Top '80s Indie Bands

Updated on February 9, 2019
Mighty Mom profile image

Susan writes marketing materials for clients all over the world. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about music and the music industry.

Jesus and Mary Chain live at The Wiltern, Los Angeles, California, October, 2007.
Jesus and Mary Chain live at The Wiltern, Los Angeles, California, October, 2007. | Source

Ah the '80s, a larger-than-life decade of big hair and bigger shoulder pads, spandex, and Spandau Ballet. (That's the name of a band, in case you didn't know.)

I spent many happy hours (and happy hours, too) doing the club scene in Boston. I was lucky enough to see incredible bands in venues seating less than 500 people. That put me within fainting distance of big name acts like Blondie, the B-52s, the Eurythmics, the Pretenders, the Ramones, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bryan Ferry, and Squeeze. Just thinking about those heady times gives me shivers.

Looking back, the music that really defines the decade for me goes beyond these (and even bigger) internationally famous icons. Any discussion of '80s music, at least for me, has to include some lesser-known songs and artists.

The indie bands below bring back joyous memories of my misspent young adulthood. I hope they do the same for you!

Top '80s Indie Bands

  1. Cowboy Junkies
  2. Jesus and Mary Chain
  3. Violent Femmes
  4. The Pixies
  5. The Motels
  6. Mink DeVille
  7. Joan Armatrading
  8. BoDeans
  9. Love and Rockets

1. Cowboy Junkies

Cowboy Junkies is a trio of siblings from Canada with an alternative country sound. Rumor has it that their languid, hypnotic sound is reminiscent of a heroin high.

The Trinity Session is perhaps their best known record, recorded live in a single day on a single microphone in a church in Toronto. The record includes a very cool version of Lou Reed's “Sweet Jane." Reed reportedly liked the Junkies’ version of the song better than his own, so he began performing their version in concert.

I said 'Mama, he's crazy and he scares me

But I want him by my side

Though he's wild and he's bad

And sometimes just plain mad

I need him to keep me satisfied'

— Cowboy Junkies, "Misguided Angel"

2. Jesus and Mary Chain

When I first heard the jangly guitar of "Just Like Honey" (and then heard the name of the band behind it), I said to myself, "Wow. This band is really different. And really ballsy." I actually wondered how such a seemingly sacrilegious name could get through the FCC. Silly me!

JandMC is a band made up of two Scottish brothers, Jimmy and William Reid. Their musical influences include Iggy and the Stooges, The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys, the Shangri-Las, and Phil Spector. Apparently, they told journalists that they had taken their name from a line in a Bing Crosby film, but later recanted. Other accounts suggest that the name derived from an offer on a breakfast cereal box, on which you could order a gold Jesus and Mary chain.

Listen to the girl

As she takes on half the world

Moving up and so alive

In her honey dripping beehive


It's good, so good, it's so good

So good

— The Jesus And Mary Chain, "Just Like Honey"

3. Violent Femmes

This band is unique, because they often play with a bass fiddle (you don't see a lot of those on rock band stages). Violent Femmes' music is technically called "folk-punk," a combination of American folk and punk rock.

I remember going to see them play in Boston with a gal pal. We were definitely in the minority. Actually, we might have been the only two females in the audience.

What I didn't know is that the Femmes were discovered in 1981 by James Honeyman-Scott of The Pretenders. They were playing outside a Pretenders concert and were discovered as the Pretenders were entering the venue. Chrissie Hynde invited them to play a brief acoustic set after the opening act. The rest is musical history.

Femmes songs you've probably heard on the radio include "Blister in the Sun," "Gone Daddy Gone," "Kiss Off," "Please Do Not Go," "American Music," and "Add It Up."

So don't shoot, shoot, shoot that thing at me

Don't shoot, shoot, shoot that thing at me

You know you've got my sympathy

But don't shoot, shoot, shoot that thing at me.

— Violent Femmes, "Add It Up"

4. The Pixies

I didn't actually see The Pixies, because they arrived on the Boston music scene in 1986, but I always loved their music. They are another great example of Boston's indie music history. Besides, any band whose lead singer calls himself "Black Francis" is intriguing in my book.

According to Wikipedia, "The Pixies' style of alternative rock music is heavily influenced by punk and surf rock, and while highly melodic, is capable of being tremendously abrasive at the same time. Francis has a distinctly desperate, yowling delivery. He has typically written cryptic songs about offbeat subjects, including UFOs. References to mental instability, violent Biblical imagery, physical injury, and even incest feature in the band's songs.

