The 1980s was an important time for music. It was during the 80s that some of the most well-known Black artists rose to fame. Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder – these are just a sample of the Black singers that changed music forever.
There are so many Black singers who inspired and influenced the masses in the 1980s. Below, we share some of the greatest and most famous.
8 Black Singers From the 80s That Changed Music Forever
It would be impossible to list every Black singer in the 80s that had an impact on the music industry. However, we have chosen some of the most influential and popular Black singers who made a lasting mark. In no particular order:
1. Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson could arguably be the most influential Black singer of the 1980s. His legacy lives on to this day. Jackson started singing earlier in life as part of the Jackson 5, but by the 80s, he had gone solo. In 1984, Jackson released the hit Thriller, which would win him eight Grammy awards and a lifetime of credibility. He went on to release numerous hits and became a multi-platinum musician. Even today, he is known as the “King of Pop” and is still selling music and influencing musicians.
Prince had an explosive musical career in the 1980s. He produced nine albums in the ’80s, including Dirty Mind and Batman. All of his albums met with success, and he had chart-topping hits including “Delirious”, and “1999”. In 1984, Prince released Purple Rain, an album that would solidify his place as a music legend. Four songs on Purple Rain topped the charts. The film Prince produced by the same name also met with success with $70 million earned at the box office.
3. Janet Jackson
Sister to the “King of Pop,” Janet Jackson also had a standout career. After signing with A&M Records in 1982, Janet Jackson went on to release three record-setting singles on her album Control, including “Nasty” and “When I Think of You.” Her album, Rhythm Nation 1814, went platinum six times!
4. Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston was incredibly popular in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1985, she released her self-titled album, which was the catalyst for her career taking off. The album had three chart-topping hits, including “Greatest Love of All”, “Saving All My Love for You”, and “How Will I Know?”.
5. Tina Turner
Tina Turner became well-known in the music industry while performing with her ex-husband Ike Turner. However, after leaving the abusive relationship, Tina Turner launched her own successful solo music career. In 1984, Private Dancer was released. Critics called it one of the “greatest comebacks in music history.” The album had five hits in the top 40, including “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. Turner also won a Grammy for that album.
6. Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder began his musical success in the 1970s, but it certainly carried over into the 80s. In 1984, Wonder released a soundtrack for the movie The Woman in Red. The song, “I Just Called to Say I Love You” became a number one hit. Wonder also did major collaborations in the ’80s that produced hits like “That’s What Friends are For” and “We Are the World”.
7. Diana Ross
Diana Ross began her musical career as a member of The Supremes. But that didn’t stop her from also having a wildly successful solo career. In the 1970s and 1980s, Ross amassed a huge following with the release of “Endless Love”, “Chain Reaction”, and “Upside Down”.
8. Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie was not only a successful singer, but he was also a successful writer and producer. In fact, he wrote and produced “Endless Love” which he performed with Diana Ross in 1981. In 1982, he released a self-titled album that included the number one hit “Truly”. In 1983, the album Can’t Slow Down included hits “All Night Long (All Night)” and “Hello”.
If you aren’t familiar with the singers and songs on this list – check them out! These are some of the Black singers and musicians that forever changed the way that music was played and performed.