With his second album, featuring the title track and electra-gliding ballad Eyes Without A Face, Billy Idol became the biggest British star of the USA’s early MTV era. Closing out the first side of “Combat Rock,” “Straight to Hell” is the final masterful work of The Clash’s career. You can almost feel the car moving along the road to Graceland. But Guns N’ Roses’s arrival on the scene with “Appetite for Destruction” had just as much to do with that. What they said at the time: “It sorely misses Peter Gabriel’s perverse wit… but Genesis aren’t for an exodus yet.” Rolling Stone. But this feels more like a new beginning. It’s the rock album, for sure. The rest of the record alternated between hard and heavy rhythms, intricate guitar play and haunting third-world experiments. Even the more experimental material on the album – and the trio’s mutual loathing – didn’t stop them becoming the world’s biggest band. As the 80s dawned, Van Halen persevered in trying to top the greatest hard rock debut album of all time. Producer Nile Rodgers of Chic knew how to get people on the dance floor and brought that to Bowie, whether the artist ended up liking it or not. Mixing Bowie’s back catalogue with complementary contemporary electronic music (after Low), disco (ditto Young Americans) and Ziggy’s glam contemporaries, these Bowie nights (characterised by ever more ornate attire and savagely enforced exclusivity) swiftly developed into a Futurist scene that by 1980 had spread from Billy’s through Covent Garden’s Blitz club to Manchester’s Pips and Birmingham’s Rum Runner, eventually spawning the New Romantics and the next wave of 80s pop. What they said at the time: “A breathtaking harmonisation of molten-metal guitar, deadly dance rhythms and poignant, pointed lyrics, the sound of a band with no precedent.” Sounds. The Best Rock Songs Of The '80s, Ranked 1 Every great band has an unsung classic. And Springsteen coupled it with an intelligent social critique about the treatment of war veterans. “Gypsy” is one of those hyper-personal songs Stevie Nicks wrote for Fleetwood Mac that you can’t get enough of. His love of everything from the cultish, squishy horrors of HP Lovecraft to the quirks and power that changing time signatures, guitar harmonics and musical dynamics brought to Metallica’s irresistible way with a riff ring through the record. The most identifiable songs on debut The Crossing – Harvest Home, Fields Of Fire (400 Miles), In A Big Country – sounded like rugged battle hymns, crackling with a rebellious kind of nobility. The Real 100 Greatest Records Of The 1980s. His solos in Looking For Love are mind-blowing. Not surprisingly, it became one of Depeche Mode’s signature songs and the envy of aspiring DJs and electronic artists everywhere. Even today, “When Doves Cry” is shocking to listen to with its sharp guitars and pounding drums. “We always loved rock music with a dance feel,” Gizzi reasons. So when she created an anthem about self-expression that was clearly upbeat and pop-tastic, she kicked it off with “Come on girls. R.E.M.‘s first single is the blueprint for everything the band would go on to create, from lyrics that are hard to make out to Peter Buck’s guitar sound. 1. She’d been peripheral. One long, etiolated sigh, it wafted between limpid balladry and a sort of slow-motion disco. What they said at the time: “Moore’s solos are indeed works of art.” Guitar World. I didn’t play any guitar solos, Dave didn’t write any lyrics.”. Add singer Chuck Mosley’s on-key/off-key vocals to the mix and you had a daring sound unlike anything else circa 1987. It’s a full-blown love song and one hell of one at that. His fourth solo album, Now And Zen, finally embraced the man he used to be. So while we waited for Mutt, I was working for my girlfriend’s dad as a hod carrier on a building site through the winter. What they said at the time: “A brilliant rock’n’roll album: as loose as it is deliberate, as pretty as it is hard rocking.” Rolling Stone. There was almost literally blood on the floor. Did it help that Anthrax, Maiden’s Steve Harris and Lemmy of Motörhead all stood up for the band? The decade had its first blues superstar – at last. 87. And with plum opening spots on some of the era’s biggest arena tours (Bon Jovi, Aerosmith), Skid Row couldn’t miss with their debut album. However it is expressed, Ride The Lightning, their second album, was