Best of the '80s, Poll — March 8, 2013 at 9:21 am

Top 100 Albums of 1980: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s — Part 1

Sicing Up Eyeballs Top 100 Albums of 1980

Today we unveil the results of Part 1 of our year-long Best of the ’80s feature, an ambitious,  year-by-year poll of Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers to determine just what were the best albums of each year of the 1980s — and then, when that’s all said and done at the end of 2013, we’ll run a monster best-of-the-decade poll to hash out the overall champs.

For the 1980 poll, we logged votes from 3,360 of you, with the top 2 vote-getters each receiving more than 1,000 votes apiece. We had a few hitches with this first poll — hence the delay in publishing results — but we’ve learned from it and will do things a bit differently when we launch the Best of 1981 poll next week.

So thank you all for voting and sharing your thoughts. Take a look at the Top 100 list below — and feel free to offer your own take on the results, good or bad, in the comments below.

UPDATE: Voting is now open in our Best of 1981 poll.




Joy Division, 'Closer'

1. Joy Division, Closer

BACKSTORY: The second and final Joy Division studio album, released two months to the day after the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. The band recruited Gillian Gilbert and continued on as New Order.
BAND: Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris
PRODUCER: Martin Hannett
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



The Cure, 'Seventeen Seconds'

2. The Cure, Seventeen Seconds

BACKSTORY: Robert Smith took The Cure into darker territory for the band’s second album — a record that marks the introduction of bassist Simon Gallup, still Smith’s longest-running sideman.
SINGLES: “A Forest”
BAND: Robert Smith, Matthieu Hartley, Lol Tolhurst, Simon Gallup
PRODUCER: Robert Smith and Mike Hedges
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Talking Heads, 'Remain in Light'

3. Talking Heads, Remain in Light

BACKSTORY: Aided by producer Brian Eno, the Talking Heads’ fourth album found the band experimenting with African polyrhythms, loops and samples, and additional musicians such as Adrian Belew.
SINGLES: “Crosseyed and Painless,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “Houses in Motion”
BAND: David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



U2, 'Boy'

4. U2, Boy

BACKSTORY: The debut from U2, featuring the band’s first U.K. hit single, “I Will Follow,” and two of the three songs from its debut EP. The cover art was changed in the U.S. over pedophilia concerns.
SINGLES: “A Day Without Me,” “I Will Follow”
BAND: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.
PRODUCER: Steve Lillywhite
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Echo & The Bunnymen, 'Crocodiles'

5. Echo & The Bunnymen, Crocodiles

BACKSTORY: The debut from the Bunnymen found Ian McCulloch and Co. replacing their original drummer — a drum machine named Echo — with the real thing, for a dark, moody introduction to the band.
SINGLES: “Pictures On My Wall,” “Rescue”
BAND: Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson, Pete de Freitas
PRODUCER: The Chameleons and Ian Broudie
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



David Bowie, 'Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)'

6. David Bowie, Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

BACKSTORY: For his 14th album, and the follow-up to the so-called Berlin trilogy, David Bowie re-established his pop credentials, entering the ’80s with hits such as “Ashes to Ashes” and “Fashion.”
SINGLES: “Ashes to Ashes,” “Fashion,” “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps),” “Up the Hill Backwards”
BAND: David Bowie, Dennis Davis, George Murray, Carlos Alomar
PRODUCER: David Bowie and Tony Visconti
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Bauhaus, 'In the Flat Field'

7. Bauhaus, In the Flat Field

BACKSTORY: The debut from Bauhaus, a goth-rock landmark, if not the very creation of the genre, finds the band in peak form, with classics such as “Double Dare,” “God in an Alcove” and “Stigmata Martyr.”
BAND: Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, David J, Kevin Haskins
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



The Clash, 'Sandanista!'

