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Top of the Pops: Five 80s Albums You Must Own

by Dan Clay Rating: Release Date:

In a decade signified by big hair, bright colours and John Hughes films several bands delivered key records and a few solo artists created signature albums. Therefore these five, though obvious, are chosen on the basis that they not only represented their creator's best work but defined a decade in the process. Debate away…

Thriller - Michael Jackson

Probably best to get this one out of the way, but as the biggest selling album of all time to date, Jacko's most critically lauded work and a great example of what the master of pop could really do in his prime, it thoroughly deserves its place.

Defining Track -

and that great accompanying lit pavement video.

Hidden Gem - Overlooked on an album crammed with classic singles the soulful

really shouldn't be skipped.

Life's Rich Pageant - REM

Though many will cite their debut Murmur or career breakthrough Document as their best 80s album, actually this forgotten classic is one of the rockiest, most sublime and down right enjoyable albums they've ever produced. A real treasure. Grab the re-release next year.

Defining Track -

is a three minute melancholy melodic gem.

Hidden Gem - Though louder than the rest

remains the band's most throwaway moment.

The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses

With Ian Brown's cocky swagger aping Oasis to come, The Stone Roses emerged from the Madchester scene with one seminal album and a reputation that would stand The Second Coming's relative disappointment. Simply put, it's the release that best represents Manchester's musical ethos.

Defining Track -

shows exactly where Oasis sprung from.

Hidden Gem - Though 'I am The Resurrection' gets most of the plaudits, surely

is a quiet work of genius.

The Joshua Tree - U2

With at least three classic singles opening the way, U2 perfected their sound with this 1987 album before disappearing up their own creative backsides in the 90s (after Achtung Baby though). With songs that showcase The Edge's trademark guitar sound (well parodied by Bill Bailey) and Bono's soaring vocals, it stands as their best album to date.

Defining Track -

is probably the perfect U2 sounding record. If they hadn't written 'One' it would stand as their best.

Hidden Gem - Thankfully nothing to do with the sub-The OC American teen TV show,

showcases the band sounding, in a good way, oddly like Simple Minds.

Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen

Rounding off an undeniably commercial five choices, The Boss turned in this anti-American effort with its melodic pop/rock sound and stand out singles in Dancing In The Dark and the title track. Though not his best (2005's Devils and Dust surely) the cover art and impact elevate it to a terrific example of the Eighties spirit.

Defining Track - The title track

came to represent everything The Boss stood for and defined his entire glittering career.

Hidden Gem -

shows a defiant Bruce perfecting the early sound he's made his own ever since.

Born in the late 70s, I've never been a follower of what I followed. If you fancy doing the 70s, 60s etc then I'll leave it to you!

Comments (18)

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No Smiths, Dan! Where are The Smiths?! Also, I'd probably go for Murmur as REM's best 80s album (probably their best album full stop). And I'd stick Grace Jones' Living My Life in there. But thanks for another debate producing list! I know...

No Smiths, Dan! Where are The Smiths?! Also, I'd probably go for Murmur as REM's best 80s album (probably their best album full stop). And I'd stick Grace Jones' Living My Life in there. But thanks for another debate producing list! I know there's already one counter Best of the 80s list on it's way. I'm going to get started on my own 70s one now!

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I thought about The Smiths but plumped for one Manchester band and so Stone Roses pipped it for me. The Smiths would have been sixth! (Queen is Dead)

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Sorry Dan, I have to agree with the soundbunny, The Smiths are about ten million times better than the Stone Roses. Also, Joy Division's Closer? Two Manchester bands is not too much!

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No Smiths!! The greatest band there ever was. Top 5 - Queen Is Dead, Jesus & Mary Chain - Darklands, Joy Division - Closer, Teardrop Explodes - Kilimanjaro, Echo & The Bunnymen - Heaven Up Here. But then again Public Enemy - It Takes a...

No Smiths!! The greatest band there ever was. Top 5 - Queen Is Dead, Jesus & Mary Chain - Darklands, Joy Division - Closer, Teardrop Explodes - Kilimanjaro, Echo & The Bunnymen - Heaven Up Here. But then again Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions, Pixies - Surfer Rosa and Doolittle, Smiths first album. The 80s gets some stick for being rubbish but there's actually a lot of great albums. Great debate again, looking forward to the 70s one.

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Obviously I agree with you about Pixies Bob, but I'd also like to suggest Husker Du? Anyone? Zen Arcade is a classic, as is Warehouse Songs and Stories. Five of my fave bands ever operated in the 80s (Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, Huskers,...

Obviously I agree with you about Pixies Bob, but I'd also like to suggest Husker Du? Anyone? Zen Arcade is a classic, as is Warehouse Songs and Stories. Five of my fave bands ever operated in the 80s (Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, Huskers, Pixies, R.E.M.) so I'd pick one each of their albums. Maybe Kate Bush's Hounds of Love and/or Talking Heads' Remain in Light too.

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I was in such shock earlier after seeing no Smiths, I failed to notice U bloody 2. Dan they never went up their own backsides after this, Bono was born up there. I hated this album when it came out, awful band with awful lyrics. Have you ever...

I was in such shock earlier after seeing no Smiths, I failed to notice U bloody 2. Dan they never went up their own backsides after this, Bono was born up there. I hated this album when it came out, awful band with awful lyrics. Have you ever noticed how you'll never see a U2 album on any best of lists? They started off by copying the Bunnymen and just jumped on whatever bandwagon came along after that. Now where did I put that Bono dart board I made a few years back.

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Thought you'd missed the 80s Dan, so was about to publish a 'tribute' to it.. here's my two cents..
1. The Cure - Disintegration - I agree with Kyle from South Park who declared this as the best album ever
2. OMD - Architecture and Morality -...

Thought you'd missed the 80s Dan, so was about to publish a 'tribute' to it.. here's my two cents..
1. The Cure - Disintegration - I agree with Kyle from South Park who declared this as the best album ever
2. OMD - Architecture and Morality - synth pop heaven
3. Kate Bush - The Sensual World - stronger as a whole that the also great The Hounds of Love album
4. My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything - a breath of fresh air
5. Sonic Youth - Sister - better than Daydream Nation and has Schizophrenia on - their best song

Also shouts for: REM-Murmur, Cocteau Twins - Blue Bell Knoll, Heaven 17 - Penthouse and Pavement, Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring, The Associates - Sulk . As for U2, The Unforgettable Fire is their best album, The Joshua Tree is too inconsistently meh for me!!!!

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oh and I'd definitely give a shout out for Japan's Tin Drum - a brilliant 80s album!!!

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I love the Unforgettable Fire! Though I think that's because of Eno rather than the band. And yes perhaps you're right about The Sensual World, it is probably more consistent.

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I love the Unforgettable Fire! Though I think that's because of Eno rather than the band. And yes perhaps you're right about The Sensual World, it is probably more consistent.

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