1980's Music

Music 1980's.mp4

Music in the 1980's

Music in the 1980's was as much about theater and image as it was about sound. Music was responding to the rise of niche television and the birth of Music Television (MTV) and the start of music videos. While traditional pop music was still in huge demand with artists like Michael Jackson and Madonna who continued to blend their sound with rock and hip hop other genres like Hair Metal was taking America by storm. These bands had huge theatrical productions, a big sound and were interesting to watch on television. Bands like Metallica and Areosmith reshaped music throughout the 1980's and became the most listened to form of music in the 1980's.

Music was embracing the era of fun and enjoyment. America was captivated by entertainment in every form, bright colors and self expression was in and the discovery of new technology continues to push our imaginations.


Task 1: Watch the Introductory Video to this Unit (5 minutes)

Task 2: Review the provided videos and attached links for Music during the 1980's (15 minutes)

Task 4: Exploring Music Through Dance (25 minutes)

Music is a great conduit of Pop Culture because of its mass appeal, it's timeliness, and it's diversity. Another element of Pop Culture that directly connects to music is dance. Dance shows the spirit of the nation and the evolution of personal expression. You will research, identify and explain ONE (1) new dance styles or trends from the 1980's and explain how it represents the changes in America.

(Examples include Disco as it represents a new era of free expression, the Macarena and the influence of television, or Gangnam Style and the influence of the internet and globalization)

Your response should include:

  • Create a Google Slide or Google Document to complete and Submit Your Work

  • Research and Identify a new dance styles/trends introduced in the decade

  • Provide Examples

    • Picture and Video

    • Variations

  • What this new type/style of dance say about American culture of the time

  • Is it connected to a specific type of music or a specific song

    • Provide example (if applicable)

Task 5: Submit Your Work on GOOGLE CLASSROOM

The Buggles - Video Killed the Radio Star

This was the first ever music video played on MTV on August 1, 1981.

It signaled the future of music and entertainment and became an iconic song of the era.

"I Want My MTV!"


The music scene in this decade was pretty much about image — and with the arrival of the Music Television (MTV) in 1981, the images that accompanied the artist mattered much more than ever. By 1983 MTV was available on over 2,000 cable channels (from a mere 300 on its maiden launch). Another music channel VH1 was launched in 1984 and introduced a more classic rock format. Simply put, the predominance of these music videos as around-the-clock marketing tool was effective and influential in bringing several new artists as well as new genres into the mainstream. (https://mentalitch.com/music-of-the-1980s/ )


Michael Jackson

Bruce Springsteen

Hip Hop / Rap

Hip-hop, cultural movement that attained widespread popularity in the 1980s and ’90s; also, the backing music for rap, the musical style incorporating rhythmic and/or rhyming speech that became the movement’s most lasting and influential art form. Although widely considered a synonym for rap music, the term hip-hop refers to a complex culture comprising four elements: deejaying, or “turntabling”; rapping, also known as “MCing” or “rhyming”; graffiti painting, also known as “graf” or “writing”; and “B-boying,” which encompasses hip-hop dance, style, and attitude, along with the sort of virile body language that philosopher Cornel West described as “postural semantics.” (A fifth element, “knowledge of self/consciousness,” is sometimes added to the list of hip-hop elements, particularly by socially conscious hip-hop artists and scholars.) (https://www.britannica.com/art/hip-hop )


Beastie Boys


New Wave

New wave is different from other genres that are tied to the first-wave punk. New wave music has similar characteristics to pop music even though it has maintained the original ethos of punk rock sound. It however displays characteristics that are complex both in lyrics and music. New wave has common characteristics with other genres such as diversity, electronic productions, making use of synthesizers, and significance of styling among others. New wave is certainly a definitive genre of the early 1980s. The genre has enjoyed a huge following from all walks of life and it has continued to evolve more in the contemporary ages so as to benefit even more people. (https://www.lexiconmagazine.com/history-of-new-wave/ )

Culture Club

Talking Heads

Depeche Mode

Hair Metal

Hard rock bands like Metallica and Aerosmith helped shape their musical sound. In the U.S., hair metal was popularized on the Sunset Strip of Los Angeles beginning in the early 1980s. At the height of its popularity in the 1980s, hair bands had huge radio and MTV hits and were one of the most popular genres in all of music. (https://www.liveabout.com/what-is-hair-metal )

Guns n' Roses