Most Helpful Guy
The 1980s was the last decade where radio was important and relevant. It was also the last point in time when listening to the radio meant that you were exposed to multiple genres at once. It was also the decade where genres became so very divergent. As a program director for a top 40 radio station, you had to be able to spin Michael Jackson next to Def Leppard, Duran Duran next to the Scorpions, Madonna next to Van Halen. It was a huge challenge that ultimately destroyed radio markets as they existed. If you liked hard rock and AC/DC was on, great, but the next tune would be some British synth pop and you changed the station.
As an artifact from the 80s myself, and a lover of many styles of music, this was the charm of 80s music: multiple genres mixed together. And there really were only a few: pop, r&b, rock, and later, rap. Millennials have REALLY specific names for genres. It's not that it's bad… it has its own charm. But they are very confusing to an old fart like me.
The 80s were also the last decade where musicianship was really valued as much as singing and songwriting. To a large extent, guitar solos were overdone and, from the 90s on, guitar solos became extinct. In the 80s, you could even be famous for being a keyboard player: Thomas Dolby, Nick Rhodes, Jan Hammer come to mind. That kind of thing just doesn't happen anymore. It's not a lack of talent, it's just what's important has changed.
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