The Best Classic Rock Albums From 1980 to 1989

One Rock Anthem After Another

We always think of the ’80s as a colorful time literally and figuratively. Rock was branching out even more – no one can forget the hair metal bands who consumed most of the hairspray at the time. Some say it was their least favorite era and be that as it may, several records didn’t just influence today’s pop culture and music in general but there were albums which challenged conventions and even became the standard by which all others were measured.

There was something for everyone even the most critical classic rock fan. And the songs were hard to ignore too because they dominated the radio and TV.

Now sit back, relax and enjoy this quick trip down memory lane.

Joy Division – “Closer” (1980)

There’s an almost otherworldly feel to this.

Bon Jovi – “Slippery When Wet” (1986)

This was a winning moment for Bon Jovi because they managed to bring hair metal into the mainstream scene.

Rush – “Moving Pictures” (1981)

You can never pass up Rush’s most commercially successful album.

Van Halen – “1984” (1984)

Van Halen made synthesizers popular and in turn, they were propelled towards more fame. Of course part of that is because of MTV putting their videos on regular rotation.

ZZ Top – “Eliminator” (1983)

It deserved all the hype. Enough said.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – “Texas Flood” (1983)

At a time when blues were no longer the “thing,” SRV made it cool again.

David Bowie – “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” (1980)

It wasn’t his finest work but it was like the sum of all his musical experiments.

Mötley Crüe – “Shout at the Devil” (1983)

We don’t know what deal they made with the devil but this was one incredibly heavy album.

Metallica – “Master of Puppets” (1986)

A heavy metal achievement of epic proportions.

AC/DC “Back in Black” (1980)

The Rolling Stone referred to this as the “purest distillation of hard rock ever” and we couldn’t agree more.

Guns ‘n Roses – “Appetite for Destruction” (1987)

It’s powerful and unapologetic – and it basically forced everyone to take hard rock more seriously.

Ozzy Osbourne – “Blizzard of Ozz” (1980)

The whole album is phenomenal but it boasted of one thing that no one else had – Randy Rhoads.

Iron Maiden – “The Number of the Beast” (1982)

Over three decades later, this remains untouchable.

Prince – “Purple Rain” (1984)

Prince struck gold with “Purple Rain” since it became the record that gave him massive popularity.

Def Leppard – “Hysteria” (1987)

They became the very definition of “pop metal.”

Bruce Springsteen – “Born in the USA” (1984)

The Boss’ biggest-selling album ever and it features several classic rock hits which stood the test of time.

U2 – “Joshua Tree” (1987)

It’s stellar from beginning to end.