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When I think about the music from the 80s it brings back memories of big shoulder pads and big hair. During the decade of the 80s, the look was often as important as the music itself and often reflected the quest for glamour. Bands who produced electronic music with keyboards, synthesizers and drum machines soon replaced the standard rock band of three guitars and a drum set. Music of the 80s in the UK , was dominated by artists like Gary Numan who wrote and performed catchy tunes like his smash hit “Cars”.

The music from the 80s would see the launching one of music’s most important media outlets since American Bandstand - the music video giant called MTV. MTV meant that a musician’s or band’s songs could be promoted to a worldwide audience of millions of people. Although we now have the Internet to learn about new song releases and kind of take all the different music video channels for granted, the launching of MTV was an amazing new technology that allowed music lovers to not only listen to the music of the 80s, but to see it performed on TV as well.

In 1969 the world would be astounded by half a million music lovers getting together in peaceful protest of the Vietnam War. The protesters would listen to 3 days of non-stop music performed by some of the worlds greatest rock bands on a farm in upstate New York. The concert I am speaking of was called “Woodstock”. During the decade of the 80s the world would once again be astounded by the power that music can wield. In 1984 and again in 1985, Boom Town Rats musician, Bob Geldof would help put together a best selling record called “Band Aid” and a global concert called “Live Aid” to help raise money and awareness in order to aid the starving people in Africa by getting them the food and medical supplies they so desperately needed. Bob Geldof would be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure would write the hit single “Do They Know It's Christmas?” This song alone helped make the music from the 80s memorable. Do They Know It's Christmas?” would be performed by a group of all-star musicians who called themselves Band Aid for the record. Band Aid would quickly shoot up to the #1 slot in the UK. George Michael, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof, Bono, Sting, Boy George as well as members of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet along with many others took part in the song.

In the summer of 1985, the concert Live Aid took place. Live Aid was actually simultaneous concerts that took place at Wembley Stadium in London and at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia with a TV audience of over 400 million music lovers. The Live Aid concert was music from the 80s at its best and was being done for a great cause. Here are some of the fantastic musicians who contributed to this worthy cause: at Wembley Stadium there was Paul McCartney, U2, Queen, David Bowie, The Who along with Elton John. The Philadelphia stage presented The Four Tops, Joan Baez, Neil Young, Madonna, and Bob Dylan. Phil Collins would perform at Philadelphia and then hop on a jet so he could perform at Wembley! Prince Charles and Lady Diana attended Wembley Stadium to hear this memorable concert.

The music of the 80s would bring together a group of rock superstars who went by the unusual name of “The Traveling Wilburys”. The members of “The Traveling Wilburys” were George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison. Their songs were an intriguing mesh of musical styles and singing which was well received by fans. “The Traveling Wilburys” would release two albums altogether, with the last one being performed as a foursome following Roy Orbison's death in 1988. The music from the 80s would see Michael Jackson back at the top of his form with the release of his “Bad” album. Michael Jackson’s “Bad” was the first album to produce five consecutive hits on Billboard’s 100 music chart.

Although synthesizer’s and pop music may have dominated the music of the 80s record sales, Heavy Metal music still had a strong following. The Heavy Metal music from the 80s included groups like Guns N Roses, Van Halen and Poison. The fan base for Heavy Metal bands has always been immensely loyal and there was even great mainstream success with 'power ballads' from the super-band Metallica. The 60s and 70s may have the most fans, but for me, the music from the 80s is the best!

Neil Gerstein is an expert author who writes about multiple topics. You can read some of his articles here:
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Do They Know It's Christmas? Band Aid