by Alex Cosper (12/31/12)
The early eighties marked a recession for the music industry but certain artists such as AC/DC and Pink Floyd enjoyed huge success. The pop charts had tapped out on disco by the end 1981 and began to lean in an adult contemporary direction that deeply embraced Journey and Hall & Oates. The Michael Jackson album Thriller in late 1982, along with the Prince album 1999 helped usher in an era of r&b-spirited dance music. Country music also made a mark, especially with Dolly Parton's hit "9 To 5."
Another song that stood out as timeless from the era was "Super Freak" by Rick James. Music by The Gap Band also electrified the dance scene. The use of electronic instruments began to flourish with artists such as Kraftwerk, Human League and Soft Cell. A lot of new wave music showed up on the charts from Gary Numan to the B-52's. The era also marked the rise of The Go-Go's, who helped bring attention to more female bands.
Album-Oriented Rock stations gained popularity in the early eighties. Part of the success of rock stations was that rock had developed a rich history of big selling artists. It was a period where glam rockers shined and modern rock like The Clash and The Cure was becoming legendary. The Police continued to put out poetic masterpieces influenced by jazz and reggae. More international sounds began to appear more frequently in American pop music.
Madonna started having hits in 1983, which would be a landmark year for pop music. Other big names in the early eighties were John Cougar, Men At Work and Eurythmics. By 1983 a lot of radio stations began focusing on music with dance beats, which is what Def Leppard, Steve Miller Band, David Bowie and Midnight Star all had in common. Blondie also set the stage for a decade of dance with their smash "Rapture," which was the first rap song to hit number one.
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