Time is flying fast for those of us who grew up during the 1980s.
And one surefire way of establishing how old you’re getting is to look at the age of music you remember from your youth.
Believe it or not, the 20 albums listed below all have their 30th birthday during 2018.
As you will see, 1988 was a year that gave us some absolute classics, but how many of them do you remember? And more importantly, which one was your favourite?
The 1980s saw the big birth of dance and new wave music.
Disco, which was big in the 70s, fell out of fashion in the early years of the decade.
Genres like post-disco, Italo disco and Euro disco became more popular to listen to.
Rock music carried on to enjoy a wide audience during the decade.
Soft rock, glam metal, thrash metal, shred guitar characterized by heavy distortion, pinch harmonics and whammy bar abuse became very popular.
Adult contemporary, quiet storm, and smooth jazz gained popularity.
In the late 1980s, glam metal became the largest, most commercially successful brand of music in the United States and worldwide.
The decade is also remembered for a rise in the use of digital recording, associated with the usage of synthesisers, with synth-pop music and other electronic genres featuring non-traditional instruments increasing in popularity.
During this decade, several electronic genres were also developed, including techno, house, freestyle and Eurodance.
Throughout the decade, R&B, hip hop and urban genres were becoming commonplace, particularly in the inner-city areas of large, metropolitan cities; rap was especially successful in the latter part of the decade, with the advent of the golden age of hip hop.
These urban genres—particularly rap and hip hop—would continue their rise in popularity through the 1990s and 2000s.
A 2010 survey conducted by the digital broadcaster Music Choice, which polled over 11,000 European participants, revealed that the 1980s is the most favoured tune decade of the last 50 years.
Kylie Minogue – Kylie (featured the songs I Should Be So Lucky, The Loco-Motion and Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi)
This was the debut album by the Australian songstress, Kylie Minogue.
It was released by PWL on 4 July 1988.
The album was produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman, who also wrote nine of the ten tracks on the album.
It is mostly full of bubblegum pop, but also includes some slower-paced numbers like “Je ne sais pas porquoi” and “I’ll Still Be Loving You.”
The album received a mixed reception from the critics.
Despite the mixed reaction, the album was a worldwide success.
It peaked at number one in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Japan, and it produced three number one singles in Australia.
In North America, the album peaked low on the Billboard charts, yet still managed to sell over 500,000 copies and was certified gold.
There were a total of six singles released from the album, the first being a cover of the Little Eva song, “The Loco-Motion.”
The follow up single was “I Should Be So Lucky”, which went to number one in seven countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom, and peaked at number twenty-eight on the US Billboard charts.
Bon Jovi – New Jersey (featured the songs Lay Your Hands On Me and Bad Medicine)
New Jersey is the fourth album from Bon Jovi, and was the followup to the band’s third album, Slippery When Wet.
It was released on September 19, 1988 through Mercury Records.
It reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in its second week of release after making its debut at number 8.
It remained at No. 1 for four consecutive weeks.
It produced five Billboard Hot 100 top ten hits, which is the most top ten hits to date for any hard rock/glam metal album.
This included the singles “Bad Medicine” and “I’ll Be There for You”, which both reached No. 1.
It was certified 7x Platinum.
This album was the band’s first UK No. 1 album.
It was also the first ever American album to be released in the USSR.
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Bros – Push (featured the songs I Owe You Nothing and Drop The Boy)
This is the debut album by British pop band Bros.
It was released on 28th March 1988.
The album spawned five hit singles, including the reissue of “I Owe You Nothing” which reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart in June 1988.
The album reached No. 2 in the UK Albums Chart and spent 54 weeks in the Top 75.
The album went 4× Platinum in the UK.
In late 2013, a 25th Anniversary 3 CD remastered and expanded edition of the album was released on the Cherry Red record label.
The song “Silent Night”, originally released as a double A-side single with “Cat Among the Pigeons”, featured for the very first time on the Push expanded edition.
Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman (featured the song Fast Car)
This self-titled debut album was released on April 5th 1988 by Elektra Records.
It was recorded at the Powertax studio in Hollywood, California.
In early attempts to produce the first album, many producers turned down Chapman as they did not like her musical direction.
David Kershenbaum, however, decided to produce it as he wanted to record an acoustic music album. It was recorded in Hollywood, California in eight weeks.
