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The 5 Most Underrated 80's Bands

Picture of The Talking Heads live

The Talking Heads

The 5 Most Underrated 80's Bands

Between glam metal, oversized curling irons, and A Flock of Seagulls, it can be hard to see through all of the hairspray and glitter in the 1980s to the comparatively un-bedazzled (and short-haired) bands below. While the bands below don’t achieve Madonna-level recognition, they are still some of the most important and influential groups of the decade.

The Talking Heads

These nerds of CBGB’s punk scene came out of art school with their avant-garde weirdness and became one of the most original bands of the decade. The hilariously odd music video for “Once in a Lifetime” captures their bizarre minimalist style perfectly.

Elvis Costello

A beautifully articulate and wildly eclectic musician with more anger-fueled political passion than the punk movement itself, Elvis Costello stands out as one of the most acclaimed song writers since Bob Dylan. Plus, he was banned from Saturday Night Live for 12 years, so he’s got street cred to boot.



With powerhouse MCs like MC Lyte and Heavy D, KRS-One was one of the most talented groups to come out of the “Golden Age” of Hip-Hop. But their biggest impact wasn’t in the beats or lyrics, but the message. They unified the Hip-Hop movement of the 80s and shed light on a number of inner-city issues that were desperately in need of attention.


The Violent Femmes

Where did all that angst, apathy, and rawness in our favorite underground ‘90s bands come from? One place: The Violent Femmes. Play this song and try not to feel a million puberties combined. Just try.


Tears for Fears

The list of Tears for Fears songs you’d know if you heard them might surprise you. But they weren’t just churning out shallow synth-pop hits. Their albums are laced with psychedelic rock, complex overarching themes, and long jazz solos, lending them a beauty and resilience that many bands in the ‘80s lacked.