Here comes the 80’s.
It’s full of big hair and even bigger attitudes. The start of the decade brought the death of John Lennon (these musicians are dropping like flies!). But it also brought MTV and the music video revolution began. Disco sucks was the slogan and out came the synths with some bright neon, lycra type clothes (what were they thinking?). Also came metal in it’s many forms, hip hop with some cheese and some quality artists and punk rock boomed! Video games consoles were becoming a household thing and sports were big with Michael Jordan’s appearance into the NBA. A huge group of musicians got together to raise money for the countries suffering in terrible crisis at Live Aid and whilst all this was going on, some bands appeared that would change the face of music forever.
The Clash: They pushed the punk ideals of political issues and rebellious attitude. They weren’t afraid to experiment in their music or to speak their minds and that helped inspire a generation who weren’t afraid to question their leaders and demand to know what was going on. We could possibly do with the same inspiration these days.
Album you should check out: London Calling. Yes the album was recorded in 1979 and released in December of that year in the UK. But it was 1980 when it was released in the US and when it did most of it’s big influential stuff.
Guns N’ Roses: A band who we will never sadly see reform with it’s popular and incredibly talented line-up. (Hell I’d pay £100’s to see a one off charity even reunion of this lot, which is the only way I could imagine any of them would contemplate it). They were musically untouchable and inspired bands to have a very rock ‘n’ roll attitude And frankly Slash is one of those guitarists who will always be hailed as a god due to such melodic and awe-inspiring solos. There were an amazing band until their split and unfortunately they will never live up to the level of their late 80’s/early 90’s run together whilst apart.
Album you should check out: Appetite for Destruction. It is an amazing album! How can you make an album that had 3 classic songs on it? Well GNR managed it with ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, ‘Paradise City’ and ‘ Sweet Child of Mine’. Follow this album with everything ‘til 1993’s ‘Spaghetti Incident’.
Rush: Mixing hard rock and progressive rock so it sounds like something from another much more funky planet than our own. And when YYZ was put onto guitar hero people could not feel their fingers for days after attempting it on anything above medium mode (haha!). But seriously they’ve inspired people to push for what they want. To push for guitar solos that are epic, for drums that are nothing short of jaw dropping and it’s made some music of today simply more sonic and powerful.
Album you should check out: Moving Pictures. It’s the album that gave them mainstream success and contains that rocking guitar hero track that claimed your fingers too.
Mötley Crüe: A band that started out almost completely on a rock ‘n’ roll and a very 80’s path. It was a path lined with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. And a path that nearly killed them (or did in the case of Nikki Sixx). But after surviving that (just!) and getting sober the band started to write even more amazing material (they wrote well for people who were off their heads!). What they have passed on is ‘yes have a rock ‘n’ roll attitude, but it’s not worth risking your life for’. And that’s a great message!
Album you should check out: Dr. Feelgood. Truly a Mötley Crüe sounding album. Their albums before this are pretty amazing, but this just stepped up their talent. And that push allowed them to continue to write amazing together when their got back together many years later and wrote 2006’s ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ (another fantastic album!).
Bon Jovi: Hair metal titans! Bon Jovi were an amazing bands from the off who have managed to come back strong with everything they’ve ever released. But the 80’s was where they really truly shone and made a name for themselves. Writing simple, but catchy and sing-along songs. What they’ve passed on to the next generations is that simple can sometimes be better if done right (unfortunately these days so many bands don’t get that right though!).
Album you should check out: Slippery When Wet. It’s a corker of an album. It’s everything Bon Jovi represent and should represent. Hair was big and the sing-alongs even bigger! Tracklisting spanning ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’, ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’ and ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’. What is there not to love?
AC/DC: One of the most successful Australian bands to date. Their music has pushed the rock boundaries and still stands the test of time. ‘Highway to Hell’ is still one of the most request tracks to be played at funerals (love it!) and recent film ‘Iron Man 2’ rocked some of the classic AC/DC.
