The Best Albums of 1980

1980 seems like such a simple and innocent year in retrospect. Jimmy Carter, an actual humanitarian, was running the United States and Margaret Thatcher was just getting started on dividing the United Kingdom but hadn’t yet fully ramped up. So the version of the Eighties that many hate — the unbridled worship of money, along with the implication that just making a living was somehow a loser’s fate — didn’t really begin until Ronald Reagan became the US president.

But in 1980 things were still largely cut and dried: communism was bad, people thought disco sucked (although not as much as “Saturday Night Live” sucked), and Mark David Chapman could go straight to hell.

Musically, the impact of punk remained enormous but we had moved on to post-punk, an infinitely more interesting variation that seemed to have few rules and thus much more imagination. At the same time, the venerable genres of the 1970s were still going strong and metal was about to see a worldwide resurgence.

All in all, it was a good year for albums and some all-time classics were released, the kind of records that are buried in time capsules or get shot into space. Enjoy.

Top 25 Most Collected and Wanted Albums of 1980

ABBA - Super Trouper album cover

#25. ABBA – Super Trouper

Even when delivering songs about the collapse of two marriages within the band — for those keeping count, that covers everyone in Abba — this Swedish pop juggernaut insists on being relentlessly catchy. While the hooks are what made Abba a Top 40 mainstay, a lot of modern musicians are into them for the vocal arrangements and production of songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeuso, who could manhandle a recording studio. In an age of cynicism and irony, it’s almost tough to figure out how to enjoy Abba — ah, screw it. Just crank it up.

Billy Joel - Glass Houses album cover

#24. Billy Joel – Glass Houses

“You May Be Right,” the opening track, might be Joel’s most honest and insightful song. The lyrics read like a toss-off but it’s basically about an unrepentant jack-ass hoping to find someone who’s really into unrepentant jack-asses, and the truth behind the words emerged as Joel’s alcoholism and destructive lifestyle became public knowledge. There’s also “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” the first “OK, boomer” pop song and some nice deep cuts.

The Blues Brothers - The Blues Brothers (Music From The Soundtrack) album cover

#23. The Blues Brothers – The Blues Brothers (Music From The Soundtrack)

Here’s one that drives the purists crazy. While John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd dearly loved the blues, soul and R&B music to which the Blues Brothers paid homage, they were comedians and actors. Not singers. Still, the album did serve as a gateway drug to the real thing and the band was one of greatest ever assembled, filled with luminaries from the 1960s and ‘70s soul, blues and R&B scenes.

Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel album cover

#22. Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel

Gabriel’s third album, commonly referred to by fans as “Melt” because of the cover art, firmly established him as a commercial force even as his artistic momentum continued unabated. The deep cuts are just as varied and interesting as the two hits, “Games Without Frontiers” and “Biko” — if not more so in some instances. “Lead A Normal Life” is a masterpiece of minimalism that perfectly captures Gabriel’s attempt to describe what it felt like inside his head as he dealt daily with depression, and the cinematic “Family Snapshot” is chilling.

Stevie Wonder - Hotter Than July album cover

#21. Stevie Wonder – Hotter Than July

“Hotter Than July” is the proper follow-up to 1976’s masterful “Songs In the Key of Life,” which is right up there with the hardest acts ever to follow. It doesn’t reach those heights, which isn’t much of a complaint, but it’s a solid album that finds Wonder beginning to show a few cracks after a long run of brilliance. For anyone with an interest in Wonder, the superior tracks make this essential listening; “Did I Hear You Say I Love You,” “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” “As If You Read My Mind,” “Cash In Your Face” and the heartbreaking “Lately” are all keepers.

Bob Marley & The Wailers - Uprising album cover

#20. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Uprising

“Uprising” was the last album Bob Marley released before dying from cancer the following year and it includes two of his enduring standards in “Redemption Song” and “Could You Be Loved.” Marley was peaking in global popularity and influence when he died — earlier that year he and the Wailers had played to a crowd of 100,000 — and the combination of activism and empathy on “Uprising” is a fitting epitaph for the man who remains reggae’s only true international superstar.

The Clash - Sandinista! album cover

#19. The Clash – Sandinista!

