80s Instrumental Music: 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,


Check out our list of the best 80s instrumental music. From classics like Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” to more modern hits like Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia”, there’s something for everyone!


Throughout the decade of the 1980s, many popular songs were released that contained little or no vocals. These tunes are now considered classics and continue to be enjoyed by music lovers of all ages. If you’re a fan of instrumental music from the 80s, this list is sure to please.

The Best of the Decade

There are many great 80s instrumental songs that were popular during the decade. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best of the decade. This list is based on popularity, critical acclaim, and influence.

The 1980s

The 1980s was a great decade for instrumental music. Many artists emerged during this time and helped to shape the sound of the genre. Some of the best-known names from the 1980s include Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, and George Michael. These artists brought a new level of popularity to instrumental music and helped to make it one of the most popular genres of the decade.

The 1990s

The 1990s were considered the golden age for instrumental music, with a wide range of artists and genres to choose from. This decade saw the emergence of many new genres, including chill-out, ambient, and trip-hop, as well as the mainstream popularity of established genres such as new-age and world music.

Some of the most popular artists of the decade included Kenny G, Yanni, Dave Brubeck, John Williams, Vangelis, and Ennio Morricone. These artists helped to define the sound of the 1990s and paved the way for a new generation of instrumental musicians.

The 2000s

Though it’s hard to believe, the 2000s are now considered a retrospective decade. In terms of instrumental music, the 2000s were marked by a return to traditionalism and an embrace of digital technology.

The early part of the decade saw the rise of post-rock, a genre that was heavily influenced by early-’90s alternative rock. Bands like Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Sigur Rós blended elements of rock, classical music, and noise into lengthy, epic compositions. These bands proved that instrumental music could be emotionally resonant and intellectually stimulating without relying on lyrics or conventional song structures.

In the mid-2000s, new technologies began to change the way musicians approached their craft. The explosion of online music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify made it easier than ever for people to discover new music, while portable digital devices like the iPod allowed listeners to carry their entire music libraries with them wherever they went. As a result, musical genres and subgenres began to fragment and splinter into ever-more specific niches.

One unexpected consequence of this fragmentation was the renewed popularity of instrumental music. In an era when people could easily find any type of music they wanted to hear with just a few clicks, many listeners found themselves drawn to the simplicity and purity of instrumental tracks. This trend was especially pronounced in the world of film soundtracks and video game scores, where composers like Hans Zimmer and Howard Shore won widespread acclaim for their sweeping, epic melodies.

As we move into the 2020s, it’s clear that instrumental music will continue to evolve in response to changes in technology and society. Who knows what new sounds and genres will emerge in the years ahead?


In conclusion, the 80s was a great decade for instrumental music. There were many different styles and genres that emerged and flourished during this time. From the early synthesizer-based pop of artists like Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder, to the more rock-oriented sounds of bands like Van Halen and Dire Straits, the 1980s saw the birth of many new and exciting musical genres.

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