8. The Clash, Sandinista!

BACKSTORY: For their fourth album, The Clash followed up 1979’s double London Calling with a massive, 36-song triple album featuring a dizzying hodgepodge of genres including dub, rockabilly and even rap.
SINGLES: “The Call-Up,” “Hitsville UK,” “The Magnificent Seven”
BAND: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Siouxsie and the Banshees, 'Kaleidoscope'

9. Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kaleidoscope 

BACKSTORY: The third Banshees’ album saw the debut of former Magazine and Visage guitarist John McGeoch and drummer Budgie, who would later marry Siouxsie Sioux and join her in The Creatures.
SINGLES: “Happy House,” “Christine”
BAND: Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin, Budgie, John McGeoch
PRODUCER: Siouxsie and the Banshees and Nigel Gray
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Pretenders, 'Pretenders'

10. Pretenders, Pretenders

BACKSTORY: The first album from Chrissie Hynde and Co. featured debut single “Stop Your Sobbing,” produced by Nick Lowe, who famously turned down the chance to work on the full record.
SINGLES: “Stop Your Sobbing,” “Kid,” “Brass in Pocket”
BAND: Chrissie Hynde, Martin Chambers, James Honeyman-Scott, Pete Farndon
PRODUCER: Chris Thomas
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)


11. The Police, Zenyattà Mondatta
12. X, Los Angeles
13. Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel (aka ‘Melt’)
14. Devo, Freedom of Choice
15. Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Get Happy!!
16. The Psychedelic Furs, The Psychedelic Furs
17. The B-52s, Wild Planet
18. Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
19. The Jam, Sound Affects
20. XTC, Black Sea


Adam and the Ants

21. Adam and the Ants, Kings of the Wild Frontier
22. The Beat, I Just Can’t Stop It
23. Ultravox, Vienna
25. Killing Joke, Killing Joke
26. The Feelies, Crazy Rhythms
27. OMD, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
28. Squeeze, Argybargy
29. Kate Bush, Never For Ever
30. Ramones, End of the Century


The Cramps

31. The Cramps, Songs the Lord Taught Us
32. Japan, Gentlemen Take Polaroids
33. Oingo Boingo, Oingo Boingo
34. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Organisation (TIE)
34. Roxy Music, Flesh and Blood (TIE)
36. Simple Minds, Empires and Dance
37. The Soft Boys, Underwater Moonlight
38. Split Enz, True Colours
39. Magazine, The Correct Use of Soap (TIE)
39. Gary Numan, Telekon (TIE)


Young Marble Giants

41. Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth
42. Dexys Midnight Runners, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels
43. The Teardrop Explodes, Kilimanjaro (TIE)
43. Blondie, Autoamerican (TIE)
45. The Specials, More Specials
46. The Birthday Party, The Birthday Party (TIE)
46. The Cars, Panorama (TIE)
48. The Damned, The Black Album
49. The Human League, Travelogue (TIE)
49. The Sound, Jeopardy (TIE)


John Foxx

51. John Foxx, Metamatic
52. Visage, Visage
53. The Fall, Grotesque (After the Gramme)
54. Madness, Absolutely
55. Cabaret Voltaire, The Voice of America
56. Pylon, Gyrate
57. Buggles, The Age of Plastic (TIE)
57. Circle Jerks, Group Sex (TIE)
59. Minutemen, Paranoid Time
60. Joe Jackson, Beat Crazy



61. Wipers, Is This Real?
62. The Comsat Angels, Waiting For a Miracle
63. Suicide, Suicide (aka ‘The Second Album’)
64. The Associates, The Affectionate Punch
65. Harold Budd/Brian Eno, Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror (TIE)
65. Stiff Little Fingers, Nobody’s Heroes (TIE)
67. Fad Gadget, Fireside Favourites
68. Jim Carroll, Catholic Boy
69. The Selecter, Too Much Pressure
70. Midnight Oil, Bird Noises


The Undertones

71. The Undertones, Hypnotised (TIE)
71. Flowers, Icehouse (TIE)
71. Tuxedomoon, Half-Mute (TIE)
74. Rockpile, Seconds of Pleasure
75. Lou Reed, Growing Up in Public
76. Iggy Pop, Soldier
77. Colin Newman, A-Z
78. Bow Wow Wow, Your Cassette Pet (TIE)
78. Prince, Dirty Mind (TIE)
80. Pop Group, For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?


