The 1980s churned out a lot of good music, potentially as consistently well as any decade since the 1960s. We went from New Wave to hair metal in the course of a few years. I am not completely sure that is a good thing, however.
Of the top ten best-selling artists of the decade, many are worthy of listening to today. Bruce Springsteen and U2 have continued to make excellent music proving they were not one-decade wonders. Some other top-selling artists we cannot say the same about.
But who might be the most overrated musicians of the 1980s? The three below are some suggestions. And the first one mentioned is not even truly a musician.
Three ridiculously overrated bands of the 1980s
I realize Michael Jackson did not start his career in the 1980s, but his first big-selling album, Off the Wall, came out in 1979, and then Jackson became a megastar with 1983's Thriller. Jackson had some interesting ideas, sure, but he was pushing music forward in the way that Prince was. In fact, Jackson was more an entertainer than a musician so his worthiness compared to someone like Prince pales.
Plus, Jackson allegedly had some issues away from music. Nowadays people might stop listening to someone who has sexual battery allegations, but if they involved a minor (allegedly) that person should be in jail. Legal issues aside, Jackson's albums, such as Thriller, don't seem to hold up as well as ones such as Purple Rain.
I think Jon Bon Jovi is probably a decent human being so this is meant as no personal disrespect to him. But a band that kicked off their career with the decent single, "Runaway." either ran out of ideas and wanted to become a heavier version of Chicago or was always in music for the potential money grab. Bon Jovi was Nickelback before there was a Nickelback.
"Living on a Prayer," "Bad Medicine," and "You Give Love a Bad Name" all pretty much sound the same and are just sped-up power ballads. Maybe AC/DC songs sound quite a bit like one another, but at least there is an element of danger. Bon Jovi just sounds like a rock soundtrack to a Hallmark movie.
Mötley Crüe is to heavy metal what the WWE is to the Olympics. The band has no creative value though they can play their instruments loudly which seems to make them think they are dangerous. Instead, they are mostly a bunch of cliched stories of drug use and the rock and roll lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with the latter on that as long as you have the goods to back it up.
While Guns 'N Roses fused metal with punk and had some excellent musicians (like Slash) to back up the bravado, Mötley Crüe had a lot of attitude with little substance. Think about how many of their well-known singles are actually covers such as "Smokin' in the Boys Room," and "Helter Skelter." Heck, they even covered themselves with "Home Sweet Home" while revamping it in 1991. But the cardinal sin was a cover of "Anarchy in the UK" in 1991. Just shameful.