Best of 1980- The Album List

It was an interesting year at the crossroads, still very influenced by the 70's music and culture, but also slowly opening doors to the new decade and adopting new trends and styles. Blondie, Abba, The Police and The Jam still ruled the charts. David Bowie scored his second number one hit this year while Kate Bush became the first British female artist to have a No.1 album. It was also a sad year in music as the music world lost two very influential musical artist and iconic figures, Ian Curtis of Joy Division hanged himself just days before the US Tour start and John Lennon was shot dead outside his apartment building in New York City, both leaving their families and thousands of fans in mourning and sorrow. The year ended with John Lennon's song "{Just Like) Starting Over" reaching number one in the UK charts announcing the new decade.

Note: The following Top 25 represents the result of the 'Best of 1980 - The Album list' poll from 2010 together with our in-house votes. List 
Updated: April 2020

01. Joy Division- Closer  [Factory] 
Closer is the second and final studio album released by Joy Division on 18. July 1980 on Factory Records, two months after Ian Curtis committed suicide. The inspiration behind the album name was J.R. Ballard's novel of the same name. The album was produced by Martin Hannett and combines songs which were recorded in two distinct periods, guitar driven, written during late 1979 and "synthesized", recorded in 1980. The songs mostly express a dark or funereal atmosphere expressed with the robotic drums and industrial noise. Today the album is widely recognized as the crown jewel of post-punk which by 1982, had sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. The non-album single "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and Joy Division's biggest hit was released one month after Ian's death whereas the remaining members re-formed as New Order.


02. The Cure- Seventeen Seconds [Polydor / Fiction] 
Seventeen Seconds is the second studio album by the Cure, recorded at Morgan Studio and released on 22. April 1980 by Fiction Records. This record established group's goth rock sound that would continue until 1982's Pornography. Robert Smith wrote the lyrics and music for it and due to budgetary restraints, the record was recorded and mixed in seven days. Despite the mixed reception, the album was relatively successful when released, reaching number 20 in the UK and it was reissued in 2005 and the band re-recorded the tracks "Seventeen Seconds", along with other title tracks. In 2000, Q magazine placed ‘Seventeen Seconds’ at number 65 in its list of the one-hundred greatest British albums ever. The album was also featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
 

03. The Human League Travelogue  [Virgin] 
Travelogue is the second full-length studio album released by The Human League, in May 1980. Although there was an improvement in comparison to their debut album, Reproduction which had failed to chart at all the year before, the lack of high commercial success precipitated the departure of founding band members Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who went on to form Heaven 17. Their departure led to remaining members Phil Oakey and Adrian Wright moving The Human League in a new musical direction with a new line-up. Virgin Records remastered and reissued Travelogue on CD in 1988, with an expanded track listing which included the "Holiday '80" EP, the disco single "I Don't Depend on You" (originally released under the moniker "The Men"), and the single "Boys and Girls", which had been produced by Oakey and Wright after the line-up split.


04. Talking Heads- Remain in Light [Sire] 
Remain in Light is the fourth studio album by Talking Heads, released on 8. October 1980, on Sire Records. It was produced by the quartet's long-time collaborator Brian Eno and peaked at number 19 on the Billboard 200 in the US and at number 21 on the UK Albums Chart. The album was widely acclaimed by critics, praised on its cohesive merging of disparate genres and sonic experimentation. The record has been featured in several publications' lists of the best albums of the 1980s and the best albums of all time, and it is often considered Talking Heads' magnum opus. In 2006, Remain in Light was remastered and reissued with the addition of four unfinished outtakes.


05. David Bowie - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) [RSA] 
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) is the fourteenth studio album by David Bowie which was released in September 1980. The album follows up on the Berlin Trilogy and tries to keep balance between the artistic creativity and the mainstream. The album featured the hit singles "Ashes to Ashes" and "Fashion" went platinum in the UK and Bowie's success was restored in the USA. The album has been reissued multiple times and is by some critics considered as the "last great album".


06. Ultravox- Vienna [Chrysalis] 
Vienna is the fourth studio album by Ultravox released on 11. July 1980. The album was the first made by Ultravox with their best-known line-up, after Midge Ure had taken over as lead vocalist and guitarist following the departures of John Foxx and Robin Simon, and it was also the group's first release for Chrysalis. Ultravox effectively changed pace, style and audience with the arrival of Ure, who had already participated in the formation of Visage with Currie. Vienna was remastered and reissued on CD in 2000 on the EMI Gold label while the definitive edition of Vienna was released in 2008.


07. Japan- Gentlemen Take Polaroids [Virgin] 
Gentlemen Take Polaroids is the fourth studio album by Japan, released on 24. October 1980 by Virgin. It was the first album on Virgin and it continued in the vein of their previous album Quiet Life, utilizing a combination of electronic elements coupled with more traditional instruments. The album was preceded by the title track, which peaked at No 60 in the UK Top 100, the group's first single to chart and it also featured the single "Night porter". In 2003 Gentlemen Take Polaroids was reissued with slightly different cover art.


08. Echo & The Bunnymen- Crocodiles [Korova] 
Crocodiles is the debut album by Echo & the Bunnymen that was released on 18. July 1980 in the United Kingdom. The album reached number 17 on the UK Albums Chart. "Pictures on My Wall" and "Rescue" had previously been released as singles. The album was remastered and reissued on CD in 2003 containing ten bonus tracks on the UK version and eight on the US—these releases were marketed as 25th anniversary editions. The album has since sold over 100,000 copies and the band was awarded with a gold disc for the album on 5. December 1984 by the British Phonographic Industry. In 1993 the NME listed Crocodiles at number 28 in its list of the 50 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.


09. Visage- Visage [Polydor] 
Visage is the eponymous debut studio album by Visage released on 10. November 1980. It was recorded at Genetic Sound Studios in Reading, Berkshire and released by Polydor Records. The album reached No. 13 in the UK and was certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry in March 1981."Fade to Grey" was released as a single and became a hit, reaching No. 8 on the UK Singles Chart and Top 10 in Europe, including No. 1 in Germany and Switzerland and even today still covered and remixed and considered as the ultimate 80's classic as wells as the ultimate New Romantic pearl. The mastermind behind the Visage Steve Strange passed away in February 2015.


10. OMD- Organisation [DinDisc/ Virgin] 
Organisation was the second album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released in 1980 with "Enola Gay" being the only single taken from album. The album is notable for its melancholy tone and sees OMD's sound evolving from Kraftwerkish - Numan synthetic pop to more melancholic sound inspired by Joy Division. The New Musical Express named Organisation as one of the 50 best albums of 1980. The record was listed in Slicing Up Eyeballs "Best of the '80s" in March 2013, being ranked as one of the top 35 albums of 1980 based on 3,360 reader votes. The album was remastered in 2003.


 
11. Bauhaus- In Flat Field [4AD]
12. John Foxx- Metamatic [Virgin]
13. Peter Gabriel - Games without Frontiers []
14. Adam and the Ants - Kings of the Wild Frontier [RCA]
15. Devo- Freedom of Choice [Warner Bros]
16. Killing Joke - Killing Joke [E'G]
17. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Get Happy [F-Beat]
18. The Jam- Sound Affects [Polydor]
19. Gary Numan- Telekon [Beggars Banquet]
20. Siouxsie and The Banshees - Kaleidoscope [Polydor]
21. The Sound - Jeopardy [Korova]
22. Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth [Rough Trade]
23. Prince - Dirty Mind [Warner Bros]
24. OMD- Orchestral Manouvers in the Dark [DinDisc/ Virgin]
25. The Teardrop Explodes- Kilimanjaro [Mercury] 

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