Metallica’s transformative record, one that opened ears and eyes to what they, and their genre, could become. BA1 1UA. 3) Justify it Why should you care? Waits’ music would get more complex (and difficult) post ”Jersey Girl.” But the song remains one of his most accessible and beautiful tracks. Joe Satriani was the technical equal of anyone on the shred scene, but tracks like Always With Me, Always With You put melody front-and-centre, while Satch Boogie prized groove over chops. Besides the evergreen Start Me Up and Waiting On A Friend, it’s packed with forgotten gems: from the granite-tough funk rocker Slave to Mick Jagger’s dancefloor curio Heaven, to Little T&A, Keith Richards’s knuckle-sucking tribute to his latest ‘broad’: ‘She’s my little rock’n’roll/My tits and ass with soul, baby…’ Who said romance was dead? Despite not being released at an official single after its creation, it routinely ranks among Prince’s classics. What they said at the time: “A heavy metal Journey.” Kerrang! Talking Heads might have better songs. By the mid-80s, Queen needed to get their career back on track. But as the nursery-rhyme lyrics and whistling on the big hit Games Without Frontiers demonstrated, his sense of humour and the absurd remained intact. Although we’d had a Top 20 album and toured the States, we had no money. You don’t have to wait long to witness Michael Jackson’s the genius on “Thriller.” Jackson’s peak moment, arguably, comes on the album’s opening track. Guitarist Vernon Reed retells their story. Crime In The City and Eldorado offered ample evidence that Young’s muse hadn’t yet deserted him, but the record’s centrepiece was Rockin’ In The Free World, so good he included it twice. He achieved this with his songs … “So we’ve tried to make different sounds, rather than just strumming chords with a screaming lead break in the middle.”. What they said at the time: “New York marks a welcome return to the wild side for the veteran Velvet Underground founder and street bard.” Hits. “Pictures of You” was inspired by photographs Smith found of his wife after a fire at their home. I said: ‘It’s an instrumental!’ I thought that was obvious. Well, we’re about to tell you. This debut LP’s title accurately described Michael Stipe’s mystique-shrouded vocals, and the shimmering, rural southern atmosphere and ringing, Byrds-style jangle of its sound. A shame, as the album’s themes remain grimly relevant today. U2 released three singles before “I Will Follow.” But it represents the band’s coming-out party as a creative force. And what brought about the reunion in late 2000? The top 100 rock songs for the entire Big 80's Decade: Rock Songs Of The 1990's. But it didn’t matter. But he was so good – and because back then he had two arms – he could do all the stuff that Brian Downey or Ian Paice did. It is. Michael Jackson – “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”. And it all comes with instrumentation that is subtle, yet textured perfectly. – while the latter became a live staple of Van Halen’s live shows, if only for Dave’s eulogy to stockings, on which the song hinged. Written as U2 watched turmoil unfold in the Falklands and the Middle East, tracks like Seconds and the wiry Like A Song… were markedly harsher than the stadium-ready sweep of their later work. Bowie once dismissed his album “Last Dance” as his Phil Collins period. Banned from touring the US in the late 60s, The Kinks spent the late 70s clawing back lost ground, peaking with State Of Confusion. Tackling subjects ranging from sex and relationships to politics and death, Leonard Cohen delivers one of his most scathing satires with “Everybody Knows.” It’s an elegant song that plays on the idea that we ultimately don’t know what’s to come in life. The last of a loose trilogy of Tom Waits albums about dissolute musician Frank, which started with 1983’s Swordfishtrombones, Franks Wild Years is in Bowie terms the Lodger of the three, underestimated because of its predecessors. NIN’s debut wouldn’t be the hardest rocking of their career, but tracks such as Head Like A Hole courageously – and successfully – bridged the aforementioned stylistic gap. Empty Glass is still the best non-Who album Pete Townshend has ever made. “That album,” said guitarist Tony Iommi, “gave us a new lease of life.”, And in this, the resurrection of Black Sabbath, the key figure was the guy who had the balls of