The Skids

81. Skids, The Absolute Game
82. Plasmatics, New Hope for the Wretched
83. Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Laughter
84. Pete Townshend, Empty Glass
85. Half Japanese, Half Gentlemen/Not Beasts
86. Poly Styrene, Translucence
87. Swell Maps, Jane From Occupied Europe (TIE)
87. Residents, Commercial Album (TIE)
89. Chrome, Red Exposure
90. Television Personalities, …And Don’t The Kids Just Love It



91. Yello, Solid Pleasure
92. Toyah, Sheep Farming in Barnet
93. Bad Manners, Ska ‘n’ B (TIE)
93. Lydia Lunch, Queen of Siam (TIE)
93. Alice Cooper, Flush the Fashion (TIE)
96. Klaus Schulze, Dig It
97. Motorhead, Ace of Spades
98. Rolling Stones, Emotional Rescue (TIE)
98. Any Trouble, Where Are All the Nice Girls? (TIE)
100. Cheap Trick, All Shook Up







  1. Glad to see the love for The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds. It’s my all-time favorite album.

  2. Oops – #91. The band is Yello, not Yellow. :)

  3. X and The Feelies should have been Top 10…just sayin’

  4. Crocodiles should be replaced with Ocean Rain.

  5. Love this list. just love.

  6. Wow. 1980 was a deep year for great albums. Great picks.

    • No kidding. I’ve read this list four or five times now, and it’s mind-boggling how many good records came out this year. Insane!

      I was 14 and didn’t have access to a lot of these records yet (I was heavy into the Police and Cheap Trick) but I discovered most of the others within a couple of years. Anyone who was really dialed in in 1980 must have been overwhelmed. What a year….

      • Lotus – You said it! I was 17 in 1980 and I have almost half of these. My order would be different, but it is a sweeping glimpse of the vitality of the post-punk market, which was peaking then. I personally think that 1981 was the acme, with ’82-’83 ebbing and the decline seriously underway by 1984. But yes, it was almost overwhelming as it unfolded. As a teenager I had almost no money but managed to keep up pretty well with what was happening.

  7. Re: Crocodiles vs. Ocean Rain… this list is for albums released in 1980. Ocean Rain was 84.

  8. I didnt see #50 or am I missing it?

  9. And #40 appears to me missing also

  10. Tony Plutonium

    Looking forward to the rest of the polls – I’ve pointed out before the ridiculous number of awesome albums that came out in 1980 so I’m interested in seeing if any other year matches up.

  11. Great best of! And even better with Cheap Trick making the cut!!!

  12. Typo: 71. Flowers, Icehouse (TIE)

  13. Another oops at #97…should be Ace of Spades.

  14. No Replacements (Pleased to Meet Me), no Los Lobos (How Will The Wolf Survive?), no Crowded House (Crowded House), no Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” No John Hiatt (Slow Turning), Smiths (take your pick), no Housemartins (London 0, Hull 4), no Billy Bragg (Talking Poetry With the Taxman), no Warren Zevon (Sentimental Hygiene), no Randy Newman (Trouble in Paradise), No Go-Go’s (Beauty & the Beat), No Bangles (Different Light)? I could on.

    Score: Epic Fail

  15. NO R.E.M.???!!!

  16. Great list. Crockodiles of course.

  17. This whole concept is so awesome! Thank you for putting this together. Looking forward to part 2. When does it start? M

  18. I like the list,but I wish there was room for ABC’s The Lexicon of Love and The Pet Shop Boys’ Actually LPs.

  19. ps. Adam/Ants, Siouxsie/Banshees, Bauhaus, Cure & Joy Division are my top 5. M

  20. Amazing list, kudos on the work put into this!

  21. People… the list is albums for the year 1980 only… not THE 80’S. thanks for doing this by the way… looking forward to 1981!

  22. Yes, as jl points out, this was a poll to determine the best albums of 1980, not the 1980s overall. Next up will be a 1981 poll, then ’82, ’83, etc. When all of that’s one, we’ll have a best of the decade poll.

  23. Can’t wait, Matt! Bring on the ‘Mats and R.E.M.! Many thanks for another job well done and guaranteeing more excitement ahead!

  24. No Alarm?

  25. inclusion of Toyah is groovy!…but she deserved a better placement than in the 90’s!..oh, well..

  26. The one glaring omission from this list is The Vapors, New Clear Days. They probably had a bigger impact than just about anyone on this list.

  27. great stuff Matt. Perhaps when you release your lists your Strangeways Radio show could coincide with a nice tie-in? So maybe next Tuesday or whenever you’re putting together your next show, you could do say one song from each of the top chosen albums or something and then pimp this post? Just a suggestion.

  28. This is so utterly awesome…I cannot wait to see the rest of the results for the decade!!! Really looking forward to poring through an ultimate list of 1000 amazing records! Such a lot of time and love has gone into this…wonderful…thank you so much.

