Mention the names Adam and the Ants, Simple Minds or The Thompson Twins to a teen, and you might get a puzzled look. They may have heard the names perhaps from their dad and in some cases even grandpa. However, If you are somewhere between the ages of 50 to 55 years old, you may remember being in high school and listening to New Wave music. There was a ton of influential bands from varying genres that created epic music during the 1980s; it was a time when the cold war was really a threat of nuclear war, where students practiced hiding under their desks, and your nearest bomb shelter was a place of safety. Nearly every genre of music during that time period had an impact on that generation. Of course the ’80s are well known for rock music’s legendary big hair bands, pop and rock bands that charted some of the biggest hits in music history that have yet to be replicated. However, if you were in high school between 1977 and 1987, you may remember a genre of music that has since been forgotten or perhaps buried under a blanket by today’s fast-changing mainstream music. Ask anyone who experienced music during the ’80s, and there is no doubt that they will tell you it was the greatest time to be a teenager.
It was Punk Rock that dominated the late 1970s with iconic bands like The Ramones, The Clash, The Stooges, The Misfits and The Dead Kennedys, among others, who added Punk as a genre of music. Punk rock didn’t last; it arrived quickly and had reached its apex in just a few short years. Punk rockers and fans of the genre were ready for a new look and sound. Punk rockers didn’t fit into a specific type; in fact, they were hard to define. If you were into punk, it meant you didn’t conform to mainstream society; it meant you were different and made it known to others in your appearance that you were. From outrageous haircuts with bright colors and body piercings that extended beyond ear lobes to clothing that was torn and tattered, punk was alive and well and played a major role in influencing notable up-and-coming pop acts like Madonna, whose music defined the non-conformist ideology of punk.
It wasn’t until the late 1970s that New Wave began to emerge. Many rock bands such as Duran Duran, Big Country, The Cars, The Police and Elvis Costello were often referred to as New Wave artists. While these bands may have crossed into New Waves timeline, it doesn’t necessarily define the New Wave sound that dominated the clubs during that time period. Arguably, the New Wave bands of that brief era shared a new instrument that would forever change music: the synthesizer. This instrument created the unique progressive sounds that ultimately created a subgenre of music known as synthesizer pop. Sometimes referred as the second British invasion, it was a period in music when most of the New Wave bands originated in Britain, where the punk scene lingered for several years after American teenagers had moved on. The impact was immediate and fast; once New Wave arrived stateside, teens across America adopted it and began to buy singles and albums at a feverish pace.
On August 1, 1981, MTV‘s launch date, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles became the first music video to be played on MTV. Within a few months, MTV began to appear nationally across cable systems. This new platform played music that the radio stations weren’t, and record stores were selling music by such obscure bands like The Human League, Bow Wow Wow, Simple Minds and Men at Work. MTV changed the way we visualized and listened to music, putting the faces of the artists in front of their fans. It became the way that bands could reach their fans directly. The music labels were initially reluctant to invest in videos; often budgets were a small fraction of what they would ultimately command to create quality content. In fact, A Flock of Seagulls were given just a few thousand dollars to create the video for their biggest and MTV fan-favorite hit “I Ran (So Far Away)” that would ultimately produce millions of records sold. It was an opportunity for New Wave to reach a new audience in nearly every household in America, if you didn’t have cable, you had a friend that did. You wanted your MTV, and everyone got it.
As New Wave’s Synth Pop became mainstream, it also became integrated into the films of that time. 1984’s teen mega-hit film Sixteen Candles featured several New Wave songs including “If You Were Here” by The Thompson Twins. The success of Sixteen Candles led to other notable films that featured even more New Wave songs. in 1985 Molly Ringwald starred in The Breakfast Club, a film that many teens could relate to. The soundtrack included a plethora of New Wave music from such artists as Simple Minds, whose iconic song “Don’t You Forget About Me” became the signature song for the movie. And in 1986, nearing the end of the New Wave era, Pretty in Pink was released and offered the most New Wave songs of any movie at that time. Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD), The Psychedelic Furs, New Order, The Smiths and Echo & the Bunnymen were all part of thie blockbuster film Pretty In Pink
The following list contains 100 of the most influential New Wave bands. The list may be missing some bands who may have impacted the genre. This list is not based on popularity but simply to serve as a reminder of some of the bands that were played during that period of time.
1. Talking Heads 2. Elvis Costello 3. The Police 4. Blondie 5. Eurythmics 6. Duran Duran 7. Tears for Fears 8. Depeche Mode 9. The Cars 10. Frankie Goes To Hollywood 11. a-ha 12. B-52’s 13. The Psychedelic Furs 14. The Pretenders 15. Men at Work 16. INXS 17. The Fixx 18. Devo 19. Bananarama 20. Culture Club 21. A Flock of Seagulls 22. Simple Minds 23. Thompson Twins 24. XTC 25. Spandau Ballet 26. Pet Shop Boys 27. ABC 28. Thomas Dolby 29. Modern English 30. The Human League 31. Squeeze 32. Adam Ant 33. Howard Jones 34. Soft Cell 35. Berlin 36. Talk Talk 37. Level 42 38. The Jam 39. Gary Numan 40. New Order 41. OMD 42. Joe Jackson 43. Ultravox 44. Erasure 45. Midnight Oil 46. Naked Eyes 47. Nik Kershaw 48. Boomtown Rats 49. Dexy’s Midnight Runners 50. The Motels 51. Planet P Project 52. The English Beat 53. Madness 54. Split Enz 55. General Public 56. Animotion 57. The Call 58. Paul Young 59. Missing Persons 60. Wall of Voodoo 61. Til Tuesday 62. The Vapors 63. Heaven 17 64. The Dream Academy 65. Falco 66. Dead Or Alive 67. Men Without Hats 68. Big Country 69. Bronski Beat 70. The Hooters 71. The Go Go’s 72. Real Life 73. The Buggles 74. Bow Wow Wow 75. The Tubes 76. Peter Schilling 77. Oingo Boingo 78. Kajagoogoo 79. Swing Out Sister 80. Graham Parker & the Rumour 81. Timbuk 3 82. Wang Chung 83. The Members 84. Mr. Mister 85. Frida 86. Gene Loves Jezebel 87. The Power Station 88. The Specials 89. The Plimsouls 90. Information Society 91. Arcadia 92. Haircut 100 93. The Church 94. China Crisis 95. Icehouse 96. Tom Tom Club 97. The Sisters of Mercy 98. Ian Dury & The Blockheads 99. Big Audio Dynamite 100. Visage
~DJ Sudeep K ~
Has plenty of new wave in this mix of
On Mixcloud This show was ranked
4th in the global indie rock chart,
8th in the global alternative chart,
13th in the global indie chart and
42nd in the global electronica chart.
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