The 80s are seen by many as the best decade of music. While you may or may not agree with that, there’s no denying that the period brought us many very talented guy musicians. Here are the best 80s male singers.
Michael Jackson took the world by storm in the 1980s. He started his journey to stardom as a member of The Jackson 5, which featured him and his brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon.
Even while part of this family band, Michael launched a solo career that would skyrocket him to global fame.
During the 80s era of pop music greatness, no one held a candle to the “King of Pop.” His album Thriller is still celebrated as one of the best-selling albums ever created.
David Bowie, born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947, was a legendary musician and singer who left an indelible mark on the music industry. Known for his innovative style and iconic fashion sense, Bowie was not only a talented singer but also an artistic visionary.
He embraced various genres throughout his career, including glam rock, pop culture, and rock and roll. With hits like “Space Oddity,” “Changes,” and “Ashes to Ashes,” Bowie captivated audiences with his unique sound and captivating stage presence.
Our journey through the 35 best 80s male singers wouldn't be complete without stopping to appreciate the unparalleled showmanship of Freddie Mercury. This British singer, songwriter, and pianist was the epitome of flamboyance on stage, capturing audiences worldwide with his powerful vocals as the lead vocalist for Queen.
His commanding presence was matched only by his screaming four-octave vocal range that left a mark in rock music history.
Despite his ever-present persona under the limelight, Freddie Mercury remained a private person off-stage. Few knew about his personal life or final resting place—a testament to his humility and intriguing mystique.
Bruce Springsteen is an iconic American rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist. His music has captivated audiences for decades with his powerful and heartfelt songs. With 21 studio albums under his belt, Springsteen has left an indelible mark on the music industry.
Known for his energetic performances, he truly knows how to captivate a crowd.
Springsteen's impact goes beyond just his music. He has been a major influence on countless musicians throughout the years and continues to inspire new generations of artists. His love for rock legends like The Animals, Chuck Berry, and Bob Dylan shines through in his work.
Prince, also known as Prince Rogers Nelson, was undeniably one of the best male singers of the 80s. He captivated audiences with his unique sound and flamboyant style. From his eclectic range of music to his glittery wardrobe and provocative lyrics, Prince was a true icon of the decade.
His album Purple Rain, released in 1984, solidified his status as a major star and remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. Alongside Michael Jackson, Prince often gets mentioned as one of the greatest male singers of the 80s.
Sting, an English musician and singer, was one of the iconic figures in the new wave and underground rock scene of the 80s. Known for his time with the band The Police, Sting also enjoyed a successful solo career.
With his distinctive voice and incredible songwriting skills, he has been hailed as one of the best high-pitched male singers in music history. Throughout his career, Sting has won a remarkable 17 Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year for his hit “Every Breath You Take.” He has also been honored with three Brit Awards.
Stevie Wonder is a true musical legend and an essential part of the 80s music scene. As one of the best male singers from that era, he captivated audiences with his incredible voice, creative songwriting, and impressive musical talent.
With a successful career spanning decades, Stevie Wonder has released numerous albums and songs that have become timeless classics. From “Superstition” to “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” his music continues to resonate with fans.
Billy Joel is one of the most talented and respected musicians of the 80s. As an American singer, pianist, and songwriter, he has created some unforgettable music that continues to resonate with fans today.
Known as the “Piano Man,” Billy Joel's signature song has become an anthem for many. His incredible talent and heartfelt lyrics have made him one of the best-selling musical artists of all time.
“Weird Al” Yankovic
“Weird Al” Yankovic is an iconic figure in the music industry, known for his satirical and comedic approach to creating songs. He gained popularity in the 80s with his hilarious parody songs that poked fun at popular culture and specific hits of the time.
Songs like “Eat It,” a parody of Michael Jackson's “Beat It,” and “Like a Surgeon,” a tongue-in-cheek take on Madonna's “Like a Virgin,” quickly became fan favorites.
When you think of Bobby McFerrin, one track instantly comes to mind—”Don't Worry, Be Happy.” This uplifting acappella song not only dominated the charts but also earned McFerrin a Grammy for Song of the Year in 1989.
Known for his impressive vocal range and innovative singing techniques, McFerrin effortlessly combined jazz, classical, and pop elements to create a unique sound.
Tom Petty's unique blend of heartland rock and roll and tuneful jangle-pop positioned him as one of the defining artists of the 1980s. Leading his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, he delivered timeless hits like “Free Fallin'” and “Runnin' Down a Dream.”
With his nasal voice and heartfelt lyrics, Petty spoke to the experience of everyday Americans, making his music resonate deeply with fans. His knack for crafting anthemic choruses combined with his straightforward, relatable songwriting ensured his legacy as an 80s rock icon.
