Electronic Music in the 80s- The Best of the Decade

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


From New Wave to Hip Hop, the 80s was a decade of genre-defining music. Check out our list of the best electronic tracks of the 80s!


By the late 1970s, electronic music had reached a crossroads. The first generation of electronic musicians had been pioneers, experimenting with new sounds and technologies. But by the end of the decade, many of them were starting to feel Limited by the tools they had to work with. Synthesizers were expensive, bulky and not very portable. Drum machines were primitive, and their sounds were often criticized as being too mechanical.

The Birth of Electronic Music

The 1980s saw the birth of electronic music and the rise of some of the best electronic musicians of all time. Artists like Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, and New Order changed the course of music history with their innovative sounds and unforgettable tracks. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best electronic music of the 1980s.

Early electronic music pioneers

Early electronic music pioneers like Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, and Yellow Magic Orchestra found mainstream success in the 1970s and 1980s with their innovative and catchy synth-pop sound. But it was in the 1980s that electronic music really came into its own, with a new wave of artists experimenting with different styles and sounds.

From the ethereal atmospheres of Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream to the dancefloor anthems of Depeche Mode and New Order, the 1980s saw electronic music evolve into a truly diverse genre. Here are some of the best electronic music albums of the decade.

The first electronic instruments

The first electronic instruments were developed in the early 20th century, and since then they have been an integral part of music. The earliest electronic instruments were invented in the late 1800s and early 1900s, including the theremin,telephone, and gramophone. These instruments were used mostly for research until after World War II, when new technologies such as the synthesizer and the computer were developed.

The first commercial electronic instrument was the Telharmonium, patented in 1897. It was large and expensive, and it wasn’t until 1915 that another commercial electronic instrument, the Futurphone, was introduced. The Futurphone was also large and expensive, but it had a much wider range of sounds than the Telharmonium. In the 1920s, several other commercial electronic instruments were introduced, including the Ondes Martenot, Trautonium, and Novachord.

The first electronic music was composed in the 1930s using these early instruments. In the 1940s and 1950s, electronic music was mostly used for film scores and experimental music. It wasn’t until after 1960 that electronic music began to be used extensively in popular music. The Beatles’ song “Tomorrow Never Knows” (1966) is often cited as one of the first popular songs to use electronic music extensively.

In the 1970s and 1980s, electronic music became more mainstream with the advent of synthesizers such as the Moog synthesizer and newer computer-based sequencers such as MIDI. These new technologies allowed for greater accessibility and lower costs, making electronic music more available to a wider audience. In addition, a number of well-known rock bands began to experiment with synthesizers and other electronic instrumentation during this time period

The Golden Age of Electronic Music

The 1980s were a groundbreaking decade for electronic music. Artists like Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, andYellow Magic Orchestra pushed the boundaries of what was possible with synthesizers and drum machines, and their innovative sounds had a profound impact on popular music. In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at some of the best electronic music of the 1980s.

The rise of synth-pop

The mid-to-late 1970s saw the rise of electronic music styles that incorporated electronic instruments and sounds into pop, rock and disco. This new style of music, called synth-pop, would come to dominate the charts in the 1980s.

One of the first and most successful synth-pop bands was the English group Depeche Mode. Formed in 1980, the band combined synth work by founding member Vince Clarke with the dark, brooding lyrics of lead singer Dave Gahan. Depeche Mode had a string of hits in the 1980s, including “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Personal Jesus.”

Another successful synth-pop band was A Flock of Seagulls. Formed in England in 1980, the group was known for its striking visual style, which included lead singer Mike Score’s distinctive hairstyle (a mop of long, curly hair) and band member Ali Score’s use of contact lenses that made his eyes look like those of a shark. A Flock of Seagulls had a number of hits in the early 1980s, including “I Ran (So Far Away)” and “Space Age Love Song.”

Other notable synth-pop bands from the 1980s includeDuran Duran, Eurythmics, Yazoo (known as Yaz in the United States), Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) and Pet Shop Boys.

The birth of house music

The 1980s was the golden age of electronic music. New genres and subgenres emerged, and old ones were either abandoned or updated. House music, in particular, was born in the 80s.

House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago in the early 1980s. It was initially popularized by DJs who played it at clubs and parties. The DJ would mix different records together to create a continuous flow ofmusic, often with a drum machine providing a steady beat. House music quickly spread to other US cities such as New York and Detroit, and then to Europe, particularly Britain and Germany. By the end of the decade, it had become one of the most popular genres of dance music.

Today, house music is still going strong, with many subgenres (such as deep house and techno) remaining popular. The sound has evolved over the years but the basic elements remain the same: a strong 4/4 beat, layered synthesizer melodies, and occasionally vocals.

The Legacy of Electronic Music in the 80s

The 80s were a time of radical change in the music industry. The advent of new technologies such as the synthesizer and the sampler changed the way music was made and listened to forever. Electronic music was at the forefront of this revolution, and the genre thrived in the decade that followed.

The influence of electronic music in the 80s

The 1980s saw the rise of electronic music as a commercial force. This decade marked the beginning of the digital age, and electronic music became increasingly widespread thanks to the development of new technology.

The 80s were a golden age for electronic music, with artists such as Kraftwerk, New Order and Depeche Mode achieving global success. The legacy of these artists can still be seen today, with many modern-day musicians citing them as an influence.

The 80s also saw the birth of genres such as house and techno, which would go on to dominate the dance music scene in the following decades. Electronic music is now one of the most popular genres in the world, and its origins can be traced back to the 1980s.

The enduring popularity of electronic music

The 1980s was a decade that saw the rise of electronic music and its influence on mainstream pop culture. It was a time when new technologies enabled musicians to create sounds that had never been heard before, and the genre of electronic music was born.

Electronic music has had a lasting impact on popular culture, and its legacy can still be seen and heard today. The 1980s was a groundbreaking decade for the genre, and many of the artists who emerged during this time are still making music today. Here are some of the best electronic music albums from the 1980s that have stood the test of time.

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