Most of the songs are based on political and social causes.
Chapman gained wide critical acclaim for the album, with many praising the simplicity, Chapman’s vocal ability and her political and social lyrical content.
The album received commercial success in most of the countries it was released, making it to the top of the charts in many countries, including Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.
It peaked at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 and was certified six-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), with sales exceeding over six million copies in the United States alone.
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Dirty Dancing Soundtrack (featured the songs (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, She’s Like The Wind and Hungry Eyes)
This is the original soundtrack of the 1987 film.
Along with the movie, the album became a huge commercial success.
It sold over 32 million copies worldwide and is one of the best selling albums of all time.
In the United States, the album spent 18 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 album sales charts and went multi-platinum.
In 1988 there was a follow-up album called More Dirty Dancing.
Ultimate Dirty Dancing (full title: Dirty Dancing: Ultimate Dirty Dancing) was released in 2003 and contains every song from the motion picture Dirty Dancing sequenced in the order it appears in the film.
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Erasure – The Innocents (featured the songs A Little Respect, Chains Of Love and Ship Of Fools)
This is the third album from Erasure and was released in 1988.
This was the album that made Erasure superstars in their home country and gave them the breakthrough they had been waiting for in the U.S.
It became the first in a string of number one albums by Erasure in the UK.
Thanks to heavy exposure on MTV, it also spawned two major Billboard Hot 100 hits, a Top 50 placing on the Billboard 200 and Platinum album certification in the U.S.
According To Nielsen SoundScan, 23 years after its release the album has sold a total of 5 million copies worldwide.
It is their best selling album to date.
In 2009 it was remastered and re-released on 26 October 2009.
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U2 – Rattle And Hum (featured the songs Desire, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Pride (In The Name Of Love)
This is the band’s sixth studio album.
There was a companion rockumentary film by Phil Joanou.
It came after the success of their previous studio album, The Joshua Tree, and captures their continued experiences with American roots music.
It incorporates elements of blues rock, folk rock and gospel music.
Although it was intended to represent the band paying tribute to rock legends, some critics accused U2 of trying to place themselves amongst the ranks of these artists.
Critical reception to both the album and the film was mixed.
One Rolling Stone editor spoke of the album’s “excitement”, another described it as “misguided and bombastic”.
The film grossed just $8.6 million, but the album was a commercial success, reaching number one in several countries and selling 14 million copies.
Lead single “Desire” became the band’s first UK number-one song while reaching number three in the US.
Facing creative stagnation and a critical backlash to Rattle and Hum, U2 reinvented themselves in the 1990s through a new musical direction and public image.
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Pet Shop Boys – Introspective (featured the songs Left To My Own Devices and Domino Dancing)
This is the third studio album by English synthpop duo, Pet Shop Boys.
The album was released on October 11th 1988.
It is the group’s second-best-selling album.
It sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide.
This is about half a million less then their fifth studio album, Very.
It is so named because “all the songs, although it’s a dance album, are introspective”. Perhaps the biggest change in Pet Shop Boys’ sound evident on this album is an increasing attention to orchestration using real orchestras, particularly on the Trevor Horn-produced “Left to My Own Devices”, which took months to produce.
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Fairground Attraction – The First Of A Million Kisses (featured the song Perfect)
This album is a blend of folk, jazz, country and Cajun.
All but one of the songs is written by band member Mark E. Nevin.
It was released on the 16th May 1988.
The album follows the success of the band’s first single, “Perfect,” by entering the UK Albums Chart at number seven, and peaking at number two.
It was the only album released by the band before their break-up in 1990.
Three other singles were released from the album: “Find My Love” (which reached number seven in the UK Singles Chart), “A Smile in a Whisper” (UK #75), and “Clare” (UK #49).
The First of a Million Kisses won the award for British Album at the 1989 Brit Awards, and was certified double platinum in the UK.
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Buster Soundtrack (featured the songs Two Hearts and A Groovy Kind Of Love)
This is the soundtrack to the British film Buster.
Is is essentially a collection of oldies tucked in between two Phil Collins songs that were recorded for the film, in which he starred.
“Two Hearts” was specially written for the film, having earned a Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television in 1989, a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song (tying with “Let the River Run” from Working Girl by Carly Simon) as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song
The other song was “A Groovy Kind of Love” with a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male was a remake of a song taken to #2 in the UK Singles Chart in 1965 by The Mindbenders.