It's no wonder that Kurt Cobain was a fan.

I know the nervous walking

I know the dirty beard hangs

Out by the box car waiting

Take me away to nowhere plains

— Pixies, "Here Comes Your Man"

5. The Motels

Fronted by Martha Davis, a singer with incredible range, The Motels have been described as new wave, pop rock, and alternative. Originally from Berkeley, the band moved to LA, and that's where they got their start. Sources say The Motels shared rehearsal space in LA with the Go-Gos.

The songs "Only the Lonely" and "Suddenly, Last Summer," "Whose Problem," and "Days are Okay" received major radio play. My favorite song of theirs is "Total Control," which includes a sultry saxophone solo.

Steadfast collapse

Always certain any moment

Maybe you maybe you

Maybe even you

Recline complete dream too sweet

I can't do it not with you

Not even with you

Maybe never with you

— The Motels, "Total Control"

6. Mink DeVille

Mink DeVille? Willy DeVille? Is it a band? Is it an artist? Yes. I knew him/them as Mink DeVille (although, these days he goes by Willy... again). I saw him many many times in the early 1980s. How can I explain the dangerous undercurrent that emanated from him? Luckily, I found a perfect description: "With his pedantically trimmed pencil mustache he looked like a cross between a bullfighter and a Puerto Rican pimp. The tightest black suit clung to his thin frame; he wore a purple shirt, a narrow black tie and shoes with six-inch points. A Pompadour jutted out above his forehead like the lacquered hull of a submarine."

Combining blues, latin, cajun, creole, R&B, and doo-wop, Mink DeVille's music is heartfelt, rhythmic, and melodic. Some of his better known songs include "Mixed Up Shook Up Girl," "Spanish Stroll," "This Must Be the Night," "Lipstick Traces," and "Slow Drain," as well as covers of "Cadillac Walk," "Hey Joe," and "Bad Boy." Simply put, "bad boy" perfectly describes this unique singer-songwriter.

Like so many others who came out of the NYC punk club CBGB, Willy DeVille battled for 20 years with heroin addiction.

Candle lit, and my eyes are slits

Jumpin' now, paper clip.

Make a move, sail a ship,

Tap it in, tap it in, ruby lips.

— Mink DeVille, "MIxed Up, Shook-Up Girl"

7. Joan Armatrading

The word prolific is the best word to describe St. Kitts-born British singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading. She started penning music and lyrics at age 14, and since 1972 she has put out 24 albums and compilations. Joan's style has evolved have evolved over the years. She went from being a primarily blues and folk singer to being a major pop and rock singer.

Songs that you may know include "Love and Affection," "Willow," "Me, Myself, I," "I'm Lucky," "Walk Under Ladders," and "Show Some Emotion," just to name just a few.

Brand new dandy

First class scene stealer

Walks through the crowd and takes your man

Sends you rushing to the mirror

Brush your eyebrows and say

There's more beauty in you than anyone

— Joan Armatrading, "Down to Zero"

8. BoDeans

Another Wisconsin band, the BoDeans entered the music scene in the late 1980s, but they didn't hit the the big-time until their hit 1993 song, "Closer to Free," was used as the theme song for the TV series "Party of Five."

Before they were famous, I heard their songs "Only Love," "She's a Runaway," and "Fadeaway," and knew that I liked them. Originally, the band's name was Da BoDeans, but in 1985 they "shortened" it to simply BoDeans.

I see you from my window

In the shadows of the night

You're standing on Love Street

On the beat, of better things

— Bodeans, "Fadeaway"

9. Love and Rockets

Love and Rockets formed in 1985, featuring three former members of the goth rock band Bauhaus, including Daniel Ash (guitars, saxophone, and vocals), Kevin Haskins (Drums, synthesizers), and David J (bass, vocals).

The band's first hit was a remake of the Motown hit "Ball of Confusion." Other L&R songs you may recall from the '80s include "All in My Mind," "No New Tale to Tell," "Mirror People," "Lazy," and their 1989 hit, "So Alive."

Prior to forming Love and Rockets, Ash and Haskins were briefly involved in a musical project called Tones on Tail. The band's claim to fame is a song called "Go!"

