The 1980s was a peak era for rock and roll bands. The music got heavier, the shows got more outrageous, and some of the biggest names in rock history rose to international and perpetual fame.
Below is a list of the top 5 greatest rock bands of the 1980s that we love to play everyday here at Retro Rock Australia.
1. Guns N’ Roses
The hard rock band Guns N’ Roses skyrocketed into popularity in 1987 with the release of their debut album, Appetite for Destruction. It reached number 7 on the Australian Albums chart and number 1 on the US Billboard 200. Their increased fame is owed in part to the MTV channel which played the music video for their single “Welcome to the Jungle” after hours. They later went on to release hits like “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and covers of “Live and Let Die” by Wings and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan.
Aerosmith band member Joe Perry said they were the first rock band he’d seen that reminded him of the legendary group, Led Zeppelin.
Metallica, formed in 1981, is considered to be one of the most influential thrash metal bands of all time. It took three records for them to achieve international acclaim, however. Finally, with Master of Puppets, they launched onto the heavy metal scene – or rather, they launched heavy metal onto the scene.
As of 2020, the band was planning their eleventh studio album, 39 years after their initial formation.
Journey formed in 1973, but their legend status was affirmed in the 1980s when a series of hits brought them fame and fortune. “Don’t Stop Believin’” was one of their biggest hits, and it was released in 1981 on their seventh album, Escape. This album proved to be their most successful yet. The band would gain a lasting following even into the 2000s, when it became the top selling track on iTunes that wasn’t released in the 21st century.
Queen was already enormously popular before the 1980s. But that decade took their fame to new heights. The song “Another One Bites the Dust” from their 1980 album The Game turned into the band’s most popular single. As of 2018, their Greatest Hits album, released in 1981, was still the best selling album in the United Kingdom.
The 80s would also see the last time their lead singer, the incomparable Freddy Mercury, performed with the band before his death in 1991.
5. Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi formed in 1983, but 1986 was when they really broke through to stardom with their third album, Slippery When Wet. This album featured what are now considered classic rock songs such as “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.” It also hit number one on the Australian Albums chart.
Which of these rock bands is your favourite from the 80s? Let us know by requesting the singles you love here from our massive music library.