1986: Hip hop is here to stay and pop gets bigger

1986 was a big year for pop and hip hop, with several major artists reaching career milestones.

Madonna’s third record True Blue topped the sales charts of 1986, landing her in the Guinness Book of World Records as the year’s most successful singer. Janet Jackson’s Control pushed her into the pop music community and earned her numerous awards and titles. Peter Gabriel’s So was heralded as the best album of his career, as was Bad Brains’ I Against I, and Anita Baker had a breakthrough hit with Rapture, winning two Grammy Awards.

Working to climb out of a slump, Paul Simon’s inventive Graceland brought the music of South Africa into the American mainstream and put him back on top despite controversy surrounding the record.

Hip hop was represented by Run-D.M.C.’s breakthrough Raising Hell and Beastie Boys debut Licensed to Ill, solidifying the genre’s place in American music.

In a New Jersey house eclectic musician R. Stevie Moore was pioneering the home-recording / bedroom tape movement with his extensive catalog of quirky rock songs.

Are any of your favorite records on this list? Do you think 1986 was the greatest year in music?


Graceland – Paul Simon
Licensed to Ill – Beastie Boys
Raising Hell – Run-D.M.C.
Love and Hope and Sex and Dreams – Bodeans
Control – Janet Jackson
So – Peter Gabriel
The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
The Way It Is – Bruce Hornsby and the Range
Talking With the Taxman About Poetry – Billy Bragg
The Edge of the World – The Mekons
Candy Apple Grey – Husker Du
Guitar Town – Steve Earle
Life’s Rich Pageant – REM
Boomtown – David & David
Crowded House – Crowded House
The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn – Ben Vaughn Combo
I Against I – Bad Brains
Rapture – Anita Baker
Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc. – Dwight Yokum
Evol – Sonic Youth
Especially for You – The Smithereens
Throwing Muses – Throwing Muses
They Might Be Giants – They Might Be Giants
Brotherhood – New Order
Skylarking – XTC
Telephone Free Landslide Victory – Camper Van Beethoven
Word Up! – Cameo
Slippery When Wet – Bon Jovi
Invisible Touch – Genesis
Express – Love and Rockets
Strong Persuader – Robert Cray

Category: 80s


Article by: Julie Miller