Can You Name These Male ’80s Bands and Artists From an Image?
By: Lauren Lubas
About This Quiz
Try as they might, no decade has ever come close to producing the sounds that were delivered to us in the 1980s. There were techno beats, synthesized sounds, keytars and country-rock hybrids. We were also first introduced to mainstream rap music that pushed Motown to the back seat. It was a decade of meaningful music ... and a decade of cheesy music. Though the style of the 1980s was something that people still enjoy making fun of (who could forget the shoulder pads that reached toward the sky?), the music is something we can always return to. And the decade gave us artists that we simply cannot forget.
While there were dozens of memorable female artists and bands of the '80s, the sheer amount of male artists and bands that flooded every music genre is undeniable. If you're a fan of '80s music (whether you admit it to your friends or not), you may be able to recognize a few artists by their hair or a screenshot of their music video, but do you think you can name all 40 of these male artists and bands from the decade with just an image? Take this quiz to find out just how good you really are.
Who are these rockers who specialized in heavy metal music?
Iron Maiden was the kind of band that could define a genre. They were true heavy metal. Though the band started in 1975, they released eight albums in the 1980s (which is a lot of albums for any artist).
Do you recognize this band that did a lot of political commentary in their music?
Rush, despite having recently completed their "final" tour, still have legions of fans. They were a Canadian band that liked to bring political issues to light. Their drummer, Neil Peart has been considered the best drummer of all time, delivering difficult techniques.
What is the name of this band that had a unique sound (even for the 1980s)?
The Cure was one of those bands that couldn't keep members for too long. However, it didn't matter who was singing, drumming or playing the guitar, as they continued to make great music through the 1990s as well.
Rappers and gangsta rappers of the 1980s were done holding back for the sake of fame, and that's where some of the best, purest forms of the genre came into play. Eazy-E wrote hardcore lyrics that offended just about everyone who didn't live in his world.
Though the band was originally founded in 1968, they released several albums during the 1980s. As a matter of fact, during one Black Sabbath show in Iowa, Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off of a live bat and made national news.
Which band from across the pond was headed by Bono?
In the 1980s, U2 was basically a record-creating machine. They released multiple studio albums and seemingly endless live and concert albums. They were political and angry, but the music was beautiful and hit home hard.
This group consisted of MCA, Ad-Rock and Mike D. Who are they?
The very small pool of white rappers in the 1980s didn't hinder the Beastie Boys from making some memorable and iconic music. They weren't the hardest of the hardcore rappers, but their songs did include a lot of innuendo.
Can you name the band that sings the rock ballad "Silent Lucidity"?
With albums like "The Warning" (1984) and "Operation: Mindcrime" (1988), it is no secret that Queensryche was one of the most political bands of the decade. However, they didn't get a lot of airtime on American radio stations until the release of "Empire" in 1990.
David Bowie's career began in the 1970s, but he had multiple hits in the '80s. He even made the transition to film in "Labyriinth" (1986), where he played the Goblin King. His work has been noted as some of the most influential music of the century.
Can you name the band that had Sting as their frontman?
Guns N' Roses
Sting had one of the most unique voices of the 1980s, and his presence was on par with it. His work with The Police through the '70s and '80s gave us some of the most influential songs of the time period. The band had very literate song lyrics, referencing everyone from Shakespeare to Edgar Allan Poe.
Though some may criticize Duran Duran, their hit list is undeniable. They have a core following, and their music videos set the standard for visual flash in the '80s. They still tour every once in a while, and they pack the house every time.
This singer was an icon of the 1980s. Can you remember his name?
Starting as the lead singer of Wham!, he was a man who sang about faith and love and popularity. In his career, he sold over 115 million records around the world. In the 1990s, he got into a little bit of trouble in a bathroom, and thus opened up about his homosexuality.
Do you know which band had a lead singer with bright red hair?
Guns N' Roses
Axl Rose was one of those frontmen who didn't just grab the mike and scream into it. He danced on stage, showed his audience that he was into the music, and really put his all into every show that he put on.
Van Halen is a different kind of band. While most bands at the time were named after the lead singers (if they went that direction), Van Halen took a different approach. It's a good thing they did, because they changed lead singers quite a bit.
This band likes innuendo in their songs. Who are they?
Coming out of Australia but fronted by Scottish brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, AC/DC has defied pigeonholing. They've been called heavy metal, blues rock and hard rock, but they don't really fit in any of those boxes.
This crazy hair band didn't care what people thought. Who are they?
Anyone who has read the book that details the indulgence that the members of this band took part in knows that they were wild and crazy. Their rebellion against norms was almost cartoonish, but it was catnip for '80s youth.