  29. Where is UB40’s Signing Off?… Classic album.

  30. What a vintage year, now we have up to 1985 when everything started going horribly wrong.Well done Bauhaus , who would have thought it 33 years ago.

  31. This list is fantastic. I look forward to voting and seeing results for 1981.

  32. Dan Dipple

    I love this too! My top 4 made the top ten! The Police appear to have been edged out. A lot of great music in 1980, though I discovered most of it a few years later since I was 9 for most of the year. I can’t wait for 88 and 89, my junior and senior years when REM, The Smiths, The Cure, U2, and Peter Murphy were providing my soundtrack. Making out to Depeche Mode…

  33. Hard to argue with Closer at #1. At times I think it’s the best of the entire decade.

  34. Where the fuck are The Smiths?

  35. Good thing you had Killing Joke, Ultravox, Gary Numan, Cabaret Voltaire, Visage, John Foxx, XTC, Echo & The Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, Siouxsie, Magazine, The Clash and Joy Division in the list or it would be totally wrong…

  36. Wait.
    No R.E.M. at all. And yet, Lou Reed’s most horrific pre-Raven solo album, Growing Up in Public, makes the cut? Interesting.

  37. Where in the hell is R.E.M.’s ‘Murmur’??

    Or ANY R.E.M. at all.

    ‘Murmur’ should TOP this list, EASILY.

  38. 1980, an amazing year in Music.
    And great to see some love for Siouxsie & The Banshees, still such an under-rated band!
    My top 10:
    1 Joy Division: Closer
    2 Siouxsie & The Banshees: Kaleidoscope
    3 The Cure: Seventeen Seconds
    4 David Bowie: Scary Monsters
    5 Japan: Gentlemen Take Polaroids
    6 Gary Numan: Telekon
    7 Visage: Visage
    8 Bauhaus: In The Flat Field
    9 Kate Bush: Never For Ever
    10 Ultravox: Vienna

  39. Many thanks for doing this — very interesting and I look forward to the rest of the decade, even though I have absolutely no interest in either REM or The Smiths.

  40. Loved that Yello made the list. That one was a “write-in” and I’m glad a few others agreed!

  41. Interesting to see how the albums fell…1980 was incredibly strong…however, INXS’ debut in the top-25? No way is it greater than Killing Joke, The Sound, Comsat Angels, Teardrop Explodes, Simple Minds, Pylon, Magazine, Visage, Flowers or Wipers to name a few…

  42. Riot Nrrrd

    As happy as I am that sanity prevailed (i.e. “Closer” at #1), I am seriously disappointed that voters actually think there were 50 albums better than John Foxx’s perfect masterpiece “Metamatic”. C’mon people!!!

  43. Good to see Pretenders get proper acknowledgement. That record had tremendous impact at the time, and without James Honeyman-Scott, there would be no Johnny Marr as we know him.

  44. Very interesting list, it was fun to participate cannot wait to see 1981 poll next week! Thanks for doing this!!!

  45. What happened to the Goths? No Mission, no Sisters……?????

  46. Great list!

  47. This is such a fantastic list. 1980 was truly an amazing year for music.I would swap out U2 for Killing Joke in a New York second. As for the rest of the order, hard to argue with any of it. And even if I could, why? Time to re-order my Spotify playlist. Looking forward to 1981.

  48. Good list, but The Jam’s Sound Affects easily makes my top 10.
    1.Remain In Light
    2.Sound Affects
    3.Scary Monsters
    7.Black Sea
    8.Zenyattà Mondatta
    9.I Just Can’t Stop It
    10.More Specials

  49. The readers of this site have great taste in music but obviously a lot obviously have problems with reading.

  50. Excellent list, by my rough count I have at least 92 of these on original vinyl.

  51. Awesome, looking forward to the rest of the decade. ’80 was a strong year for many genres. (Though somewhat outside the scope of this website …) it was probably heavy metal’s greatest year. In addition to the listed Ace of Spades, there was Maiden’s first album, Back in Black, Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell, Diamond Head’s Lightning to the Nations and numerous others.

    Flesh and Blood I would probably have in my personal top 5 for ’80. My favorite Roxy album besides Avalon.

