30 Musicians From the ’80s Still Making New Music. Musical artists come and go. As bands form, break up, or get new members their sound changes. Sometimes an artist has a successful solo career, while other times they should have just stuck with their band. No one’s fame can last forever, but it can last a long time.
Madonna Louise Ciccone is an American singer-songwriter, actress, and businesswoman, often referred to as the “Queen of Pop.” Her career started in 1979 with the band Breakfast Club, which she left soon after. Her debut single, “Everybody,” came out in 1982. She put out hits such as “Like a Virgin” and “Who’s That Girl,” and still enjoys massive success 40 years later, with her 14th studio album coming out in 2019.
Born, Gary Webb, Numan is a singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer from West London. His musical career took off in the late ’70s with a band called Tubeway Army. After the group disbanded, Newman started a solo career that took him to the heights of fame in the ’80s. He was known for his sci-fi inspired music and look, often appearing androgynous and android-like. He has a new album, Intruder, set to come out in 2020.
Born Yusuf Islam, Cat Stevens is a British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His debut album came out in 1967, but he has been putting out music ever since. He’s won many music awards, has two honorary doctorate degrees, and has been given multiple humanitarian awards for helping children and victims of war. His 15th studio album came out in 2017, and he signed with a new record label in 2018, which hints that he’ll be releasing new music.
Bruce Springsteen, nicknamed “The Boss,” is a singer-songwriter and leader of the E Street Band. He is most famous for his solo work and is a member of both the Songwriters and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He’s won 20 Grammys, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and a Tony for his legendary career. He’s not finished, either—his 19th studio album is coming out in 2019.
Originally formed in 1976, U2 is an Irish rock band with Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. making up the members. They’re known for their elaborate performances and culturally-relevant lyrics. U2 has won 22 Grammys and is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After more than 40 years, they’re still putting out new music with their most recent release in 2018.
Born Cynthia, Cyndi Lauper is American singer-songwriter, actress, and activist, whose debut album, She’s So Unusual, came out in 1983. It also was the first debut album by any female artist to have four top-five hits on the Billboard Hot 100. She has won many awards including Grammys and AMAs, is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is also dedicated to helping the LGBT community. Her most recent album was a Christmas album released in 2018.
Sir James Paul McCartney, known professionally as Paul McCartney, was the bass guitarist and a singer for the Beatles. After the group disbanded in the ’70s, McCartney started a successful solo career that is still going strong today. He’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, won 18 Grammys, and was knighted for his services to music. His most recent album was released in 2018 and made the Billboard 200 chart.
Bon Jovi is an American rock band that started in 1983. The current members are Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, Tico Torres, Phil X, and Hugh McDonald. After 14 studio albums, more than 100 million records sold, and inductions to three different Halls of Fame (UK Music, Rock and Roll, and Songwriters), the band isn’t quite done yet. Their 15th album is going to be released in 2020.
Born as Samuel Hagar, with the nickname “The Red Rocker,” Hagar found fame in the ’70s with the band Montrose. He then launched a solo career, which took off in 1984 with the song “I Can’t Drive 55.” Since then, he’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his time in the band Van Halen and is continuing to make music. He’s currently working on a new album while touring with his band The Circle.
Born Patricia Giraldo, Pat Benatar is an actress and singer-songwriter. Her career took off in 1977 when she started getting more gigs, and she signed a record deal with Chrysalis in 1978. Benatar has won four Grammys, had five platinum albums, and 15 Billboard charted songs. She’s still putting out new music, too; her most recent song, “Shine,” was released in 2017.
Eric Clapton is one of the most influential guitarists of all time, in addition to being a singer-songwriter. Bands he’s been in include Cream, Blind Faith, and The Yardbirds. He’s been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times, has won multiple Grammys, and he’s still going strong. His most recent album, Happy Xmas, was released in 2018.
Robert Plant is a singer-songwriter and musician who is best known for being the lead singer of Led Zeppelin. He’s considered one of the greatest vocalists in rock music and has been influential to many musicians. He started his solo career in the ’80s and enjoyed the fame and success that came with it, eventually earning himself the AMA Lifetime Achievement Award. His most recent album was released in 2017, and he formed a new band called Saving Grace in 2019 that is working on new songs.
Janet Jackson is a singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress who is known for her cutting edge and entertaining shows. She’s the youngest child in the Jackson family and started on the road to stardom in 1976 on TV. She signed a record deal in 1982, after which she became a pop icon. The legend has won AMAs, BET awards, Billboard Magazine awards, Grammys, and even holds nine Guinness World Records. The international legend isn’t done yet—in 2018 Jackson announced that she’s working on new music while she tours.
Carlos Santana is a guitarist who rose to fame with his band Santana. The unique mix of rock and roll, jazz, and blues made his music exciting to fans who hadn’t heard of such a thing before. He has won 10 Grammys and three Latin Grammy Awards. Santana rose to fame in the late ’60s and kept going strong through the ’90s, and he’s still showing no signs of stopping. He’s still been working on collaborations, appearing on albums with bands like Phil Lesh & Friends, and has started a master class on YouTube for guitar lessons.
