Top Ten Lists of Eighties Albums
What are your top ten favorite albums from the 80s?
This page currently edited by: stingr22. Past editor: Junior
My Great List...
- 10. Junta by Phish
First off, let me set the record straight. I am not a big fan of the "jam band" genre, although I do like some of the music that has led to and come out of it. I will admit that at one time I was a total Phish feak. Had I discovered them later in their career, I might have felt differently (as I do now), but as it was, I discovered them in 1992 when bootlegs were still relatively rare, and Phish studio albums were getting heavy rotation on Shakedown Street. The most popular selection (and rightly so) was Junta, their 1988 debut (for ease of operation we will not discuss the "white tape"). This album still sounds fresh today, but for the late 80s it was a landmark. Progressive, jazzy, funky, complex, bizarre, it's sort of like Zappa but without the condescension and forced sarcasm (although when Zappa did work he was amazing). Looking back, I feel silly for having been so taken by a band that nowadays seems driven by gimmicks and profit. Back in the day, though, they were a pretty impressive unit, and Junta is a groundbreaking work.
- 9. Master of Puppets by Metallica
I tend to cringe upon hearing the name "Metallica," which inevitably invokes disturbing echoes of "Turn the Page" and " Die Napster." Still, there is no denying how good this band was in the 80s. MOP is probably their best.
- 8. Paul's Boutique by Beastie Boys
Another essential transitionary album that saw out the 80s by re-inventing the 70s. This is not, however, just a footnote to P-Funk. The B Boys (and really, the Dust Brothers) greatly influenced the evoultion of hip hop. It is true that they shamelessly gank entire passages from other artists, but they use them to create their own wicked funk grooves that often work surprisingly well with their quirky lyrics. Surely a crucial landmark at the twilight of the 80s.
- 7. Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction
This album doesn't capture the intensity of a live Jane's experience, but it is still an essential turning point in the evolution of "college rock" music. And the fact that it happened in 1988 makes it all the more incredible. Don't let the album's title fool you.
- 6. They Might be Giants by The Early Years
Basically a compilation of everything they released in the 80s. Yes, TMBG was often horrifically nerdy, but they were undeniably clever both musically and lyrically. Just to qualify, I did sense a major decline coming right after Apollo 18, and stopped following them thereafter, lest I should have to witness the slow death of something once so great. But that's of no concern here since this is a site about the 80s :-)
- 5. Doolittle by Pixies
Poetically severe lyrics and deliciously weird music. I only wish they'd left off "La La Love You..." - it really isn't anywhere nearly as funny as they must've thought it was.
- 4. Staring at the Sea by The Cure
Robert Smith had a knack for consistently turning out quality songs while simultaneously breaking ground through endlessly understated tones.
- 3. Disintegration by The Cure
Dreamy, sad, soothing, terrifying, atmospheric, poignant, beautiful...
- 2. The Name of this Band is Talking Heads by Talking Heads
The "lost" live album that predates Stop Making Sense. I picked this over SMS because it covers more ground (late 70s through early 80s).
- 1. Rain Dogs by Tom Waits
The second album of the trilogy that includes Swordfishtrombones and Franks Wild Years, Rain Dogs is Waits' best overall effort. Just incredible music...
- 10. Atomiser by Big Black
A suprisingly good album
- 9. PIL by Public Image LTD
If you can put up with John Lyndons vocals this album has some great guitar from Stevie Vie
- 8. Strangeways Here We Come by The Smiths
Warning - do not listen to when depressed.
- 7. More Songs about Buildings & Food by Talking Heads
I have the live version of "Stay Hungry" and it is fantastic
- 6. The Visitors by Abba
It's cool to like Abba
- 5. Eliminator by ZZ Top
I always wish that the guitar could go on an extra few minutes on "Sharp Dressed Man" he's just getting into his stride!
- 4. The Queen is Dead by Smiths
- 3. Remain in Light by Talking Heads
- 2. None Stop Erotic Cabaret by Soft Cell
If "Youth" had gone then it's definately along way away now.
- 1. Flip Your Wig by Husker Du
Amazing what you can do with three chords
Albums to just miss out Entertainment Gang of Four 1979,
By: Glenn A. Pierce
- 10. Back in the High Life by Steve Winwood
Plenty of really good songs. "Higher Love" and the title track got airplay. My personal favorite is "Split Decision", which Joe Walsh of the Eagles plays on (and I believe helped write).
- 9. Reckless by Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams at his best.
- 8. Moving Pictures by Rush
Some of the best Rush has done (certainly some of the most popular). "Tom Sawyer", "Red Barchetta", "Limelight". Need I say more?
- 7. Love by The Cult
In my mind, this is the only meaningful work put out by this band, but what a piece of work! The guitar track in the title song is just awesome, as it is in many other songs on this album.
- 6. Pyromania by Def Leppard
Just Def Leppard at their very best!
- 5. From the Big Chair by Tears For FearsSongs
This album represents the only meaningful work put out by Tears for Fears. I think they shot their creative wad on this one. After this album, I think they got just a little too spacey.
- 4. Escape by Journey
How many awesome songs came off of this one? I saw them in concert (1982?) in Miami with Aerosmith, Sammy Hagar, and Bryan Adams. Journey was the headliner. Best show I ever saw!
- 3. Allied Forces by Triumph
This album doesn't seem to get the recognition I think it deserves. "Magic Power" is an uplifting song, whereas "Fight the Good Fight" is powerful inspiration in times of strife. These guys also put on a heck of a show.
