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

By: Jim Jr
  • 10. Slippery When Wet by Bon jovi
    Living On A Prayer; Wanted Dead Or Alive
  • 9. Pyromania by Def Leppard
    Photograph; Rock Of Ages
  • 8. Hi Infidelity by REO Speedwagon
    Keep On Loving You; Take It On The Run
  • 7. New Jersey by Bon Jovi
    Bad Medicine; I'll Be There For You
  • 6. Tango In The Night by Fleetwood Mac
    Little Lies; Seven Wonders
  • 5. Appetite For Destruction by Guns n' Roses
    Welcome To The Jungle; Paradise City; Sweet Child O' Mine
  • 4. Footloose (Soundtrack) by Various Artists
    Footloose; Let's Hear It For The Boy; Almost Paradise
  • 3. Scarecrow by John Cougar Mellencamp
    Rain On The Scarecrow; Smalltown; R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.
  • 2. Born In The U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen
    Dancing In The Dark; I'm On Fire; Glory Days
  • 1. Hysteria by Def Leppard
    Pour Some Sugar On Me; Love Bites; Armageddon It
Just Missed... "Top Gun Soundtrack" ,"Purple Rain Soundtrack" ,"Thriller" ,"Look Sharp" ,and "Kick"
By: Michael
  • 10. Colour By Numbers by Culture Club
    Strange, fun, and lovable songs!
  • 9. Private Dancer by Tina Turner
    Queen of the comebacks!
  • 8. Born In The USA by Bruce Springstien
  • 7. Get Nervous by Pat Benatar
    Benatar at her best!
  • 6. Heart by Heart
    Great Rock & Roll that you can bear!
  • 5. Secrets of Association by Paul Young
    Great Voice! Best male of the 80s!
  • 4. She's So Unusal by Cyndi Lauper
  • 3. Control by Janet Jackson
    Better than Michael!
  • 2. Madonna by Madonna
    It's Madonna at her best!
  • 1. Rapture by Anita Baker
    A breakthrough album ... refreshing sound!
There are quite a few other albums I'd put on this list, because the 80s had some really good songs, but it was hard just to number the above!
By: KW
  • 10. Back In The High Life by Steve Winwood
    The only stuff if his that I like...every song is good.
  • 9. Bruce Hornsby And The Range by The Way It Is
    I appreciate this so much more now than I did back then.
  • 8. Head On The Door by The Cure
    Typical, high school listening. Loved this one!
  • 7. In My Tribe by 10,000 Maniacs
    The songs always tell a story, every track is fabulous!
  • 6. Fables Of The Reconstruction by REM
    "Green Grow The Rushes"... need I say more?
  • 5. Listen Like Thieves by INXS
    Another reminder of the beach... their best by far.
  • 4. Singles, 45's And Under by Squeeze
    Every song is great... reminds me of summers at the beach...
  • 3. The Smiths by Louder Than Bombs
    If you want to sink into a self-absorbed depression this is the album.
  • 2. Reading, Writing And Arithmetic by The Sundays
    Phenomenal collection of breezy, melodic tunes. Harriet Wheeler's voice is mesmerizing.
  • 1. Murmur by REM
    Arguably one of the best albums ever recorded. So unique and beautiful at the same time. Perfect circle is haunting...."drink another, coin a phrase..."
Honorable mentions: REM-Reckoning..."Driver 8" is one of my favs. I loved them back before they sold out in the 90s. Dire Straits-Brothers in Arms...'So Far Away" is a great tune. U2-Unforgettable Fire...definitely unforgettable. David Bowie-Let's Dance
By: Alphataurus
  • 10. Vivid by Living Colour
    Although hard rock was pervasive throughout the decade in question- it was seldom good (despite the chops most in that genre could boast). Living Colour was an exception in part because of Vernon Reid's tendency to incorporate elements of funk and punk to the equation.
  • 9. Tracy Chapman by Tracy Chapman
    Tracy Chapman was the precedent to the "Lilith Fair" movement well before it's artists were in full swing.
  • 8. The Pretenders by The Pretenders
    Although Chrissie Hynde has been responsible for an array of fine singles in the last twenty-five years, Martin Chambers, Pete Farndon, and James Honeyman Scott gave her an all too evident edge when this band was in it's first and original incarnation.
  • 7. 1999 by Prince
    At least it was justified as his "Royal Badness" suffered from conceit in 1982.
  • 6. Murmur by R.E.M.
    Could this be the most impressive debut of any given act throughout the history of popular music? Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe were astute enough to ignore bad trends and create a perfect distillation (not to mention an update) of folk, psychedelia, and garage rock. The revolution "Murmur" began was subtle yet still significant nonetheless.
  • 5. Let It Be by The Replacements
    Prince Rogers Nelson was not the only musical export Minneapolis could boast about. Despite mischievous behavior which in turn cost this quartet the appeal it sought, an introspective Paul Westerberg at his peak wrote exceptional Rock with a Post Modern tinge. He was in short the artistic link between John Lennon and Kurt Cobain.