Album you should check out: Back in Black. The album to shoot the band to major success. And the album still stands the test of time. It’s majorly catchy and you’ll be humming the title track for hours after a listen (trust me I’ve been humming like crazy!)
Iron Maiden: They are the pioneers of heavy metal in the UK and have been pretty much doing it ever since. They introduced ‘Eddie’ to the world as simply a mask and from then he became a character in his own right. He’s as much Iron Maiden as the band are. If the amazing tunes and strong British music weren’t enough, Iron Maiden leave a legacy that often there are members of your band that aren’t even in the band.
Album you should check out: The Number of the Beast. It was the album that shot the band to success and introduced us all to Bruce Dickinson. An awesome voice and catchy as hell fantasy rock tunes, what more do we need?
The Jam: They were punk rock, but were a lot less angry about it. They brought in new wave to the mix and wrote some unique and awe-inspiring tracks. ‘Going Underground’ shot straight to number 1 and stayed their for 3 weeks, something completely unheard of back in 1980.
Album you should check out: Sound Affects was the album they released after ‘Going Underground’ (which never appeared on one of the bands albums). It contained the popular tracks ‘That’s Entertainment’ and ‘Start!’.
Metallica: They formed in the 80’s and quickly became the most popular heavy metal band around and have pretty much held the title ever since. They had a few line-up changes along the way but they’ve still managed to write some of the best thrash around. Admittedly it’s not to everyone’s tastes but they have inspired a whole host of artists in the metal scene and continue still to inspire new bands that appear on the scene these days. So they’re worth the listen to pick out the key bits that you can hear throughout other artists music.
Album you should check out: Master of Puppets. It was the album to start them all. It’s also been said to be “the best heavy metal album ever written” by many music critics. It’s your ultimate start to metal 101.
Black Flag: Were the american punk rock gods. They’re considered today to have been one of the very first hardcore punk bands. Henry Rollins joined them in 1981 and that’s when things went from good to great.
Album you should check out: Damaged. It’s what punk music should be and it inspired bands for generations to come.
Billy Idol: Mixing pop with goth and all that in between. The man knew how to make a hit and piss some people off at the same time. The biggest song of his was not his highest charting and yet it’s played at gathering all across the world… one particular type of gathering though; a wedding. He’s taught the generations that follow that writing about a particular common theme will allow your song to stand the test of time when everyone covers it years later.
Album you should check out: Billy Idol. It’s his first full length and features the said track ‘White Wedding’. A rocking tune that can’t be missed.
Nine Inch Nails: Essentially the only member of this band is Trent Reznor, but what an influence one man can be. The band started with strength and just carried it on through and still maintain it even today. The shows are visual as well as audio and push other bands to the limit. Industrial rock has rarely sounded so good.
Album you should check out: Pretty Hate Machine started it all off and spawned them 113 weeks of success on the Billboard’s Top 100. It’s been certified Platinum and is not to be missed when checking out bands who have influenced. Success is the biggest influence of all.
Motorhead: One of the loudest live bands ever. Motorhead know how to kick start a party! And yet again, we have another band on our list who have featured on Guitar Hero; cause we all wanna rock the song secretly, so if a video games the best we can achieve; have at it! So what have they taught bands? To play loud, but to play and sing in tune. None of this shouty bollocks just to be loud, just solid notes and quality playing.
Album you should check out: Ace of Spades. It obviously contains the hit itself, which is loud and fast. Frankly it’s rock at it’s finest.
Minor Threat: Hardcore punk at it’s best. One of the titans of the movement in the east America area. Minor Threat started a movement called ‘Straight Edge’ with a song of theirs and it’s an ideal close to my heart and something that carries through into modern society. It took the punk movement in a new directions and that’s what has inspired generations since. Take your genre and make it your own.
Album you should check out: Minor Threat EP. It’s their first two 7” records put together on one 12” record. It’s a mix of all things Minor Threat and shows what hardcore punk truly was.