1980: The Buggles, Pretenders, Talking Heads

1980 ushers in a new era of music and popular culture.

The Buggles The Age of Plastic was an object of art imitating life, with lead single “Video Killed the Radio Star” topping charts in over a dozen countries. The song was an important part of the cultural transition that was happening in the eighties, its music video being the first to be shown on MTV when the channel hit airwaves a year later.

Pretenders had one of the biggest debuts of the year, following the success of their 1979 cover of The Kink’s “Stop Your Sobbing.” The record debuted at number 1 in the UK and cracked the Top 10 in the States. It is still considered one of the greatest albums of the decade and of all time.

By 1980 punk is at its popularity peak and begins moving in a more aggressive direction, manifested through the debut of the Dead Kennedys, The Cramps and X’s Los Angeles. In the UK, 2 tone was giving way to ska with releases from Madness, The Specials, The Beat and Bad Manners.

Other notable releases, listed below, include Talking Heads’ Remain in Light,  Joy Division’s Closer, Bruce Springsteen’s The River and Diana Ross’ Diana.

Was 1980 the Greatest Year in Music? Let us know what you think in the comments below and across social media with #XPNGreatestYear.


Pretenders – The Pretenders
Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure
The Age of Plastic – The Buggles
One-Trick Pony – Paul Simon
Crimes of Passion – Pat Benatar
Remain in Light – Talking Heads
The River – Bruce Springsteen
Closer – Joy Division
Crocodiles – Echo and the Bunnymen
Permanent Waves – Rush
The Romantics – The Romantics
Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables – The Dead Kennedys
Metamatic – John Foxx
Love Stinks – The J. Geils Band
Give Me the Night – George Benson
End of the Century – Ramones
Get Happy!! – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
TP – Teddy Pendergrass
Boy – U2
Drama – Yes
The Wanderer – Donna Summer
Freedom of Choice – Devo
Diana – Diana Ross
Back in Black – AC/DC
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Argybargy – Squeeze
Mad Love – Linda Ronstadt
Voices – Hall & Oates
The Psychedelic Furs – The Psychedelic Furs
Never for Ever – Kate Bush
Willie Nile – Willie Nile
Glass Houses – Billy Joel
On Through the Night – Def Leppard
Let’s Get Serious – Jermaine Jackson
Sinsemilla – Black Uhuru
Departure – Journey
Duke – Genesis
More Specials – The Specials
Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel
Hypnotised – The Undertones
Cameosis – Cameo
Heaven and Hell – Black Sabbath
Crazy Rhythms – The Feelies
Los Angeles – X
I Just Can’t Stop It – The Beat
Roses in the Snow – Emmylou Harris
Songs the Lord Taught Us – The Cramps
What’s the Word – The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Empires and Dance – Simple Minds
Double Fantasy – John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Uprising – Bob Marley and the Wailers
Emotional Rescue – The Rolling Stones
Huey Lewis and the News – Huey Lewis and the News
True Colours – Split Enz
Underwater Moonlight – The Soft Boys
The Game – Queen
Real People – Chic
Searching for the Young Soul Rebels – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Vienna – Ultravox
The Affectionate Punch – Associates
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) – David Bowie
Kaleidoscope – Siouxsie and the Banshees
Wild Planet – The B-52’s
Signing Off – UB40
Sandinista! – The Clash
Doc at the Radar Station – Captain Beefheart
Triumph – The Jacksons
Celebrate! – Kool and the Gang
Hotter than July – Stevie Wonder
Zenyatta Mondatta – The Police
Dirty Mind – Prince
Gaucho – Steely Dan
Hi Infidelity – REO Speedwagon

Category: 80s


Article by: Julie Miller