The ’80s were without a doubt one of the most significant decades for music history, and especially so for female singers. The talented artists of this time were true innovators, with the first R&B song coming out, as well as female performance on MTV for the very first time. Many of them earned Grammys and produced some of the greatest hits of all time, both then and now.
Tiffany became a pop star at the young age of 15 years old, with her hit song ‘‘I Think Were Alone Now.’’ Rather than performing in the traditional way, she would perform in malls throughout the United States. Although her other work did not succeed quite as much, she is still performing today and has been apart of VH1’s ‘Celebrity Fit Club’, as well as playboy.
English pop singer, author, DJ and TV presenter Kim Wilde’s first break was in 1981 with ‘’Kids in America’’. The song made it to number two in the UK. Her singing career did not end then, as she released six albums throughout the ‘80s, with 25 singles in the Top 50 of the UK singles charts. In 1983, she was honored with the Brit Award for Best British Female. In 1988 she strayed to a different path and became a landscape gardener, but eventually came back to music in 2003 and is still touring.
Janet Jackson, American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress, and the youngest Jackson child, began her career in 1976 with her role in The Jacksons television series. She truly rose to fame with her hit single ‘’When I think Of You’’, as well as her desire to follow in her brother, Michael Jackson’s path. She is known for her sexually provocative records and elaborate performances. She continues to perform today, and stand strong. And has announced her pregnancy at the age of 50!
Singer Cyndi Lauper was incredibly successful with her addictive lady anthem ‘‘Girl’s Just Want To Have Fun’’ and ballad ‘‘Time After Time’’. Over 50 million of her albums have been purchased since the 80’s. In addition to this she was given a Tony Award for her composition of the Broadway hit Kinky Boots. She is an avid LBGT activist, and has founded the True Colors Fund. She has always had a very colorful look in both her attire and hair.
Although she is still on top today, Australian Kylie Minogue’s career was just beginning in the 80’s. Her first album included hit singles ‘’I Should Be So Lucky’’ and ‘’The Locomotion.’’ which brought her to fame. She is also a songwriter and actress, starring by in the Australian soap opera Neighbors as one of her first gigs. She has released several more albums and gone on many tours since then, despite fighting breast cancer. She is known to be the highest-selling Australian artist.
Madonna’s claim to fame came with her album entitled with her very own name. Among her 80’s hits are ‘‘Like a Prayer’’, ‘‘Material Girl’’ and ‘’Holiday’’. She has gained her popularity through breaking barriers in popular music and music videos, and has become an MTV legend. Today, she is not only one of the most well known successful musicians with sold out arenas worldwide, but is also an actress, writer and businesswoman. And of course has brought lots of attention to Malawi, Africa.
Debbie Gibson is another star that became big very young. Her hit single ‘‘Only in My Dreams’’ was fourth in the U.S charts, and it did not take her long at all to reach the top, with ‘‘Foolish Beat’’ in 1988. Even following this success, she was a Broadway hit in several shows, such as Grease, Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast, and has also been on SyFy TV movies such as ‘Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus’, and like her fellow pop star Tiffany – has posed for Playboy.
Sheena Easton’s fame did not come the traditional way. She first appeared on the TV show The Big Time: Pop Singer, and then on ‘’Modern Girl’’ and ‘’9 to 5’’, which is what brought her to great success, and earned her two Grammy Awards. She has also used her vocal talents for the Disney production of ‘All Dogs Go to Heaven 2’, and has done three songs for the Nickelodeon series ‘Phineas and Ferb’, as well as two tracks for the Xbox 360 game ‘Lost Odyssey, and even continues to tour today while living in Nevada.
American singer Belinda Carlisle became known through her role in the Go-Go girls, one of the most successful all-female bands in history. The band sold 8 million albums within a mere 3 years. However her fame and success continued even following the group’s split in 1985, becoming an award winning solo artist, with hits including ‘Leave a Light On’ and ‘Mad About You’ . She received a grammy award for her hit song ‘‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’’.She has not stopped pursuing her career as a singer, as well as publishing her memoirs, entitled Lips Unsealed.
