Here are a few artists I think of when 80’s rock music is mentioned. The videos for these songs are for the most part really funny—in a quintessential 80’s way.
Under guilty pleasures, put me in the camp of loving me some Rick Springfield. Jessie’s Girl is one of the great pop rock songs of the decade and each of his 5 studio albums he put out had moments almost as good. I have chosen Celebrate Youth and Souls.
One of the first songs Springfield had a hit with was Sammy Hagar’s I’ve Done Everything for You. Hagar gets slagged for being the replacement for David Lee Roth, but his best work happened right before joining the band, as he produced some good solo work. The A side of Standing Hampton is one of the top rock sides of any record during the decade. I have highlighted below There’s Only One Way to Rock—It’s all just mental masturbation and 3 Lock Box—Suckers walk, money talks, but it can’t touch my 3 Lock Box.
Billy Squier put out one of the great hard rock records of the decade, Don’t Say No. The masturbatory titles like The Stroke, In the Dark, and Lonely is the Night were great singles. His greatest hits is loaded with good songs he produced in the 80’s. I have posted Everybody Wants You, which has a killer groove and Don’t Say You Love Me from the underrated record he put out in 1989, Hear and Now.
I think of one of the great voices in rock music is John Waite. He could do a hard rock song or a ballad equally well. In 1980, the Babys put out their last record with Waite sounding great on Back on My Feet Again and Midnight Rendezvous. His solo work had a lot of great songs which best examples are Change and Missing You. He finished the decade with Bad English, which has some embarrassing moments, but it is still better than the Warrants and Poisons that ruled album-oriented radio. Below are Back on My Feet Again and Change.
He looked more like Buddy Holly than David Lee Roth, so he didn’t have the right look to star in the early MTV days, but Donnie Iris had a unique sound that I think still holds up well. Ah Leah and
While he didn’t produce even 1 quality album, Canadian rocker Aldo Nova did have 2 excellent singles in Fantasy and Monkey on your back.
Let me wind up with a mention of the female rocker who might have been more consistent than any of these men during the decade, Pat Benatar. 2 of her best rockers were All Fired Up and Invincible.