Tom Waits, with his gravelly voice and penchant for blending various genres, stands as one of the most distinctive artists of the 80s. Waits' music journeyed through jazz, blues, and experimental rock, creating a rich tapestry of sound that defies easy categorization.
Songs like “Downtown Train” showcase his ability to deliver emotionally charged ballads that tug at the heartstrings. His storytelling prowess, combined with his unique musical style, made him a beloved figure for fans seeking something off the beaten path.
Eddie Money, known for his catchy hooks and everyman persona, became a staple on 80s rock radio. With hits like “Take Me Home Tonight” and “Two Tickets to Paradise,” Money's music captured the spirit of blue-collar America, blending rock with pop sensibilities.
His raspy voice, paired with relatable lyrics, connected deeply with fans, making him a favorite on both radio waves and MTV. Despite facing personal challenges, Money's passion for music remained undiminished, ensuring his place as a celebrated artist of the 80s.
Fronting one of the most notorious rock bands of the 80s, Axl Rose became the face of Guns N' Roses. With his wild energy, unique vocal range, and inimitable stage presence, Rose captured the zeitgeist of rock ‘n' roll rebellion.
From the band's debut album, Appetite for Destruction, with hits like “Sweet Child o' Mine” and “Welcome to the Jungle,” his raw vocal power and emotional intensity were evident. Known for his tumultuous relationships and unpredictable behavior, Rose's off-stage antics only amplified his rock star persona.
Though Van Morrison had already cemented his status in the music world during the 60s and 70s, his influence continued to reverberate throughout the 80s. With a soulful voice and blending rock, folk, blues, and R&B, Morrison crafted timeless melodies and introspective lyrics.
His poetic songwriting, combined with his rich and emotive voice, solidified Morrison's place as one of the all-time greats, even amidst the flashy icons of the 80s.
Nick Cave, the dark prince of post-punk, made a significant mark in the 80s with his band, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. With his deep baritone voice and haunting lyrics that explored themes of love, religion, and violence, Cave created a unique soundscape that stood apart in the music scene.
Tracks like “The Mercy Seat” exhibited his penchant for storytelling and unparalleled emotional depth. A blend of gothic rock, blues, and experimental sounds, Cave's music is both haunting and beautiful, ensuring his enduring legacy in the world of alternative rock.
Boy George, born George Alan O'Dowd, emerged as a true pop icon of the 80s with his unique fashion sense and soulful voice. As the lead singer of the popular band Culture Club, Boy George explored new musical frontiers and conquered international charts.
With global hit songs such as “Karma Chameleon” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” Culture Club cemented its position among legendary pop bands while catapulting Boy George into superstardom.
George Michael was an incredible talent and a true icon of the 80s music scene. Born Giorgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on June 25, 1963, he quickly rose to fame as a singer-songwriter, record producer, and musician.
During his career, George Michael won numerous awards for his outstanding contributions to music. He received 19 awards out of 51 nominations, including several Grammy Awards.
Peter Gabriel is undeniably one of the most influential and talented male singers of the 80s. His career took off as the lead singer of Genesis, a progressive rock band known for their complex and innovative music.
However, Gabriel's brilliance shone through when he embarked on his solo career. In 1978, he released Peter Gabriel Two, which showcased his incredible songwriting skills and unique vocal style.
Rick Astley, born Richard Paul Astley on February 6, 1966, is an English singer, songwriter, and radio personality. He gained popularity in the 1980s and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide.
One of his most famous songs is “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which reached number one on the charts in 1987. Astley's music falls under the genres of pop, dance-pop, and blue-eyed soul.
John Cougar Mellencamp
John Cougar Mellencamp is one of the most iconic male singers of the 80s. With his unique blend of folk-inflected hard rock, he captured the hearts of music fans worldwide.
Known for hit songs like “Jack & Diane,” “Hurts So Good,” and “Pink Houses,” Mellencamp's catchy tunes are still beloved today.
Billy Idol is a British singer and songwriter who made a big impact on the music scene in the 1980s. With his distinctive baritone voice, Billy Idol was known for his energetic performances and catchy songs.
During the 80s, Billy Idol released several hit singles that solidified his place as one of the best male singers of the decade. Songs like “Rebel Yell” and “White Wedding” were not only popular in Britain but also gained international success.
Paul Simon is an American singer-songwriter who brought a unique and sophisticated perspective to rock music in the 80s. He began his career in folk-pop with the duo Simon & Garfunkel, creating beautiful harmonies that resonated with audiences.
In 1986, Paul Simon released the controversial album Graceland, which is considered a masterpiece by many music critics. This album blended elements of Western pop and African rhythms, creating an innovative and eclectic sound.
Don Henley is an incredibly talented musician who made a significant impact on the music scene in the 80s. As one of the founding members of the rock band Eagles, he played a crucial role as both the drummer and one of the lead singers.
Born on July 22, 1947, Don Henley gained prominence in the 1970s with his contributions to some of the Eagles' greatest hits.
Phil Collins is a legendary singer and songwriter who hugely impacted the music scene in the 80s. Inspired by his struggles, including a marital breakdown, Phil Collins embarked on a successful solo career.
He released his debut album, Face Value, in 1981, which featured the iconic hit single “In the Air Tonight.” This emotional song struck a chord with audiences around the world.
Steven Tyler, the charismatic lead vocalist of the rock band Aerosmith, is a legendary figure in the music industry. With his distinctive high-pitched singing style and impressive vocal range, Tyler captivated audiences with hits like “Dream On” and “Walk This Way.”
Beyond his work with Aerosmith, Tyler has also collaborated with several notable musicians such as Alice Cooper, Mötley Crüe, Santana, and Pink. His solo endeavors showcase his versatility as a musician and songwriter.
Kenny Loggins is an iconic American singer, guitarist, and songwriter who has left a lasting impact on the music industry. Born on January 7, 1948, Loggins became known for his smooth and melodic soft rock tunes that captivated audiences throughout the 80s.
But it wasn't just his solo career that made Kenny Loggins stand out in the 80s. He also gained recognition as the “King of Movie Soundtracks” due to his contributions to popular films like Footloose, Caddyshack, and Top Gun.
Bryan Adams was one of the most iconic male singers of the 1980s. Born in Kingston, Ontario, to British-Canadian immigrants, he began playing guitar at a young age and quickly found his passion for music.
With over 25 top-15 singles in Canada and success in the US, UK, and Australia, Bryan Adams became a household name. His rock music and songwriting skills resonated with audiences around the world.
Rick Springfield, born Richard Lewis Springthorpe, is an Australian-American musician and actor. With his talents as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and overall entertainer, Rick Springfield gained immense popularity in the US during the 1980s.
He even won a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in 1981.
Eddie Money, born on March 21, 1949, was an American singer known for his rock hits in the late 1970s and 1980s. He captivated audiences with his soulful rasp and everyman persona.
Eddie Money's songs became anthems of the 1980s, including popular hits like “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.”
Lionel Richie is a legendary American singer, songwriter, and record producer who captivated audiences with his smooth and soulful love ballads during the 80s. Rising to fame in the 1970s, Richie had an incredibly successful career, both in music and film.
Considered one of the best male singers of the 80s, Lionel Richie's talent knows no bounds. With hits like “Hello” and “All Night Long,” he has won over fans worldwide with his heartfelt lyrics and captivating voice.
As the frontman for Poison, Bret Michaels became synonymous with the glam metal scene of the 80s. With his bandana-clad look, charismatic stage presence, and catchy tunes, Michaels helped lead Poison to the top of the charts.
Beyond his musical success, Michaels became an emblematic figure of the decade's “hair metal” culture, known for its excesses and flamboyant style.
Robert Smith, with his iconic teased hair and smudged eyeliner, stands as the emblematic figure of 80s gothic rock. As the frontman and lead songwriter for The Cure, Smith's melancholic lyrics and haunting melodies captured the hearts of fans worldwide.
With hits like “Lovesong” and “Just Like Heaven,” Smith showcased his ability to blend post-punk with dreamy pop, creating a distinct sound that would influence countless future artists. His raw emotional vulnerability combined with a mysterious aura makes him an enduring figure in the pantheon of 80s music legends.
Ben E King
While Ben E King's most iconic song, “Stand by Me,” was released in the 60s, its influence extended well into the 80s and beyond. The song was re-released in 1986 due to its inclusion in the film of the same name and subsequently climbed the charts once more.
King's soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics have made him a mainstay in the annals of music history. His ability to transcend generations and touch the hearts of listeners, young and old, positions him as a standout figure, even in the dynamic musical landscape of the 80s.
Huey Lewis is an American singer, musician, and songwriter who gained popularity in the 80s. He was a part of the band Huey Lewis & the News, which opened the 1985 Grammy Awards. With his soulful voice and catchy songs, Huey Lewis scored many hits during this time.
One of his most famous contributions was to the movie “Back to the Future,” where his song “The Power of Love” became a huge hit. However, it hasn't always been smooth sailing for Huey Lewis.
Top 80s Male Singers, Final Thoughts
The 80s was a decade filled with incredibly talented male singers who left an indelible mark on music history. From Michael Jackson's iconic performances to Freddie Mercury's unparalleled stage presence, these top 80s male singers shaped the sound and style of the era.
The 80s will always be remembered as a golden age for male singers, and their contributions to pop culture will never be forgotten.