- 2. Standing Hampton by Sammy Hagar
Sammy at his Red Rockin' best. Awesome guitar solos. "Heavy Metal" was a particularly good speaker-blower. Saw him in concert (see Journey, #4 below). He was awesome, swinging from the speaker towers!
- 1. 90125 by Yes
This is without doubt Yes' best work. 3 or 4 songs got airplay on prog. rock stations. Also saw them on this concert tour. They had no opening act, played for 3+ hours. One of the best I've ever seen.
There are obviously others that could be mentioned, but these 10 I still listen two, and never get tired of. I think that the mark of a great album is whether or not people will still be listening to them 20 years later. For these 10, 1 person (me) still is.
By: Allen Schlung
- 10. Computer World by Kraftwerk
Not their best album, but their best one in the 80's. The beginning of techno.
- 9. Substance by New Order
For better or worse, these guys are arguably responsible for a lot of techno and sparked the beginning of rave culture. You know you danced to this at the local cool-aid club in high school.
- 8. Like a Prayer by Madonna
Her best album. Stop pretending that you don't like her.
- 7. Doolittle by The Pixies
There was a point, where it seemed like this album was playing at every college party I went to.
- 6. Let It Be by The Replacements
This is really what it was like being drunk in the Midwest.
- 5. Ride the Lightning by Metallica
Although "Kill 'em All" is a fine album, it lacks the depth and musical complexity that this album exhibits. To think, that this album was released the same year as Poison's "Look What the Cat Dragged In".
- 4. Damaged by Black Flag
The best example of American Hardcore.
- 3. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back by Public Enemy
The best Rap/Hip-Hop record ever. Period.
- 2. New Day Rising by Husker Du
A lot of people think that "Zen Arcade" is their best, and it is an awesome record, but I've never been too much of a fan of "concept" type albums. This ones a little more staight foward. "Grundge" never would have happened if it wasn't for this band.
- 1. You're Living All Over Me by Dinosaur Jr.
A perfect blend of punk, New York noise, with a Neil Young feel to it, this album is my sentimental favorite.
Wow, it was really hard to compose this list. I'm sure I left out a bunch of stuff. The albums are not really in any particular order.
By: Rick Towns
- 10. The Ultimate Sin by Ozzy Osbourne
Lots of excellent tracks that I never get tired of listening to. Good stuff!
- 9. Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi
The chicks loved this guy. Great pop inspired songs with excellent guitar work.
- 8. Appetite For Destruction by Guns N Roses
Not a bad song on this album - ground breaking at the time. Excellent and complete work.
- 7. Highway To Hell by AC/DC
Bon Scott's last album - tons of fun. Lots of catchy tunes and excellent riffs.
- 6. 1984 by Van Halen
A little lighter - tons of excellent songs. Love the lead in to Drop Dead Legs.
- 5. Number Of The Beast by Iron Maiden
Dickenson's screeching vocals and Harris' thrumming bass play makes this album truely rock!
- 4. Master Of Puppets by Metallica
Their last truely awesome work - back when their songs were referred to as pieces. The best of the heavy!
- 3. Pyromania by Def Leppard
Tons of classic tunes - nice tight musicianship. Excellent work!
- 2. Shout At The Devil by Motley Crue
Vastly underrated second side - check out Knock Em Dead Kid, 10 Seconds To Love and Red Hot.
- 1. Screaming For Vengance by Judas Priest
Crisp, pure metal - absolutely awesome!
Is it just me, or did NONE of Van Halen's songs make any kind of sense - just random lyrics thrown together. Lucky that Eddie was there to act as the musical glue!
By: garty joseph
- 10. Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads
- 9. Closer by Joy Division
- 8. Kicking Against The Pricks by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
- 7. Let It Be by The Replacements
- 6. Disintegration by The Cure
- 5. It'll End In Tears by This Mortal Coil
- 4. Strangeways , Here We Come by The Smiths
- 3. Substance by New Order
- 2. Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello
- 1. Raindogs by Tom Waits
- 10. Hysteria by Def Leppard
- 9. Reckless by Bryan Adams
- 8. Pyschotic Supper by Tesla
- 7. The Great Radio Controversy by Tesla
- 6. Mechanical Resonance by Tesla
- 5. Misplaced Childhood by Marillion
- 4. The Joshua Tree by U2
- 3. Sweet Dreams by Sword
- 2. Metalized by Sword
- 1. Back In Black by AC~DC
- 10. Insecticide by Nirvana
The last one of the decade, and a pure one!
- 9. Diver Down by Van Halen
None of the songs never really made the cut of big hits, but to me, it's golden!
- 8. Back in Black by AC/DC
A very good one! One of the most famous!
- 7. Whiplash Smile by Billy Idol
A nicely done one, hot cover and huge-hit songs!
- 6. Vital Idol by Billy Idol
A huge success of hits creates this!
- 5. Tin Machine by Tin Mahcine
Not so popular, but in my eyes, gold!
- 4. Billy Idol by Billy Idol
A nice way to start your solo career, with some huge hits!
- 3. Appetite for Destruction by Guns n' Roses
One of the best, including three great hits!
- 2. 1984 by Van Halen
The last one with David Lee Roth, one of the very bests!
- 1. Rebel Yell by Billy Idol
A nice one!
There were some others I would've added, like ALICE COOPER, SEX PISTOLS, KISS, DAVID BOWIE and such, but I didn't know where exactly on the list they'd be. Thanks for reading!
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