Although she is not known today as a singer, she began her career in music in the 80’s with her popular album ‘‘Forever Young’’, including a grammy award winning song ‘‘Opposites Attract’’. She was also a choreographer for George Michael and Duran Duran, and was a former cheerleader and dancer. Today she is famous for her role as a judge, starting on American Idol and then followed her fellow judge Simon Cowell to the ‘X-factor series. She has had some drugs abuse issues in the past, but today is clean and plans to stay in the show business.
She began her life as a star with her first single ‘’Wuthering Heights’’ and continued to flourish from there. Throughout the ‘80s she released four albums, include popular songs ‘‘Babooksha’’ and ‘‘Don’t Give Up.’’ After she gave birth she kept a low profile, however her singing career is still alive.
Annie Lennox gained her fame in the 80’s through her work with Dave Stewart in the Eurythmics. Her voice made ‘’Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This’’ the unique song that it is, and The Eurythmics continued to succeed with 20 smash hits throughout the world. Lennox also works as a solo artist today and is known for her philanthropy as well.
Olivia Newtown John
Olivia Newton John’s role as Sandy in Grease in 1978 brought her to where she is today. The singer and actress released 14 hit singles during the 80’s, including the well known ‘’Physical’’. Her career certainly did not end in the 80’s and she is still a resident performer in Las Vegas.
Joan Jett began to rock and roll in the ‘70’s with an all girl band called The Runaways. However she left them in the ‘80s for her new band, Jett and The Blackhearts, and became famous through their hit album I Love Rock n’ Roll, along with the legendary song holding the same name, making it to the top of the charts. She eventually shifted her focus to acting, however was not quite as successful and returned to music composition. This rockstar is still touring today with her band, doing opening acts for bands such as Def Leppard and Green Day.
Gloria Estafan and Miami Sound Machine’s ‘’Conga’’ was one of the songs that made the ‘80s what it was. Gloria herself released several songs in the ‘80s, such as ‘’Bad Boys’’ and ‘’Words Get In The Way’’. Estefan, along with her band were the victims of a collision in 1990, leaving her with a fractured vertebrae. She was able to continue her career however, and continues to release songs.
Bonnie Tyler is responsible for ‘’Total Eclipse of the Heart’’ and ‘’Holding Out For A Hero’’ becoming part of every girl’s teen-hood. Her top rated songs were awarded with three Grammy nominations and continues to record music successfully. She has announced a plan to travel to Nashville, Tennessee in order to work with John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash’s son.
Sade is most famous for her work on ‘‘Smooth Operator’’ as well as her voice work for the band Sade. Her Album Diamond Life became one of the biggest albums of the ‘80’s. Since 2011, she has kept a low profile and stopped touring.
Pat Benatar has no shortage of ‘80s hits, including ‘’Hit Me With Your Best Shot’’, ‘’We Belong’’ and ‘’Invincible’’. Even more impressively, she was the very first woman to perform on MTV. She also has been awarded four Grammys with 12 albums of her own. She is still touring today, mostly in New Zealand with her husband Neil Geraldo by her side, and has announced that she is working on a greatest hits album, as well as a novel about the second coming of christ.
Chaka Khan with her song ‘’I Feel For You’’ took the top of the ‘80s. This hit song was awarded a Grammy, and was the very first R&B song to include rap. She has also appeared in some Broadway on the West End, and also does charity work for women and children at risk.
Terri Nunn is known as one of the most beautiful blondes with the legendary song ‘’Take My Breath Away’’. This Berlin singer continues today to sign and perform, and has toured with INXS, as well as contributed sex and relationship advice for a book, and appeared as a guest judge on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, as well as recorded her own album in 2012.
Debbie Harry was both feminine and punk at the same time. She led the band Blondie, which took both genres and made into one, with songs such as ‘Rapture’, ‘One Way or Another’ and ‘The Tide is High’. Harry with her band Blondie toured and released albums up until 2011. She also had lead roles in several films throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, such as ‘Videodrome’ and the musical comedy ‘Hairspray’ in 1988, as well as ‘My Life Without Me’, a heartfelt drama with Sarah Polley.