Sprawling, ambitious, self-indulgent, brilliant, cocky — there are as many adjectives to describe “Sandinista!” as there are songs on this triple-LP, which is 36. Is there filler? Of course. There aren’t any perfect double albums so a triple doesn’t stand a chance, but it’s a safe bet that you won’t find any others that careen so wildly and confidently between so many genres: early rock, dub, punk, swing jazz, dance, electronic (sort of), pop, whatever “Junkie Slip” is. Maybe The Clash could have edited more judiciously, but despite its faults “Sandinista!” remains a thrill ride.

Judas Priest - British Steel album cover

#18. Judas Priest – British Steel

“British Steel” is considered one of metal’s essential albums and helped to make the 1980s one of the genre’s greatest decades. Priest had already been around for five albums but on “British Steel” they added a few more hooks with tracks such as “Living After Midnight,” “Breaking the Law” and “Rapid Fire,” making metal that you could sing along to. It made them international superstars.

Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard Of Ozz album cover

#17. Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Ozz

Ozzy was despondent after being kicked out of Black Sabbath in 1979, spending most of a year living on pizza, booze and cocaine. He got back into the game with his debut solo album, “Blizzard of Ozz,” which gave the world “Crazy Train” and a transcendent new guitar prodigy in Randy Rhoads, who contributed greatly to the album’s music. An essential album for fans of metal, hard rock and glorious excess.

The Cure - Boys Don

#16. The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry

The Cure’s stateside debut album is actually a compilation of various tracks from the late 1970s, including eight songs from the band’s UK debut, “Three Imaginary Boys.” Robert Smith was already writing ambitious lyrics at this point — the band’s first single, “Killing An Arab,” was based on Camus’ “The Stranger,” after all — but the music was more stripped and lean compared to the sticky web of goth rock it would start weaving on its second album, “Seventeen Seconds.”

U2 - Boy album cover

#15. U2 – Boy

U2’s debut album finds the band lean, tough and self-righteous in all the ways that only extremely earnest 20-year-olds can be. For anyone only familiar with U2’s more heavily-produced work, such as “The Unforgettable Fire” and “The Joshua Tree,” the muscular “Boy” can be an exhilarating ride. Key tracks: “I Will Follow,” “Twilight,” “Out of Control.”

Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell album cover

#14. Black Sabbath – Heaven And Hell

After firing Ozzy Osbourne for conduct unbecoming a rock star, Black Sabbath guitarist Tommy Iommi hired Ronnie James Dio and made “Heaven and Hell,” which became one of the band’s most successful records. Ozzy was really holding those guys back, apparently. While much different from the classic Sabbath sound, it fit in perfectly with where metal was heading in the 1980s and Dio’s cannon of a voice is undeniable.

Motörhead - Ace Of Spades album cover

#13. Motörhead – Ace Of Spades

This is peak Lemmy Kilmister, which is to say peak rock and fucking roll. The brutal “Ace of Spades” features Motörhead’s classic lineup of Lemmy, “Fast” Eddie Clarke and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, the most powerful of all power trios, and they play with a ferocity that seems impossible to capture on tape. Imagine a semi, on fire and filled with propane, hurtling down a 45-degree mountain grade toward a crowd of people leaving a Dave Mathews Band concert. That’s “Ace of Spades,” a record hellbent on righting all wrongs in rock and roll.

The Cure - Seventeen Seconds album cover

#12. The Cure – Seventeen Seconds

An album that’s almost more about mood than music, and the mood is not a happy one. It’s a cold, bleak, gloomy collection of songs that bend and blend together into a dark sonic landscape that is often cited as ground zero for the goth rock movement. It’s the band’s second album but an argument could be made that this is where Robert Smith really found his voice as a songwriter, which was speaking for those who had lost something, anything, everything.

John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Double Fantasy album cover

#11. John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy

John Lennon was murdered three weeks after the release of “Double Fantasy” and that forever changed the public and critical perception of the album, which was hyped as Lennon’s return to music after five years of domestic seclusion. Famously, or infamously, the tracks alternate between songs by Lennon and Ono.

The slickness of Lennon’s tracks on “Double Fantasy” is almost as jarring as the rawness of “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band,” released almost exactly 10 years prior. These are glossy, middle-aged pop songs, catchy and beautifully sung but ultimately a bit pedestrian. Ono’s tracks sounded alien in 1980 but have aged well as pop music has morphed into all manner of forms undreamed of 40 years ago.

Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables album cover

#10. Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables

While the Dead Kennedys relied quite a bit on blunt force trauma, the band was also musically nimble on this debut album — even subtle at times. Singer and lyricist Jello Biafra commanded most of the attention, justifiably so, but guitarist East Bay Ray was a monster on this seminal slab of hardcore punk, balancing aggression with sprinkles of melody. Biafra, meanwhile, countered his brazen politics with generous doses of humor. It’s a shame that songs such as “Kill The Poor” remain relevant 40 years later.

David Bowie - Scary Monsters album cover

#9. David Bowie – Scary Monsters

After the artistic triumph of his Berlin Trilogy — “Low,” “Heroes” and “Lodger” — Bowie returned to a more commercial sound with “Scary Monsters,” which had a pair of major international hits in “Ashes to Ashes” and “Fashion” and kicked off a period of enormous mainstream success.

But just because “Scary Monsters” is more marketable doesn’t mean that it always plays well with others; in its own way, it’s as challenging as anything from the Berlin years. Still, the album’s definitely more friendly and much more generous with radio-ready hooks.

Bruce Springsteen - The River album cover

#8. Bruce Springsteen – The River

The album where Springsteen comes to grips with the fact that being born to run isn’t enough because the harsh demands of life, and the toll that they take, don’t often allow escape. It was a game-changing album for him as a writer and its basic themes have been a part of his music ever since. A double album, “The River” is packed with powerful songs and character studies (“Jackson Cage,” “Point Blank,” “Stolen Car”) balanced by a handful of gloriously dumb rockers (“Sherry Darling,” “Crush On You,” “I’m A Rocker”).

Dire Straits - Making Movies album cover

#7. Dire Straits – Making Movies

Mark Knopfler made it clear on the first two Dire Straits albums that he approached songwriting with a cinematic mindset, spinning stories and character studies, but on the majestic “Making Movies” he went full throttle. “Tunnel of Love” kicks off the record with Knopfler in full Springsteen mode — it’s no accident that Springsteen keyboardist Roy Bittan is all over the record — and rarely lets up. “Romeo and Juliet” is the saddest song ever, “Skateaway” one of the most charming. And that’s just side one.

The Police - Zenyatta Mondatta album cover

#6. The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta

The best tracks on “Zenyatta Mondatta” are some of The Police’s finest work and seem to be tapping into a bit of the same post-punk zeitgeist as Talking Heads. “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around” sounds like a “Remain In Light” outtake, for example, and its repeating three-chord motif is mesmerizing. While the band is on record as not being overly fond of “Zenyatta Mondatta,” which they recorded under intense pressure in only four weeks, it remains a fan and critical favorite.

Queen - The Game album cover

#5. Queen – The Game

Queen’s last truly great album is filled with the kind of perfectly bombastic rock and roll that fans had long loved and a couple of left turns that worked beautifully. While it may seem ridiculous in 2020 to question the integrity of a song like “Another One Bites the Dust,” it caused a stir in 1980 when rock fans instantly distrusted anything that sounded remotely like disco. Rock fans used to be kind of stupid.

Freddie Mercury is in spectacular voice throughout and Brian May crushes, especially on “Dragon Attack.” After “The Game,” Queen consistently struggled — other than “Under Pressure” — and the remainder of its catalog is spotty.

Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden album cover

#4. Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden’s debut was part of the explosion of metal in England that soon took off around the world. It’s a heady mix of classic Sabbath-style metal, the aggression of punk and the virtuosic speed-based musicianship that was a hallmark of ‘80s metal. Perhaps most importantly it gave the world Eddie, the album’s cover boy and the greatest mascot in rock and roll. The original UK vinyl pressing is one of the few with the full-length version of “Phantom of the Opera” but is getting more pricey every minute.

Talking Heads - Remain In Light album cover

#3. Talking Heads – Remain In Light

A remarkably ambitious album on every level, “Remain In Light” found Talking Heads reinventing itself as a band. In partnership with Brian Eno, and with input from friend and musician David Gans, the band approached the album with a profoundly different mindset.

With African music as a core inspiration both musically and thematically, the band and Eno crafted a record that effortlessly blended a half-dozen genres yet didn’t specifically sound like any of them. “Once In A Lifetime” is the signature song but the entire record rewards repeated listens.

Joy Division - Closer album cover

#2. Joy Division – Closer

Punk rock was one of music’s most crucial innovations but it spray-painted itself into a corner in fairly short order — the music’s rawness and simplicity was a limitation. Joy Division took all of the core emotional values of punk and expressed them with the same ferocity but as seen through a different musical lens, laying the groundwork for post-punk, a much more open-ended path.

