What was the best/most significant album released in the 1980's?

IanMoss

Tele-Holic
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Posts
731
Location
Wellington, NZ (expat Australian)
Released 30 November 1979.
(so not technically a 1980s album, but what is 32 days between friends?)

the wall.jpg
 

somebodyelseuk

Tele-Meister
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Posts
490
Age
55
Location
Birmingham UK
Hmm?
The UK and US are different places, especially so in the 80s.

My most worn record from that era was 'The Crossing by Big Country', so that'd have to go down as MY best album.

Most significant album, over here... probably Karma Chameleon by Culture Club. THAT was probably the first time society over here really started to accept homosexuality and/or blokes dressing like girls and vice versa. I don't think that would have happened at that time had it not been for Boy George's chart success, in the UK.

I'd have also said Gracelands by Paul SImon, but I can't be bothered to check whether that was released in the 80s or 90s.

Thriller changed the US, not the World. Very few albums have ever changed the World.
 
Last edited:

fishingrhod

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2021
Posts
73
Age
52
Location
Blaenycwm
at either end of the 80s you have Closer by Joy Division and Isn't Anything by My Bloody Valentine - both blisteringly important lps for the alt/indie scene. everything in between? fiddle faddle! (except for Heaven Up Here by Echo And The Bunnymen and Psychocandy by The Jesus And Mary Chain and Pornography by The Cure and and and and etc.)

i was going to say Pink Flag by Wire or Repeater by Fugazi but to my horror they were both released outside that sh*tty decade.
 

lupowitz

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 31, 2007
Posts
1,877
Location
Hungary
So my oldest daughter recently moved back to Texas from the Great White North and has really gotten in to listening to music on her new turntable. I have been using this situation as an opportunity to buy her albums that I think were important in the decade they were released in. I realize this is a totally subjective list but maybe this will show you my thought process.

Here's my list so far:

1950's: Kind of Blue-Miles Davis

1960's: Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band-The Beatles

1970's: Tapestry-Carole King

1980's...?


Since you named one instrumental album from the '50s, staying on that track, may I suggest this from the '80s?


Bass-Desires.jpg



Sco and Frisell together for the first time....
Nothing effected me musically so profoundly in that decade.
Maybe the aforementioned Nightfly from Donald Fagen.
And Zenyatta Mondatta from the Police.
And of course, Hiatt's Bring the Family.
 

arlum

Tele-Afflicted
Platinum Supporter
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Posts
1,797
Age
67
Location
O'Fallon, MO
I'd pick Joe Satriani's Surfing With The Alien. An Electric Guitar Instrumental album that was good enough to hold it's own against albums by bands with lead and backing vocalists. A lot of shredders were out there by this time but all of their instrumental albums sounded like speed freaks on steroids. Not a lot of song melody. The songs on these shred albums tended to just blend together into a mass of notes on notes on notes. They didn't contain many pieces of music that would stick with you long after hearing them. Surfing With The Alien had ten individual songs that didn't sound alike. The speed varied from song to song. Some were cool and moody, (Always with Me, Always with You), while others mixed old style with modern shred, (Satch Boogie), or guitar melodies that relied as much on sustain and vibrato work as they did on speed like Crushing Day.

I admit albums like Thriller, etc. were masterpieces but, because of my guitar obsession, Surfing With The Alien holds the most relevance for me from the releases of the '80s.
 

elihu

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Dec 24, 2009
Posts
10,166
Location
Texas
Thanks guys for the great suggestions but remember that it’s not for me. It’s a present for my daughter who is basically a neophyte with pop music before 1990.
 
Last edited:

John Owen

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Posts
2,042
Location
Seattle, WA
Most significant for the general case is a little too broad for me to pin down but, most significant for me personally would be:

- John Hiatt - Bring the Family
- Lyle Lovett - Pontiac
- Pretenders - Learning to Crawl
- T-Bone Burnett - T-Bone Burnett
- Stones - Tatoo You
 

homesick345

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Posts
7,007
Location
Beirut, Lebanon
So my oldest daughter recently moved back to Texas from the Great White North and has really gotten in to listening to music on her new turntable. I have been using this situation as an opportunity to buy her albums that I think were important in the decade they were released in. I realize this is a totally subjective list but maybe this will show you my thought process.

Here's my list so far:

1950's: Kind of Blue-Miles Davis

1960's: Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band-The Beatles

1970's: Tapestry-Carole King

1980's...?

