Top 10 Black Entertainers of the 1980s
Now that the sounds of the 1980s are making a strong comeback in the 21st century, this is a good time to take a look back at the talent that shaped the decade, which featured quite a few African American artists.
The following 10 African American music artists dominated the Billboard charts in one way or another during the 1980s. It is important to note that some Afro Caribbean artists such as Billy Ocean, Jimmy Cliff and Eddie Grant were also influential during the 80s, but they did not top the Billboard charts with the same intensity as the following 10 artists:
1 – Michael Jackson:
The late King of Pop passed away in 2009 at the age of 50, but his incredible musical legacy still matters to this day. The 80s belonged to Michael Jackson, who started off in 1980 with a breezy ballad called “Rock With You.” He would top the charts a few times with various hits, including the incredible “Billie Jean” and a collaboration with Paul McCartney, “Say, Say, Say.” Altogether, Michael Jackson spent 27 weeks at number one during this decade.
2 – Lionel Richie:
After a fruitful career with soul legends The Commodores, Lionel Richie explored the world of pop music with incredible success. His number one hits, and there were a few of them, spent 21 weeks topping the Billboard charts. “All Night Long” and “Say You, Say Me” are the respectively number 19 and 20 all-time Billboard hits of the 80s.
3 – Stevie Wonder:
This incredible musician brought a certain soul sensibility to pop music that kept him at number one 15 weeks. A big hit 1980s hit for him was a collaboration with Paul McCartney: “Ebony and Ivory.”
6 – Prince:
With four major 80s hits that sounded as if they were recorded in another dimension, Prince spent a total of 10 weeks at number one, including the curious “Batdance” song recorded for the legendary film franchise.