The Musicians of the 1980s Quiz



By: Olivia Cantor

7 Min Quiz

Image: Andwhatsnext at English Wikipedia via Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Calling all music lovers out there! If you like many kinds of music, and if you love listening to songs from different eras, then this quiz is definitely for you!

Before the world went digital, before all these media streaming devices and technologies existed, and before making music videos became the norm, we only had the music back then. The 1980s defined specific musical styles, personalities, and artistry. The 1980s also redefined many of these styles, personas, and artistic creations as well. 

For one, many genres came about in this era that were looked down upon in the beginning. But if you listen to the music of today, it's very evident how the 1980s musical greats were able to influence the musicians of today - and the musicians of the years to come, actually.

Not only that, but some of these musicians are still active these days, still as frontrunners or maybe behind the scenes, collaborating or composing and such. But whatever they're doing now, we truly appreciate them for what they have contributed to global music. 

So, think you can guess these musical greats if we give you some of their lyrical clues? Then tinker with these ivories and rock on with us, dudes and dudettes! 

She hit the '80s mark by singing "Like A Virgin." Who is she?

Born Madonna Louise Ciccone, Madonna came to be the great innovator of '80s style and music during that era. Album to album, her artistic styles keep getting reinvented, from her self-titled 1983 album to 1984's "Like A Virgin." Then came the "True Blue" look, and then the "Like A Prayer" look - this lady has many personas in there, and we all love 'em!


"Sweet Dreams" are made of these '80s hits from this duo. Who sang this?

The Eurythmics was basically a musical duo, composed of Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart, who were both British. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" is the title of their worldwide '80s hit, as well as the title of their second album, which was released in 1983, and gave them international stardom.


His '80s anthem was "Born in the U.S.A." Who is this idol?

Nicknamed The Boss, Bruce Springsteen has been making music since the '70s, but he hit it big in the '80s, too, especially with the release of his album called "Born in the U.S.A.," which was also the title of the single that became a hit. Another hit from that album is "Dancing in the Dark," where you can see "Friends" star Courtney Cox in the music video as a relatively unknown person, and that moment helped push her acting career further.


His "Purple Rain" album was a hit! Who is this now departed musical genius?

The very talented and eclectic Prince may have died suddenly back in 2016, but the world never forgot his legacy in music, one that helped sculpt the landscape of '80s music. Out of his 39 albums, some of the '80s ones are: "Purple Rain," "Sign o' the Times," "Lovesexy," the "Batman" soundtrack, and of course "1999."


His "Thriller" album hit it big this decade. Who was this musician?

The 1980s is definitely Michael Jackson's big breakout decade, especially as a solo artist, having performed with his brothers previously, ever since he was small! The success of his 1982 "Thriller" album solidified his mark as the burgeoning King of Pop back then, especially with the many hits that came out of that spectacular album, as well as the accolades it got from the Grammys.


"The Reflex" is one of their '80s hits. Which group is this?

The British Invasion was alive and kickin' back in the '80s, with the boys of Duran Duran at the forefront, making every teenybopper scream with delight at the sight and sound of these cuties. The synth-pop meets new wave group is composed of Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes, and Dominic Brown.


Their unforgettable "Take on Me" was a global hit. Which group sang this?

The world got a taste of Norway when the band A-ha hit it big during the '80s, especially with their debut album called "Hunting High and Low." Two of their hits became '80s anthems, namely "Take on Me" and "The Sun Always Shines on TV," which also featured innovative music video animation.


"Every Breath You Take" will remind you of this group. What band is this?

The Police is another British band that joined the second wave of British Invasion of the U.S. during that era (the first wave being the Beatles' time), but they have been making music since the 1970s. Their greatest '80s achievement is the release of their 1983 album called "Synchronicity," which contained some of their classic hits such as "King of Pain," "Every Breath You Take," and "Wrapped Around Your Finger."


He was pining for his "Uptown Girl" in "Allentown." Who is this talented guy?

Billy Joel has been actively singing and playing the piano since the '60s, but the '80s was also a shining decade for him, due to the many hits he had. Some of those hits are: "You May Be Right," "Sometimes a Fantasy," "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," Tell Her About It," and "The Longest Time," to name a few.


They urged everyone to "Walk Like an Egyptian" even if we were having a "Manic Monday." Who's this all-girl band?

The LA-based pop-rock band The Bangles contributed to the early image of women rockers back in the '80s, since it was still rare to see mainstream all-women bands back then, just girl groups (doing vocals). Aside from the two mentioned songs, some of their greatest hits include "Eternal Flame" and their cover of "Hazy Shade of Winter" which was part of the soundtrack for the film "Less Than Zero."


