I think some of the techno records of the day added a bit of excitement to things.Missing Persons' "What Are Words For" and "Destination Unknown".I also believe the Psychedelic Furs,if no one has already mentioned them as well as the Persons,certainly were no pretentious posers and,for their time anyway,were at least somewhat on the innovative side.Probably someone has already mentioned U2 here.but I will say that there presence in the 80's music industry was hugely important both in terms of influence and sheer musical forth righteousness.However,just as any decade,even the marvelous 60's and 70's,the 80's had plenty of nearly inane top forty rubbish.Good case in point here-Men Without Hats and "Safety Dance".I was ,I admit,into that one for a while,but then I was 14 and much of 80's music was aimed at teens and early twenties people probably at least partially due to the MTV explosion.Persons my age are sometimes referred to as "The MTV Generation".A HA!Perhaps the rather fun to watch videos on MTV took part in saving the 80's from total oblivion,particularly Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video,which was in fact a whole short subject movie.This is why the closing credits...........
A lot of what people are saying were 80's bands were actually 70's bands that were just still around in the 80's . Just the same they did help save the 80's from being just a total waste of time. Thinking here of Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and Bruce Springsteen
The 80s weren't kind to 70s acts who continued into that era. Queen, Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull, Aerosmith, David Bowie, Elton John, Deep Purple, Rush. etc. It would be hard to find a fan of these bands who likes their 80 output more!
However the 80s did produce what I think is the greatest metal band ever- Iron Maiden. (Yes, I'm a huge Sabbath fan too, but Iron Maiden to me edge them out by a whisker) Ironically the 90s were as unkind to Maiden as the 80s were to 70s acts!
Guns & Roses were seen by many to be the saviour of rock&roll in the 80s. I never liked them as much as some (and by 1989, it seems like everyone and their granny was walking around wearing a G&R T shirt) but I can see why they were seen as a breath of fresh air after all the synths and hairspray.
Personally speaking I listened to a lot of chart stuff from Radio Luxembourg later at night in the mid 80s, and I think the 80s made a lot of great "pop" music. I'll still draw the line at Culture Club and Wham though.....:-/
The early 80's were actually pretty great with the continuation of punk and new wave. But once you got to the mid/late 80's it did get pretty rough with the dominance of lame arena hard rock.
Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr were pretty great in that period, though. As were R.E.M., The Smiths, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Pixies, The Stone Roses, Husker Du, and The Cure. Elvis Costello. Talking Heads and Dead Kennedys were still kicking from earlier in the decade, too. Echo and the Bunnymen put out their great single The Killing Moon, too. Pretty much all decades have equal amounts of great music if you look for it.
Kneaded in the late 50's and early 60's, the flame of contemporary music was set on fire in the late 60's and totally exploded in the whole 70's to reach its absolute peak in the 1980's before hard times and decline of the 90's.
No decade supplied to the world culture so many great artists and classic albums.
These were the years of peak in the creative careers of such a giants as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Metallica, AC/DC, Queen, Def Leppard, Scorpions, Accept, Twisted Sister, Dio, ZZ Top, Dire Straits...
All these were beautifully supported by the so many colorful bands as Mötley Crüe, Guns n' Roses, Europe, The Cult, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Foreigner and many more.
Even the legends Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen restarted their careers producing great albums in this fruitful atmosphere.
One of the most talented performers within blues/soul/rock genres also released their best works, just to mention Tina Turner, Joe Cocker and Eric Clapton.
NeoProg reached its peak thanks to the outstanding Marillion.
The most famous kings and queens of pop and close genres totally exploded in the 80's - Michael Jackson, Madonna, Phil Collins, Eurythmics, Prince etc.
Guitar masters were rocked high too - Joe Satriani, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai.
I think, no other period in the contemporary music is even close to this feast.
Thanks to the strong movement of all this creativity, the early 90's were saved for the beautiful music.