The 80's were an absolute haven for great music from all different genres. Whether it was pop, rock, or even new wave, music was progressing by leaps and bounds in terms of new sounds and general hookiness. Though many musicians would need a Casio synthesizer to get their songs on the air, these bands stuck to their guns with letter-perfect rock and roll.
Though many of these songs fall under the domain of rock in name, none of them seem to fit neatly in a single category. While many artists were still following in the bluesy tradition of bands like Led Zeppelin, other artists were making bold new innovations for the genre whose presence can still be felt to this day. Even if you weren't sure how to feel about them on first listen, these songs have aged into modern marvels of the rock pantheon that deserve to be celebrated as such.
From hair metal to progressive rock to regular rock and roll, nothing is off the table when it comes to picking the cream of the rock scene. There may have been a technicolor haze sprinkled across the decade, but these songs don't need any trend in order to warp your brain.
10. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
If you wanted to be a rockstar in the 80's, there was a good chance you needed some sort of gimmick. Whether it's was sprayed out hair, spandex, or just shock value, it was always important for you to be more than just a dude playing guitar. When many bands had to make due with their pinup looks, Dire Straits showed that you can reach the top with just pure music.
The incredible synth opening "Money For Nothing" lures you in before giving way to an incredible guitar part plucked out by Mark Knopfler, who famously played without a pick for most of his career. The initial guitar riff draws you in, but the cheekiness of the track comes during the opening lines of the song. Since MTV had just recently been brought to the airwaves, Knopfler's lyrics are a recount of a supply salesman he met who was bitter watching all these supposed "talentless" musicians making millions by just looking good on television.
The song was already a great track, but the addition of Sting for the famous line of "I want my MTV" sent the song over the top, while the accompanying animated music video gave the track its own unique character. Where many bands were still reeking of 70's indulgence, "Money For Nothing" had the futuristic sound that announced that the 80's had arrived.