They sang of a "Maneater." Who's this duo?

The pop-rock duo of Hall and Oates is composed of Daryl Hall (the tall blonde one) and John Oates (the short dark-haired one). Some of their very popular songs include the very pop-sounding "Out of Touch," "Kiss on My List," "I Can't Go For That," and "Maneater," which all reached the top spot in the Billboard Hot 100 list.


They were visible with their song "Invisible Touch." Which band was this?

The English band Genesis actually started their career in the '60s, because they were formed in 1967 in Surrey. Singer Peter Gabriel came from this band and went solo later, which is what drummer Phil Collins also did later on.


She asked us "What's Love Got To Do With It" back then. Who is this great diva?

Tina Turner has been making music since the '60s as part of a tandem that included former husband, Ike Turner. But after they divorced, she made a great comeback in the '80s, producing hit albums and hit songs, which you can also see in the biopic called "What's Love Got To Do With It," the 1993 film that starred Angela Bassett in the role of Tina Turner.


They were looking at "West End Boys" during that decade. Which musical act is this?

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are the British dudes that made up the Pet Shop Boys, which had a synth-pop sound back then, and they became massively popular, selling more than 50 million of their records all over the world. Interestingly enough, their hit songs were written using gender-neutral language so they would appeal more to varied genders, but it could have also been part of Tennant's way to introduce same-gender-oriented songs since he is gay (but he only came out in the '90s).


They accused you that "You Give Love a Bad Name" during that decade. Which group was this?

Bon Jovi was fronted by Jon Bon Jovi, and they started this band in their home state of New Jersey back in the '80s. Some of their other '80s greatest hits include "Bad Medicine" and "I'll Be There for You," and they also hit it big in the '90s and 2000s.


They wanted to "Shout" because it's a very very "Mad World" we had back then. Who is this duo?

Tears for Fears is another English pop-rock duo that defined the sound of the '80s, churning out pop songs laden with social issues/messages, enveloped in very danceable tunes. Some of these great hits include "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love)," "Change," "Mothers Talk," "Head Over Heels," and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," to name a few.


They sang about their "Sweet Child o' Mine." What rocking group is this?

The American rock band Guns N’ Roses was formed in the 1980s, and their first album was called "Appetite For Destruction" containing the hit songs "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child o' Mine," solidifying their claim on the hard rock stage.


They reminded you to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." Which duo was this?

WHAM was another British act that crossed over to the Americas and the world in general, with their quintessential hit "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" as well as that very sexy tune called "Careless Whisper." To this day, their 1984 hit single "Last Christmas" still gets heavy airplay when the yuletide season is here.


He was "Dancing on the Ceiling" with the "Ballerina Girl." Who was this?

Lionel Richie hit it big as part of the group called The Commodores back in the late '60s and '70s, but he decided to go solo during the early '80s and had hits that also contributed to the musical landscape of the era. His '80s hits include "Truly," "All Night Long (All Night)," "Stuck on You," "Say You, Say Me," that unmistakable "Hello," and that popular duet with Diana Ross called "Endless Love."


He sang of "Jack and Diane" back then. Who is this artist?

John Cougar Mellencamp was his stage name during the '80s, but he prefers to be called John Mellencamp these days. The country rock-folk rock sound of Mellencamp helped propel him to stardom back then, and he used that popularity to uplift causes, notable helping in the founding of Farm Aid in the mid-'80s to help out family farms and American farmers.


He invited the "China Girl" for some "Modern Love." Who was this artist?

David Bowie was another of those pivotal musicians that redefined the musical landscape of the '70s and '80s, who also blurred the lines of gender representations in his artistic visual expressions. His '80s hits include "Ashes to Ashes," "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)," "China Girl" and "Modern Love" as well as that classic collaboration with Queen entitled "Under Pressure" and his cover duet with Mick Jagger of "Dancing in the Street."


She was "Saving All My Love" for her "Greatest Love of All." Which great diva was this?

Whitney Houston was an '80s fixture in the pop music scene, with soulful and catchy hit songs such as "You Give Good Love," "All at Once," "How Will I Know," "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "One Moment in Time," and the karaoke favorite "Where Do Broken Hearts Go." Due to her musical hits and legacy, the world mourned her untimely accidental death in 2012.


They were living in their own "Private Idaho" where they have a "Love Shack." Which group is this?