Released two months after the suicide of singer and lyricist Ian Curtis, “Closer” served as both a warning and a rallying cry for disaffected youth. Four decades later it still sounds vital.

AC/DC - Back In Black album cover

#1. AC/DC – Back In Black

Has there ever been a more perfect record made for hormone-addled 16-year-olds with more acne than options? A hard-rock classic in every way, “Back In Black” is one of the best-selling albums of all time and one of rock’s most unlikely successes.

Lead singer Bon Scott had died, choking on his own vomit, just as the band was peaking in popularity. But Malcolm and Angus Young quickly recruited Brian Johnson and the rest is very rowdy history. “Hell’s Bells,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution,” the title track — it’s the epitome of big dumb fun.

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35 Comments
  • Jun 5,2020 at 11:40

    The Human League’s “Travelogue” is missing in this list.

  • Jun 2,2020 at 21:10

    Peter Hammill – A Black Box. Fantastic album, especially the one side long epic “Flight”.

  • Jun 1,2020 at 19:56

    Good list. Here are some other albums from 1980 that I like:

    “Faces” by Earth, Wind & Fire
    “Gaucho” by Steely Dan
    “Flash Gordon” by Queen
    “Dirty Mind” by Prince
    “Triumph” by The Jacksons

  • Jun 1,2020 at 06:35

    Everyone is forgetting that a top 20, unless it’s based on sales, is a list of one’s personal favourites. Some people are rather opinionated (IMO). What one person likes best is going to be different to somebody else’s choice and I always respect that.
    I don’t listen to the so-called critics or boffins either who think they know more than others about what should be deemed the best. Nobody is qualified to argue with personal choice although it’s great to have some banter/discussion/argument about this sort of thing.

    Here’s mine (whether you agree or not):
    1-Genesis-Duke
    2-Bruce Springsteen-The River
    3-Dire Straits-Making Movies
    4-Joy Division-Closer
    5-Pretenders-Pretenders
    6-Alan Parsons Project-The Turn Of A Friendly Card
    7-Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band-Against The Wind
    8-Stiff Little Fingers-Hanx (Live)
    9-Billy Joel-Glass Houses
    10-Journey-Departure
    11-David Bowie-Scary Monsters
    12-AC/DC-Back In Black
    13-Steve Winwood-Arc Of A Diver
    14-John Lennon/Yoko Ono-Double Fantasy
    15-Jam-Sound Affects
    16-Stiff Little Fingers-Nobody’s Heroes
    17-Talking Heads-Remain In Light
    18-Undertones-Hypnotised
    19-Ultravox-Vienna
    20-Abba-Super Trouper

    Keep smilin’ :)

  • May 31,2020 at 12:11

    Glaring omission #1: Killing Joke’s 1st album.

  • May 28,2020 at 05:37

    Some fine albums here, but where are “McCartney II” & The Stranglers’ “Gospel According to the Meninblack”? And about the ranking: “Scary Monsters” & “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables” might be ‘better’ than “Double Fantasy” but how/why do any of those three rank lower than the deadly dull “boss’s” “The River”? And this might not be a popular opinion, but I’ll say it anyway: “Back in Black” would have been AC/DC’s crowning achievement had Bon Scott sung those songs. Superb material, epic riffs, but second-rate singing, at best. Sorry. Give me “Highway to Hell” over “Back in Black” anyday…

  • May 27,2020 at 13:40

    Nice idea, but really it’s very presumptuous and ignorant calling a list “the best albums of [whenever]” when one only knows rock music and doesn’t care about any other genre in music.

  • May 27,2020 at 09:40

    There are nine-million bicycles in Beijing.
    And at least nine-million LPs in the eighties …

    I am missing Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers.

    My personal LP of the century!

  • May 22,2020 at 15:47

    What about Breaking Glass? This was a formidable debut album by Hazel O’connor. Being a film score and having some crazy pre Lady Gaga clothing, it remains for me a great movie, with songs from the album that was sounded the death knell for Punk.

  • May 22,2020 at 12:24

    Skids …”The Absolute Game” my favourite album from 1980 by a long way.

    Oh, and I also love the 1980 Jethro Tull album “A” with Eddie Jobson on keys.

