Nineteen eighty what?? I consider myself fortunate enough to have grown up listening to music of the 80’s. And not just listening to 80’s music, but really getting into it. Remember when you found the connection between lyrics and feelings? Music was so much more than some notes and words – it epitomized a time and place to you. That was what the 80’s and music did for me.

This list started out as a Top 5 list, then it became a top 10 list. I even had a hard time limiting the list to 10! So many great albums, many of which I didn’t truly appreciate until I was older.

It was 1982 I can still remember starting to listen to more and more music on the radio. All my friends were getting into it, just sitting around listening to the radio at someone’s house after school. Those were the days when MTV actually played music videos. Oh, MTV. Those early days of watching their New Year’s specials and top video shows were priceless. Back then we didn’t have the luxury of an iPod or smart phone for music. We had the radio, cassettes, and LPs. If you wanted a song for yourself, you had to sit listening to the radio with a blank cassette ready to hit record. My friends and I would go to JRs Music in the mall and look for the latest Billboard sheets showing the top songs/albums for the week.

The first actual album (LP) I bought was Van Halen’s 1984. What a great album it was too! Not great enough to make my Top 10 list here today, but a fantastic album nonetheless.

I consider myself a mostly alternative fan these days as well as country (I know, right?). It’s a shame I wasn’t as into alternative back in the 80’s. 1985 for example, was such a great year for alternative music. It was a year that brought us albums from The Cure, The Smiths, REM, Sonic Youth, RHCP, and New Order. When was the last time we saw such a collection of great bands like that in the same year? Oh yeah, it was 1986 when The Smiths, Sonic Youth, Depeche Mode, New Order, The Cure and The Pet Shop Boys all released another album! Or again in 1987 when many of them put out yet another album. Many of these bands continued to put out an album just about every year in the late 80’s. That’s commitment!

To this day, these albums bring back memories. Some memories from back then and some more current. But they always take me back to a time and place. In no particular order:

A-Ha – Hunting High and Low (1985)

Everyone knows Take On Me, but The Sun Also Shines On TV was a less popular song, and a really good “sound of the 80’s” kind of song.

Def Leppard – Hysteria (1987)

My favorite band of the 80’s, no doubt. I mean come on! Who doesn’t want to turn up the volume when Pour Some Sugar One Me comes on? Hysteria and Animal among the songs I listened to over and over again.

New Order – Substance (1987)

Blue Monday
, Bizarre Love Triangle and Thieves Like Us. One of the best compilation albums out there.

Kick – INXS (1987)

Even today I enjoy listening to this album. I have it on the MP3 player I take along on bike rides. Devil Inside will get anyone moving. Need You Tonight, Never Tear Us Apart; such meaning in their songs. Good music and yet such a sad story about the death of lead singer Michael Hutchence in 1997.

Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet (1986)

I’ve often argued that Slippery When Wet is one of the best albums of all time. It wasn’t Bon Jovi’s first album, but it certainly solidified them as a power group. One of the few albums where I like every single song.

Beastie Boys – License To Ill (1986)

Another album I didn’t really listen much to until I was older. Who didn’t like Fight For Your Right? You couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing it.

Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair (1985)

“Shout, shout, let it all out.” You know the words. Head Over Heals and Everybody Wants To Rule The World (a big song for the cold war era).

Open Up And Say…Ahh!!! – Poison (1988)

Sure they had big hair, but Poison had huge songs – Nothing But A Good Time, Fallen Angel, and rock ballad Every Rose Has Its Thorn.

Disintegration – The Cure (1989)

I can thank Nicole for my appreciation of The Cure; she’s an epic Cure fan. I have many favorite songs from The Cure, but if I had to pick an album, it would be Disintegration. Pictures Of You is undoubtedly one of my bigger Cure favorites. Then there’s Lovesong, Lullaby and some killer guitar riffs in Fascination Street.

Pretty Hate Machine – Nine Inch Nails (1989)

I’ve only seen a handful of bands live in concert – NIN is one of them, and what an awesome concert it was. PHM is their first album, and arguably one of the best with songs like Head Like A Hole, Terrible Lie and Sanctified , or my fave on the album, That’s What I Get. Just talking about them makes me want to turn the album on and turn up the volume. Trent Reznor has a unique style that you can’t help but getting into.



3 Thoughts on “Joe’s Top 10 Albums – 1985 to 1989

  1. Pingback: Extrapolate This! - Weekly Roundup - 5/8 to 5/14 | Extrapolate This!

  2. Tears for Fears is my favorite band. I love them so much! My favorite album of theirs, though is “The Seeds of Love” (1989), although I could listen to “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” on an infinite loop and not get sick of it. A couple of years back Roland came to sing for free downtown Orlando for the Free Summer Concert series that one of our local radio stations puts together, and I wanted to go so badly but Greg doesn’t care for them and I hate crowds and those free street concerts get crowded… so I didn’t go and I’m still kicking myself for it. Ugh.

    A-Ha was huge in France when I was in high school (I graduated in 1985). HUGE. I love that INXS album too. Always get sad when I think of the singer 🙁

    I saw Nicole’s post that you were going to The Cure concert next month and forgive me for laughing but I couldn’t believe that they were still touring. Those guys were old when I was young! Do they still wear the eye liner and white make-up? I’ll have to look them up. I liked a few of their songs back when I was in high school too, but I don’t know that particular album.

    Def Leppard… it was always one of the bands whose songs I knew but I could never tell you who sang them. A few years back Greg drilled it into my head that it was Def Leppard (“Ooooh, so that’s who Def Leppard is?!”) so I got that album from the library and now it’s a favorite… and I’m able to tell the kids who the band is when they ask me, lol.

    Have you ever heard of RockSugar? They were a band that mashed 80s hard rock hits with other songs and the results are hysterical. I was lucky to be able to purchase their CD (I don’t think you can anymore because they ran into copyright issues) and your post just reminded me that I should listen to it again. There are a few videos on YouTube, here is the link for “I Love Sugar on Me” (mash of “I Love Rock’n Roll by Joan Jett and Pour Some Sugar on Me)

    • Tears For Fears was one of those bands where I liked their mainstream songs from “the day”, but really liked them even more today with a bigger appreciation for their songs. Mad World, great song and that album is also on my exercise playlist. Poison was another one of those bands that comes to mind. Loved their big hits, but then listing to their albums as I got older, they were great. Ride Like The Wind has to be one of my faves.

      We’re looking forward to The Cure concert in a few weeks. This will be my third Cure concert. Nicole has seen so many more, including one in London. Nicole posted an article with the set lists they’ve been playing and it’s crazy. As “older” as they are, they are still giving a hell of a show. It wasn’t unusual to have them play a three hour show. And yes, he’s (Robert Smith) is still wearing the eye liner and lipstick and doing his hair, it’s awesome! Nicole mentioned that some of their last shows they’ve done on this tour they’ve played up to 5 encores!

      I wasn’t sure about RockSugar until I viewed your link. I didn’t realize who they were, but I did hear that mash before. It is really good. Thanks for sharing. Def Leppard was without question my favorite in the 80’s.

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