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Music of the 80's

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Music of the 80's


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One noteworthy aspect of the 80s is its music, most millennials grew up with music of the 80s that later evolved and was consolidated during the 90s; there also cases of older bands from the 60s and 70s which had a big boost during this decade. The 80s can be considered as an artistic decade that contrasted to the prevailing political conservatism of the time; a social revolution led by teens and young people of the Generation X, that would consolidate trends and a musical structure for the next generation. The 80s also spawned literally hundreds if not thousands of bands in every suburb, big city or little town you can imagine.

Also the launch of a new music TV channel would change the way of having access to the works of your favorite bands and artists;
MTV was launched on August 1, 1981, with the simple purpose of playing music videos 24hs a day. MTV had a deep impact on the music industry and popular culture; the concept of the VJ (for videos) was also popularized. With this new medium both artists and fans found a central location for music events, news, and promotion.

MTV's moral influence on young people, from issues related to censorship to social activism, has been a subject of debate for years.

MTV radically changed the music industry forever and pop stars such as Madonna and Michael Jackson later transformed the format into a huge business.

The familiar 80's pop sound is characterized by sparse lyrics and the new technologies of the decade. Synthesizers, electronic keyboards and drum machines formed the "New Wave" pop sound that was popular in the music of the early 80's.

Heavy Metal became one of the most popular music genres in the second half of the decade. Artists such as Van Halen, Poison, Motley Crue, Cinderella, Quiet Riot and Guns and Roses caused a big impact on young people and had and extensive radio airplay. "Hair Metal Bands", as they are affectionately called, scored top charting hits with the "power ballad" song formula. Nothing represents the decadence of the 80s more than the heavy metal bands signed from the LA Strip during that time. The song lyrics mostly embodied the "Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll" mentality of the 80s.

However Heavy Metal lyrics became controversial, as legislators and parent groups fought to post warning labels on records deemed to contain offensive lyrical content. 80s metal artists like Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne were hauled into court to defend allegations that their song lyrics drove several teens to commit suicide.

Thrash Metal became also a hit in the underground scene. Originating in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, bands such as Metallica, Megadeath, Anthrax and Slayer became popular heavy alternatives to the pop "Hair" metal acts. Darker lyrics and  themes were covered in this genre of metal.

Another genre that has its root in the late 70s and early 80s is Hip Hop scene becoming a powerful urban musical and dance influence. Hip hop artists like Grandmaster Flash Kurtis Blow and N.W.A. bring Hip Hop to the forefront.

The post-disco influenced House music was a new development in dance music in the mid 80s. House music later developed into the heavier Acid House during the late 80s.

Out of opposition to the pop 80s music evolved the Hardcore Punk movement. This was an angry, politically charged genre offering more social awareness in its lyrics. The Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and Reagan Youth are some of the most popular bands of the Harcore Punk scene of the time.

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