Musical acts from the '80s who are still playing today (2024)

Perhaps no fan base in music history is more loyal than those of the 1980s. Today's middle-aged men and women still can't seem to get enough of reliving the days of tight-rolled jeans, overused hair spray, and music television.

While plenty of bands or artists from that decade are re-forming to make a little money off this retro obsession, other prominent groups from the '80s are still going strong. Not all we'll showcase have enjoyed consistent success throughout the years, but enough to keep packing stadiums, clubs, or festival grounds.

Here's a look at 20 of the better bands and artists of the 1980s who are still successfully doing their thing.

1 of 20

The B-52s

Musical acts from the '80s who are still playing today (1)

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Though the new-wave pop rockers have not released a studio album in more than a decade, The B-52s (formerly the B-52's) have remained visible. Seeing the band that commercially broke out with 1989's Cosmic Thing is still quite the experience, and the band is embarking on a farewell tour in 2022.

2 of 20

Bon Jovi

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Kings of the 1980s hair metal/pop rock scene that rolled well into the 1990s, Jon Bon Jovi and Co. are still a big attraction when out on tour. Though guitarist Richie Sambora has not been part of the band for some time, Bon Jovi has sold more than 100 million records internationally, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, and released an album in 2020.

3 of 20

The Cure

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Robert Smith and his boys have been around since the late 1970s, and these British goth-alternative rockers were at their best during the '80s with albums like The Head on the Door (1985), Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me(1987), and Disintegration (1989). However, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers are still quite the draw. It headlined Lollapalooza recently and was one of the main acts at the 2019 Austin City Limits Music Festival. The Cure released the 30th-anniversary version of Wishin 2022.

4 of 20

Def Leppard

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While singer Joe Elliott can no longer hit the high notes like he once did, Def Leppard still draws a packed house when it tours as headliners — even in stadiums, like Wrigley Field in 2018. For decades, the band has overcome adversity on several fronts to keep going, put out new music, and found a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. However, hits off 1983's Pyromaniaand commercial pop-rock smash follow-up Hysteria(1987) are what the fans want to hear live.

5 of 20

Depeche Mode

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There are bands that were so big in the 1980s that fans are still devoted to them today and even well-versed in their newest material. Depeche Mode is one of them. The synth-pop, alternative stars made a name for themselves in 1981 with what's become their signature tune "Just Can't Get Enough." More or less, the band has kept active since, though co-founder Andy Fletcher died of an aortic dissection in May 2022.

6 of 20

Duran Duran

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There are still middle-aged women around the globe who swoon at the sight of Simon Le Bon and John Taylor, mainly because Duran Duran has never really gone away since its days as MTV staples with early '80s hits "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Rio." Actually, since its self-titled 1981 debut album, Duran Duran has put out at least one album every decade and remains a popular live act for those 40- and 50-somethings who can't get enough of 1980s pop.

7 of 20


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Vince Clark and Andy Bell might be two of the hardest-working musicians in the business. Since forming in 1985, the duo has released nearly 20 studio albums, touring regularly. It doesn't seem fans will ever get tired of hearing classics like "Chains of Love."

8 of 20

The Fixx

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The Fixx is maybe not the most memorable band from the 1980s but arguably one of the most underrated from that time.Reach the Beach from 1983 is the group's most notable album, with pop hits "One Thing Leads to Another" and "Saved by Zero." But The Fixx kept making music through the '90s, into the 2000s, and even this decade. They released the album Every Five Secondsin June 2022.

9 of 20

Guns N' Roses

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It took a while, but Guns N' Roses finally got back together — at least three members of the classic lineup in Axl, Slash and Duff — to tour with the potential of some new music. It can be seen as just one of the biggest acts from the 1980s and early '90s getting together to make some money, but the band is almost constantly touring.

10 of 20

Iron Maiden

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Formed in the mid-1970s, Maiden's self-titled debut came out in 1980. Four of metal's all-time classic albums followed with Killers(1981), The Number of the Beast (1982), Piece of Mind (1983), and Powerslave (1984). For more than 40 years, Iron Maiden has slayed audiences, The 2019 Legacy Of The Beast Tourwas one of the hottest tickets of the year. After releasing Senjutsu, their first album in six years, in September 2021, the band hit the road again in 2022.