Walk around so cold

So cold and lonely

Or lay in bed wondering what

To do with time

You've got no sense of fun

Until you know you've won again

And yet you feel so much

You feel so much inside

— Love and Rockets, "All in My Mind"

Living it up. It's a big kick

It's good for you

Watch the big freeze slip

Crack the jackpot, get out of control

If you put yourself down

You'll never win, get out of that hole

Keep your mind open, your head up

You'll never, ever get old

— Tone and Tail, "Go!"


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    • BinauralBeatsNow profile image


      6 years ago

      What about The Smiths? They are one of my favorite bands of all time!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello wmcat. On "h0liday" schedule and not checking HP every day.

      I bet you are thinking of Til Tuesday with Amy Mann lead singer (?).

      Claim to fame song "Voices Carry."

      Is that right?

      Or, Robin Lane and the Chartbusters?

      Claim to fame song, "When Things Go Wrong"

      Did I get it for ya?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      trying to remember the group and song. group was from Boston female singer mid 80's

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I can't find a song by that name by Decade of Dreams, but if you find it, please let me know. I would be curious to know the actual title! MM

    • profile image

      Stuck in the 80s 

      7 years ago

      Looking for an old 90's Indie song...This would have come out around 1990 or 91' - I think the band's name was Decade of Dreams and the song, I think, was "All in my mind" or "In my mind"...Do you remember this song?

    • James Vernon profile image

      James Vernon 

      8 years ago from UK

      Voted up. Good stuff. I liked a few of these bands. Back when you could only buy music on vinyl or tape!

    • CCahill profile image


      8 years ago from England

      Really enjoyed Total Control, never heard of them before, How underrated is a Sax solo eh!?

      Pixies good shout

      Cheers for introducing me to a few new bands/songs ;)

    • atlovesbm profile image


      8 years ago from Orange County, California

      Great list! I like Ride and Material Issue.. although they were one hit wonders.. they had great songs :)

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Might Mom-- how could I have missed this one? Okay I did- but anyways I actually knew of one of them- Cowboy Junkies- and the rest, well now I have to find them and I think Itunes will be my best friend. Awesoem hub.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I didn't miss anything. You missed the important FACTS.

      Did you even read the hub? It is not a list of the best BIG bands of the '80s.

      It is my favorite lesser known bands that did not make the big time like the ones you mention.


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What kind of list is this? You missed the most important acts:

      The Smiths, New Order, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Siouxsie and the Banshees.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The 80's was such a great time for music. I love that you included The Pixies.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Good addition and if you have or write any hubs about Sonic Youth please link to mine, Cnstntgrdnr!

      Cheers and happy head-banging. MM

    • Cnstntgrdnr389 profile image


      8 years ago

      The only problem is that any list of the best 80's alternative bands without Sonic Youth is meaningless. They were one of the defining acts, especially in this country.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Zac828. I, too, just bust out in smiles at the thought of 80s music. Such a magical time in my life.

      Thompson Twins and who's the "She Blinded Me with Science" dude? Howard something.. (too many years and braincells have passed).

      Yes, DO write a hub about YOUR 80s faves. Linke to mine. Would love to see your take on WHY the bands you love so much bring such happy memories.

      Thanks for stopping by! Happy headbanging! MM

    • Zac828 profile image


      8 years ago from England

      What a great hub, brings back so many memories. Loved Jesus and Mary Chain as a kid, as a Brit I was also hugely into Pet Shop Boys, The Cure, Prince, The Thompson Twins (oh that's made me smile!) and A-Ha, massive band!

      I want to write about it, thank you. Brilliant hub.

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 

      8 years ago from The Bay

      Great hub! Cool music.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you, Ron!

      I heard "Blue Monday" on the radio the other day and had to crank it up to 11 (little Spinal Tap reference there).

      Must be because I was such a wild young thing in the 80s that that music just hits me at a cellular level.

      Good memories (and some crazy memories as well).

      I think I will do another 80s band list.

      I invite you to do the same. Sounds like you and I are sympatico.

      "Kick out the Style... bring back the Jam!"

      Cheers, MM

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is an excellent list. New Order is one my favourites from the 80's. Lowlife is an excellent album with The Perfect Kiss, Love Vigilantes, and Subculture. New Order carried on what Joy Division stared in the late 70's

    • Captain Spaceman profile image

      Captain Spaceman 

      9 years ago from Manhattan Beach

      The Clash aren't so much a punk band as they are "Godfathers" of punk...depending on who you talk to.

