10 80s Albums That Changed Rock Music

Did we really need hair metal?

Beastie Boys
DefJam

The '80s was a time when rock music took quantum leaps in a multitude of directions. The better part of the '70s felt much the same as what had come before. The mainstream was filled with prolonged guitar solos and and rock star showboating - that was until punk came along to wipe the slate clean.

By the time the '80s rolled around post punk was the sound underpinning a litany of new styles, from new wave to synth pop. In LA, the old rock tropes rejected by punk, came back with a vengeful lust for flesh and hedonism in the form of hair metal. Hardcore developed in the gritty underground and hard rock evolved in the arenas.

These records represent the pinocle of the most influential and enduring sounds of the '80s. Some are undeniable classic, and others... , well, we all have things in our past we regret...

10. Prince: Purple Rain (1984)

Prince's ruffled shirt, glistening mullet and purple suit go hand in hand with his iconic music. His flamboyant femininity was matched by his confident masculinity; both fuelled his undeniable charisma. Although Prince was already an established force to be reckoned with, Purple Rain transported him into a whole other stratosphere of stardom.

The fusing of rock with pop, funk and soul has never been more expertly handled. Certain tracks might feel like a romp into '80s pop, but the album is injected with the kind of guitar riffs that would make any hair metal fan swoon; just stick on Let's Go Crazy. There was nothing soft about this record, the now infamous lyrics to Darling Nikki were such a sordid exploration of sexual deviancy - at least for stuffy conservative types - that they led to the creation of the Parental Advisory sticker.

And, of course, you have the almost nine minute epic, Purple Rain. Never has their been a more brilliant R&B pop ballad. Vocal performance aside, Prince's emotive outcries were channeled though the guitar in a style reminiscent of Hendrix. Every rock ballad to follow was grasping at Prince's purple coat tails.

 
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Before engrossing myself in the written word, I spent several years in the TV and film industry. During this time I became proficient at picking things up, moving things and putting things down again.