steel to take the place of Ozzy Osbourne as the band’s new singer. AC/DC - Back In Black The death of talismanic singer Bon Scott should have finished AC/DC. 24. What they said at the time: “An album that harkens back to the halcyon era of English studio experimentation.” Creem. N.W.A. “Hallelujah” might be a song that’s overplayed. Teaser single Ashes To Ashes shot to No.4, then making No.1. It didn’t take long to realize that a band with a ton of talent finally had the vocalist to take it to the top. The opening of a great U2 song is important. The downbeat mood meant the album sold a fraction of predecessor Born In The USA, but the songs on Tunnel Of Love still ring powerful and true. What they said at the time: “A shimmer of easy hypnosis that is as beautiful as it is lacking in fire.” Sounds. But the live version from Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense” concert film will take you places. It’s kind of ridiculous that “Smooth Criminal” was a single. And yet, it’s hard to escape its feeling of unbridled joy. Not only was the song as catchy as anything Madonna had released. “The Message” is no exception in terms of its raps and Melle Mel’s old-school flow. What they said at the time: “Only Simmons seems to comprehend that Kiss are really a pantomime based on a rock group.” NME. Yet, with all due respect to those acts, when Jackson took on a sound or genre, he made it his own and did it better than anyone else. And that was Pyromania. For the first time in seven years, Plant re-located his inner golden god, even singing ‘since I’ve been loving you’ on the album fade-out and getting Jimmy Page to play on Heaven Knows and Tall Cool One (which included some cheeky Beastie Boys-style sampling of old Zep riffs). War knocked Thriller off the UK No.1 spot and broke U2 in the States – yet it was mostly savaged by critics and put in the shade by the band’s 1987 album The Joshua Tree. And it maintains its intensity throughout. Championed by A&R guru Derek Shulman (Bon Jovi) on his resurrected Atco label, Enuff Z’Nuff achieved initial chart success with the effervescent New Thing and the chiming (even if it did deal with an ex’s overdose) Fly High Michelle, while the album was peppered with colourful gems such as For Now and Hot Little Summer Girl. “The fact was that I was making this record. The cover of the album was crappy. Released seven days into the new decade, here was sharp, intelligent, classy mid-Atlantic pop-rock with one foot forward and the other rooted in Kinks-literate old-wave classicism. Mainstream America had never heard anything like it. What they said at the time: “Pat Boone didn’t understand, so why should Steve Perry – oversinging signifies not soul and inspiration but will and desperation.” Christgau’s Consumer Guide. What they said at the time: “Hanoi Rocks rock’n’roll like they just invented it.” Melody Maker. Do you believe in love? Socially conscious rap was born, leading to the careers of Public Enemy, KRS-One, Dead Prez, Mos Def, Common and so many others. How the heck were Journey going to follow up the gargantuan success of 1981’s Escape? 100 Greatest Rock Songs as voted by Planet Rock Listeners. But “Head Like a Hole” is the Nine Inch Nails’ magnum opus. What they said at the time: “Makes a strong argument for the view that advanced technology is not necessarily the same thing as progress.” Rolling Stone. You can pinpoint this album and their next, Mother’s Milk, as the inspiration for all of those funk-metal acts that thrived afterwards. That was an absolute, utter no-no until bands such as Ministry and Nine Inch Nails – and specifically both of their 1989 albums, Ministry’s The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste and NIN’s Pretty Hate Machine – came along. But “Just What I Needed” remains The Cars’ quintessential song. When you listen to rock songs of the 70s you cannot but help seep into nostalgia. 37. The departure of Muzz [Skillings, bassist] was a huge thing. VH1’s 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs. But following a hit single from Eazy-E, the group’s first single from “Straight Outta Compton” launched the genre into the stratosphere. Sure, you’d heard of her: Akron sassy, she’d written for NME, worked at McLaren and Westwood’s SEX, almost managed to form a succession of great punk bands, Chrissie Hynde was rock’s ‘nearly’ girl. Elsewhere you’ll find Faithfully, a tune that caused many a tear and a tender embrace on the dancefloors of high-school proms coast-to-coast. But “So. We had the best producer there’s ever been this side of George Martin. With a nervous smile, Gizzi recalls the precise moment he realised their album was something special. 