The 80's was a time when the ultra-modern sounds of electronica dominated the charts, when the likes of Gary Newman and Ultravox were creating new genres unique to themselves. It coincided with the burgeoning digital age: new technology was infiltrating the recording studio, synthesisers replaced guitars and the MTV pop video became a cinematic event (i.e. Michael Jackson - Thriller). It was a time when boy bands and girl groups ruled the world, and here are a few that took this decade by storm:
• Duran Duran
: This boy band came to personify the clean-cut image of pop which was huge at the time, with their pastel coloured suits, flannel shirts and boyish good looks. They were a band that any generation could admire musically, with whimsical love-songs about longing and lyrics about far-away lands and escapism, such as Rio. They churned out a number of hit singles, with 14 of their releases having charted in the Top 10, including “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Girls on Film”. The bands popularity was centred around the songwriting ability of Simon Le Bon who could write song lyrics that read like poetry, and when he sang over the ethereal music created by John Taylor and Nick Rhodes, it was magic.
• Spandau Ballet: These New Romantics were always competing for top spot against Duran Duran in their pomp, and this level of competition was highly lucrative for both bands who sold millions of albums as a result. Spandau Ballet were heavily influenced by the Rolling Stones and the Kinks in their early days, but this changed when an electronic signature started to impact their work and they showed the influence of Kraftwerk more and more. Between 1980 and 1990, these London lads had ten singles and four albums which featured in the top 10 of the respective pop charts.
• Bananarama: Long before the Spice Girls were portraying a strong front of girl power, there was Bananarama. This punk influenced- trio of strong minded women had successful individual careers as backing singers for famous artists, such as Iggy Pop and the Jam. This was before they joined forces and recorded hits like Cruel Summer and Robert De Niro Waiting. Even though the Spice Girls have gone from strength to strength and gone on to have prolonged success, Bananarama staggeringly still hold the record for the most chart entries for a girl group. This is a record which remains in the Guiness Book of Records to this day.