Texas Flood
 

Marc Morfei

Friend of Leo's
Silver Supporter
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Posts
3,421
Age
57
Location
Wilmington, DE
Interesting the wide range of tastes represented here so far.
I suppose it depends on if you think "best/ most significant" means:

Most Popular?
My personal favorite?
Most influential?
Most groundbreaking?
Most musically impressive...?
Etc.

Previous posts reflect some of each of those it seems.

I would say "best/ most significant" has to have elements of all those factors. Lots of hugely popular albums do not break any new ground at all, and might only be barely competent musically. "Born in the USA" is definitely one of the most popular albums of the decade, but I would hardly call it one of the best.

Anything of great significance has to break new ground, and be very influential to the next generation. I suppose you could just refine what someone else invented and create something great. But "the best"? No. It needs to be something new, that's different than anything that came before.

But popularity matters too. If only 5 people ever heard the album, can you really say it is the "most significant"? Something truly significant will have some level of mass appeal. As Amadeus showed us, Mozart's music was sophisticated beyond comprehension for most people. But he was still pretty friggin popular even in his own time.

So, considering all that, what's my vote?
My personal favorites are probably --
John Hiatt, Bring the Family
Los Lobos, By The Light of the Moon
REM, Document

But that's just my own tastes. I don't know how influential those records were to the world.

For Best/Most Significant, I think I'd have to go with Purple Rain. It's difficult to remember just how new and different that record sounded when it came out. It was like nothing else. To be that groundbreaking, and at the same time that popular. And display virtuoso-level musicianship as well. Mind blowing.

Honorable mentions to REM and U2, which really were consistently the best bands (IMO) of the decade.

Thriller? I suppose, but it's so distant from my own taste that it's hard for me to appreciate.

Special recognition also to two "just missed" candidates. The Clash London Calling (1979) and Nirvana Nevermind (1991).
 

goonie

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 20, 2011
Posts
2,663
Location
Australia
Hmm?
The UK and US are different places, especially so in the 80s.

My most worn record from that era was 'The Crossing by Big Country', so that'd have to go down as MY best album.

Most significant album, over here... probably Karma Chameleon by Culture Club. THAT was probably the first time society over here really started to accept homosexuality and/or blokes dressing like girls and vice versa. I don't think that would have happened at that time had it not been for Boy George's chart success, in the UK.

I'd have also said Gracelands by Paul SImon, but I can't be bothered to check whether that was released in the 80s or 90s.

Thriller changed the US, not the World. Very few albums have ever changed the World.

Thriller is the second biggest selling album in UK history, behind Adele's 21.
 

Maguchi

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Posts
2,178
Location
Lalaland
So my oldest daughter recently moved back to Texas from the Great White North and has really gotten in to listening to music on her new turntable. I have been using this situation as an opportunity to buy her albums that I think were important in the decade they were released in. I realize this is a totally subjective list but maybe this will show you my thought process.

Here's my list so far:

1950's: Kind of Blue-Miles Davis

1960's: Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band-The Beatles

1970's: Tapestry-Carole King

1980's...?
1984: Learning to Crawl - The Pretenders
1980: Wild Planet - The B52s
 

somebodyelseuk

Tele-Meister
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Posts
490
Age
55
Location
Birmingham UK
Thriller is the second biggest selling album in UK history, behind Adele's 21.
So what?
A lot of people bought it. A lot of people buy Mars Bars.

By the way, you're wrong.
The best selling album of all time in the UK is Queen's Greatest Hits, followed by ABBA's Gold.

I doubt Adele's album even sold as many copies as the Big Country album I mentioned, which was nominated for a Grammy, by the way.
 
Last edited:

elihu

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Dec 24, 2009
Posts
10,166
Location
Texas
60’s= Sgt Pepper
70’s= Songs In The Key Of Life or Night At The Opera or Aja
80’s=The Nightfly
90’s= Nevermind or Soul Cages
00’s= Two Against Nature
10’s= ?
20’s= ?

I came very close to buying Songs In The Key of Life instead of Tapestry. Marvin's What's Going On was in the running too.
 

Greggorios

Poster Extraordinaire
Gold Supporter
Joined
Jun 18, 2016
Posts
5,857
Location
NY
I'd have also said Gracelands by Paul SImon, but I can't be bothered to check whether that was released in the 80s or 90s.

1986, great call @somebodyelseuk! I agree. Paul Simon opens the door to "world music" to a much larger audience and Ry Cooder puts the exclamation point on it further on in the 90s.
 




Top