  • 4. It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back by Public Enemy
    Unlike many in hip-hop who implement polyrhythms to exercise swaggering machismo, sociopolitical overtones ran rampant in Public Enemy's controversial approach.
  • 3. Graceland by Paul Simon
    Although often pleasant on his own, Simon could never reach the heights of his previous work which was in conjunction with Art Garfunkel, until "Graceland" (which is an effective combination of the Dark Continent and pop).
  • 2. Freedom by Neil Young
    Released at the tail end of the decade, the cognoscenti could forgive Young for an array of bad experiments (such as "Trans" and "Everybody's Rocking") after this project.
  • 1. Damaged by Black Flag
    For those who were foolish enough to mistake the Violent Femmes as "punk", perhaps this rash outfit from the West Coast can teach you a valuable lesson.
In my not too humble opinion, there were good artists throughout the Eighties. But alas, many didn't bother listening to them. Introducing a selection of albums that would matter in a decade which didn't!
By: Dallas Robertson
  • 10. Absolutely by ABC
    Greatest hits compilation featuring every one of their singles of the 80s. Technically released in 1990, but every song from the 80s.
  • 9. Absolutely by Eurogliders
    Aussie band whose 1985 album still stands, as pop songs go, head and shoulders above the competition.
  • 8. Living My Life by Grace Jones
    The diva herself goes reggae.
  • 7. Wa Wa Nee by Wa Wa Nee
    The band every Australian music critic loved to hate, but what do they know? Aussie funk that even had Prince interested.
  • 6. Shine by Kids In The Kitchen
    Australian band whose New Wave debut set the Oz charts alight.
  • 5. Beauty Stab by ABC
    ABC dumped their former image and re-created it with the guitar - raw but potent album that went so far under the radar it could have been a US sub.
  • 4. How To Be A Zillionaire! by ABC
    Technically and visually creative, influential even to this day.
  • 3. Alphabet City by ABC
    A return to form for the former pinup boys, and a welcome return to former chart glory.
  • 2. Nightclubbing by Grace Jones
    Who mixed music and fashion better than Miss Grace Jones? This album contains some of the best obscure covers you may ever hear.
  • 1. Lexicon Of Love by ABC
    The best album from the early 80s by far. Groundbreaking, taking production to a new level.
There were no doubt more critically acclaimed albums in the 80s, but these albums defined my teenage years and, I believe, still stand tall after all this time
By: Radu Popescu
Very difficult to do this list...
By: Spencer
  • 10. When Dream And Day Unite by Dream Theater
    1989 marks the debut album of the prog metal musicians.
  • 9. Operation Mindcrime by Queensryche
    1988. What a fantastic concept album.
  • 8. Invisible Touch by Genesis
    While more pop than prog, consistent and good and fun. 1986.
  • 7. Power Windows by Rush
    1985. Rush enters the computer age with triggered drums and massive synths.
  • 6. Tales from the Lush Attic by IQ
    1984... along with Marillion's Script for a Jester's Tear the year before, reintroduced Progressive rock to a new generation.
  • 5. 90125 by Yes
    Puts Yes back on the map. 1983.
  • 4. Signals by Rush
    1982. Has my favorite Rush song on it.
  • 3. Moving Pictures by Rush
    1981... their most successful album, by far.
  • 2. Duke by Genesis
    Perfect blend of prog and pop. Also 1980.
  • 1. Permanent Waves by Rush
    1980. One of their best albums.
I'm a Prog nut.
By: 24 X-Men
  • 10. Dare! by Human League
    This IS synth-pop.
  • 9. I Like Chopin by Gazebo
    Again, obscure in the US, but hugely popular in Asia. Very simple yet very catchy synth-pop with a New Romantic touch.
  • 8. Synchronicity by Police
    Maybe not the best from start to finish, but side B makes up for whatever deficiency. Where were you when Every Breath You Take came out on MTV and hooked every one of us?
  • 7. Getting the Holy Ghosts Across by Bill Nelson
    Another obscure choice. Roxy Music/Japan/Peter Gabriel style. Concept album with great dance songs with strong melody from start to finish.
  • 6. Blue Monday by New Order
    Ok, this is not an album, but it would be a travesty if this one does not go into an 80s top 10 list. No matter how heavy they make the beat and rhythm of their hip hops, raps, these days, they just cannot come close to this. This IS dance music at the absolute, unbelievable best.
  • 5. Sparkle in the Rain by Simple Minds
    Another Steve Lillywhite produced, kick-ass classic. Relentless intensity.
  • 4. War by U2
    The passion may seem a bit dated now, but this is U2 at their rawest best. One of a trio of Steve Lillywhite produced, adrenaline-filled classics in the 80s - the other two being the next entry and Big Country's Steeltown, which just failed to make the list here.
