More accurately, I should have called this "80's musicians that have survived and are still putting out relevant music that people actually listen to" but I digress.
Anyway, here's a list of musicians that I think have weathered the bloodletting of the 80's rather well...
- Probably the definitive survivor of the 80's, U2 has done so by sounding fresh on each and every album and not doing a retread of old stuff. Their smart move was to release "Achtung Baby" and "Zooropa" which redefined the band for the 90's and kept them relevant throughout the decade. When they sensed that people were getting nostalgic again, they released "All That You Can't Leave Behind" which brought them back out of the electronic groove that they were in and back to the classic U2 sound.
- The Cure
- Techincally speaking, they're not really an 80's band because they started in the 70's. However, The Cure were the kings of the goth rock genre during the 80's. They actually had their biggest success with an album released in the 90's which was "Wish" (1992). Their concerts still sell out around the world and their recent albums have diverse production work by luminaries such as Alan Moulder and Flood.
- The Beautiful South
- Growing out of the breakup of the great 80's band The Housemartins, The Beautiful South have been quite prolific during the 90's and enjoyed their biggest success with the release of "Blue is the Colour" in 1996. One of my favourite bands of all time...their melodies and their lyrics are so sharp and witty and this strength could keep conceivably keep them going forever.
- Depeche Mode
- It's hard to believe that this band has been around for over 20 years! Yet each and every one of Depeche Mode's albums have been well received by their religiously dedicated base of fans and garnered a new generation of fans and that's hard to deny. Their newest album, "Exciter", is set to be released in May of 2001 and is supposed to be their strongest work to date, with an amazing blend of acoustic and electronic formats.
- Even though their last couple of albums (Up, New Adventures in Hi-Fi) have not been as well-received as previous ones, R.E.M. is definitely a strong surviving band, as they inspired and made an impression on 90's bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam. Their variance on melodies, which range from sublime acoustic all the way to hard crunching electric, has kept them alive and kicking.
- New Order
- This is iffy...the reason being that they only released one album in the 90's which was "Republic". However, they still inspire a lot of the sounds that you've heard in the 90's, especially the later electronic stuff from 90's artists like The Prodigy and even The Smashing Pumpkins. Plus, the album still gets played a lot in clubs and coffee shops. They've got a new album that's completed but the release date has not been set yet.
- No need to get into details. The queen of pop is still relevant after all these years, having been able to redefine herself with every hit album that she's released. We'll see whether being a mother of two or aging (she's in her 40s!) will change anything for the worse but time will tell.
- Peter Gabriel
- For those of you who thought that Peter Gabriel, musical auteur of the 70's and 80's, hasn't been doing much, you're wrong. After releasing Us in 1992, he's also been involved in side projects, most notably the soundtrack to the Millenium Show, "OVO". He's got a studio album ("Up") that he's been working on forever but it's still not complete.
- George Michael
- After reigning in the 80s pop charts with Wham! and his first solo work (Faith), he tried to ditch his pretty boy image with his more mature works of the 90's (Listen Without Prejudice Volume 1 (with no Volume 2 in sight), Older, Songs Of The Last Century) which got him back in the top ten in the UK (if not the US). Faltering recently with the release of Shoot the Dog, a rant about Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush but as stated in the film Bend It Like Beckham, "George Michael is still a superstar and you still listen to Wham!"
Thanks to Wocky!
There are probably a few others that are worth mentioning but I can only think of these ones so far...most great 80's musicians are either broken up or not doing much anymore (ie. The Smiths/Morrissey, The Pogues who aren't much without Shane MacGowan).
Update 2003-03-17: Okay, I didn't realize that this was going to be a closed nodeshell so let me set something straight here. My wu was specific to artists/bands that (1) formed in the 80's, (2) hit their creative peak during the 80's, (3) still recording RELEVANT music during the 90's. Of all, (3) is probably the trickiest because it really is objective (I personally don't think George Michael is all that relevant now but I will include it here). /Msg me and we can discuss.