Black recording artists have made their mark in the music industry for generations. In the 1980s, the music scene included a variety of African-American artists. From the King of Pop to Billy Ocean, the decade provided a variety of talented artists that have set the standard for pop music, R&B, rap, and rock.
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The late Michael Jackson and Prince were two of the top black pop artists of the 1980s. Jackson -- nicknamed the "King of Pop" -- became a solo star after he recorded the "Thriller" album in 1982. "Thriller" was the all-time top-selling album with 24 million records sold in the U.S. and featured the hits "Billie Jean", "Beat It", and "Human Nature."
Prince was signed as a teenager with Warner Brothers, but didn't make it big until his 1982 album "1999." "Little Red Corvette" and the single "1999" both reached the top 10 of the U.S. charts. Other 1980s hits by Prince included "Pop Life", "Let's Go Crazy" and "Purple Rain."
Rhythm & Blues
Luther Vandross -- who became popular in the 1980s -- was known for his smooth Rhythm & Blues sound. He had five platinum albums, including "The Night I Fell In Love", "Busy Body", "For Always", "Forever", and "For Love". In 1989, Vandross won a Grammy Award for his hit, "Here and Now." He's won numerous Soul Train Awards, American Music Awards and Grammy Awards.
Another black R&B singer who made it big in the 1980s was Lionel Richie. In 1982, Richie debuted his solo album, "Lionel Richie." His album reached number three on the Billboard Chart. "Truly", a ballad from that album, reached number one on the U.S. radio charts, winning Richie a Grammy Award. Richie created five albums in the 1980s combining a variety of R&B and pop influence.
The 1980s highlighted the new hip hop era, featuring young and successful black artists including Kool Moe Dee and Doug E Fresh. Moe Dee signed with Jive Records in 1986 and released his album "Kool Moe Dee." The album featured his first hit, "Go See the Doctor." He may be most famous for his 1987 follow up, "How Ya Like Me Now."
Barbados-born Fresh used a style combining beatboxing and rap. He could imitate samples of hip hop classics, effects and drum machines. Fresh first recorded for hip hop fans in 1984 with solo hits "Just Having Fun" and "Original Human Beatbox." He also recorded hit albums "Oh My God!" and "The World's Greatest Entertainer" in the 1980s.
Although black artists were well known in the hip hop and R & B genres, there were some that made their mark in rock music. In the mid-1980s, the group Living Colour and lead singer, African-American Corey Glover, hit the mainstream. Their debut album, "Vivid", reached number six on the Billboard top 200 charts. Glover and his band mates had a hit in late 1988 with the song "Cult of Personality."
Another black artist, Angelo Moore, led alternative rock band, Fishbone in the 1980s. The band signed with Columbia Records in 1985, releasing the self-titled "Fishbone" record. In 1988, the band released "Truth and Soul", its top-selling album.
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