  52. Big Shooter

    Gotta be the AMERICAN influence that keeps Vienna that far down on the list! :(

  53. Ok, here’s my thing. I remember Zenyattà Mondatta being released in 1980 because I recall listening to “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” on Phoenix, Az’s mighty AM station, K-15. Where things get fuzzy is with The Clash’s “Sandinista!”, which I don’t have any recollection of before, like, 1983. I can only chalk it up to:
    living in the U.S.A in the 80s &
    living in Arizona in the 80s &
    the general state of American radio back then.
    Lag time can be a bitch!

    • The Clash were effectively done in May 1983 when Jones got sacked. Well some could speculate it was over in ’82 with Combat Rock. AZ may have been behind but I doubt they were that far behind. What were you smoking?

  54. ChaChaBoom

    where’s Computer World, Zombie Birdhouse, and My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts? :)

  55. ChaChaBoom

    or The Hurting!

    • I know the list is freakishly long with quality albums but it is only showing stuff released in 1980. You got 3 years to wait for The Hurting. Released in March of 1983

  56. Odd list, Seventeen Seconds at #2? LOL

    Although its nice to see INXS in there, the early stuff was always overlooked.

  57. wait a second, steven–the vapors “have had more impact than probably anything on this list”?


    i gotta know. the vapors…have had more impact than joy division the cure, prince, peter gabriel, the rolling stones, the clash, blondie, devo, u2, pete townshend, david bowie, squeeze, xtc, split enz, the jam, lou reed, iggy pop, alice cooper, gary numan, the cars, the police, elvis costello, the psych furs, the bunnymen, the banshees, the beat, kate bush, cheap trick, and motorhead?


  58. Glad to see Toyah was in the list, However Sheep farming in Barnet was 1979 (even though it was in independent charts for well over a year) The blue meaning was 1980 and this would account for a goth album (@Colleen)Sisters etc only came about a few years later.

  59. I guess they’re not really ‘college radio’, but for 1980 I need to see “Duke” from Genesis and Steve Winwood’s “Arc of a Diver” getting a little bit of love.

    And wait just one minute here. What happened to “Heartattack and Vine” from Tom Waits? Pretty sure that was 1980.

    • hear, hear! i have always teetered on the brink of “classic rock” and “alternative”, which is why i find this era, and 1980 in particular, so fascinating, as it was a pivotal point where “rock”, punk, post-ounk, new-wave, disco, new romantic, and even hip-hop and dance music were all converging and influencing each other, to the extent that many older rockers (queen, billy joel, pink floyd, hall and oates, stones, kiss etc.) were incorporating those sounds into their music.

      …but i digress. point it, duke and arc of a diver (released the last day of 1980!) are two of my all-time favorite records, for the emotional content and the sense of melody, not to mention the vocal and instrumental performances–in winwood’s case, a one-man show. other non-“college-rock” records i love from ’80 include joel’s glass houses, queen’s the game, steely dan’s gaucho, hall and oates’ voices, and–yeah, i know–reo speedwagon’s hi infidelity.

  60. a fun list
    I think some “slicing” fans might be surprised by Flush The Fashion by Alice Cooper if they heard it.

  61. Hmmm, having started college in 1979, this was my freshman year. What was the pre-requisite for being on this list… not being played on the radio (or MTV) after 1990? Appealing to guys that wore eyeliner? Disappearing at the end of the 80’s?

    It seems whoever designed this list went for groups that either were one hit wonders or weren’t mainstream. At least U2, The Cars, and The Pretenders got recognized. Obviously biased against any kind of hard rock or albums that sold to the masses.
    AC-DC “Back In Black” come on, one of the all time best sellers in history. The fact that this album didn’t even make the list makes it null and void.
    Black Sabbath – “Heaven and Hell”
    Iron Maiden S/T
    Bruce Springsteen – “The River”
    Judas Priest – “British Steel”
    Ozzy Osbourne – “Blizzard Of Oz”
    REO Speedwagon – “High Infidelity”
    Rush – “Permanent Waves”
    Bob Seger – “Against The Wind”
    Styx – “Paradise Theater”
    Van Halen – “Woman And Children First”

    • Do you have even the slightest idea what the phrase “The Legacy of ’80s College Rock” implies?

      • I’m still trying to understand what Pete Townshend and the Stones are doing on this list.

        • Given the number of ties toward the end of the list, it probably means that there were only a couple of votes for each of those records, and a couple of ninnies like “Classic Rock Boy” who were equally confused.