Both were released as singles, and topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with “A Groovy Kind of Love” also reaching #1 in the UK.
Other new songs include Collins’ “Big Noise” and Four Tops’ “Loco in Acapulco”, co-written by Collins.
The soundtrack received at the Brit Awards in 1989 the award for British Soundtrack Album, while Collins received the award British Male Artist for his contribution to the soundtrack album.
“Two Hearts” and “A Groovy Kind of Love” were not released on a solo Phil Collins album until 1998’s …Hits; however, live versions appeared on his Serious Hits… Live! album in 1990.
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Enya – Watermark (featured the song Orinoco Flow)
This was the second studio album by the Irish singer.
After her first self-titled album, she secured a recording contract with Warner Music after a chance meeting with chairman Rob Dickins, who had become a fan of her music.
The contract allowed Enya considerable artistic and creative freedom, with very little interference from the label and no deadlines to have albums finished.
The singer recorded the album in ten months with her longtime collaborators, Nick Ryan and his wife.
The album was first recorded in Ireland before the production was relocated to London to do the re-recording.
Watermark features music in different styles, displaying Enya’s sound of multi-tracked vocals with keyboards, percussion instruments, and elements of Celtic and New age music, though Enya believes her music does not belong in the latter genre.
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Van Halen – OU812
The Van Halen album is pronounced “Oh You Ate One Too.”
It is the band’s eighth studio album.
It is the second to feature vocalist Sammy Hagar.
Van Halen started work on the album in September 1987 and completed it in April 1988, just one month before its release.
Reviews for OU812 were initially mixed. The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau rated the album a C, which signifies “a record of clear professionalism or barely discernible inspiration, but not both.”
He noted that “trading Dave for Sammy sure wrecked their shot at Led Zep of the ’80s–master guitarist, signature vocalist, underrated rhythm section.”
The album is dedicated to Eddie and Alex Van Halen’s father, Jan, who died on December 9, 1986, at the age of 66. The inner linings of the album include the words, “This one’s for you, Pa”
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Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Appropriately titled, this is the seventh studio album by the heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
It is the first Iron Maiden release to feature keyboards.
Like The Number of the Beast and, later, Fear of the Dark, The Final Frontier and The Book of Souls, it debuted at No. 1 in the UK Albums Chart.
It features many rock elements that would be used in later albums, such as the length of the title and that it is a concept album.
The idea to base the album around the folklore concept of the seventh son of a seventh son came to bassist Steve Harris after he read Orson Scott Card’s Seventh Son.
Harris states, “It was our seventh studio album and I didn’t have a title for it or any ideas at all.”
“Then I read the story of the seventh son, this mystical figure that was supposed to have all these paranormal gifts, like second sight and what have you, and it was more, at first, that it was just a good title for the seventh album, you know?”
“But then I rang Bruce [Dickinson, vocalist] and started talking about it and the idea just grew.”
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The Sugarcubes – Life’s Too Good
This is the first studio album by Icelandic alternative rock group The Sugarcubes.
The album was a somewhat unexpected success and brought international attention to the band, especially it’s lead singer, Björk.
Björk would later go on to launch a successful solo career in 1993.
Consisting of veterans of Reykjavík’s early 1980s rock culture, the band took elements of the post-punk sound that characterised the scene, intending to create a humorous take on pop music’s optimism, which is reflected in the album’s title.
Despite never having intended to be taken seriously, and because of the success of their debut and their contractual obligations, The Sugarcubes went on to release two further studio albums.
Life’s Too Good was released to largely positive reviews, receiving acclaim from the British and American press.
ohn Dougan of AllMusic praised Björk’s vocals, and considered that the album “lived up to all the advance hype.”
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A-ha – Stay on These Roads
This was the band’s third studio album.
It reached 148 on the Billboard 200 list.
The album sold over 4 million copies worldwide.
It achieved Platinum status in Brazil and Gold in the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany.
In France, it went Double Platinum.
The album reached #2 in the European top-100 albums sales chart.
William Ruhlmann of AllMusic said “in the U.K., the album became the group’s third straight to peak at number two, though it charted for a shorter period than the first two albums, and there were four Top 25 hits—the title track, ‘The Blood That Moves the Body,’ ‘Touchy!,’ and ‘You Are the One’.”
