80s Female Music Artists

By Thomas McNish
Madonna in 2008

The 1980s were an exciting time for both fashion and music. Cutting edge sounds emerged as new genres, such as New Wave, Glam Rock and Synth Pop took over the airwaves. The birth of MTV also helped propel many new young stars into the stratosphere, and artists from all walks of life, including many women, took the music world stage.

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper in 2012

Cyndi Lauper was a quintessential 1980s female vocalist with classic hits like "True Colors," "Time After Time" and " Girls Just Want to Have Fun." Her characteristic raspy voice made her stand out from the other female vocalists and gave her synth pop hits a feel all their own.

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry in 2011

Debbie Harry was co-founder and lead singer of the band Blondie. Blondie had a distinguished, yet classic 1980s feel to them with a new wave foundation and punk undertones. Although the band is credited with several massive hits including "One Way or Another," "Call Me" and "Heart of Glass," Debbie Harry was a star in her own right, releasing several solo albums which broke onto the Billboard Top 100 charts.

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar in 2010

Pat Benatar was a strong vocalist, and many of her songs like "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and "Hearbreaker" displayed her voice which was more heavily rock influenced than new wave. However, some of her other 1980s hits, like "Love Is a Battlefield" showcased a more synth pop feel. Regardless of which genre you categorize her in, Pat Benatar was one of the more successful female artists of the 1980s.

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston in 2011

One of the top selling artists of all time, according to RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), Whitney Houston has been regarded as one of the most talented pop vocalists in history. Although her career soared throughout the 1990s, it was her debut album "Whitney Houston" released in 1985 that put her on the map. The following year, the record was dubbed "Best Album of the Year" by "Rolling Stone" and she received a Grammy for her single "Saving All My Love For You."

Madonna

Madonna in 2011

Madonna was arguably the biggest female star of the 1980s. She didn't just sell records, she incited fashion trends and pushed the boundaries of was was acceptable in regards to female sexuality. Her not so subtle innuendo in the hit song "Like a Prayer" put her on the map as an edgy, sexually aggressive woman. But more than that, she was a hit maker, selling over 64 million RIAA certified units as of January 2011. Regardless of your thoughts on her controversy or music, it's safe to say that the 1980s wouldn't have been the same without Madonna.

About the Author

Thomas McNish has been writing since 2005, contributing to Salon.com and other online publications. He is working toward his Associate of Science in computer information technology from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla.