Music – 1980s

10,000 Maniacs

10,000 Maniacs (named after the low-budget horror movie Two Thousand Maniacs) was formed in Jamestown, NY, in 1981 by singer Natalie Merchant and guitarist John Lombardo. The group gigged extensively and recorded independently before signing with Elektra and making their The Wishing Chair album in 1985. The album was a delightful folk-rock record full of insight, originality and personality,(...)


1927 formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1987. Guitarist and keyboardist Garry Frost had left Moving Pictures after their second album, Matinée (Frost had co-written Moving Pictures' 1981 #1 hit What About Me? ) and was writing songs for a proposed new band when he saw Eric Weideman singing on the 'Red Faces' talent segment of Melbourne TV(...)

2 Tone

The independent 2 Tone Records label was founded by Jerry Dammers of The Specials in 1979. Dedicated to dance-floor music performed by racially mixed bands, the label released The Special's own Gangsters in 1979. Signing an innovative distribution deal with Chrysalis Records, 2 Tone enjoyed further hits in 1979 with The Prince by Madness and(...)


20/20 was formed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by high school friends Steve Allen (guitar, vocals) and Ron Flynt (bass,vocals). They relocated to Los Angeles in 1977, after fellow Tulsa natives Phil Seymour and Dwight Twilley met with success. There they added Mike Gallo - who had come from Buffalo with pretty much the same goals and similar(...)

4 Skins, The

The undisputed heroes of the early 80s skinhead scene, The 4 Skins were one of the mainstays of the second-wave of British punk commonly known as Oi! They endured major line-up changes, going through four lead singers including, at one point, their manager, and recorded three albums in the early 80s. In the studio the band were capable of(...)

808 State

With their sample-driven dance music, the pioneering Manchester-based 808 State was one of the first house groups to release trance/ambient dance records. Formed in 1988 during the biggest youth movement since punk, they released two albums before signing with ZTT. Instead of being an incessant pounding, the beat in 808 State's music was hypnotic and(...)

A Certain Ratio

A Certain Ratio (the name is a pointer to a Brian Eno song) formed in Manchester in 1977. The band's original members were Simon Topping, Martha Tilson, Jeremy Kerr, Martin Moscrop, Donald Johnson and Pete Terrell, though the band often had a flexible line-up for live performances. New Order manager Rob Gretton was impressed by their early(...)


The trio at the heart of A-ha met in 1980 in Oslo, Norway, and decided to concentrate on producing a commercial form of music. Travelling to England in 1982, Waaktaar and Furuholmen tried (unsuccessfully) to secure a record deal. Undaunted, the trio located to London in 1983 where they shared a flat and continued to(...)


Sheffield band ABC revolved around Martin Fry (a onetime fanzine editor of a rag called Modern Drugs) and rose from the ashes of post-punk group Vice Versa. On their first album, The Lexicon Of Love (1982) , Fry set his own Bryan Ferry-influenced vocals in lustrous pop production (by Buggles frontman Trevor Horn) laden with keyboards and strings to a techno-soul(...)

Abrasive Wheels

Shonna Rzonca Vocals Dave Ryan Guitar Harry Harrison Bass Nev Nevison Drums  



AC/DC was formed in Sydney, Australia, by ex-patriot Scotsmen Malcolm and Angus Young (brothers of George Young - one of the mainstays of 60s Aussie supergroup, The Easybeats). Their sister suggested Angus should wear his school uniform on stage, a gimmick that would still be in use more than twenty years into the band's career. The(...)

Accelerators, The

One of numerous Southeastern bands nurtured in the Mitch Easter/Don Dixon pop bosom (both men played on the quartet's first album; Dixon also produced the first and two cuts on the second), North Carolina's Accelerators blended crisp, energetic, well-mannered rock with a little 'billy and some mild R&B to give Leave My Heart just enough grit and(...)

Action Pact

London's Action Pact were fronted by exuberant vocalist Alison 'George Cheex' Roberts and took their musical cues from the likes of The Ramones, The Saints, X-Ray Spex and Penetration. They also wrote about what they saw going on around them, socially and politically. Their debut release was titled Heathrow Touchdown and was aired while two of(...)

Adam & The Ants

Adam & The Ants started off in early 1977, one of a dozen bands trying to keep up in the wake of The Sex Pistols What turned them into a top-of-the-bill band was the bondage routines - the sadomasochist set pieces between Adam (real name Stuart Goddard) and the band's manager Jordan, a punk ex-crony of Malcolm(...)

Adicts, The

The Adicts were a British punk quartet founded in Ipswich, Suffolk, in the late '70s by lead singer Monkey (Keith Warren), guitarist Pete Davison, bassist Mel Ellis, and drummer Kid Dee (Michael Davison). The group affected the look of the 'droogs' in the film A Clockwork Orange (1971), with Monkey sporting a black bowler hat and face makeup. Largely(...)

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