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1980s

UK Music Trends of the 1980s

todaySeptember 6, 2023

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Live Aid Popular music in the United Kingdom during this time built on the post-punk and new wave movements, incorporating various sources of inspiration from subgenres and world music. Additionally, the rise of new technology and social change gave birth to the electronic music of synthpop. This decade also witnessed the emergence of cable television and the advent of MTV, leading to a Second British Invasion of America.

One of the defining characteristics of music in the 1980s was its emphasis on image. With the popularity of music videos, artists had to create captivating sounds and visually striking visuals. MTV became a platform for artists to showcase their creativity and establish their personas. It was an era where the visual representation of musicians became just as vital as the music itself, resulting in the birth of iconic fashion trends and memorable music videos.

During the 1980s, nothing was understated. The sound of music during this period was bold, energetic, and flamboyant. It was a time when synthesisers and electronic instruments became an integral part of the music production process. Artists like Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and Pet Shop Boys embraced this new wave of electronic sound, creating catchy and futuristic music.

The fashion trends in the 1980s were extravagant and diverse. Artists like Madonna and Michael Jackson became fashion icons, inspiring countless individuals with their bold choices. From shoulder pads and power suits to neon colours and oversised accessories, the fashion of the 1980s was all about making a statement. It was a reflection of the growing income disparity and the focus on wealth and affluence.

Charity also played a significant role in 1980s music. Artists like Band Aid, USA for Africa, and Live Aid organised massive charity concerts to raise awareness and funds for various social causes. These events brought together some of the biggest names in the industry, highlighting the power of music to unite people and positively impact society.

Another notable trend in 1980s music was the fusion of different genres and influences. Incorporating Jamaican and Indian music brought new sounds and rhythms to the forefront. British bands like The Police and UB40 succeeded by blending elements of reggae and rock, creating a fresh and distinctive sound. This cross-pollination of musical styles and cultural influences contributed to the diversity and richness of 1980s music.

The success of British bands in America during the early 1980s is often referred to as the Second British Invasion. It was a time when British artists enjoyed unprecedented popularity in the United States, surpassing the level of success achieved by the Beatles in the 1960s. Bands like Duran Duran, Culture Club, and Tears for Fears dominated the charts and captivated American audiences with their infectious music and charismatic personas.

In conclusion, music trends in the 1980s were marked by the fusion of different genres, the rise of electronic music, and the importance of image. It was a decade where artists had to not only create compelling sounds but also visually captivating visuals. The growing influence of MTV and cable video played a crucial role in shaping the music industry, leading to a Second British Invasion in America. The 1980s will always be remembered as a time of bold fashion choices, catchy electronic sounds, and the power of music to unite and make a difference in the world.

Written by: Steve Bannister

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