The very retro-looking B-52’s is a band that was formed in the late '70s and had many danceable hits in the '80s and '90s, which they picked up again in the late 2000s, as they continue playing to this day. Some of their classic '70s-'80s hits are "Rock Lobster," "Private Idaho," Love Shack," and "Roam."


If you're lost, you can look and you will find her "Time After Time" indeed. Who is this lady?

Since she came out in the '80s as a solo female act, Cyndi Lauper was always pitted against Madonna who also debuted during that era, but their musical styles were very distinct back then, as they earned their respective fanbase as their careers progressed. Some of Lauper's most notable '80s hits include "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," "Time After Time," "She Bop," "All Through the Night," "True Colors," and "Change of Heart," and she also became a Broadway musical composer in 2012 with "Kinky Boots."


The wanted to "Rock The Casbah" back then. What group is this?

Another British group that was popular in the '80s actually started their careers in the '70s: The Clash. This punk rock band's successful '70s albums include "The Clash" and "London Calling," and their '80s hit album "Combat Rock" contained the worldwide hit "Rock The Casbah."


Everyone "Just Can't Get Enough" of this new wave group. Who are they?

If you wanted new wave and dance music with great lyrics and catchy tunes, then Depeche Mode is certainly for you. Their style was embraced by many people in the '80s when they first came out in 1981. Members Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher are all legends in British music now, and newer generations are enjoying their distinct sound since they never stopped making new music up to now.


When they declared they "Need You Tonight," everybody swooned! Who was this group?

If you don't know how to pronounce INXS, it's "in excess," not "inks" or anything like that. INXS was Australia's contribution to global pop culture in the '80s, producing many hits that defined that decade, such as "Original Sin," "What You Need," "Devil Inside," "New Sensation," and their signature sexy song, "Need You Tonight."


If you're singing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," then you probably listened to this band. What's their name?

U2 is an Irish band that was formed back in the '70s and hit it big with songs that carried social issues. The four members - Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. - are all still active today, going on tour and recording new songs, plus making new music videos and performing in many kinds of advocacy events.


Oh "Karma Chameleon," they come and... went. Which band was this?

The English band called Culture Club started out in London, but their music transcended continents, and they also hit it big worldwide. Some of their classic songs include the danceable "Karma Chameleon," the groovy "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me," and the peace-loving dance tune "The War Song."


They definitely caused "Radio Ga Ga" with "A Kind of Magic." Which group is this?

The legendary British band Queen was formed in the '70s, had many hits and garnered success in their homeland, even before Freddie Mercury and the band crossed continents and sang to worldwide fans. You can see a rather fictionalized biopic of their beginnings, as well as their performances/interactions, in the 2018 film called "Bohemian Rhapsody," starring "Mr. Robot's" Rami Malek as the flamboyantly talented lead singer.


They prompted "Hey Jack Kerouac" about "What's the Matter Here." Which group was this?

The early heyday of the American alternative band 10,000 Maniacs had the distinct voice of lead singer Natalie Merchant, who was with the group from their early '80s creation, up to their early '90s MTV Unplugged performance. She got out of the band after that, and recorded solo albums, so another singer replaced her, named Mary Ramsey, who still performs with the band today.


They claimed that "Boys Don't Cry." Which group was this?

The Cure was formed back in the mid-'70s, and Robert Smith is the identifiable lead singer of this English band, who somehow helped popularize the gothic rock look with his get-up and make-up. Their '80s hits were not that dark nor rock-sounding, as they hit the charts with pop-sounding tunes such as "In Between Days," "Just Like Heaven" and "Lovesong," and re-released their '70s hit "Boys Don't Cry" in a newer album.


He sang of "Little Jeanie" during that decade. Which artist is this?

British musician Sir Elton John received his knighthood back in 1998, as given by Queen Elizabeth II to outstanding British people who made great contributions in their fields. Aside from his musical legacy, he is also active in many advocacies and charitable institutions, even creating the Elton John AIDS Foundation since fighting HIV-AIDS has been one of his lifelong advocacies.


When they moaned "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," everyone commiserated. Who was this group?

The Smiths is considered a very influential musical band, then and now, even though they were only actively making music during that decade. The thought-provoking lyrics of their songs, as well as the way Morrissey sang them, made a mark that earned them their musical legacy worldwide.


They were "French Kissin' in the U.S.A." that decade. Who is this group?

Debbie Harry is the very identifiable blonde that fronted the band Blondie back in the '80s. They started their musical career in the '70s and continued to make music in the current decade, with new album releases and tours to boot.


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