I Love the Eighties: My Top 100 Albums of 1983


Does anybody out there remember the great comic strip Bloom County? It was an irreverent look at all things Eighties, political and pop culture. Creator Berkley Breathed had brilliantly and deftly built a world of anthropomorphic animals who interacted with the humans in this small community known as Bloom County. Throughout the life of this strip, the characters parodied, satirized and poked fun at the American sensibilities of the decade, all the while maintaining writing integrity throughout the lifespan of the strip. One particular week, the strip dedicated itself to a weekend-long musical festival in the California desert at the end of May called the “US Festival,” since the whole thing, according to the organizers led by Apple’s Steve Wozniak, was about us. The festival consisted of three days with different musical themes, New Wave, Heavy Metal and Rock, with the headliners being respectively The Clash, Van Halen and Men at Work.

Well, Bloom County nailed the cynicism of the era when, in the first day’s strip about their own “US Festival” when the characters were collectively asked why this musical festival was being called the “US Festival,” to which all the characters stopped what they were doing and answered the question by yelling in unison that “All the money is going to – US!!!” Besides my favorite comic strip of all-time, what I learned about the US Festival was that it showed the power of the latest genre that was reappearing at the time, heavy metal. Heavy Metal Day proved to be the most popular day according to attendance records. The festival also showed that New Wave and Classic Rock were waning in popularity. If organizers only had the vision to have totally bagged the other two days and turn them into “College Rock Day” and “Pop Music Day,” then those days would have been more successful as well. The bands that came out of the festival with the most commercial momentum were INXS and U2 from New Wave Day, Mötley Crüe and Van Halen from Metal Day and Stevie Nicks from Rock Day.

5.18 motley-crue-shout-at-the-devil

Still, 1983 was more than that lame first attempt to give Gen X its first “Woodstock.” 1983 was the year when the power of MTV was finally realized by everyone from radio programmers to record companies to Mom & Pop Record Stores. MTV was this country’s first national radio station, and it unified the 22-and-under crowd. In addition to all of that, the very same youth that was embracing metal and college rock were also embracing Michael Jackson and his 1982 album Thriller, one of the three biggest-selling albums of all-time, standing alongside the Eagles’ first Greatest Hits collection and Adele’s recent classic 21.

5.18 P-Funk All Stars - Dancefloor Guerillas

To me, the year 1983 represents one of the final years during which so many different genres of music are all listened to and purchased, from the reggae of UB40 to left-wing politics of The Clash to the universally loved music of a young black man, Michael Jackson to the rock ‘n’ soul of duo Hall & Oates to the loud yet still melodic pop metal of Def Leppard to the thrashing sounds of Metallica to new, jangling guitars of R.E.M. In other words, the musical planets of the universe had aligned in 1983, much to the delight of music lovers all around the world.

5.18 Tracey Ullman - You Broke My Heart in 17 Places

So, with that big, overblown introduction to the music of 1983, allow me to unveil my Top 100 Albums for that year since I have discovered that 40 just “isn’t enough!” Hold on people!

5.18 R.E.M. - Murmur

5.18 Talking Heads - Speaking in Tongues

  1. R.E.M. – Murmur
  2. Talking Heads – Speaking in Tongues
  3. The Police – Synchronicity
  4. The Style Council – Introducing the Style Council
  5. David Bowie – Let’s Dance
  6. Culture Club – Colour by Numbers
  7. Madonna – Madonna
  8. Marshall Crenshaw – Field Day
  9. New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies
  10. U2 – War
  11. Def Leppard – Pyromania
  12. Tears for Fears – The Hurting
  13. Elton John – Too Low for Zero
  14. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Punch the Clock
  15. Eurythmics – Touch
  16. John “Cougar” Mellencamp – Uh-Huh
  17. Duran Duran – Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  18. Wham! – Fantastic
  19. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  20. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
  21. X – More Fun in the New World
  22. Metallica – Kill ‘Em All
  23. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – Album
  24. Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual
  25. Tracey Ullman – You Broke My Heart in 17 Places
  26. The The – Soul Mining
  27. ZZ Top – Eliminator
  28. Cheap Trick – Next Position Please
  29. Todd Rundgren – The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect
  30. Huey Lewis & the News – Sports
  31. Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind
  32. Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
  33. Lionel Richie – Can’t Slow Down
  34. Kiss – Lick It Up
  35. Yes – 90125
  36. Whodini – Whodini
  37. UB40 – Labour of Love
  38. Stevie Nicks – The Wild Heart
  39. Randy Newman – Trouble in Paradise
  40. Genesis – Genesis
  41. Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones
  42. New Edition – Candy Girl
  43. Quiet Riot – Metal Health
  44. Journey – Frontiers
  45. Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace
  46. Donna Summer – She Works Hard for the Money
  47. Robert Plant – The Principle of Moments
  48. Echo & the Bunnymen – Porcupine
  49. U2 – Under a Blood Red Sky
  50. The Cure – Japanese Whispers
  51. Billy Joel – An Innocence Man
  52. The Kinks – State of Confusion
  53. Big Country – The Crossing
  54. Herbie Hancock – Future Shock
  55. P-Funk All-Stars – Urban Dancefloor Guerillas
  56. Various Artists – Flashdance OST
  57. Bryan Adams – Cuts like a Knife
  58. John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band – Eddie and the Cruisers OST
  59. Various Artists – Valley Girl OST
  60. Night Ranger – Midnight Madness
  61. Martin Briley – One Night with a Stranger
  62. The Fixx – Reach the Beach
  63. The Waterboys – The Waterboys
  64. Aztec Camera – High Land, Hard Rain
  65. Bob Dylan – Infidels
  66. Spandau Ballet – True
  67. Let’s Active – Afoot
  68. Pink Floyd – The Final Cut
  69. Stray Cats – Rant ‘N’ Rave with the Stray Cats
  70. The Rolling Stones – Undercover
  71. Electric Light Orchestra – Secret Messages
  72. Mötley Crüe – Shout Out the Devil
  73. T-Bone Burnett – Proof Through the Night
  74. Malcolm McLaren – Duck Rock
  75. The Replacements – Hootenanny
  76. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – The Distance
  77. Pat Benatar – Live from Earth
  78. Paul Young – No Parlez
  79. Styx – Kilroy Was Here
  80. The B-52’s – Whammy!
  81. The Plimsouls – Everywhere at Once
  82. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Texas Flood
  83. Ozzy Osbourne – Bark at the Moon
  84. Dio – Holy Diver
  85. Heaven 17 – The Luxury Gap
  86. Was (Not Was) – Born to Laugh at Tornadoes
  87. Ramones – Subterranean Jungle
  88. Paul Simon – Heart and Bones
  89. Men at Work – Cargo
  90. The Gap Band – The Gap Band V: Jammin’
  91. Jackson Browne – Lawyers in Love
  92. Slayer – Show No Mercy
  93. Thompson Twins – Quick Step & Side Kick
  94. The Pointer Sisters – Break Out
  95. Depeche Mode – Construction Time Again
  96. Cocteau Twins – Head over Heels
  97. Peter Gabriel – Plays Live
  98. Billy Bragg – Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs. Spy
  99. Midnight Star – No Parking on the Dance Floor
  100. Hüsker Dü – Metal Circus

5.18 Metallica - Kill Em All5.18 Midnight Star - No Parking on the Dancefloor

And, there you have, my Top 100 albums of 1983. Start the discussions down below.

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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