11 of 20


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Madonna will never go away. Much like the Rolling Stones, she is an iconic figure who has always been larger than the stage and screen she's performed on. Since her self-titled debut album in 1983, fans still wait to see what she'll do next, what she's saying, and, of course, what she's going to wear. She released her 14th studio album in 2019, Madame X, and a documentary concert film by the same name followed in 2021.

12 of 20


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Though Metallica's most commercially successful album came out in 1991, the band's true thrash metal foundation was laid in the 1980s with four of the best albums of the genre in Kill 'Em All(1983), Ride the Lightning (1984), Master of Puppets(1986), and...And Justice for All (1988). The Hall of Famers are still a worldwide attraction and usually have no trouble packing houses. Also, 2016's Hardwired... to Self-Destruct proved the band can still deliver at a high level.

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New Kids on the Block

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Though Donnie, Jordan, Jonathan, Joey, and Danny have not been completely together since moving teenage girls to tears with '80s boy band classics "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and "Hangin' Tough," a 2008 reunion gave NKOTB a second wind. Those same young girls from the '80s flocked to stadiums and ballparks as mothers and working professionals to see the Kids. The same formula worked with their 2019 and 2022 MixTape tours. TheNew Kidsapparently still have the right stuff.

14 of 20

New Order

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Though it has not been a smooth road, the journey for 1980s synth-pop, alt-staples New Order continues. Still one of the most beloved bands of the time, Bernard Sumner and his crew are still on the road, put out an album in recent years, and played Lollapalooza in the U.S., Europe, and South America. Fans are more than willing to shell out cash to hear classics like "Blue Monday," Bizarre Love Triangle," and "True Faith."

15 of 20

Ozzy Osbourne

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Technically, the Prince of Darkness has been going since the late 1960s when Black Sabbath formed in Birmingham, England, but we're looking at this from his solo career. That began with the classic Blizzard of Ozz (1980) LP and only grew bigger during the '80s. Osbourne, now in his 70s, remains one of the more prominent entertainers on the planet, thanks to his reality show, reunions with Sabbath, and touring. Osbourne returned to performing in August 2022 after undergoing major surgery.

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Musical acts from the '80s who are still playing today (16)

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After guiding the Police to super-stardom, Sting has been one of the world's most successful musicians since breaking out on his own with 1985 smash The Dream of the Blue Turtles. A winner of more than 15 Grammy Awards, Sting is an international attraction considered one of the greatest songwriters ever and a Hall of Famer who is showing no signs of slowing down.

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One of the more underrated bands of the 1980s, Tesla hit it big with albums such as Mechanical Resonance(1986) and The Great Radio Controversy(1988). While its overall commercial success from the '80s and into the '90s has certainly waned, Tesla's musical presence has not. Its most recent record came out in 2019, and the group has been toured on a consistent basis.

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Like Madonna, Bon Jovi, and Metallica, U2 is one of the biggest bands in the world. Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. have never stopped since the release of 1980's Boy. U2 has released 14 studio albums, and its concerts are still an experience. From a musical standpoint, some might argue that the guys sound just as good — or better — today than they did all those years ago.

19 of 20

“Weird Al” Yankovic

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The king of song parodies and the pop accordion, "Weird Al" has been going strong since breaking out with his second studio album, "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D(1984). While he's built a loyal and dedicated following over the years, almost cult-like, "Weird Al," a multiple-Grammy winner, has also turned on a new generation of fans who appreciate his comedic and musical creativity.

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Musical acts from the '80s who are still playing today (20)

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Hard-rockers Whitesnake put out their first album in 1978, but David Coverdale and his revolving cast of members had their greatest commercial success in the 1980s with the bluesySlide It In (1984), its pop-metal smash self-titled 1987 release, featuring the MTV classic "Here I Go Again," and 1989's Slip of the Tongue. But in 2019, Coverdale and Co. released the band's 13th studio album.

A Chicago native, Jeff Mezydlo has professionally written about sports, entertainment and pop culture for nearly 30 years. If he could do it again, he'd attend Degrassi Junior High, Ampipe High and Grand Lakes University.

Musical acts from the '80s who are still playing today (2024)


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