The Ultimate 80s Music Challenge

By: Nicole Lopez

Ah, the 80s – whatever you thought of the fashion, 80s music was absolutely splendid.

Indeed, some say that American music today owes everything not to The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, but to the sparks of the late 1970s that took full flight in the ‘80s. The 1970s created a minor schism between the rock and the disco crowds. But it was the 1980s that truly set off an explosion of genres and subgenres. As Billy Joel sang with some exasperation at the dawn of the decade: “Next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways — it’s still rock and roll to me.” From techno, to house music, to disco, to dancehall and hip hop, the 80s had it all.

It was hip hop’s first real decade in the sun — the era when everything started to blow up. Hip hop popularity grew as it influenced music, crazy vocalizations, dance and even fashion. Rapping and beatboxing went mainstream, as did break dancing and parachute pants.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, country music started making major crossover inroads in the 80s. Spurred on by the popularity of movies like Urban Cowboy, Coal Miner’s Daughter and Honeysuckle Rose, even the haters were eager to ride mechanical bulls, go line-dancing, and listen to some honky-tonk.

When you think of 80s pop, you have to think color — colorful wardrobes, colorful hair — and colorful personalities like Boy George to Cyndi Lauper. Their dance pop beats were infectious, their videos lively, and their personas memorable. Also on the pop scene, a new “British Invasion” crept into the pop charts , courtesy of New Romantics like Duran Duran and The Human League. These groups boasted insanely danceable tracks and witty music videos.

More than anything, though, 80s pop was the age of the superstar. Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and Whitney Houston all charted hit after hit. Most of these songs were uptempo, and aimed at the emerging MTV generation.

Those who preferred head banging to moonwalking were also in luck during the 1980s. Hard rock and heavy metal also exploded in the 80s. Guitarists became rock gods, with long hair, leather pants and devil’s horns. Glam metal bands like Kiss, Van Halen and Twisted Sister played to huge stadiums, while hard-charging thrash metal groups such as Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer also took off.

Speaking of stadiums, another rock subgenre was increasingly mentioned in the 1980s — arena rock. Power ballads and blue collar rock were the stock-in-trade for arena bands like Bon Jovi, Journey, Rush and Foreigner, along with Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen.

The 1980s also set the stage for the big story of the 90s: alternative rock. The future icons of the coffeehouse scene soon were just emerging in the 80s. REM, Sonic Youth and Nirvana kicked off their careers in the last few years of the decade.

So how well do you remember your 80s music? Take our challenge and see where you rank today!

Quiz Written By:
Nicole Lopez, Quizmaster
Nicole Lopez is the President of Comercia Bank in Dallas, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she earned a master degree in finance. Nicole has always considered her self very detailed oriented and someone who likes a good challenge. She fell in love with trivia games in her high school years while attending a youth camp that hosted trivia game nights. Nicole has always had a passion for history and wanted to be a historian before realizing she had a knack and a passion for numbers as well. Nicole believes that being surrounded by her four creative siblings and no-nonsense parents are what instilled in her a desire to learn and grow in knowledge even as a young child. It was not out of the norm for the family to spend weekends and vacations at libraries, historical landmarks, art galleries and museums. While thankful for her upbringing, Nicole admits that there wasn’t a lot of free time to just be a kid. Something she wants differently for her own children. In college, Nicole spent the majority of her free time watching documentaries and participating in fundraisers. Her creative mind, love for numbers and a passion for history have enabled her to oversee multiple fundraising opportunities during her college years and eventually landed her a job working in the activities department on campus. Nicole jumped right in and planned multiple events hosting trivia game nights for students. After a day of working, you will most likely find Nicole and her husband Brent watching trivia game shows with their three children. And most of the time, even their dog, Max, sits in front of the TV watching trivia too. The family enjoys hiking, camping and spending time in the great outdoors, as well.