I don't ascribe to the belief that people can be born in the wrong generation, but I won't pretend I don't dream about waking up in the eighties.
Sure, sure, the Cold War was going on. The economy wasn't at its best. Iran-Contra happened. Let's forget all that because while hope for the future was dead, music had never been more alive. The second British Invasion brought New Wave to the mainstream, MTV lit up television screens, and a new generation of performers brought life back to music—though it seems many have gone unrecognized for their efforts.
So, without further ado, here's my top ten list of 80's artists overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, from least to greatest snub.
10. Pat Benatar
Truly, it was the women of the 80's who defined pop rock. Joan Jett, Heart, Blondie—but if you're looking for one of the most memorable acts, look no further. In a male-dominated genre, Pat Benatar was a machine, scoring radio favorites like "Heartbreaker" and "Hit Me With Your Best Shot". With more than 30 million records sold worldwide, it's a surprise she's yet to be nominated.
I guess "Love Is A Battlefield", but so is the music industry.
These guys knew how to wear a hazmat suit.
Known mostly for their 1980 single, "Whip It", Devo brought humor and science fiction to a music scene bloated with hollow dance music.
There was something charming about Devo's satirical style which attracted audiences and proved hugely influential to the offbeat new wave artists who followed into the rest of the 1980s.
Pixies created a splash which sent a wave of hapless, gritty punk crashing into the nineties. David Bowie once called them "the psychotic Beatles." Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain admitted ripping off their song "Debaser" to create the iconic guitar riff for "Smells Like Teen Spirit". With younger acts like Radiohead already in, the Pixies' induction seems imminent.
(Disclaimer: I'm only putting Pixies so low, because they just barely qualify as an 80's band. Their most popular album, "Doolittle," was released in 1989.)
Maybe they were a little left of center for American audiences, but XTC was hugely influential to the brit pop acts that followed the end of the 1980's. Their songs ranged from politically motivated acoustic ballads, to elaborate synth-based tracks like "Making Plans For Nigel". Through their 34-year career, XTC maintained a style that was radical, fun, and unmistakably English.
6. Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode emerged in 1981 as the dark horse of the New Romantic movement. Audiences heard their sound go from simplistic electro-pop on their debut album "Speak and Spell" to the more intense, melodic "Violator" almost a decade later. Never shying away from the political or taboo, gloom-soaked Depeche Mode easily became alternative darlings, scoring their first top ten with "Enjoy The Silence" in 1990.
I could write more, but as they say: "Words are very, unnecessary."
5. Kate Bush
Kate Bush is one of those artists who, like David Bowie or Prince, only comes around once a lifetime, and in all likelihood, is not originally from this planet. Bush was known for her banshee-like vocals, self-choreographed music videos, and for being the first female singer-songwriter to reach number one in the UK charts (with a song she wrote when she was only 17!).
I have a special place in my heart for Kate. Her break out single "Wuthering Heights" may or may not have been my top song of 2017, and it may or may not have something to do with it being my favorite book.
4. Joy Division
Born of the late-seventies British punk movement, Joy Division stood out due to their emphasis on mood over energy. You might know them from their single "Love Will Tear Us Apart," but more likely from that one t-shirt that seems to grace every edgy teen's wardrobe.
Though the band's time on the scene was cut short by the tragic death of lead singer Ian Curtis, they defined the hollow, dark sound which would rule alternative music into the next century.
3. New Order
From the ashes of Joy Division sprung New Order—a blend of ian Curtis's vacant, melancholia, but belied by energetic, and oh-so-danceable synthesizer.
Surely you've heard "Blue Monday"—the biggest selling 12-inch single of all time. No? Well, do yourself a favor and have a listen. Scientists say it's physically impossible to keep from tapping your feet by the time you get to the 30-second mark.
2. Duran Duran
They might not be the greatest on this list—but hear me out.
They were Princess Diana's favorite band, they had 21 charting singles, and a special place in your mom's locker. They pioneered the music video industry with MTV classics like "Rio", and if we're judging a band's deserved-ness based wholly on album sales, Duran Duran takes the cake!
With over 100 million records sold and a career spent penning hits like, "Hungry Like The Wolf", "Ordinary World" and their very own Bond Theme, can someone "Please Please Tell Me Now" why "The Wild Boys" have yet to be nominated?
1. The Smiths
Okay, so I might be a little biased here. See, The Smiths have been my number one artist on Spotify for two years running (though they faced stiff competition from some bands previously mentioned on this list).
Johnny Marr's opening riff in "This Charming Man" was synonymous with the death of the synth era, and the beginning of melodic, guitar-based indie rock. Though they broke up after only five years (a tragedy I dwell on at least twice a day), The Smiths managed to create a treasure trove of haunting, catchy tracks with heady titles like, "There A Light That Never Goes Out" or "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now".
They qualified for the Hall of Fame nearly a decade ago, and their omission has this fan wondering: "How Soon Is Now?"