    • Sorry, classic rock boy – a lot of these bands were going before 1980 (Blondie, Ramones, Clash,The Fall, etc) and lasted years, even decades, beyond that date (OMD, The Cure, Bowie, Devo – I could go on…). I’m sure there’s a FB page for you! Check under “people-who-like-once-huge-bands-with-only one-original-member-currently-playing-your-local state-fair”. :)

      • So, I was actually in college in 1980 and I’m being told that my opinion is invalid. I hope most of you are at least 50. I lived it. I remember. I will guarentee if you walked down the dorm rooms in 1980 you’d hear AC/DC more than any other band on this list.

        BTW, my point was that there was a bias towards hard rock and mainstream success in the list. I could easily have thrown Def Leppard, The Scorpions, Saxon and Riot. All bands just starting out and leading the British New Wave Of Heavy Metal. So what is the definition of a college band that makes the bands I listed, which actually were around and selling out arenas in 1980, so off the mark? Like I said, I was in college and these groups were as prevalent on MTV and the radio as any bands on the list.

        As for you Brad, I could come up with something better than “classic-rock-boy” to describe you and the people that thought these “here today gone tomorow MTV pop icons” were all the rage, but I’ll leave the name calling to you. The Bow Wow Wows…. LOL. They were really big in Japan I hear.

        • Bill- You started off your comments by taking swipes at the music listed here, and then CONTINUED to do so, even after I (and others) explained to you that most of the bands listed here where going before and after 1980. It’s clear from your remarks you don’t think most of these bands, or their genres, are important or influential – and you are wrong. There’s nothing wrong with this music not being your cup of tea, but when you disparage the bands here and their listeners it just makes you look like a giant bag of douche.

    • the styx record was ’81.

  62. @ BillX

    Not invalid, just misinformed. The definition of “’80s college rock” within the context of this site (and, I dare say, common understanding) is that period in which punk, post-punk, new wave and various other non-mainstream genres coalesced at campus radio stations. It has nothing to do with what you were likely to hear on commercial radio or at a frat party, or what “most people” thought was cool. Follow the “About Us” link at the top of this site for a better idea of what’s going on here.

    I have no doubt you and your friends were listening to Styx and REO Speedwagon at that time. You probably still are. But the rest of us weren’t. We’d all figured out that there was a lot going on that you couldn’t hear on regular commercial stations. That was “’80s college rock.” And that’s what this site — and these polls — are about.

    • i was 7 turning 8, and i loved reo and journey and genesis and billy joel then…and the cure and joy division and gabriel and kate bush later. i love music. a great melody or a sincerely conveyed sentiment, even if it’s simple, charms me no matter what subgenre it comes from. if you saw my favorite albums of all time, you’d find the cure, the smashing pumpkins, the sundays, juliana hatfield, prince, the foo fighters and bjork and the sugarcubes alongside billy joel, genesis. steely dan and steve winwood. it’s only rock and roll…but i do, indeed, like it.

  63. Yeah, once in a while I’ll give Styx or REO a spin but I am just as likely to be listening to The Black Keys, Muse, The Mars Volta, Porcupine Tree, etc..
    My cd collection is vast and wide. BTW, I do have a handful of the albums on the above list. I must admit I did no read the “About Us” section, only the article that precedes this list which claims to be selecting the best albums of 1980. If it would have said “the best albums of 1980 that only people who thought it was cool to listen to obscure, underground groups” then maybe I’d have gotten the gist. Sorry to waste everyone’s time trying to interject quantitative methodology into the conversation.

  64. And one last thing, I was buying lots of albums of groups no one ever heard of, just not lame ass post “punk, post-punk, new wave and various other non-mainstream genres” albums. I liked hard rock with lots of guitars, a lot of which (Priest, Maiden, Saxon, Scorpions, Rush, weren’t considered mainstream at the time. Many would argue Rush was never mainstream). It would be a few years before they became mainstream. So what you are saying is if band started out underground and experienced success then they are disqualified even though in 1980 no one had ever heard of Iron Maiden or Def Leppard and they weren’t being played on mainstream radio stations.

    • I think you missed the “coalesced at campus radio stations” part.

