Pistols Peers: Duran Duran, the Eurhythmics, Genesis, Peter Gabriel Followers: Maroon 5, Bruno Mars  

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Björk Reykjavik, Iceland - Influences: Siouxie and the Banshees, Kate Bush Peers: Portishead, Sinead O'Connor, PJ Harvey, Beck, Radiohead  Followers: Sia, Morcheeba, Sigur Ros, Evanescence 

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Justin Timberlake Shelby Forest, Memphis, Tennessee - Influences: Michael Jackson, George Michael, Al Green Peers:  Robin Thicke, Britney Spears, Usher, Enrique Iglesias Followers: Bruno Mars, Justin Beiber, Chris Brown, Sean Kingston 

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TLC Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America - Influences: Janet Jackson, The Pointer Sisters, Salt-N-Pepa, New Edition Peers: En Vogue, SWV, Jodeci, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige Followers: Destiny's Child, Pink, Aaliyah, Brandy   

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Jay-Z New York City, New York, United States of America - Influences: Ice-T, Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee Peers: LL Cool J, Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Diddy, Busta Rhymes Followers: Kanye West, Drake, Joe Budden, 50 Cent, Fabolous

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Marilyn Manson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list 200 Greatest Icons in Pop Music of the MTV Generation
Marilyn Manson Florida, United States of America - Influences: KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses, Metallica Peers: Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, Godsmack Followers: Insane Clown Posse, Slipknot, Disturbed 

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Nine Inch Nails Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America - Influences: Pink Floyd, New Order, Depeche Mode Peers: Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, Filter Followers: Linkin Park, Korn, Mudvayne, Evanescence

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Missy Elliott Portsmouth, Virginia, United States of America - Influences: Queen Latifah, Roxanne Chante, MC Lyte Peers: Da Brat, Foxy Brown, Lauryn Hill, Lil' Kim Followers: Eve, MIA, Lady Sovereign, Robyn, Santigold  

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The White Stripes Detroit, Michigan, United States of America - Influences: Velvet Underground, AC/DC, New York Dolls Peers: Kings of Leon, The Strokes Followers: Black Keys, The Gossip, The Lumineers, The Kills     

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Lady Gaga Yonkers, New York, United States of America - Influences: David Bowie, Grace Jones, Madonna, Freddie Mercury Peers: Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Rihanna  Followers: Cher Lloyd, Little Mix, Jessie J 

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Foo Fighters Seattle, Washington, United States of America - Influences: Nirvana, Fugazi, The Jam, The Clash Peers: Weezer, Hole, Third Eye Blind Followers: All-American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, OK Go, Paramore 

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Snoop Dogg Eastside, Long Beach, California - Influences: Ice-T, NWA, Too $hort, Rick James, Parliament Funkadelic Peers: Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, 2pac, Eazy-E Followers: Eminem, Xzibit, The Game, Ludacris 

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Peter Gabriel Chobham, United Kingdom - Peter Brian Gabriel is an English singer-songwriter, musician and humanitarian activist who rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock band Genesis. After leaving ...more

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Kanye West Chicago, Illinois, United States of America - Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, director, painter, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. West first gained prominence as a producer for Roc-A-Fella ...more

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'N Sync Orlando, Florida, United States of America - Influences: New Kids on the Block, New Edition, Michael Jackson Peers: Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Usher, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera Followers: One Direction, The Wanted, Big Time Rush, Justin Beiber   ...

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Coldplay London, United Kingdom - Coldplay are a British rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London. After they formed under the name Pectoralz, Guy ...more

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Usher Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States of America - Influences: Michael Jackson, New Edition Peers: Justin Timberlake, Tyrese, Sisqo Followers: Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Justin Beiber, Jacob Latimore

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No Doubt Anaheim, California, United States of America - No Doubt is an American rock band from Anaheim, California, that formed in 1986. Since 1995, the group has consisted of vocalist Gwen Stefani, guitarist and keyboardist Tom Dumont, bassist and ...more

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Ricky Martin San Juan, Puerto Rico - Enrique Martín Morales, commonly known as Ricky Martin, is a Puerto Rican singer, actor, and author. Martin began his career at age twelve with the all-boy pop group Menudo. After five ...more

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Busta Rhymes New York City, New York, United States of America - Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr., better known by his stage name Busta Rhymes, is an American rapper, producer, and actor from Brooklyn. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the moniker Busta Rhymes, after ...more

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Alanis Morissette Ottawa, Canada - Influences: Ani DiFranco, Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman Peers: Liz Phair, Tori Amos, Sheryl Crow, Jewel  Followers: Natalie Imbruglia, Shakira, Avril Lavigne, Michelle Branch 

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Rihanna Saint Michael Parish, Barbados - Influences:  Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Jennifer LopezPeers: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Ciara, Keri HilsonFollowers: Katy B, Cheryl Cole, Shontelle, RichGirl 

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The Cure Crawley, United Kingdom - The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley, West Sussex, in 1976. The band has experienced several line-up changes, with vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being ...more

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Blur Colchester, United Kingdom - Blur are an English rock band, formed in London in 1988. The group consists of singer/keyboardist Damon Albarn, guitarist/singer Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. ...more

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Guns N' Roses Los Angeles, California, United States of America - Influences: The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy, KISS Peers: Iggy Pop, Motley Crue, Motorhead, Pantera Followers: Avenged Sevenfold, Andrew WK, Skid Row, Pearl Jam