6 - Voodoo Child (Slight Return) / All Along the Watchtower (1970) [Single] 25: 25. The song’s bass line was so appealing, Michael Jackson would allegedly admit to Daryl Hall that he copied it for “Billie Jean.”, 79. We love our roots and there’s nothing wrong with being grounded and hard working.”. Not only did the song decimate the Billboard charts and go six-times platinum. 1. “Never Let Me Down Again” is a tune that condenses and smashes down its sonic parts to create a pop song you can’t get out of your head. Brass In Pocket, that voice… It flew straight to No.1. Nothing’s Shocking fired the starting pistol for alt.rock, but it managed only to crawl to No.103 in the US Billboard chart. “Prince was taking off back then, and to us he was just like Hendrix,” Gizzi enthuses. The earlier performance was with original drummer Dave Dowle; the latter the classic Whitesnake line-up of Coverdale, guitarists Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody, bassist Neil Murray, and two of Coverdale’s old Purple bandmates, drummer Ian Paice and keyboard player Jon Lord. That song became Let It Go. Ambition and a natural belligerence were essential bedfellows, that belligerence not just useful for lacerating thrashers like Creeping Death and Fight Fire With Fire, but also to deliver a defiant middle finger to those who questioned Fade To Black, the forefather of Metallica’s power ballads. It’s the sound of him moving away from the Minneapolis sound of the late 1970s to achieve something grander - world domination. It’s the decade when the biggest pop stars of all time reached their peaks. Axl Rose, always on the lookout for things that could make his band bigger, latched on to what would become a No. Absolutely. What they said at the time: “Coverdale and the boys stick it to the cynics.” New Music News. – “It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”. It was on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ third album, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, that the group’s punk-meets-funk merger truly fused – with awesome results. Back in 1980, it was a different story: essentially a different band. didn’t invent gangsta rap. At the other end of the scale are the misfiring Dune knock-off To Tame A Land and the abject Quest For Fire. Featuring two of the biggest rock acts of all time, “Under Pressure” could have been a major disappointment. What they said at the time: “He turns back the clock on all the manifold styles that make up music in America… and then he cocktails them.” Sounds. Queen & David Bowie – “Under Pressure”. Eschewing the heartland country rock that had marked his first two albums, Steve Earle described Copperhead Road as “heavy metal bluegrass”. It all made for a savage, commercially disastrous climax to his work with perhaps punk’s greatest rock’n’roll band. The single version of the track is one of the most accessible moments The Clash’s history (even if the song has a deep political backstory). Lead single You Might Think had The Cars’ quirky signature sound, but on Hello Again the band were barely present (around Ric Ocasek’s vocals it’s all Lange’s trickery), and Drive, sung by bassist Benjamin Orr, was the most immaculately textured rock ballad since 10cc’s I’m Not In Love. What they said at the time: “Fleetwood Mac have never pretended to be heavy thinkers. Indeed Adrian Belew’s vocals throughout were distinctly Byrne-ish, while album opener Elephant Talk could have appeared on Remain In Light. As Lemmy inhabited the role of insatiable grim reaper the band pounded onward at a relentless marching pace as deliberate as cold-blooded premeditated murder. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is bombastic pop with Houston’s amazing voice calling you to the dance floor. And to think a brilliant dance-pop song like “How Will I Know” was both an outlier and afterthought. But he is most responsible for The Clash’s most infectious hit “Rock the Casbah,” basing the song on a slick piano melody.

100 greatest rock songs of the 1980s

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