      I agree that several of the bands you just cited were indeed out of the mainstream at that point, and didn’t really enjoy commercial airplay until “Pyromania” and “…And Justice For All” and so forth came along and made those sounds safe for programmers. (Although Rush had been a commercial radio staple for some time.) And in fairness, the college station I was at did have a “speed metal” show two hours a week at one point, although I don’t remember who they played.

      But the fact remains, hard rock isn’t what people think about when they think about “80s college rock” (at least as this site defines it, which for our purposes is what matters). That should become clearer as these polls progress.

      • but it’s all so relative…husker du was on the heavy side, and mould almost produced nirvana; the replacements rocked hard as well and then one of them ended up in guns and roses; the cult is usually considered a college/alt-rock band but in reality is pretty much a preening cock rock band with some glammy/new-wavey touches; robert smith adored hendrix and floyd and the pixies, nine inch nails, jane’s, fishbone and faith no more, among others, could get as heavy and aggressive as anything termed “hard-rock.” if you ask me, the original “alternative” rock music was proto-progressive 60s stuff like floyd, genesis, yes, and king crimson, the innovative folk-rock of joni mitchell, nick drake, traffic and fairport convention, and the sophisticated pop of the beach boys, the zombies, and of course the beatles.

  65. I think it’s clear now. I get it. I don’t belong here.
    But “that paved the way for Nirvana and the alternative revolution”. You may want to read up on Nirvana a bit more. The books I’ve read have pointed out that Kurt Cobain was influenced as much by groups like Sabbath as any of these alt-genre and punk rock groups.
    I think I will still check back at the lists out of curiousity and for a good laugh. I just won’t comment anymore. Live long and prosper.

    • Peace, love and understanding. (That’s Nick Lowe/Elvis Costello reference, but the song came out in the ’70s so won’t make the list.)

  66. wow, some idiotic people read this site. a lot of them.

  67. Boba Fetish

    Great list. Naturally these offerings will offend almost everyone for what they omit but it’s a good starting point for discovery or re-discovery as the case may be. Thanks.

  68. This list underlines (as if it were needed) just what an embarrassment of riches our music scene was back then. Kinda makes you weep for kids today (Beiber, One Direction, Rhianna, etc). Especially pleased to see The Wipers on there. In the UK no-one had heard of them till the ’90s, by which time they’d split up. Was that the case in the US? Looking forward to 1981 poll…

  69. I thought i was the only one who liked The Pop Group’s FOR HOW MUCH LONGER DO WE TOLERATE MASS MURDER. Was shocked to see it on this list!

  70. kris robinson

    Classix Nouveaux – Night people
    is missing

  71. “The Birthday Party” is so underrated. That’s kindda good though!

  72. Jeff Black

    ‘Remain In Light’ was just so far ahead of its time. I don’t think Talking Heads were working with ‘samples and loops’ though – at least not in the modern sense. Apart from some Eno jiggery pokery, it’s all the band and augmenting musicians.

  73. Number 71 is reversed. The band is Icehouse and the album title is Flowers.

  74. My Top 10 Albums of 1980

    1. Joy Division – Closer
    2. Siouxsie & The Banhsees – Kaleidoscope
    3. The Cure – Seventeen Seconds
    4. Talking Heads – Remain in Light
    5. The Pretenders – Pretenders
    6. Bauhaus – In The Flat Field
    7. Echo & The Bunnymen – Crocodiles
    8. Killing Joke – Killing Joke
    9. X – Los Angeles
    10. Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids

  75. Surely the Boomtown Rats fourth album Mondo Bongo should make it somewhere in the top 100 albums of 1980?!

  76. Closer and Crocodiles both are perfection.

  77. Where is the album “Double Fantasy” by John Lennon its not on the list at all

  78. Fantastic albums all of high quality. You always hear that the 80s were crap music wise. Not true at all when you see the quality of the albums mentioned on this website.

  79. Olivier Dodin

    Good Job, Slicing Up Eyeballs Guys!!!

    Number Seventy One, the best album of this year:
    “Half Mute” by Tuxedomoon.

    Best Regards from France

  80. Gald to see Bauhaus getting the love. Should have been top 5 tho. Literally the invention of a genre.

  81. But Killing Joke at 25? There’s some utter crap ahead of it and that’s a shame. Probably one of the most ground breaking ablums in rock music, not just 1980 or the 1980’s.