Marta Marrero, also known as Martika, is a both a singer, songwriter and actress who produced two very popular albums in the late ‘80s. She sold over four million copies. ‘’Toy Soldiers’’ was her most successful album, making it to the top of the charts for two weeks straight in mid 1989. Her hit singles’’More Than You Know’’ ‘’I Feel The Earth Move’’, a remake of Carole King’s Tapestry also made it to the top of the U.S dance charts. She also had a role on the children’s musical show, Kids Incorporated, as Gloria.
Jody Watley, both a singer and songwriter has won several awards. Her incredible work and talent the ‘80s was a large part of the pop culture at the time. Her career started out through dancing as a teenager on Soul Train, and was spoted out by Soul Train’s Gary Mumford who created an R&B music group, which helped Watley advance in her career when she joined Shalamar, a dance-soul trio. She stayed with the group for 7 years and then decide to continue solo. She has sold over 20 million albums today and built a lasting name.
Patti LaBelle is both a singer and actress known as the ‘Godmother of Soul’, started out her career as part of the Ordettes in 1959, which in 1961 became the Bluebelles, with hits ‘If Only You Knew’, ‘On My Own’, ‘New Attitude’ and ‘Stir It Up.’’ The group split up over tension of musical direction in 1977. Following their separation, she started as a solo artist with a few albums, however truly achieved great success as a solo artist in 1983 with her album ‘I’m in Love Again’. In addition to her singing career, she has also written several books and appeared in various screen productions.
Linda Maria Ronstadt
Linda Maria Ronstadt has earned countless awards, both in the United States and internationally. She has released over 30 albums, with 21 making into the top 40 on the U.S charts. She has collaborated with various artists in many music styles, and is considered one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. Her last live concert was in 2009, and she officially retired in 2011. A year late she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and is unable to sing.
Jane Marie Genevieve Wiedlin
Jane Marie Genevie Wiedlin, is most famously known as the guitarist and backup singer of the Go-Go’s, however she also had a solo music career. She worked at a fashion design house and while there wrote song lyrics on clothing patterns. Together with Belinda Carsisle, she formed the Go-Go’s punk band in 1978, until her solo career in 1984, with ‘Rush Hour’ as her most popular hit. In the 1990’s some of the members reformed to record God Bless the Go-Go’s, and in 2010 they planned their Happily Ever After Farewell Tour, however ended up changing it to Ladies Gone Wild and performing in 2011. Weidlin alone has released four solo albums.
Rebbie Jackson first performed on stage with her siblings during shows in Las Vegas in 1974, right before her appearance on the TV series, The Jacksons. She released her first album in 1984, at age 34, entitled Centipede, named by her younger brother Michael, was her most successful release. And by the end of the ‘80s she already released two more albums. After a 10 year break in music, she returned in 1998 releasing the album Yours Faithfully. In 2011 she joined the ‘’Pick Up the Phone Tour’’ in honor of teenagers who have committed suicide throughout the U.S.
Deniece Williams was successful throughout the mid ‘70s-’80s, such as ‘’It’s Gonna Take a Miracle’’ in 1982 and ‘’Let’s Hear It for the Boy (1984), as well as through her duets with Johnny Mathis. She had originally planned on studying to become a nurse and anesthetist but dropped out and had been performing on the side at the time at a club. In the 1970’s she became a backup singer for Stevie Wonder in ‘Wonderlove’, and left him in 1975 for Columbia Records, where she reached great fame with songs such as ‘Too Much, Too Little, Too Late’’. Due to a lack of promotion however, her fame faded over the years.
Toni Basil is a singer-songwriter, actress, filmmaker, film director, choreographer and dancer, who is mostly known for her hit song ‘Mickey’ from 1982, in which she both performed and choreographed, although her music career began earlier in 1966. In 2009, VH1 ranked Mickey as number 5 on its list of the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the ‘80s. Her entire recording career consists only of two albums, ‘World Of Mouth’ in 1982, and ‘Shoppin’ from A to Z’.