      I love em...but some people think they wrote one punk record and then went off on a disco tangent. But then again...some people are also dumb.

      I'll let you know when it goes up MM, thanks for the support.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Of course! I will link to any hub you write regarding 80s music!!

      I wasn't huge into punk myself.

      Loved the Ramones, of course.

      Saw Oingo Boingo.

      Would you classify The Clash as punk???

      I will be eagerly awaiting your new hub, mon Captain! MM

    • Captain Spaceman profile image

      Captain Spaceman 

      9 years ago from Manhattan Beach

      An often overlooked but fun you remember the waitresses? They did that great Christmas song.

      And Mighty Mom, don't worry abou that TescoSuicide guy...he's a spammer and that's a cookie cutter comment. They write a "catch all" insulting comment and then send it out via robot software. People tend to not delete them because they feel the need to defend themselves before they recognize what the commenter is trying to do...boost their Hub rank.

      I was thinking about doing a best of the eighties punk Rock bands list, would you want to link to it?

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Oh yea, Depeche Mode is awesome.

      I should do another hub on my all=time favorite 80s bands -- commercial successes.

      I liked the Motels as well.

    • Captain Spaceman profile image

      Captain Spaceman 

      9 years ago from Manhattan Beach

      I would add Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus and Depeche Mode to that list...but that's just me. Great Bands on your list though

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA


      So kind of you to alert me.

      I appreciate it!

      Cheers, mate! MM

    • agvulpes profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      G'day MM how are you doing? I'm not sure if anyone contacted you yet so I suggest you read this Forum Post regarding someone stealing your content!

      Feel free to delete this comment :-)

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hey UW, Good to see you. When I first heard Cowboy Junkies I felt like I understood how it feels to be on heroin. That was good enough for me:-).

      Joan Armatrading is sooo cool.

      Did you ever hear of a Canadian singer named Ferrin (or it could be Ferron)? Same era. Not nearly as much publicity as JA....

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 

      9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Great bands, great choices. I loved the Cowboy Junkies. That album was amazing. Joan Armatrading got so much publicity up here I thought she was Canadian.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello DaveysRecipeRead. It's great to meet another '80s music fan.

      There is always good music being made, I think.

      Although I'm not as receptive as I was when I was a wild young band groupie:-)!

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. MM

    • DaveysRecipeRead profile image


      9 years ago

      The Dead Can Dance are also one of those truly fantastic but nonetheless overlooked bands of the 80's. When you think about it, It's incredible that so much talent and creativity emerged during the late 70's up till the mid 80's. On the other hand, given fantastic groups like "The National" with songs such as "Ohio" or bands like Animal Collective with masterpieces such as "Safer", it's becomes evident that even now, unbelievable music is being created.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Red Timbre. I deliberately stayed away from the "big name/big influence" bands that EVERYONE knows and associates with the 80s. The Smiths were, arguably, THE seminal band of the decade. Also New Order, Depeche Mode and many others. There are many ways to slice and dice -- when we're talking a whole decade of music it's really hard to pick only 10!

      I do like Cyndi Lauper. MUCH better than Madonna!

      Thanks for your comment. Makes me think an '80s band Part II should be written! MM

    • profile image


      9 years ago from Boston, MA

      This list does a good (i.e. unfortunate) job avoiding 80's post-punk, while leaning heavier in the direction of what would pave the wave for the 90's alt scene (most of these bands, The Pixies et al, forming in the latter end of the decade). The 80's were nothing without the likes of the Cure, the Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Church, The Chameleons, etc. Also, while you dismissed Cyndi Lauper for her sound in lieu of her "'tude", She's So Unusual is a brilliant album full of contentious, guitar hook-driven pop melody craft.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Morussy Street Preacher. You've got an awesome list there. How about writing a hub about WHY the '80s were defined by these bands (no one can dispute The Smiths). For me, the #1 song of the decade is Blue Monday by New Order. I think I need to write a "best dance tunes of the '80s" hub. So how about it? Are you game? We can link to each other's hubs! Anyway, thanks for visiting. Cheers! MM