  82. Common Knowledge

    London Calling from the Clash was released in the U.S. on January 5, 1980. Critics and writers already had their best of 1979 lists completed when London Calling was released in the U.K. on December 14, 1979. Yet I see no objections to the ineligibility of London Calling for your 1980 (and 1980s) list. It is confounding!

  83. Killing Joke should be at number 1, one of the greatest albums of all time

  84. Craig Schroeder

    How does Gang Of Four – Entertainment not make the list????

  85. Richard Philip

    Hey great list, checked this out because 1980 is my year of birth. Have a lot of these albums :)

  86. Excellent poll/list! 1980 must have been an excellent year for drugs as well as music. Hilarious comments from those who can read and know what this site is about, and from those who obviously don’t.

  87. Seems like a lot of people are oblivious to the fact that this was a “poll”… in visitors to the site submitted the albums and it wasn’t just compiled by the people who run the site.

  88. I can only assume Lubricate Your Living Room is not classed as an LP, or people are crazy. Year I went to Uni. So someone somewhere had these (got a fair few maself). Incredible year for music.

  89. No mention of Dire Straits. While never fashionable, their 1980 album Making Movies is better than at least half of these entries, in my humble opinion of course…

  90. I am glad to see Midnight Oil’s Bird Noises on the list.
    My top 10 would include some not on your list:
    Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – Doc At The Radar Station
    John Lennon and Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy
    James Blood Ulmer – Are You Glad To Be In America?

  91. All I have to say is the list is a great exercise.
    Some people just need to be a little more honest with their assessment of certain albums.
    I mean go to see a Cure concert (even back in the eighties) and see how many songs they would play off of Seventeen Seconds.
    And no I don’t mean a tour for the album Seventeen Seconds!
    For instance The Head on the Door tour.
    I know because I was there and even they didn’t think enough of SS to play that much of it.
    And before anyone says it was the HOTD tour just remember Cure shows are like 3 hours long
    So they would have had time.
    I mean pick the album because
    It’s good not because you like
    The band.
    Because I lie the Cure too but
    SS – really number 2??

  92. Where the hell is Rush – Permanent Waves? Are you kidding me?

  93. The list is thorough and hits on almost all the great post-punk and new wave artists of 1980. However, I’m not seeing the following artists that should have been included:

    The Vapors, Rubber City Rebels, The Distractions, 999, The Chords,
    Australian Crawl.

  94. Suicide was first released in December 1977. Howard Thompson of Bronze Records in the United Kingdom received a copy of the album from the United States. After listening to it he went to New York to see the group perform live and negotiate a deal to license their music for Bronze.[16][17] The album failed to chart in both the United States and the United Kingdom.[15] A single for the song “Cheree” was released in May 1978 on both 7-inch and 12-inch vinyl formats.[18][19] The single featured a remixed version of “Cheree” with the B-side “I Remember”.[18] John Lydon reviewed the single for the NME, referring to it as “Je t’aime with tape hiss”.[18]

    The album was re-issued by Red Star Records in 1980. The album has been re-released on other labels including Mute Records in 1998 and Blast First Records on compact disc and digital download formats with varying bonus tracks.

    “Suicide [First Album]”. Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
    Taylor 2006, p. 254.

  95. Handsomish

    “Bird Noises”? Seriously? I am an Oils fan, and most people, outside of Down Under, never even heard of this album until some ten years on. And nothing truly stands out from it as well. This list certainly has a number of people voting, not on the albums merit, but on the bands familiarity. I can’t wait to see where they post up with their brilliant album “Red Sails in the Sunset” and their excellent American debut of the countdown album. Also, as much as I loved and listened to “Seventeen Seconds”, the album had little influence at the time, and isn’t so highly regarded even by fans. Again benefitting from band fanaticism, rather than rational. Totally surprised to see Cheap Trick, but an excellent inclusion. Obvious omissions with Alice Cooper, and the Vapors too. Personally, I believe that the first Pretenders album had the greatest influence on the period. It was an album that was first considered punk, that made the cross over to popular at the time, and encouraged people to embrace it, rather than shun the different. I also see Chrissy Hynde as the strongest leader of a band, male or female, of the era, and empowered more women to take the reins. They would have been my number wang, I mean one. Come on, who doesn’t remember the empowerment of singing “Trapped in a world that they never made, But not me baby, I’m too Precious, Fu<|{ 0££” at the top of your lungs.

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