Donna Summer had a good run in the ‘80s, bringing her beyond the disco diva she had previously been in the ‘70s. She has always been a step above her fellow stars with a different approach than the others, and is a five time Grammy Award winner and is one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, with 32 hit singles on the U.S Billboard top 100 chart. Although this declined throughout the years, she stayed high on the charts on the U.S Dance/Club Play Songs charts during the entirety of her career.
Rock guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Lita Ford was the lead guitarist for The Runaways in the late 1970’s before she began her solo career in 1980s. Her first solo album ‘Out for Blood’ came out in 1983 and was not so successful. In 1984, her release of ‘Dancin’ on the Edge’ was slightly more successful, and she became more known. Her most successful album, ‘Lita’ was released in 1988, followed by ‘Stiletto’ and ‘Dangerous Curves’. She has continued to release albums and perform until today.
Shannon Greene, known mostly just by her first name is both a recording artist, singer and dance-pop music and songwriter, known as the ‘Queen of High Energy’ for her hit single ‘Let the Music Play’. She continued to release albums throughout the ‘80s, such as Do You Wanna Get Away and Love Goes All the Way, with success, and even today continues to release songs and perform.
Stacey Lynn Swain, known as Stacey Q on stage, is both a pop singer, songwriter, dancer and actress. She released her most popular single after signing a recording contract with On the Spots Records in 1985. Her single ‘’Two of Hearts’’ in 1986, became number three on the Billboard Hot 100. This success also led her to appear on television talk shows, guest panels and game shows. She continues to produce music and perform.
Stephanie Mills, an R&B, soul and gospel singer, songwriter and Broadway star, claimed her fame with her role as ‘Dorothy’ in the Broadway musical The Wiz, a black American version of The Wizard of Oz from 1975 to 1977. Her signature ‘Home’ from the show became a top rated R&B hit. In the 1980’s five of her songs became top rated R&B hits, and one, ‘Never Knew A Love Like This Before’ won a Grammy Award for best R&B vocal performance. Today she is still producing music and performing on Broadway.
Regina Richards, better known as Regina is famous for her song ‘Baby Love’. She wrote in collaboration with Stephen Bray, who also worked with Madonna. She originally wanted someone else to sign it other than herself, but her record label was not in agreement. The song was part of her album ‘Say Goodbye’ and became Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986, a one hit wonder for her career.
Singer, songwriter, actress and record producer Diana Ross obtained her fame through her role in the vocal group The Supremes. After she left the band in 1970, she released her first solo album with the memorable ‘Aint No Mountain High Enough’. She continued to produce music and in 1980 her album ‘Diana’ made it to number 2 on the Billboard chart. She has been called the ‘Female Entertainer of the Century’ by Billboard magazine and is is the most successful female music artist in history, according to the Guinness Book Of World Records. She been nominated 12 times for Grammy awards, and although never won, she was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Aretha Franklin, a singer, songwriter and musician started her career through gospel singing at her father’s church at a young age. She then signed with Columbia Records in 1960 but only truly gained her fame in 1967 after signing with Atlantic Records with her song ‘Respect’ and ‘A Natural Woman’. Today she is still performing some of her old hits songs as tribute concerts.
Stevie Nicks, an award winning singer-songwriter was referred to as the ‘Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll’. She is most famous for her collaboration with Fleetwood Mac, as well as for her solo career, which she began in 1981 alongside her work with the band. Her first and most well known album Bella Donna reached the Billboard album charts within months of its release. She has also closely worked with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. She has released 8 solo songs until, with her most recent in 2014.
Swedish pop and jazz singer Anni-Frid Synni also known as Frida, became a star as a part of the pop group ABBA, one of the best-selling music artists in history. After the group split, she continued a solo singing career, however was not quite so successful. She recorded her final album in 1996 before retiring from music, and has shifted her focus on environmental issues.
Although Samantha Fox is today known to be a model, her singing career in the ‘80’s shows that this girl has got it all down. Since her hit song ‘’Touch Me’’ in in 1986, over 30 million of her records have been sold. She has also appeared in many films and reality TV shows, and is still touring with her band today.