    • profile image

      Morrussy Street Preacher 

      9 years ago

      The 80's for me were defined by The Smiths, McCarthy and The Fall. I love The Jesus & Mary Chain and the Pixies. I'd add the ones I already mentioned to those two and the likes of My Bloody Valentine, The Wolfhounds, Sonic Youth and Cocteau Twins too.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I would love to have you link your '90s bands hub to mine! I will look forward to seeing what bands you highlight. I loved the '90s too! Great idea and thanks for visiting/commenting! MM

    • cdub77 profile image


      9 years ago from Portland Or

      I really loved this hub. I'm doing a series on '90s Indie bands -- would you mind if I linked to this hub from my next hub? Again, a really great hub. It was informed, well-researched, and comprehensive.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Kinda still feeling blogged-out.. but maybe one day. I'll come here and let you know if i do :)

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Ah ha! Now I see! You're absolutely right. The word "Indie" is used incorrectly, as basically all of my selections got radio play.

      Still, I would love to see you share your knowledge here on HP. There are a lot of us old fart hubbers (who lived through the '80s and are still wondering how!) as well as younger music lovers who could learn some things.

      Meanwhile, you have inspired me. I DID see quite a few AWESOME Indie bands in Boston. Maybe I will write a hub about those!

      Thanks for coming back and clarifying your point.

      Glad I didn't go on the defensive and rip you a new one in my comment back:-)! MM

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I had a music blog, as well as a MP3 blog for years... got myself in trouble with the MP3's and even more trouble with a "mommy" that came to my site. Had to shut down to save my marriage. That said, I've posted many perspectives on many genre's related to Punk and aside from "Emo", Indie is the most abused title ever. It's name alone should say it all: Independent, as in independent label. Indie bands, especially of the eighties, were very much under the radar. As for the bands mentioned above and in the comments, this was not the case- not to mention they were all on major labels.

      Not to say I don't absolutely LOVE the Pixies, Jesus and Mary Chain and the Femmes (saw them in '84.. great show) but none of them are Indie.

      Sorry if I came across like a dick, my "High Fidelity" friend and I were just looking for more reviews on "The Renderers" (actual Indie band) and your site somehow came up in the que. you were

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Dear tescosuicide,

      Grossly misinformed? I'm talking from my direct experience -- how can I not be qualified to write about my own experience?

      If you have opinions on the '80s music scene please do open a Hub Pages account and write about them! Always room for more perspectives! MM

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You should re-name this post' "So I've Heard" because you've been grossly misinformed? Considering your lead-in, you are far from qualified to write this post?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      For more of this great music visit

    • wsp2469 profile image


      10 years ago from Alta Loma, Ca

      Mmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . thank you,honey. You know, your hubby is really lucky even if it's true that you don't fit into the costume like you used to!

      (Still waiting to see a real pic though . . .)

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hey boyfriend! How's it going? Yeah. I've been totally off HP for what seems like eons. Just didn't feel like it. Too much hustle and bustle to deal with. Now that I'm nursing the traditional holiday hangover (not literal from drinking too much, just emotional from too much .... much) I'm ready to reconnect with my Hub homies.

      Hope you are doing well, my dear.

      Did you notice I changed my avatar back just for you???!!!

    • wsp2469 profile image


      10 years ago from Alta Loma, Ca

      I can't believe you did a music hub and I missed it!

      I've been missing you. It just seems you have been busy elsewhere.

      Maybe it's just me?

      I dunno . . .

    • Clark Grizvold profile image

      Clark Grizvold 

      10 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Great idea for a topic! As a long time concert goer I really appreciate the look back. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Salsa Dancing 

      10 years ago

      I was born in 84, so grew up with 90's music. Michael Jackson was my favourite, however I do like Cowboy Junkies a lot, my ex girlfriend used to be a big CJ fan, and she played it all the time, eventually it grew on me

    • cr8ve1 profile image


      10 years ago

      OMG!!! Talk about MEMORIES!!!! Thank you for posting this article!! LOVE IT! LOVE you for it!!! Thank you! Thank you!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Gang of Four! Another "Doh" moment. I LOVE a man in a uniform! AdamCairn. Sounds like you have some strong opinions. Write a hub about your faves and we can link to each other's!

      Lissa Lynn -- Nice to know another "femme" Femmes fan:-)!

    • Lissa Lynn profile image

      Melissa Simmons 

      10 years ago from upstate NY

      Great picks, Mighty Mom :) I love the Violent Femmes!

    • AdamCairn profile image


      10 years ago from UK

      Great post, so many emissions! Gang of Four, Dag Nasty, Minutemen, Fugazi....

