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Most Popular Pop Music Groups, Singers, Hit Songs of ’80s

Pop music during the 1980s reflects the ‘me first’ generation. The top 10 solo artists from the 80s garnered about 12% more most-requested songs on the top 50 charts for each year during the 1980s than scored by the top singers during the previous decade.

In contrast, musical groups in the 1980s account for 20% fewer top 50 hits than during the 1970s.

Even the most successful bands of the 80s were arguably driven by big name individual stars like Bono from U2 and Jon Bon Jovi. Among others, Steve Perry left Journey for a solo career as did Miami Sound Machine’s Gloria Estefan.

Consolidating Pop Culture Madness data for the 50 most requested songs from 1980 to 1989, the lists below show the most requested bands and solo artists from that era.

Top 10 Pop Music Groups

Kool & the Gang

The bands listed below generated 52 of the top 50 requested songs for all years in the 1980s, as well as 11 of the top 10 in-demand songs.

U2 … 9 hits with 3 in top 10 (average song in top 20)
Bon Jovi … 7 hits with 2 in top 10 (average in top 19)
Genesis … 7 hits none in top 10 (average in top 40)
Journey … 5 hits with 2 in top 10 (average in top 13)
Guns N Roses … 4 hits with 2 in top 10 (average in top 12)
Kool & the Gang … 4 hits with 1 in top 10 (average in top 14)
Culture Club … 4 hits none in top 10 (average in top 20)
Foreigner … 4 hits none in top 10 (average in top 23)
Pointer Sisters … 4 hits with 1 in top 10 (average in top 30)
Aerosmith … 4 hits none in top 10 (average in top 39).

Highest-Placing Song For Each Top Ten Music Group

Karma Chameleon (Culture Club)

Of the top ten bands below, only Bon Jovi had a number one song during the eighties.

In The Name Of Love (U2) – number 6 from 1984
Living On A Prayer (Bon Jovi) – number 1 from 1987
Misunderstanding (Genesis) – number 32 from 1980
Open Arms (Journey) – number 5 from 1982
Sweet Child Of Mine (Guns N Roses) – number 6 from 1988
Celebration (Kool & the Gang) – number 9 from 1981
Karma Chameleon (Culture Club) – number 15 from 1984
Waiting For A Girl Like You (Foreigner) – number 13 from 1981
I’m So Excited (Pointer Sisters) – number 10 from 1982
Love In An Elevator (Aerosmith) – number 22 from 1989.
Aerosmith’s ranking excludes its collaborative song Walk This Way, performed with Run D.M.C.

Solo Singers

madonna

The following individual singers accounted for 66 of the top 50 requested songs for all years in the 1980s. In addition, these solo performers recorded 15 of the top 10 in-demand songs.

Madonna … 14 hits with 4 in top 10 (average song in top 20)
Michael Jackson … 10 hits with 3 in top 10 (average in top 15)
Prince … 9 hits with 1 in top 10 (average in top 24)
Pat Benatar … 6 hits none in top 10 (average in top 33)
Sade … 5 hits with 3 in top 10 (average in top 15)
Bruce Springsteen … 5 hits with 3 in top 10 (average in top 20)
Whitney Houston … 5 hits none in top 10 (average in top 22)
Gloria Estefan … 4 hits none in top 10 (average in top 26)
Bobby Brown … 4 hits none in top 10 (average in top 28)
Kenny Loggins … 4 hits with 1 in top 10 (average in top 29)

Highest-Placing Song For Each Top Ten Solo Singer

Only singer Michael Jackson scores a number one hit for the 1980s with his unique hit Thriller. Second-place goes to classy soul singer Sade with a number 2 song Smooth Operator.

Michael Jackson

Like A Virgin (Madonna) – number 4 from 1984
Thriller (Michael Jackson) – number 1 from 1984
Kiss (Prince) – number 3 from 1986
Fire and Ice (Pat Benatar) – number 24 from 1981
Smooth Operator (Sade) – number 2 from 1985
Glory Days (Bruce Springsteen) – number 6 from 1985
Greatest Love Of All (Whitney Houston) – number 13 from 1986
Get On Your Feet (Gloria Estefan) – number 14 from 1989
My Perogative (Bobby Brown) – number 15 from 1989
Footloose (Kenny Loggins) – number 3 from 1984.

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