  • May 22,2020 at 00:25

    Looks like jazz stinks here but it was not dead. Great jazz recorded in 1980:
    ADAMS PULLEN Quartet – Earth Beams
    AIR – Air Mail
    Art Ensemble Of Chicago ‎– Urban Bushmen
    Ran BLAKE – Film Noir
    Arthur BLYTHE – Illusions
    CODONA – Codona 2
    Anthony DAVIS – Lady Of The Mirrors
    Bill DIXON – In Italy Volume 1
    Bill EVANS – Consecration I & II
    Gil EVANS & Lee KONITZ – Heroes & Anti-Heroes
    Chico FREEMAN -The Search
    GANELIN Trio – Ancora Da Capo
    Andrew HILL – Strange Serenade
    Ronald Shannon JACKSON -Eye On You
    Oliver LAKE – Prophet
    Jimmy LYONS – Jump Up
    David MURRAY – Ming
    Amina Claudine MYERS – Salutes Bessie Smith
    OLD & NEW DREAMS – Playing
    Evan PARKER & Derek BAILEY – Aida
    Art PEPPER – One September Afternoon
    SUN RA – Dance Of Innocent Passion
    Horace TAPSCOTT – Dial “B” For Barbra
    Cecil TAYLOR – It Is In The Brewing Luminous
    Phil WOODS / Lew TABACKIN – Phil Woods / Lew Tabackin
    WORLD SAXOPHONE QUARTET – Revue

  • May 19,2020 at 16:36

    A few significant others that would not make “most collected/most wanted”
    1st album – PRETENDERS (duh)
    – UB40: Signing Off
    – The English Beat: I Just Can’t Stop It
    – Bad Manners: Ska ‘N’ B
    Other good records in 1980 by Pete Townshend, Joe Jackson, XTC, Elvis Costello, Sham 69, Hall & Oates, Steely Dan, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones …
    (not the most collected) but noteworthy

  • May 17,2020 at 18:11

    While I agree with many of the comments posted here about glaring omissions and such, it would appear that these people missed the caveat in the subtitle: “Top 25 Most Collected and Wanted Albums of 1980” – i.e. – the list is based on discogs.com data and not necessarily what the author would have personally chosen.

  • May 17,2020 at 16:29

    This list just proves that 1980 sucked, and the artist’s that didn’t suck put out better albums in earlier years!

  • May 17,2020 at 07:31

    I was 25 throughout most of 1980. After hearing the changes in music between 1977-1979, I knew the 80’s were going to kick off with all engines running. My 1980 memories, musically speaking, are so very different from you presented. Living in L.A., I went to Hollywood every week, to buy my music. Regretfully, many titles I posted never got a U.S. release. I bought so many, many imports!!
    You really need to consider your List. Missing In Action:

    The Associates: The Affectionate Punch
    Blondie: Autoamerican
    Comsat Angels: Waiting For A Miracle
    Echo & The Bunnymen: Crocodiles
    John Foxx: Metamatic
    Japan: Gentlemen Take Polaroids
    Killing Joke: Killing Joke
    The Motels: Careful
    Gary Numan: Telekon
    Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
    Roxy Music: Flesh and Blood
    Simple Minds: Empires And Dance
    Split Enz: True Colours
    The Teardrop Explodes: Kilimanjaro
    Ultravox: Vienna

  • May 14,2020 at 08:40

    1980 was one of the best years in music ever for both Albums and Songs. Some really conservative and mainstream choices that have not aged well; probably only got on because of who released them. The glaring omissions on this list for me are: Searching for the Young Soul Rebels by Dexys Midnight Runners (probably should be No.1 as it stands the test of time like anything on the above list), Dirty Mind by Prince (already pushing the envelope both lyrically and musically) and Bebe Le Strange by Heart (Classic Rock of the highest order). Honourable mentions but not necessarily TOP 25 are: The Birthday Party by The Birthday Party (Dark and Chaotic Post Punk preparing Nick Cave to take over the world, Ready N Willing by Whitesnake (Great Throwback Heavy Rock) and Union Jacks by The Babys (Some really awesome Power Pop songs).

