You can never really pinpoint the moment where pop music really started. For the longest time, anything that was on the charts was considered pop music to some extent, from the down and dirty blues bands of the '60s and '70s to folksy acts and even vaudeville songs that were populating the charts. If you want to get technical about it though, the archetype for what pop music could be can be traced back to the age of MTV.
As soon as the '80s got underway, pop music got a real makeover, taking the sounds of the '70s and pumping them up with layers of synthesizers and some of the most melodramatic songs known to man. Even though some people might like to look back on this era of pop music and cringe a little bit, these artists were actually onto something underneath all of that hair.
In between some of the more dated fashion trends that come and go, the emotion behind these songs were undeniable, having the same kind of melodrama that you see in everything from pop punk to mainline pop these days. You can call almost any popular music pop at some point, but this really is ground zero for what we know today. Here's just a small helping of what built the pop empire that we take for granted these days.
10. Let's Dance - David Bowie
No David Bowie fan should expect the Starman to stay in one genre for very long. Ever since the days of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie has always looked at his music as an ever evolving thing, pulling from different influences whenever he can from the sounds of blue eyed soul to drum and bass in the mid '90s. When the '80s were starting though, Bowie gave us the textbook example of how to sell out in the right way.
Of all the '70s legends to move into the next decade, Bowie's theatrics fit right in on MTV, and Let's Dance was just the kind of fun loving record that made him a star all over again. Working with funk legend Nile Rogers, every one of these songs are a lot more sophisticated than your average pop song, like including an amazing horn break on the opener Modern Love or having the jazz like chord progression for the title track.
For all of the pop leanings of this album though, it's still far more eclectic than just straight ahead pop, like China Girl originally being offered to Iggy Pop to sing and also featuring the blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan on lead guitar on a few tracks. Even though this sound might seem a little bit dated these days, this might be the best 'product of its time' album that you could ask for. You can listen to it just to dance, but you have even more layers to peel back once you spend some more time with it.