Those who love '80s music love Def Leppard. This band pumped out hit after hit, showed off interesting characters and really gave all the other hair bands a run for their money. They were also one of the youngest hair bands (as most of their members were still in their teens when the band was formed).
Eminem wrote a song about one of this singer's songs. Who is he?
Though he was a big name in pop music in the 1980s both solo and as the frontman of Genesis, Phil Collins was an incredibly talented musician who played several instruments. He continues to tour today and his love for music hasn't changed.
As of today, this band has 14 studio albums. Can you name them?
There were several English bands that came out of the 1980s. Depeche Mode focused on electronics and synthesizing with their songs, giving teens in the United States sounds they needed to get it through the decade.
The lead singer of this band was known for being one of the oddest fellows in rock. What band is it?
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was a staple of the 1980s. Their music didn't really "fit" the sounds of the time, but it paved the way for new music to come through. Their videos were also one of the backbones of MTV back when the channel still played music videos.
People were very upset when which band cut their hair?
Guns N' Roses
Metallica wrote some of the biggest songs that connected to disaffected teens of the 1980s, of which there were many. The music was angry and powerful and it showed us that we didn't have to listen to authority to be successful.
He was a very successful street rapper, and it took a lot to get him signed. Who is he?
Big Daddy Kane
MC Hammer's career started with underground music and sales. He would sell tapes out of the trunk of his car. When a record company approached him for a deal, it originally offered him less than he was making from those underground sales.
Which hip hop duo won the first rap Grammy in 1989?
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
That's right, DJ Jazzy Jeff was the one who received top billing when "Parents Just Don't Understand" was released in 1988. Though after the music video was released, fans connected more with the Fresh Prince, whom we now know as Oscar winner Will Smith.
This singer was a master of lyrics. Do you know who he is?
Between 1971 and 1993, Billy Joel gave us 12 studio albums. His lyrics were poetry, and his instrumental talent showed us that someone really could have it all. He is still a very popular musician today.
Do you remember this band that wrote a lot of songs about heartbreak?
Peter Cetera's voice was the definition of '80s sound. Young women loved to hear him sing ballads of heartbreak and so much more. Few people realize that the band released its first album in 1969, and the band was able to change with the times throughout several decades.
Hall & Oates was a pop duo that gave us endless '80s songs that you could dance to and rock out to in the car. "Maneater" (1982), "Private Eyes" (1981) and "You Make My Dreams" (1980) were some of their most important earlier songs.
This band had several hit songs that were featured in movies. Who are they?
Though there were a lot of bands that one could argue defined the 1980s, Survivor gave us some important songs that we remember to this day. They are the band that delivered us the epic "Eye of the Tiger" from the "Rocky" soundtrack.
One-hit wonders were abundant in the 1980s. Can you name this one?
The Culture Club
Pop music was so lucrative in the 1980s that hundreds of bands tried to hit the scene to make it. Though some were more popular than others, most bands didn't make it past their first hit. A-Ha was one of those bands with the hit song "Take On Me" (1985).
You don't hear the story of a British-American rapper very often, but Slick Rick was a hip hop idol that no one could forget. He rapped with a clear accent and gave us stories of American youth with poetry and beat.
Can you name this singer who always seemed to be wearing a suit?
Robert Palmer gave us songs like "Addicted to Love" (1985) and "Simply Irresistible" (1988). He seemed to enjoy wearing a suit and tie, making him a sophisticated pop-rocker or a dedicated lounge singer. His videos were a huge favorite among teenage boys of the time.
This rap group didn't mind making the government angry. Who are they?
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
With rappers and artists like Chuck D, Keith Schoklee, DJ Lord, Professor Griff and Flavor Flav, Public Enemy was all about calling out politicians and showing the world what it was like to live in the inner city in the 1980s.
If you had to define the 1980s with one band, Culture Club would be your go-to answer. They had a few different sounds, and their lead singer (Boy George) had an iconic look that both men and women of the time tried to mimic.
Lionel Richie gave us the music all '80s parents approved of. It was slow and meaningful, and it called back to the sounds of Motown ballads from the past. His work is still revered today as some of the best of the time period.
What is the name of this rock group that is still touring today?
Cheap Trick gave it their all throughout the 1970s, but in the 1980s, we got to hear some of the most important songs that they released. The band was punk and rock and pop all at the same time, giving them distinction throughout the decades. You can still catch them on tour today!
When it comes to hair metal, you may not know Warrant by band name, but you can probably sing each and every one of their hit songs. From "Cherry Pie" to "Heaven" (their rock ballad), Warrant gave us the perfect mix of hard rock and slow love in the 1980s.