  • May 14,2020 at 01:33

    The title of this article is super misleading, as it leads the readers to believe that is a best-of list, not a “most wanted/collected” list. Thus, I’m not surprised to see a lot of safe choices here, though Closer and Remain In Light both deserve all the acclaim they receive and more. Some utter dross here, like Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, The River, and Back In Black. My own favorite LPs (that rate 4 stars or above on a 5-star scale) of 1980 include the following (with pertinent comments on some):

    Tuxedomoon – Half-Mute
    Ultravox – Vienna
    Gary Numan – Telekon
    Bauhaus – In The Flat Field
    Devo – Freedom Of Choice
    The B-52’s – Wild Planet
    Fred Frith – Gravity
    The Residents – Commercial Album (A brilliant piece of satire on the nature of pop music and commercial radio, with hundreds of fascinating musical ideas between the 40 songs; I like to think of CA as its own Top 40 station, albeit from another universe!)
    Talking Heads – Remain In Light
    Siouxsie And The Banshees – Kaleidoscope (Their 2 previous LPs are terrific, but Kaleidoscope represents SATBs’ coming-out party, artistically, with electronic, Middle Eastern, and psychedelic influences added to the sonic palette)
    MX-80 Sound – Out Of The Tunnel
    Joy Division – Closer
    The Specials – More Specials (Every bit as great as the S/T debut; perhaps even superior in some respects, with the Specials incorporating lounge, film score, and other eclectic influences that actually aid the songs)
    The Cramps – Songs The Lord Taught Us (The only Cramps album you need, unless you’re a diehard; their schtick began wearing thin on Psychedelic Jungle, and only continued to deteriorate from there)
    Yello – Solid Pleasure (Look past Oh Yeah and start with Yello’s 2 Ralph LPs. You’ll find an exciting synthpop group; on SP, there’s a haunting 3-track suite of dark ambient (Magneto/Massage/Assistant’s Cry. Bostitch is proto-techno from the analog age)

  • May 13,2020 at 18:20

    #19: There is no perfect double album. Really? “The Wall” doesn’t qualify as perfect?

  • May 13,2020 at 18:14

    Trying to condense the best 20 albums from a decade as rich in different musical proposals as the 80s is a difficult task, but, particularly, I think this list is very much better. It focuses too much on some styles and, unfortunately, disdains others and there are albums by artists more typical of the 70s than of the 80s. In my opinion, there are unforgivable forgetfullness. Where are the albums of artists and groups from the 80s as important as Prince, Michael Jackson, Run DMC, Blondie, The Jam, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Smiths, REM, Madonna, Pixies, New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Pixies, Sonic Youth, Public Enemy, Metallica, Black Flag, …?
     

  • May 13,2020 at 18:01

    The Blues Brothers but no Prince’s Dirty Mind? Come on..

  • May 13,2020 at 17:58

    chuptapod
    May 12, 2020 at 23:19
    Hi there – Did you mean to say that “Saturday Night Live” sucked, or did you mean “Saturday Night Fever”, which had a little more to do with disco…?

    I’m on the side of the author. By 1980, “Saturday Night Live” well and truly sucked.
    On a positive note, I agree with most of your choices in the list. In addition to some of those already mentioned in other comments, I might have also included Prince’s “Dirty Mind,” Daryl Hall’s “Sacred Songs,” Al Jarreau’s “This Time,” Bow Wow Wow’s “Your Cassette Pet,” Lou Reed’s “Growing up in Public,” Jerry Lee Lewis’s “When Two Worlds Collide,” Captain Beefheart’s “Doc at the Radar Station,” T-Bone Burnett’s “Truth Decay,” Utopia’s “Deface the Music,” Rockpile’s “Seconds of Pleasure,” Rob Hegel’s “Hegel,” Doug and the Slugs’s “Cognac and Bologna,” the Slade compilation album “Slade Smashes,” both Elvis Costello compilations of the year (“10 Bloody Marys and 10 How’s Your Fathers” and “Taking Liberties”), and maybe even REO Speedwagon’s “Hi Infidelity” and The [New] Chipmunks’s “Chipmunk Punk.”

  • May 13,2020 at 15:22

    Voglio rispondere a MarcoMariar che dice vergognatevi, vergognati tu che non sai leggere l’inglese bene. Questa e’ una lista dei dischi piu’ collezionati su discogs del 1980 non degli anni 80 la maggior parte delle band che citi non esistevano nel 1980 dream syndicate, REM non erano nemmeno formati. Non e’ una scelta della redazione e’ una classidfica dei dischi piu collezionati del sito quindi una statistica. Leggi bene o usa google translator e poi sto ripondendo a te ma loro sono inglesi se scrivi in italiano non ti cagano nemmeno. Requiescant.

  • May 13,2020 at 13:36

    Indeed very conservative list but it’s a US-centric one so completely irrelevant in 2020. No surprises there. Billy Joel? Blues Brothers? Give me a break.

