Popular Music in the 1980s
Pop is a general term of popular music which originally originated in the early 1950s in the United Kingdom and the United States. The term pop music is often used interchangeably with music which is more mainstream, but which also includes a number of diverse genres. It is important to remember that pop music does not always fall into one of these categories. Many songs have been written which can be considered pop music, including hits from the 1960s. The difference between pop and alternative music is that it usually is less structured than most other music.
A popular form of pop music is the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys are a group of four young men who formed the band with their principal singer, Brian Wilson, in 1969. The band’s lyrics and music have become known as a pop song. The earliest Beach Boys song, which could be considered a pop song was also by the band themselves, titled Hotel California.
The Beach Boys became popular through their consistent recording of politically incorrect songs and their barnyard antics. The recording of their first single, Bored Children, was controversial, because it lacked a vocalist. The lack of a vocalist meant that there was no way to sing on this track. Angered by this, the band decided to record an updated version of the Bored Children song without Vocal Beach Boys vocalist Neil Diamond. The result was another hit, Here Comes the Sun, which reached No.1 in the UK.
Another group to feature heavily influenced by pop music artists, especially in the 1980s, are the American pop group’s America and Smurfette. Both groups featured guest stars from the likes of Cream and Steppenwolf, and Smurfette even had their own stadium tours in America. They broke away from their parents’ band, The Church of pop, when their lead singer started to experiment with alternative forms of pop music. Eventually they went back to their original genre. Their 1987 album, American Pie, featured a huge number of chart topping hits. Their follow up album, 1988’s American Idiot, was still a huge hit, as was their second album, 1990’s pop masterpiece Here Today.
The British invasion of the USA saw two of the biggest and most popular pop music acts of the eighties making their homes here. Oasis released an English version of their hit album, The Peel Sessions, featuring the single, Twist and Shout. The band was always popular, but their song became something of a rite of passage for fans in the UK. Oasis went on to record their first album in America, featuring the track Don’t Take Me Home. Britney Spears also has made multiple appearances in chart topping spots in both America and UK, with most of her chart topping hits coming from the very similar band, Re-energized.
From the aforementioned artists, it should be fairly easy to see why the 1980s are considered the decade of popular pop music in the United States. Many of these artists broke through the barriers of color and race that kept other artists from reaching mainstream success. The success of these artists paved the way for artists like Michael Jackson to achieve superstardom, and it marked the beginning of what is known as the “grunge” movement.