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thx SC for visiting. I vaguely remember The Breeders. Willcheck them out for my Top Indie Bands of the '80s II.

      thx for the idea! MM

    • SoundChonicle profile image


      10 years ago

      Great info, thanks!

      I loved to listen The Pixies, and The Breeders also.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      OMG,sonde79. How could I have missed XTC? Now I GOTTA do a followup list. Thanks! MM

    • sonde79 profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      XTC is yet another underrated band that thrived in the 80s.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thanks,Tim. That's cool to know. I'll be listening for them. Won't be attending any Femmes concerts tho. The last one I went to -- I think it was 83 or maybe 84 -- I was one of about 3 females in the audience, there with a girlfriend. It was too weird:-)!

    • TimTurner profile image


      10 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Very good list! Violent Femmes are making another comeback ths year too.

    • chima4u profile image


      10 years ago from all

      i love it

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello knell63. Joan and Annie are two of my faves. Annie has an amazing voice and is soooo cool.

      How did the fashion come into "vogue" you ask? Madonna had a lot to do with it. And Cyndi Lauper.

      Gosh, I hope we never go back to those fashions! Mm

      Thanks for your comment. MM

    • knell63 profile image


      10 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Ahh good bands all, I do love Joan Armatrading and Annie Lennox, and the fashions, how did such bad taste styling become in vogue. Great fun hub MM.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      facebookchat -- I take it you didn't like the music. Well, there's a lot of the 80s I can't remember either. But only in a good way!

      Michael Drug -- thank you! MM

    • profile image

      Michael drugg 

      10 years ago

      Thank you newkyork

    • facebookchat profile image


      10 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Reading this makes me glad I can't remember the 80's!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      hello david j bolton! i likey our sunglasses. The Cult's unique sound earns them a spot on the list, but they did get major airplay.

      Maybe I will do a follow-up favorite 80s bands hub.

      The Cult, The Cure, OMD, New Order, Depeche Mode, Thompson Twins, Thomas Dolby -- ahhh. fond, fond memories!

      thanks for visiting and sharing a moment of nostalgia with me. MM

    • David J Bolton profile image

      David J Bolton 

      10 years ago from Back Bay, Boston

      Interesting list, and some of these bands are still playing (The Pixies are in Boston soon). No place for The Cult though? Again a band that may be considered "too big" for this list but the Love LP was a defining moment in creating a crossover into what many thought of as just Goth music.

      Apart from that, some happy memories and gonna dig out my vinyl copy of Psychocandy!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Sweet! I was just ahead of you. It was a heady time for music, wasn't it! Thanks for visting, Camping Dan!! MM

    • Camping Dan profile image

      Camping Dan 

      10 years ago

      Excellent list! I was in college in the 80's so not only did I know most of these I got to see several in the clubs around campus.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      REM started out real indie. Michael Stipes certainly looks like he came from some indie planet:-). They deserve a spot on a Top 80s Bands hub. But I think they were/are too commercially successful for this one.

      Maybe the next hub will be FAVORITE 80s bands. They'll deff be on there.

      Thanks for taking time out from the forums to visit, Nicomp! MM

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      10 years ago from Ohio, USA

      REM? Not very indie by the end of their run, I know.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Go-gos ruled! I LOVED them! Thanks for the reminder, irenev17. MM

    • irenev17 profile image


      10 years ago from New York, NY

      the go-go's !

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      The eighties were fun and seem to be back, at least fashion wise. I really still find the guys wearing tight jeans kind of weird though. I saw my nephew wearing the tight jeans and a new skate boarder like hat, and I just do not get the new twist on the eighties trends. Maybe I am just behind times :).

    • dljc_79 profile image


      10 years ago from England

      ... yeah, 80's music.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      11 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      God bless your husband and his band, Seasons of Life! I think that's just great. There are a few Hubbers who still perform (James A Watkins is one). Rock on! MM

    • Seasons of Life profile image

      Concetta Ellis 

      11 years ago from Southern California

      Oh yes gotta love the 80's. :) My husband is still rocking it out there with his band. :)

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      11 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hey elisabethkcmo! Welcome. Glad you enjoyed my tunes. Joan does totally rock. BTW, I love your avatar. Very classic nd very intriguing. Not even remotely '80s. LOL. MM

    • elisabethkcmo profile image


      11 years ago from Just East of Oz

      wow, brings back memories, smiling more and more as I went down the list....

