Looking for the best of 1981 rock music? Check out our list of the top 10 tracks from that year!
The year 1981 was an interesting one for rock music. There were a lot of great bands and artists that released records that would go on to be classics. It was also a year that saw the rise of MTV and the beginning of the music video revolution.
Here are some of the best rock albums of 1981:
-The Police, “Ghost in the Machine”
-Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Hard Promises”
-The Rolling Stones, “Tattoo You”
-Led Zeppelin, “Coda”
The year 1981 in rock music
The year 1981 in rock music involved some significant events. This is a list of notable rock music events of 1981.
In 1981, rock music was still going strong with many iconic bands and artists releasing new albums and singles. Some of the big names included Simon & Garfunkel, The Police, Journey, and REO Speedwagon. There were also some breakout artists this year, including Blondie, Prince, Duran Duran, and Soft Cell. 1981 was also a big year for metal music, with Metallica releasing their debut album “Kill ‘Em All” and Slayer releasing their debut album “Show No Mercy”.
The top rock songs of 1981
The year 1981 was an important one for rock music. Some of the most influential bands and artists in the genre released new material, cementing their legacies and shaping the sound of rock for years to come. Here are some of the best rock songs of 1981.
-“Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones
-“Back in Black” by AC/DC
-“You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC
-“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
-“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
-“Beth” by Kiss
-“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen
The top rock albums of 1981
The top rock albums of 1981 were compiled by Billboard magazine. The year 1981 in rock music involved some significant events. This is a list of the 10 best-selling rock albums in the United States in 1981, according to Billboard.
1. ‘Toto IV’ – Toto
2. ‘Dare’ – The Human League
3. ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ – AC/DC
4. ‘Physical Graffiti’ – Led Zeppelin
5. ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ – Ozzy Osbourne
6. ‘Highway to Hell’ – AC/DC
7. ‘ quadruple platinum certification in the US and became the band’s best-selling album.’ – Journey
8. ‘Double Live Gonzo!’ – Ted Nugent
9. ‘Houses of the Holy’ – Led Zeppelin
The top rock bands of 1981
The early 1980s saw the birth of many new rock bands who would go on to be extremely successful. This was a great time for rock music, and there were many excellent bands releasing quality music. Here are some of the top rock bands of 1981.
Rush was a Canadian band that formed in 1968. They released their ninth studio album, Moving Pictures, in 1981. The album contained the hit singles “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight”.
Led Zeppelin was a British rock band that formed in 1968 and disbanded in 1980 following the death of drummer John Bonham. They released their final album, In Through the Out Door, in 1979. However, the album’s lead single, “Fool in the Rain”, was not released until 1981.
AC/DC is an Australian rock band that formed in 1973 and is still active today. They released their eighth studio album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, in 1981. The album contained the hit single “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”.
Van Halen is an American hard rock band that formed in 1972 and is still active today. They released their fourth studio album, Fair Warning, in 1981. The album contained the hit single “Unchained”.
The Police were a British rock band that formed in 1977 and disbanded in 1986. They released their third studio album, Zenyatta Mondatta, in 1980. However, the album’s lead single, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”, was not released until 1981.
The top rock concerts of 1981
In 1981, some of the biggest names in rock came together for a series of epic concerts. From coast to coast, hard rock fans flocked to see their favorite bands in action. Here are some of the most memorable shows from that year:
-March 6: Kiss performs at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This was the band’s first stadium show in the US, and they did not disappoint, putting on a spectacular show complete with pyrotechnics and outrageous costumes.
-July 13: Journey headlines a massive outdoor concert at Milwaukee’s Summerfest. This was one of the most successful shows in the festival’s history, attracting over 200,000 fans.
-August 29: Queen brings their “Game Tour” to New York’s Madison Square Garden. This was one of the band’s final US performances with original lead singer Freddie Mercury.
-September 26: The Rolling Stones play two sold-out shows at New York’s Shea Stadium. These were among the largest audiences the Stones had ever played for in the US.
The top rock festivals of 1981
Summer is the perfect time for outdoor rock festivals. Here are some of the best that took place in 1981:
-The Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark was held from July 3-5 and featured performances by Amen Corner, Chet Atkins, Dexys Midnight Runners, Dire Straits, Joan Armatrading, Judas Priest, Kirsty MacColl, Mike Oldfield, Nazareth, Rainbow, Santana, Simple Minds, The Pretenders, and Whitesnake;
-The Reading Festival in Reading, England was held from August 28-30 and featured performances by Adam and the Ants, Black Sabbath , The Cult , The Damned , Ian Dury and the Blockheads , Echo & the Bunnymen , Elvis Costello & The Attractions , Gang of Four , Grateful Dead , Heaven 17 , Iron Maiden , Motorhead , Ozzy Osbourne , Penetration , Santana , Siouxsie and the Banshees , Squeeze , Stiff Little Fingers , Talking Heads , The Cure , Thin Lizzy ;
-The Donington Monsters of Rock festival at Donington Park in Castle Donnington, England featured performances by AC/DC (headlining), Angel Witch,, April Wine,, UFO,, Saxon,, Scorpions,, Triumph,, Rainbow,, Whitesnake.
The legacy of 1981 rock music
1981 was an incredible year for rock music, giving us some of the most iconic and influential tunes that are still beloved today. From new wave and punk to hard rock and metal, there was something for everyone in 1981. Here are just a few of the essential tracks from that year.
-The Police, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”
-Soft Cell, “Tainted Love”
-Iron Maiden, “Wrathchild”
-Queen, “Under Pressure”
-The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
-Van Halen, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”
-Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin'”
-AC/DC, “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”
The influence of 1981 rock music
When one thinks of 1981 rock music, a few things come to mind. For starters, it was the year that MTV made its debut, which had a huge impact on the music industry as a whole. It was also the year that Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” reached its 25th anniversary. Additionally, it was a big year for bands like The Clash, The Police, and Fleetwood Mac, who all released hugely successful albums.
1981 was also a year that saw the rise of new genres of rock music, such as New Wave and heavy metal. Bands like Blondie, Talking Heads, and Duran Duran were at the forefront of the New Wave movement, while Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were leading the charge in heavy metal.
All in all, 1981 was a big year for rock music, and its influence can still be felt today.
1981 was a fantastic year for rock music, with many great artists releasing classic albums. In this article, we’ve looked at some of the best rock albums of 1981. We’ve also included a list of honorable mentions, for those who want to explore further.
So there you have it: our pick of the best rock music from 1981. We hope you enjoy exploring these great albums!