Also included was A-ha’s 1987 theme from the James Bond movie The Living Daylights, a U.K. number five that missed the U.S. charts.
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Kim Wilde – Close
This is the sixth studio album by Kim Wilde.
It was the final album on which Marty Wilde had co-writer credits.
It is often thought by fans and critics, and Kim hersle
The album is widely perceived by fans and critics (and Kim herself) as Wilde’s most well-balanced, with many kinds of pop represented: dance, ballad, rock and midtempo.
The album’s lead single was “Hey Mister Heartache”, featuring backing vocals from Junior Giscombe – but its success was dwarfed by the follow-up single, “You Came”, which hit the Top 10 in many countries and just missed the US Top 40.
Close reached the Top 10 in the UK, almost all Scandinavian countries, Austria and Germany and went on to become Wilde’s biggest selling album, being certified platinum in the UK and shifting more than 2 million units worldwide.
In Australia, the album was less successful, peaking at #82 on the ARIA albums chart.
A 2-CD 25th Anniversary Edition of Close was released in the United Kingdom in September 2013, with the album’s original 10 tracks bolstered by an additional 21 B-sides and remixes.
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Prince – Lovesexy
This was the tenth studio album for Prince.
It was released a little over a year after Prince’s previous studio album, Sign o’ the Times.
This album received mix reviews.
Tt was issued as a substitute record after the last minute cancellation of the infamous The Black Album.
The album was recorded in just seven weeks, from mid-December 1987 to late January 1988, at Prince’s new Paisley Park Studios, and most of the album is a solo effort from Prince, with a few exceptions.
The lyrical themes of the record include positivity, self-improvement, spirituality, and God.
It spawned three singles; “Alphabet St.” became a worldwide top-10 hit in the spring of 1988, whereas the follow-up singles “Glam Slam” and “I Wish U Heaven” failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100.
While it was Prince’s least successful album in the United States since 1980, it became his first UK number 1 album (where all the singles became top-30 hits) and received critical praise.
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Elton John – Reg Strike Back
Reg Strikes Back, released in 1988, is the twenty-first official album release for Elton John.
It was his self-proclaimed comeback album, and his own way of fighting back against bad press.
The “Reg” in Reg Strikes Back refers to John’s birth name, Reginald Kenneth Dwight.
In the US the album was certified gold in August 1988 by the RIAA.
This was the last album that bassist Dee Murray (albeit without bass) appeared on prior to his death in 1992.
The tracks “I Don’t Wanna Go On with You Like That” and “A Word in Spanish” peaked at No. 2 and No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.
John brought back record producer Chris Thomas for the album.
This is the first studio album to be recorded and released after John’s throat surgery the previous year. The album cover featured costumes from John’s collection that he decided to put up for auction.
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Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
Don’t Be Cruel is the second studio album by American singer Bobby Brown. It was released in the United States on June 20, 1988 by MCA Records.
The album was far more successful than Brown’s debut, peaking at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart and spawning five top 10 Billboard Hot 100 singles, including Brown’s only number one, “My Prerogative”.
It spent a total of six weeks on top of the Billboard 200 and was the best-selling album of 1989 in the United States.
The album also reached the top five in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Don’t Be Cruel received extremely positive reviews from music critics.
Brown also won his first Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 1990 Grammy Awards for “Every Little Step”.
The album has been certified 7× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of over seven million units in the United States.
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REM – Green
Green is the sixth studio album by American alternative rock band R.E.M. and their first release for Warner Bros. Records.
Co-produced between the band and Scott Litt, and released in November 7, 1988, the album continued to explore political issues both in its lyrics and packaging.
R.E.M. experimented on the album, writing major key rock songs and incorporating new instruments into their sound, including the mandolin, as well as switching their original instruments on other songs.
Upon its release, Green was a critical and commercial success.
To promote Green, the band embarked on an 11-month world tour and released four singles: “Orange Crush”, “Stand”, “Pop Song 89”, and “Get Up”.
For its 25th anniversary in 2013, a special edition was released.
How many of these albums do you remember listening to when you were a child?
And which was your favourite? Be sure to share this post with your fellow 80s kids, so they too can take a nostalgic look back at the quality music of our youth!