Rock music has been steadily evolving since its inception in the 1950s and continues to be a popular part of mainstream music. During the 80s, bands were more easily identified under specific sub groups of the rock genre and the decade, long thought one of the most memorable on the music scene, gave rise to some of rock’s most iconic bands. Long established and universally loved, well before this era, groups like The Rolling Stones and The Who had been pleasing their adoring fan base for some time. On both sides of the Atlantic however new talent was emerging, some of which would endure and serve to influence beyond those realms.
The British Bands
Ever since the Beatles and the energetic music of the 60s, the British were presented as a force to be reckoned with and with good cause. The 60s led to the likes of David Bowie in the 70s and 80s, along with a slew of amazing talent, much of it in the rock ilk. Hard rock seemed to resurface alongside the more flamboyant glam rock, ensembles and bands such as Queen began to emerge presenting an altogether different take on the rock scenario, with elaborate and sophisticated music and lyrics such as the now famously unique song Bohemian Rhapsody. Equally known for their sophisticated (some would say artsy) approach, Genesis continued to flourish with the exit of Peter Gabriel and the popularity of Phil Collins on lead vocals. U2 were also rising to great heights and have since been universally accepted as one of the most influential bands still touring today. They, along with an ever diminishing number, it seems are still able to sell out stadium tours worldwide.
Back in the day the band Simple Minds were touted as the next U2 and although they did not achieve the same level of success, they have always been up there with the best of that era, writing some most memorable songs and dance classics. Other notable rock bands of the 80s include The Smiths, Ultravox and The Cure. These groups and many others like them reflect the often thoughtful, more melodic side of the rock scene; not to be confused with Heavy Metal which as a sub-division of the rock movement was happening in tandem.
The American Scene
Whilst the influence of the British music scene cannot be denied, thanks in part to the phenomena of MTV during the 80s, the US was doing just fine when it came to nurturing its own talent. Iconic bands such as and Bon Jovi were taking the 80s by storm and have had continued success on a global scale. Equally successful at the time and certainly as memorable for their superb musicality and subject matter, R.E.M were at the top of their game in the mid-80s through the 90s and beyond, representing what is most interesting and loved about the genre and its ability to be entertaining and provocative. Equally compelling at this level, the work of Talking Heads is something unique and fascinating to come out of the 80s era. Certainly, the rock world was much enriched by the work of all these and many other artists that were producing great sounds back in the day!