The music industry in the 1980’s was subject to major advancements in technology in both the instruments that were played, plus the methods of recording in the studios. With all of the progress that had been made within the different genres in previous decades the acts of the 1980s were able to take their music into different areas and refine certain ideas.
This was certainly the case with a number of bands that had started out in the punk era yet during the new decade were able to evolve into something a little more different. One of the biggest selling rock bands has been U2. Formed in 1976 in Dublin the band achieved much of its success during the 1980s particularly with the album “The Joshua Tree” which turned them into international stars.
Duran Duran started out as a New Romantic band in 1977. They then evolved into a mixture of new wave and syncpop. The 80s were ideal as the group loved glamorous videos and this was the time where the technology really advanced in this particular area. The band were one of the best-selling groups in this decade. The group that sold numerous singles in the 1980s were UB40 and like Duran Duran they hailed from Birmingham. The band had more than 50 records in the UK singles chart. They managed to combine reggae music with pop and proved to be globally popular selling more than 70 million records.
The music videos had a real impact on the industry during this time and the artists that were able to adapt the better were the ones who achieved the greatest success. Michael Jackson had already tasted success in the 1970s when he joined the rest of his family the Jackson 5. The 1980s saw Jackson develop his solo career. He was able to combine fashion, dance and music into becoming one of the best-selling artists of all time. He was tailor made for the screen and the costs for some of his videos went over 1 million dollars. His album “Thriller” became the world’s best-selling album in a year, with 68 million copies sold.
Another star who benefited from the videos was Madonna. She combined producing music that sold millions of copies with a successful acting career that saw her star in “Desperately Playing Susan” and “Evita”. She released 5 singles from her first album “Madonna” and she continued to sell numerous records during this period. Prince was also successful during the 1980’s. His unique music was a mixture of funk, psychedelia, new wave and pop, and his music was epitomized by the electric nature of it. He a flamboyant dresser and used personal make-up to enhance his performance both on stage and in videos.
He sold many records during the decade. His best-selling albums were “Prince” and “Dirty Mind” and many of his hit singles were typified by the mixture of different genres that he was able to combine into making the track. The 1980s was the decade when Whitney Houston shot to prominence. In her career she has sold over 200 million records, which is more than any other female artist. Her first two albums “Whitney Houston” and “Whitney” were both released in the 1980s and both reached number 1 in the albums chart.
There were also several new rock bands that first appeared in this decade. Guns ‘n’ Roses, Bon Jovi and Iron Maiden. They were offshoots of the rock music that had been popular in the early 1970s but they managed to capture a large base of fans and sell many records. The music of the 1980s as able to mix different genres for artists to produce their own unique sounds. The growing popularity of the video managed to make stars out of some performers, and a lot of them would take a lot of time in producing the right type of video for their music.