10 Best Albums of the 1980s

artist: misc date: 03/22/2013 category: entertainment
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10 Best Albums of the 1980s
The 1980s was a decade of financial excess, whether you were a record executive or a stock-trading nut on Wall Street. The side-effect of all this money slushing around was big budgets for album recordings and live shows. While there might have been a lot of sucky music through the 80s, there were also plenty of really stellar records which continue to be fan favorites today - and your top 10 list this week proves it. On Wednesday we asked UG readers to nominate and vote for their favorite albums from the 1980s. We've counted up thousands of votes, and the results are in. So what are the best albums of the 1980s? Read on to find out.

10. Judas Priest "Screaming For Vengeance" (1982)

The eighth studio album by one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time proved to be their best-selling release ever. The biggest hit on this album is probably "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," but it was a late addition to the record and almost missed the cut. "We were quite happy with the album but decided late on that we could add one more song," said former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing. "It came together quite quickly and I seem to remember that we all had a good feeling about it as it did sound like a good driving song and possibly a good radio track."

09. Michael Jackson "Thriller" (1982)

UG lists will usually lean towards the rock and metal releases, but sometimes a mainstream record is so damn good it makes the grade too. Few would argue with the addition of "Thriller" in any "Best of 80s" list. Along with producer Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson strived to create an album where "every song was a killer." When the album was complete, they still weren't happy and went back to spend a full week remixing each track. The effort was worth it, and secured Jackson's legacy with up to 65 million copies sold worldwide.

08. Ozzy Osbourne "Diary Of A Madman" (1981)

We presume you've voted the original recording into the top 10, because the 2002 reissue where the bass and drums were re-recorded was pretty controversial at the time. Ozzy Osbourne and wife Sharon replaced the bass and drums by Bob Daisley and Lee Keslake in the reissue because they were angry about being sued by the pair in the 80s for not giving them proper credit in the original liner notes. Fans of the original were not happy.

07. Dio "Holy Diver" (1983)

The cover art stirred controversy when Christians took offence to the sight of a devil killing a priest, but Dio was quick to counter critics by saying it could easily be a priest killing a devil. We're not sure how he got away with that one because we don't see it, but who cares: it's an incredible record from one of the best metal voices in history.

06. Stevie Ray Vaughan "Texas Flood" (1983)

Stevie Ray Vaughan's debut was recorded in only three days. In fact, the first day was mostly spent setting up equipment in the corner of a warehouse, so it was really two days - but when you throw a group of great musicians together, anything can happen. Engineer Richard Mullen used just one mic on everything, except for Vaughan's amp, and the only pedal effect he used was an Ibanez Tube Screamer.

05. AC/DC "Back In Black" (1980)

When singer Bon Scott died in 1980, AC/DC were close to packing up their guitars and calling it a day. But Scott's parents urged them to continue, and it's a good thing they did because the resulting album "Back In Black" went on to become a record smashing hit and one of the best selling albums of all time. They didn't forget their former singer, and guitarist Angus Young has said the black album cover was a sign of mourning for their old friend.

04. Rush "Moving Pictures" (1981)

Rush might have been aiming at a more radio-friendly format on this album, but it resonates deeply with meaning, both musically and in its artwork. The cover, for example, shows people physically moving pieces of artwork (moving pictures, get it?), and the back cover shows a movie crew filming the cover scene (because movies are moving pictures. And then, just to push the envelope even further, bystanders are seen in an emotional state - you could say they were very moving pictures. If you know what I mean.

03. Metallica "Master Of Puppets" (1986)

Bassist Cliff Burton died soon after the release of this album, marking the end of the first age of Metallica. Many call it their greatest achievement, and there's a fair chance Metallica wouldn't have earned the legacy they currently have if this album wasn't so incredible. There were no compromises on this album - Time magazine cited how Metallica "didn't bother with hooks or pop discipline," instead opting for a relentless metal masterpiece that still stands up as one of the best heavy metal records of all time.

02. Guns N' Roses "Appetite For Destruction" (1987)

This list proves that the 80s produced a lot of great music, but by the middle of the decade, a plague was rising. Hair metal, glam metal, whatever you want to call it - it was taking over, and not everyone liked it. Something had to be done. And then Guns N' Roses' "Appetite For Destruction" arrived. It was like a nail in the coffin of sucky rock music, and defined what the next generation of rock stars would be - fun, skilled, and full of attitude. And drugs.

01. Iron Maiden "The Number Of The Beast" (1982)

Producer Martin Birch didn't think Iron Maiden's old singer Paul Di'Anno could handle coeval duties on their complex new arrangements, so he was pleased when fresh-faced singer Bruce Dickinson arrived on the scene. For legal reasons relating to his former band Samson, Dickinson was technically unable to act as a songwriter on the new Maiden record, but they needed all the help they could get, with only five weeks left to record and mix the album after a long songwriting process and dwindling budget. Thankfully they persevered and made it to the end, producing a timeless album which rouses hundreds of thousands of Maiden fans to see them at mind-blowing live sets all these decades later.
That's your official top 10 best albums of the 1980s. Thanks for all your nominations and votes - but do you agree with the results? Let us know how you would tweak the final top 10 in the comments.
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