When it comes to music, the '80s is known as a truly epic time. While the '70s saw rock and roll spread into something much more interesting, the era of spandex and neon-colored everything saw common pop tunes being treated like major cultural events. Some of the more cheesy aspects of the decade may seem a bit tacky now, but the actual singers behind these tunes were the real deal.
As opposed to the hard rock belters and bluesy players of the past, these singers threw caution to the wind and became some of the most beloved voices of the past 40 years. There was still definitely some old school trappings to go around, but the real draw of these acts was just how weird they were when you first heard them open their mouth.
Instead of being direct descendents of punk, psychedelia, or blues, these singers always worked best when combining all of their influences to create something that was unique to them. It's always nice to have a foundation to start out with, but when you hit upon something that you've never heard before it's bound to reach the public. Here are the singers that still make our hairs stand on end whenever they step to the mic.
10. David Byrne - Talking Heads
As the punk rock community started to divulge into a mess of anarchy and power chords, the new wave scene offered up something much more interesting. While some of the playing was still fairly rudimentary, every new act coming from England and New York had a much more eclectic taste that owed more to the Velvet Underground than the Ramones. Even though the Talking Heads started off as another rudimentary act, they ended up making some of the most interesting rock of the entire decade.
Each member of the band ended up serving an equal role in the group, but there was something mystical about the way that David Byrne would conduct himself onstage. As opposed to the swaggering rock gods of the '70s, Byrne was much more stiff and always seemed to feel uncomfortable in his own skin whenever he sang. Any other singer would be off-putting in this scenario, but every single one of Byrne's lyrics kept you engaged, as if he seemed like some alien lifeform trying to make sense of what actual emotion is like.
While some people may be turned off at something like "Once in a Lifetime" at first, the meat behind this song comes from a performer who really knows what he's doing. David Byrne may not be giving Robert Plant a run for his money or anything, but rock is sometimes more about the feeling that you put into the music rather than the raw power.