Metallica is an American heavy metal band that was formed in 1981. The members include James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo. They’re credited with being one of the founding bands of thrash metal, along with Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. After nine Grammy awards, 125 million albums sold, and ten studio albums, the iconic band has another studio album.
Born as Steven Patrick Morrissey, he is an English singer-songwriter and author who found fame as the frontman for the Smiths in the mid-’80s. After the band ended, he pursued a successful solo career. He’s been nominated for and won many awards for his musical talent. He’s had a long career, and he’s showing no signs of stopping. He released a cover of “Back on the Chain Gang” in 2018 and announced plans to release a covers album in the future.
Originally formed in 1969, Judas Priest s an English heavy metal band with Ian Hill, Glen Tipton, Scott Travis, Rob Halford, and Richie Faulkner as the current members. Their most successful album, Screaming for Vengeance, came out in 1982 and is what skyrocketed their fame to new heights. Judas Priest has won Grammys, were inducted into the VH1 Rock Honors, and has had songs featured in games like Guitar Hero. There’s good news for fans because the band has announced a 19th studio album set to be released in the next year.
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood being in the current lineup. The band formed in 1962 but rose to fame in the ’70s and ’80s, with their success continuing to this day. The Rolling Stones have been inducted to both the American and UK Hall of Fame, had eight consecutive number one studio albums, and even won a Grammy. They’re still touring, but their newest album was released in 2017 with eight new songs.
Originally formed in 1980, Depeche Mode is an English electronic band, with Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher being the current members. The found international fame and had 54 songs topping UK charts. This Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-nominated band isn’t done yet—their last album was released in 2017, but they’re still touring working on some new songs.
Megadeth is a heavy metal band from Los Angeles that was formed in 1983. Current members include Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Kiko Loureiro, and Dirk Verbeuren. It’s considered to be one of the “big four” bands that started thrash metal. The Grammy-winning band has had 15 studio albums, five of which went platinum. Megadeth fans will be happy to hear that their 16th album is set to be released in 2020.
Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails (NIN) is an industrial rock band that formed in 1988. The members are Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, with their career spanning 30 years, seven record labels, and two Grammy Awards. Johnny Cash even covered one of their songs, “Hurt.” The famous band is still making music, with their latest album being released in 2018.
Slayer is an American thrash metal band that was originally formed in 1981, with the current members being Kerry King, Tom Araya, Paul Bostaph, and Gary Holt. They’re an extremely controversial band, with songs about topics like murder, Satanism, and war. They’re also known for being one of the “big four” bands credited with starting the thrash metal genre. The promise of a 13th studio album came in 2016 when Kerry King said that the band had a lot of leftover content from the previous album.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American rock band that formed in 1983, with the current members being Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith, and Josh Klinghoffer. They’re one of the best-selling bands of all time, with more than 80 million records sold, six Grammy awards, and are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They’re still going strong, too. The band has an album set to be released in 2020.
Born O’Shea Jackson, Ice Cube is a rapper, writer, and actor who was a member of the famous rap group NWA, along with Dr. Dre and Eazy E. He was the primary songwriter and performer of the band, credited with being one of the founding artists of gangsta rap. He’s been performing since 1984, with his most recent album, Everythang’s Corrupt, released in 2018.
Anthrax is a heavy metal band from New York City that formed in 1981, with the current members being Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Frank Bello, Joey Belladonna, and Jonathan Donais. They’re one of the “big four” bands that were credited with creating the thrash metal genre of music. With 11 studio albums, six Grammy nominations, and multiple awards for metal music, the band is truly iconic. Their next album is set to be released in the next few years.
Green Day was formed in 1986 by Billie Joel Armstrong and Mike Dirnt, who are still members along with Tre Cool. The rock band was popular with younger crowds, finding success in the ’90s. They’re now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, have two Tony awards, and have sold more than 85 million records. In 2018, Armstrong announced that the band was working on songs for a new album.
The Offspring is an American rock band that formed in 1984, and the current members are Dexter Holland, Greg K, Noodles, and Pete Parada. Their most famous song is “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” and they’re one of the many bands credited with reviving mainstream interest in punk rock. Their newest album is set to be released soon.
Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T is a rapper, actor, record producer, and author whose career began in the 1980s as an underground rapper and DJ. He’s put out many successful albums, helped found a metal band, and pursued acting in the popular TV show, Law & Order: SVU. He had an album drop as recently as 2017 and has hinted that he wants to pursue EDM music in the future.
Erasure is an English synthpop duo with Andy Bell as the singer-songwriter and Vince Clark as the keyboardist. They formed in 1985 as part of the club scene, topping the UK Singles Chart by the release of their fourth single. They found mega-fame in the ’80s and ’90s, earning themselves 34 songs hitting the UK Top 40. Their most recent album was released in 2017 and have continued to put out re-recordings of that album with a post-classical sound.
Duran Duran is an English new wave band that originally formed in 1978, with the current members consisting of Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, and Nick Rhodes. They’ve won Grammys, MTV Music Video Awards, and even have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The band’s most recent album came out in 2015, but they continue to tour and release new versions of their songs.