I would vote for another Australia band, the Go-Betweens, in a tie with Husker Du as best bands of the 80s.
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More Songs about...1978
Take me to the River
Fear of Music...1979
Life During Wartime
Remain in Light...1980
Once in a Life Time
Stop Making Sense...1984...one of the best live albums ever
Speaking in Tongues...1983
I have missed a few albums but here is a true contender as band of the 80's...they were initially fresh, unique & quirky. Byrne highly animated, the band precise & rhythmic.
Having had my say I'm going to flip the switch and "find my self a city to live in"
Phasecorrect in my college days I sat on stage with Loop!
I was part of the local road crew-they were so loud it was unbelieveable and they blew the main electrics!
As usual in these threads I see two bands clearly belonging more to the 70's than 80's-Talking Heads and particulary AC/DC.
Of course there is crossover but that means you could throw in The Rolling Stones!
For me probably The Waterboys-circa 1983-88,after that it all went wrong.
REM as well they were superb in the 80's.
I second Wvick's nomination of U2. If the criteria of the question posed is the absolute best band during the decade of the 80's whether or not the band still exists, then it's U2 hands down. Their longevity and continued relevance as artists reinforces this decision. Now, we could start a subthread, "Best Defunct Band of the Eighties", and many of the previous bands mentioned would be worthy of the mantle (with no knock to their importance).
I have a strange relationship with U2 I liked them a lot at the time but now I find a lot of it pretty tired sounding.
I forgot The Smiths who are massively important and more original than U2.
I would argue REM's 80's music has (in my mind anyway)aged better than U2 and overall they've been more consistant than U2 although both bands releases in recent years have been below par-U2's have been particularly lame imho.
Some of the other suggestions are er um ah well bordering from the pitiful to the obscure.
It's all about opinions but dear oh dear Audiophile lameness abounds...
hey be and phasecorrect what do you think was best loop . i liked 'glided' but not much for 'fade out' nor 'the world in your eyes' hmm did either of you like main robert h.'s post loop band. gosh loop mentioned on audion. *wow* :)
i'm going to vote for *band of susans* based on 'hope against hope' and of course especially 'love agenda'
guitars were rather good (well a few bands)in the late 80's/early 90's.unlike now with guitars being 300%crap and evryone raving....
sorry i wasn't much for jesus mary chain(too much of a riffy sound/sort of trad sounding.) but i loved the black tambourine.so go figure. :) now how about that for alternative pop. no in quotes needed. :)
Ben, The Smith's is an interesting and good choice. If you look at U2's work strictly from the eighties, don't you agree that the work was their most important and creative? This thread's criteria being "Best Band of the 80's", I don't think I can rate the Smith's above U2 or even REM as you also mentioned. I personally never got into REM as much as the rest of the world seems to have. In the early days of the band, I could never understand a word coming out of Micheal Stipe's mouth, and it ultimately turned me off to them.
Tvad-I agree that U2 did their best work in the 80's though Achtung Baby is sometimes regarded as their best.
I did like them a lot at the time,their success was clearly based on very straight forward rock dynamics and I realised at the time of the Red Rocks gig they were going to be massive.
REM had much less of the classic rock dynamic but I don't know why despite prefering U2 at the time (I always liked both) I would now rather listen to a REM record than a U2 one.
The point I guess for me,as time has went on and I've heard a lot more music and I'm much more aware of their influences I'm not so sure U2 were that important or indeed creative in comparison to either REM or The Smiths.
What they did do at the time was put energy back into rock music when it was kind of lost in the post-punk fall out and more visual era of the 80's.
They were a classic rock band hence their massive success in the States.
Weirdly having seen both live in the 80's REM destroyed U2 but I would guess on their day U2 took their live performance to a different level maybe I was unlucky the time I saw them(U2).
The Police were a good to great pop rock band but if you are interested in the history of popular music or in terms of influence they are ultimately not of great importance.
Great musicians with a guy who developed into a great songwriter and near the top in 80's terms but even as a guy who bought all their records I couldn't argue they were the best.
I loved Prince at the time and Sign O' The Times would still be in my top 25 albums.
But hey we're on an Audio forum not one for music fans...
I'm from Jersey, best rock band in the 1980's was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Here's a recap of the band's releases in the 80's:
1. The River
2. Nebraska -- solo effort.
3. Born in the USA
4. Tunnel of Love.
Need I say more.
My second choice is Flock of Seagulls. Just kidding -- how about Tears for Fears?
Seriously, I would put The Police, Til Tuesday and Peter Gabriel on my list, just below the Boss. Honorable mentions to The Cure, Rush, NXS.
Jazz: Don Pullen/George Adams group. They managed to include the full history of jazz in a single set. For pop, I'd have to vote for Oingo, too.
However, I have never understood one particular thing about the 80s: Why on earth was U2 so popular? To me their music is BORRRRRRRRING! What am I missing?
At that time (I graduated HS in '82), the best band in the world to me was, no contest, The Replacements (Twin/Tone label-era work, mostly, and before the forced departure of the late Bob Stinson). Looking back, I can see now that they were not just my favorite band of that era (there were other good bands then, some of whom I listen to more of today than I do the 'Mats), or the band that meant the most to me personally (something lots of fans claimed to share when it came to this band, though how many of them can say like me that the band stayed the night at their house during their first tour - and that we jammed in my basement?), but that The Replacements were the band that best reflected what was happening in rock by that time: It was dying, and one wanted a band that made you feel, The king is dead, long live the king, and fuck it all to hell, let's rock one last time (something which they did best in concert).
Gee, no one mentioned Throbbing Gristle... ;-)
My not-so-short list (mind you these are more what I think of as quality bands as opposed to ones who may have defined the "sound of the 80's" for the masses) - in no particular order--
Echo & The Bunnymen
Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians
Wall of Voodoo
I'm sure I've left off some good ones....