  • May 13,2020 at 13:10

    Oh dear, this list has written “Conservatism” and “Mainstream” all over it… The above albums by Talking Heads, David Bowie, The Cure and Joy Division are all respectable, but the rest simply reads like a joke. No “Crazy Rhythms” by The Feelies, no “Underwater Moonlight” by The Soft Boys, no “Jeopardy” by The Sound, no “Argybargy” by Squeeze, no “Gaucho” by Steely Dan, no “Like Flies On Sherbert” by Alex Chilton, no “Jane From Occupied Europe” by Swell Maps, no “Love Zombies” by The Monochrome Set… all albums from 1980, and each of it would blow those worn-out and lukewarm mainstream artefacts away.

  • May 13,2020 at 12:22

    Vergognatevi, alcuni di questi sono tra i dischi peggiori del decennio. Avete mai sentito parla di Dream Syndicate, X, Dead Kennedys, Smiths, American Music Club, Pixies, Tom Waits, Nick cave, R.E.M., Feelies e potrei continuare all’infinito, tanti sono i nomi migliori di quelli che avete scelto !!!

  • May 13,2020 at 09:57

    No ‘Searching for the young soul rebels” by Dexys Midnight Runners???? ‘Sound Effects’ by the Jam, ‘Get Happy’ by Elvis Costello, ‘More Specials’ by Specials, ‘Never for Ever’ by Kate Bush, ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ by Adam & the Ants, ‘The correct use of soap’ by Magazine or ‘Heartattack and Vine’ by Tom Waits? I would have only 7 from your list on mine…….I suppose that’s the beauty of music!

  • May 13,2020 at 08:38

    And where is Permanent Waves by Rush? McCartney II? Oldfield’s QE2?

  • May 13,2020 at 03:53

    What happened to Kate Bush’s “Never for Ever”? That was the album of the year!
    Also honourable mentions to Jon & Vangelis “Short Stories” Jackson Browne “Hold Out” and Split Enz “True Colours”

  • May 13,2020 at 00:22

    I was 9 in 1980. I find it funny that I have 16 of the 25 listed, and want only 2 more on this list that I don’t have.

  • May 12,2020 at 23:55

    martingg “Hahaha. No “Meat Is Murder”, no “Low-life”, no “Psychocandy”, no “Don’t Stand Me Down”, no “Our Favourite Shop”, no “Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft”, no “A Secret Wish”, no “The Lost Weekend”, no “Slave To The Rhythm”, no “Virgins And Philistines”, no “From Across The Kitchen Table”, no “Cupid & Psyche 85” – but Billy Joel, a boring Dire Straits, a Cure Compilation from 1980(!) and second hand R&B from the Blues Brothers.. Spotify, you can kiss my a**.”

    Erm, it’s a list of records from 1980, not from the 1980s. Whether these are the best records of 1980 is another matter altogether (they mostly aren’t) but that would explain why none of the records you mention are in the list.

  • May 12,2020 at 23:52

    Sandinista! was a massive disappointment after the superb London Calling – it’s never been brilliant and would have struggled to make a halfway decent EP – as Joe Strummer said later on, he was smoking so much weed at the time he nearly turned into a bush. One or two decent songs don’t make a “brilliant” triple LP. And surviving members of The Clash must wince every time they read about what Daniel Ortega turned into.

  • May 12,2020 at 23:19

    Hi there – Did you mean to say that “Saturday Night Live” sucked, or did you mean “Saturday Night Fever”, which had a little more to do with disco…?

  • May 12,2020 at 22:50

    Oops – I only quoted albums from 1985 (so I am wrong on the Cure Album). With this selection, pop music would have been dead by 1991.

  • May 12,2020 at 22:48

    Hahaha. No “Meat Is Murder”, no “Low-life”, no “Psychocandy”, no “Don’t Stand Me Down”, no “Our Favourite Shop”, no “Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft”, no “A Secret Wish”, no “The Lost Weekend”, no “Slave To The Rhythm”, no “Virgins And Philistines”, no “From Across The Kitchen Table”, no “Cupid & Psyche 85” – but Billy Joel, a boring Dire Straits, a Cure Compilation from 1980(!) and second hand R&B from the Blues Brothers.. Spotify, you can kiss my a**.

  • May 12,2020 at 22:24

    Communism is still bad.

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