  • 3. Gentlemen Take Polaroids by Japan
    Little known in the US; very popular in Asia. Intrguing, delicate yet accessible.
  • 2. Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears
    New Wave era at its peak. An album that offers every New Wave genre from synth-pop, dance-pop, guitar pop, stadium rock, new romantic in unmistakable TFF style. One of only two albums of which every track goes into my MP3 (see previous entry).
  • 1. Faith by George Michael
    Mature pop songs for adults. Top-notch melody and incredible vocal performance. One of only two albums of which every track goes into my MP3 (see next entry).
There are a few entries here that may be obscure to some in the US. I do hope readers can try them out and be stunned.
By: Noah Capriotti
  • 10. For Those About to Rock(We Salute You) by AC/DC
    Just an awesome album with some rockin' tunes.
  • 9. Purple Rain by Prince
    I'm not gonna lie, Prince is a superstar.
  • 8. Hysteria by Def Leppard
    "Pour Some Sugar On Me" alone makes this a great album.
  • 7. Jashua Tree by U2
    U2's best album.
  • 6. Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi
    So many great songs on such a great album.
  • 5. Born In The U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen
    Simply a complete album with a great song lineup.
  • 4. Apitite For Distruction by Guns n' Roses
    The best heavy metal album ever made.
  • 3. 1984 by Van Halen
    This album has many of Van Halen's best songs.
  • 2. Thriller by Micheal Jackson
    Over 50 million albums sold. That speaks for itself.
  • 1. Back in Black by AC/DC
    This album was made within months of Bon Scott's tragic death, making this album twice as great.
Personally, I hate Micheal Jackson. But you can't say that he's not supremely talented.
By: Onur
  • 10. Actually (1987) by Pet Shop Boys
    After the success of "West End Girls", the group didn't change their style in their new album but the mechanics of "Actually" was just great, a showcase for the synthesizer generation.
  • 9. Purple Rain (1984) by Prince
    What a man wants from a soundtrack? Many people would tell "nothing" and it is not a bad attitude. Prince changed the nature of this business with his great musical work for a movie which was not cinematically that good. "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry" are unforgettable records that remind people of the decade.
  • 8. Miami Vice (1985) by Jan Hammer/Various Artists
    It is not a shame to accept the influence of this record. In a sense, it helped the TV series to define the culture of the 1980s. Theme of the series is still remembered by the people. Also one can't skip the effect of Glenn Frey on this soundtrack. His "Smuggler's Blues" was both the name of a Miami Vice episode and a short definition of the life during 1980s with all those references to drug dealers and the notion of "easy money".
  • 7. So (1986) by Peter Gabriel
    A great album that contains "Sledgehammer" and "Don't Give Up". This one put Gabriel into the MTV video clip madness of 1980s. One must listen to it, then he/she can understand its value.
  • 6. Can't Slow Down (1983) by Lionel Richie
    Slowing down? He was faster than ever. This piece defined the position of Richie among the giants of the decade. While contributing to the struggle of Motown culture, the artist also managed create a determined pop sound, proper for 1980s. "All Night Long" and "Hello" still find a way to our ears.
  • 5. Hounds of Love (1985) by Kate Bush
    Yes, she is a freak, yes she is alternative but you can't deny the power of this record. "Running Up That Hill", "Hounds of Love" and "Cloundbusting", with its interesting video clip, were all in this record. We see Bush accepts a portion of the decade's culture but makes it better with her secret formula. Maybe it is not a milestone record like Jackson's "Bad" but it is the best work of Bush, who has been enjoying musical success for three consecutive decades.
  • 4. Midnight Love (1982) by Marvin Gaye
    The record announced the comeback of the innovative Motown artist. "Sexual Healing" took the year by storm and showed that there is still space for old traditions in the business. It is also a great 80s album because it doesn't reject the needs of the decade but only offers a different point of view for its listeners.
  • 3. Rio (1982) by Duran Duran
    Design of the album cover can be enough in this case because it's a brief explanation of the decade. The music was also pretty effective thanks to singles like "Hungry Like the Wolf", "Rio" and "Save a Prayer".
  • 2. Faith (1987) by George Michael
    One of the most innovative pop albums of all time with a standard song like "Faith". The album can be described as a smooth work, in which there are no "filler" songs but only real singles.
  • 1. Bad (1987) by Michael Jackson
    Such a great record... Successful rock pieces, with guitar gods as guests; pop standards, like "Smooth Criminal" and "Bad; and old style R&B/Soul pieces like "Man in the Mirror" and "Liberian Girl"... Jackson's struggle to defeat himself for perfection.
The list contains albums from 1982-1987. This interval is crucial for me because the decade reached its zenith during this period. Music was a culture definer back in the day, a thing which we don't see today.

Previous List or Next List

Do You Have a List to Share?

Please check out the Top Ten Music Albums submission page.