TOP TEN LISTS: 80s Dance Artists
Artists from the eighties coming back and hitting the dancefloor with even more wonderful dance music
1. Pet Shop Boys
The Pet Shop Boys have more than twenty years at the forefront of electronic pop/dance music. With their catalog of masterpieces, it’s hard to believe that they’ve yet to win a Grammy (despite six nominations), yet The Brits recently recognized them this year with a well-deserved award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
2. Laura Branigan
Unlike Madonna, unlike Cyndi Lauper, unlike Whitney Houston, she was never an icon of that particular decade, though her music from that time period remains just as relevant as that of those artists. She was a singer (and occasional artist) who for a brief period of time embodied the gloriously schizo nature of what pop music can encompass, spanning aerobics anthems (calling “Gloria”), searing ballads (“Ti Amo”), dancefloor apocalypses (“Satisfaction”), and girly-twirl disco (“Solitaire”).
3. Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper’s unique voice and vision have provided us not just with great pop records, but with standards. When you hear a song like “True Colors,” “I Drove All Night,” or “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” only Cyndi comes to mind. Her new album At Last features her interpretations of other’s standards inspired by the stories she has lived. Cyndi’s voice is also memorable whether you hear her live in concert, captured on DVD, or in the mix at your favorite nightclub.
And critics say that dance music doesn’t spawn real artists… Twenty-five years into their career as the most successful girl group of all time, Bananarama (the duo of Keren Woodward and Sarah Dallin) have released “Drama,” a defiantly dance album, featuring the singles “Move in My Direction” and “Look on the Floor.” Already a hit on satellite and dance radio, will the ‘rams conquer the states again?
5. Taylor Dayne
When a performer is noted for finding the drama in a song and bringing it forward, you’ll notice a pattern. You can always find vocal drama at its finest in whatever songs that recur with drag queens throughout the world, and that tradition is a mark of quality for those who delight in musical performance.
6. New Order
New Order broke the mold as both an alternative artist and a dance artist in the 80s. Hits like “Bizarre Love Triangle” and “True Faith” are still heard in clubs today.
7. Robert Clivilles
Robert Clivilles is truly a dance music legend. Together with his late partner David Cole, C&C Music Factory redefined dance music as a producer-driven artist medium and successfully brought their international smash hits “Gonna Make You Sweat,” “Things That Make You Go Hmm,” and “Here We Go,” to the people through clubs, video and touring. As a remix team, their work on Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and many others introduced many to the concept of remixing.
For twenty years now, there has been no more tireless a pair of advocates for the glory of synth-pop than Erasure. Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have been making outstanding pop music that moves the dancefloor and the pop charts, and even when exploring new sounds and textures, their devotion to electronic music has never waned.
Everybody loves Tiffany. Her hits “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “I Saw Him Standing There,” and “Could’ve Been,” launched from her infamous mall tour, became pop classics. After spending a couple of years in Nashville, releasing the critically acclaimed Color of Silence album, and a popular Playboy layout, Tiffany moved to Los Angeles and created “Dust Off and Dance” – the high energy dance album that her fans have been clamoring for.
10. Simply Red
Not many bands can claim that they have lasted for nearly 20 years, making music both creative and relevant. Always embracing dance music to enhance their innate r&b/soul flavor, Simply Red continue to produce wonderful music that spans all genres.