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Best Music Albums of the 80's

Updated on April 13, 2015

Brace Yourself For An 80's Flashback!

On a recent trip to Canada, we found that there weren't many local music stations so my husband and I decided to relive our teenage glory days by listening to the 80's station on Sirius radio. We heard song after song that we hadn't listened to in years (even though we have tons of 80's CDs sitting in a tower next to the stereo). After a few flashback weeks, I decided that I should share my top 10 favorite albums with my fellow Squidooers who may have grown up in the 80's too.

Enjoy and every once in a while, give these songs a listen....they brought back some great memories for me and I hope they will for you too!

Def Leppard image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

1) Thriller - Michael Jackson

Much to my parents chagrin, I decorated the walls of my bedroom with Michael Jackson posters back in the 1982-1984 time frame when this album shot Michael Jackson into super stardom.


It's no shock that this album is #1 on my 80's list. After all, Michael Jackson took home seven Grammy awards for this album and its songs back in 1984. The album was originally released in 1982 and achieved a 27X platinum level. Amazing!


2) Madonna - Like A Virgin

Madonna isn't one to shy away from controversy and back in the 80's her provocative clothes and oozing sexuality made parents squirm when their daughters started mimicking her style. I was no exception....the leggings, big hair, and fun accessories.

Like a Virgin
Like a Virgin

Although Like A Virgin was Madonna's second album, it was the one that shot her to stardom in 1984 and made her a household name. This album was loaded with chart-topping singles including the title track, Material Girl, and Dress Me Up.


Miss The Days of Vinyl?

3) George Michael - Faith

Listening to George Michael's Faith album always transports me back to my freshman college days when I spent countless weekends at frat parties drinking and dancing to "I want your sex". Seems those college boys loved to get girls out on that dance floor for that song :)

Faith (2 CD/1 DVD Special Edition)
Faith (2 CD/1 DVD Special Edition)

As the album of the year winner in 1989, Faith is considered one of the best pop albums in history. George Michael's debut album as a solo artist has sold over 20 million copies (worldwide) and features some of the best dance songs ever such as "I Want Your Sex" and "Monkey".


4) U2 - The Joshua Tree

My college boyfriend LOVED this album so when I hear any of the U2 songs from this album, I'm transported back to my college days.

The Joshua Tree
The Joshua Tree

The Joshua Tree was released back in 1987 and to this day, it is U2's best selling album. It has sold 25 million copies worldwide shot U2 to international fame and gave the band a tough standard to live up to over the years.


5) Prince - Purple Rain

Since I grew up in Minnesota, I was a fan of Prince long before this album and movie came out. It is no wonder that it was one of my favorites from the 80's and I still remember going to see the movie with my best friend Becky.

Music from the Motion Picture "Purple Rain"
Music from the Motion Picture "Purple Rain"

Released in 1984 as the soundtrack to the movie, Purple Rain may have been Prince's sixth album, but it was the one that made him a household name outside the Twin Cities and the world. According to Wikipedia, it has gone 18X Platinum and sold 43 million copies abroad. Prince won 2 Grammy Awards in 1985 for the album.


6) Van Halen - 1984

Every time I think about one of the best songs on the album, Jump, I get a smile on my face. Back in the days, my high school hosted "talent" shows/competitions. The boys loved getting their bands together and playing hits for the crowds. JUMP was the song one of my friend's bands played to win the competition back in 1985. They had the big hair and crazy moves to boot.

Van Halen: 1984
Van Halen: 1984

One of my favorite albums of the 80's also featured one of my favorite big-haired rock stars - David Lee Roth who incidentally left the band a year later. The Jump track was one of the most popular songs of the year selling over 3 million copies by itself. The album sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. according to Wikipedia.


7) Def Leppard - Hysteria

During our 80's flashback drive in Canada, I think we heard 5 different songs off of this album. As I recall, these songs also got me through many study sessions back in high school and college!

Def Leppard - Hysteria
Def Leppard - Hysteria

Released in 1987, Hysteria is Def Leppard's best selling sold over 20 million copies worldwide. Seven hit singles were on the album including my favorite - Pour Some Sugar on Me.


Artists of the 80's Videos on Youtube

8) INXS - Kick

Kick (Expanded & Remastered)
Kick (Expanded & Remastered)

The Australian rock band INXS released Kick back in 1987. According to Wikipedia, it spawned for top 10 singles on the U.S. charts and has been certified 6X platinum.

The band were formed originally as The Farriss Brothers by schoolmates Michael Hutchence, Andrew Farriss, Garry Gary Beers, Kirk Pengilly, Tim Farriss and Jon Farriss. After a couple of years in which they learned their trade by playing in small clubs and pubs, they took the name INXS.


9) Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet

One of the best concerts that I ever went to was to see Bon Jovi in Minneapolis back in 1989. They rocked it then and they still do today!

Slippery When Wet [Remastered]
Slippery When Wet [Remastered]

THE top selling album of 1987, Slippery When Wet gave Bon Jovi instant recognition in the U.S. and abroad. To this day, it is their best-selling album. Most of the songs on the album were written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.


10) The Police - Synchronicity


Containing The Police's best-ever single, Every Breath You Take, the Synchronicity album hit store shelves back in 1983. Almost all of the songs on the album were written by Sting who was the lead singer of The Police.


80's Artist Poll

Who was your favorite artist in the 80's??

See results

Fan of the 80's? Share Your Comments Here!

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    • mrsclaus411 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens! The 80's is truly the greatest decade music wise. I loved the thriller album, in my mind it will always be in a league of its own!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      U2 forever!

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image


      7 years ago

      Wonderful idea here, this lens is great! It makes me wish I was alive for more of the 80's :)

    • kimmer1491 profile image


      7 years ago from Big Lake, MN

      Oh yes, brings back many memories!! Although I'm a dyed-in-the-wool country music fan, the classic 80's rock songs are still near and dear to me! I love Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion I and II, AC/DC Back in Black and Meatloaf Bat Out of Hell. Great lens, love the compilation albums :-)

    • MexicaliBill LM profile image

      MexicaliBill LM 

      7 years ago

      I think those of us of a certain age love the 80s music as much for the memories they bring up as the songs themselves.

    • profile image

      the777group lm 

      7 years ago

      I still remember the first time I ever saw Billie Jean! Wow!

    • unstucktheory profile image


      8 years ago

      Having a great flashback to the eighties here :-) Love the lens, your layout is so easy to follow and so so so many awesome songs in there!


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