      thanks for adding Joan, saw her on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert and I was hooked!!

      really enjoyed your hub

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      11 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Wesleycox! I think it is so great that hubbers of all generations and from so many different experience bases (and countries!) can come together here. I had no idea you were such a young'n. But that's cool. So, you probably have a lot of '90s songs engrained in your head as the seminal music you grew up to. If you feel like writing a hub about it -- I'd LOVE to read it. MM

    • wesleycox profile image


      11 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      I am a product of the 80's as well, however I was ten when the 80's ended so unfortunately I don't know these bands or singers except for cyndi lauper.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      11 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Adam,

      Glad we share some fond memories of these bands. VFs totally rock and "Blister in the Sun" is only the tip of the iceberg of their wonderful talents.

      Here's to the joy of music and sharing it with our hubber friends. MM

    • profile image

      Adam B 

      11 years ago

      Nie hub, I was a huge fan of "So Alive" by Love and Rockets. It's also too band that the Violent Femmes are only remembered by "Blister in the Sun."

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      11 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      dohn -- too funny. kinda like getting "contact big hair" and an ozone high at the same time! I can only imagine how the hairspray affected your sisters!

      Tony -- I should have known you'd be a Pixies fan! I'm planning at least 2 more hubs on 80s music. If you feel like it, write some yourself and we can x-link!

      And yes, you ARE my pal! MM

    • tony0724 profile image


      11 years ago from san diego calif

      Good stuff MM ! As we grew up In the same era I can say that all of these bands I have listened to Incessantly . I love The Pixies and find It no accident VH1 did a poll and said they were one of the top alltimers . And Martha Davis and The Motels were fabulous ! Great 80s band . I could go on and on but I will just say these choices are great . There was so much good music that did not get a lot of airplay and thank you for reminding me of these !

      Your Pal Tony !

    • dohn121 profile image


      11 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Ha ha! I remember the 80's still and remember walking into my sisters' bedroom after they crop-dusted themselves with Aqua Net. I'm pretty sure I would be a much more intelligent person (with a higher I.Q.) were it not for doing that! Great hub, Mighty.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      You are in fact a cool mom. You and my mom would get along just great. By the way...she is heading to HP soon. She is a great writer too. I think you will like her style. She is looking forward to all the good friends on here as well.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      11 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hey advisor4qb. Yes, they sure were! But I wouldn't trade them.

    • advisor4qb profile image


      11 years ago from On New Footing

      Those were the good ole days!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      11 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Jodi -- I LOVED Depeche Mode but didn't include them here because I considered them too "big." This is not to preclude a followup hub on ALL of my faves of the '80s (actually, that would be like a 5-part series!).

      Pachuca -- Yes, my dear. Wild child is an understatement! I am still toying with the idea of a new identity/avatar to write about the life and times of MM before she was a Mom:-). BTW, frightening (but in a way cool) to think I could be YOUR mother! LOL!!!

      Emohealer -- Living large in Europe? Ooh! Ooh! I am envious and totally want to hear about your escapades!

      TM -- Isn't it amazing? I listen to these songs and suddenly I'm 20-something and twirling like a dervish on the dancefloor. Somehow I could have guessed we built our current characters on similar foundations!

      Thanks, friends, for visiting and enjoying my music. MM

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 

      11 years ago from West Coast

      Wow MM you really brought back some memories with these choices. Those 80s were simply crazy and I loved it!!

    • emohealer profile image

      Sioux Ramos 

      11 years ago from South Carolina

      The memories of the 80's, they were great! I spent them living large in Europe so I missed most of these lesser known groups, thanks for putting links I really enjoyed listening and checking out the ones that got by me. Not to mention my own walk down that wild memory lane, Nice, Thanks!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      wow you were a 80's wild child....that's cool. And you even colored your hair wild colors? Awesome! LOL. I was born in the early 80's but grew up on Old School, R&B Oldies and some pop of the 80's.... so I am not familiar with this genre of music but I still like the hub. =)

    • Jodi Hoeksel profile image

      Jodi Hoeksel 

      11 years ago

      Oh, the 80's...quite a time of unique fashion and flares! Nice line up! Amazing how certain songs bring back particular memoirs. Most of your list here I can connect to. I also enjoyed Depeche Mode and Yaz! Thanks for the nostalgic walk. Made me smile! :)


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