It was the decade of big hair, leg warmers, Reaganomics, and MTV. For many Generation Xers, now in their 40s and early 50’s, the alternative music of the 1980s provided the soundtrack for their high school and college years. If you’re thinking of hosting an event with an ‘80s theme, Bialek’s Music is happy to accommodate this request.
The music of the ‘80s covered a variety of styles including alternative rock, new wave, the new romantics, and British post-punk. There was much overlap in these genres and alternative fans frequently listened to them all.
In the early 1980s, alternative rock was mostly part of the underground scene until it began to gain mainstream popularity. Gradually, the music of bands such as R.E.M, The Bangles, and the Violent Femmes were given extensive radio play and became widely known. Other bands in this genre included The Replacements, They Might Be Giants, and The Church.
The arrival of MTV in 1981 sparked the widespread success of new wave music. British artists were the ﬁrst to take advantage of this new video medium, initially outselling American music labels. Soon after, in 1982, bands such as A Flock of Seagulls began reaching the Billboard Top Ten with hits like “I Ran (So Far Away)”, arguably owing much of their phenomenal success to the power of music videos.
As a sub-genre of new wave, the new romantics made heavy use of synthesizers. David Bowie and Roxy Music were pioneers of this movement, heavily inﬂuencing later groups such as Ultravox, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Thompson Twins, and Spandau Ballet.
British post-punk bands included Siouxie and the Banshees and the Psychedelic Furs, followed by New Order, Joy Division, and many others that skyrocketed to mainstream popularity.