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DAR Music: The 5 Greatest Years Of 80's R&B Soul

By @TrueGodImmortal



The 80's were another great decade in music. From the new wave of clothing and fashion that the artists proudly wore to the jheri curls, the 80's were such an interesting time. One genre of music that had an extremely interesting decade was R&B and soul music. The 80's saw the becoming of Michael Jackson, the official arrival of Prince as a star, Janet Jackson and her ascension, Anita Baker, and more. With that being said, I wanted to take a look at the best years of the 80's in terms of music. Which year is the best of the decade? Let's take a look.

5. 1982
(Notable Releases: Michael Jackson's Thriller, Prince's 1999, Shalamar's Friends, Zapp's Zapp II, The Gap Band's Gap Band IV, Atlantic Starr's Brilliance, Marvin Gaye's Midnight Love)





-This year is listed in the top 5, mostly for the few select big releases that took the world by storm. When we look back at albums like Thriller, 1999, and even the super underrated final studio album from Marvin Gaye on Midnight Love, 1982 has some big albums that will stand the test of time. The best album of the year in the genre probably goes to Thriller, with 1999 a close second, while Atlantic Starr and their best album Brilliance wasn t too far off as well. 1982 isn't the best year overall musically, but it is such a solid year with top heavy albums that makes it one of those rare (slightly) forgotten but classic years in music.

4. 1986
(Notable Releases: Janet Jackson's Control, Anita Baker's Rapture, Prince's Parade, Cameo's Word Up, Luther Vandross' Give Me The Reason, Gregory Abbott's Shake You Down)





-I think this is a year that's classic, but slightly underrated for all of the wrong reasons. There's no Michael Jackson release, but there is a Prince album titled Parade, which was pretty slept on and featured a lot of great music. Janet Jackson finally broke through with her Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced album Control, and Cameo hit hard with their classic Word Up project also. Bobby Brown made his first solo project and would spawn a hit in "Girlfriend" this year. While I definitely enjoyed the Luther Vandross' classic Give Me The Reason, the best album for me this year was easily the Anita Baker album Rapture, which is an all time classic that I could play over and over again. 1986 is one of those special years in music, and that's why it made it onto this list.

3. 1985
(Notable Releases: Whitney Houston's Self Titled Debut, Sade's Promise, Prince's Around The World In A Day, Alexander O'Neal's Self Titled Album, Stevie Wonder's In Square Circle)





-This year is deceptively stacked in so many ways. For all the releases that came out this year, to me, it's three albums in particular that take this year over the top. One of those albums is the epic debut of one of the greatest voices in music, Whitney Houston. Her debut is probably the best album of the year commercially, and it made her an instant star, but my personal favorites are from Sade and Prince. Sade dropped her second album Promise and gave us gem after gem alongside some of the best music of her entire 30 plus year career. Prince released the often slept on Around The World In A Day, which wasn't as well constructed as Purple Rain, but was honestly just as enjoyable from a cohesive standpoint. There were other albums from Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, New Edition, Johnny Gill, and more, making this year huge in essence for the genre.

2. 1987 (Notable Releases: Michael Jackson's Bad, Keith Sweat's Make It Last Forever, Prince's Sign 'O' The Times, Whitney Houston's Whitney, The Isley Brothers' Smooth Sailin, Atlantic Starr's All In The Name Of Love, Jody Watley's Self Titled Debut)





-Another huge year in the genre, 1987 was a special year for me personally. This was the year I think the best Michael Jackson and Prince albums were released. While many love Purple Rain and Thriller, for me, my favorite Michael Jackson is Bad, and my favorite Prince album is Sign O' The Times. These two albums are pivotal releases to me as a fan, and that automatically gets the year in the top 2. Other releases on the year including a slept on Isley Brothers album with Smooth Sailin, a new Atlantic Starr project, a classic Keith Sweat album but most of all, it also features an album from Whitney Houston, an album that would hit big and secure high sales. There were albums from Barry White, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, The System, Earth, Wind, & Fire, and so many others that this year is stacked beyond belief. 1987 is just one of those years where a lot of pieces fall into the right places, and that's why it is the 2nd choice of this list.

1. 1988
(Notable Releases: Bobby Brown's Don't Be Cruel, New Edition's Heartbreak, Al B. Sure's In Effect Mode, Prince's Lovesexy, Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl, Luther Vandross' Any Love, Sade's Stronger Than Pride)






-There is no other choice. Let me just explain that. There is no other choice. 1988 is the greatest year of music in the 80's period all across black genres. Hip hop, R&B Soul, you name it, 1988 excelled. Whether it was a successful Teddy Pendergrass record, Billy Ocean bringing his brand of music, Cherrelle dropping her best album, or even Evelyn "Champagne" King delivering another solid project, this year was great from top to bottom. Of course, the best releases came from the New Jack Swing era, as Bobby Brown gave us the all time classic Don't Be Cruel, Guy debuted with their self titled album, New Edition crafted their best album in Heartbreak, and Al B. Sure would hit hard with the classic In Effect Mode. Sade returned after a three year hiatus with Stronger Than Pride and Prince gave us a gem in Lovesexy, while Luther released a hit album as well. All in all, 1988 is the greatest year of the 80's for R&B/Soul, and it's probably the greatest year in music of that entire decade period.


-True 

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