10 career-altering third albums from bands in the 1980s

These third albums were a bunch of excellence.

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RAISING HELL by Run-DMC (1986)

1986 was a pretty important year in modern music history. Not only did you have Madonna releasing True Blue, you also had Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, and Randy Travis pumping new life into country music with their respective debuts. Paul opened up the world in Graceland. In New York City, Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell got together to record Run-DMC’s third album. Raising Hell has several early hip-hop classics like the title track, “It’s Tricky,” and one of the first crucial fashion statements in hip-hop, “My Adidas.” But the track that changed the world was their collaboration with rock band Aerosmith on “Walk This Way.”

If it didn’t necessarily invent the genre of rap rock, “Walk This Way,” propelled it to the foreground of the music industry. It was a crucial step on the way to making hip-hop accessible to a much wider audience. Run’s first two albums had done quite well, but neither had cracked the top 40. Raising Hell climbed to number 3. Not on one of the genre charts. On the main US albums chart.

It also introduced the band to a worldwide audience, landing in the top 40 across the planet. “Walk This Way” reached number 4 on the singles charts, and its follow-up “You Be Illin’” also made it into the top 40, and paved the way for Tone Loc’s hit “Funky Cold Medina” a few years later.

Run-D.M.C. became the first hip-hop artist to be nominated for a Grammy when Raising Hell scored a nom in the R&B Performance by a Duo or Band with Vocal. They lost out to Prince that year. It would be another decade before acts like Run-D.M.C and Prince would get their own distinct categories.