Best of British

Best British Pop Groups of the 80’s

The 80s were cool, weren’t they? I thought so anyway. I grew up in them. We had some of the best British Pop groups.

It was a time where attitudes were changing and the music was some of the best we had ever heard, especially in the UK.

New Romantics

Many bands of the time rivalled even the best offerings from the USA and the rest of the world.

The 80’s British Pop Groups and their followers, known as New Romantics, or New Wave in America, was a force to be reckoned with.

The British Invasion was fully underway and the music went worldwide – we’d probably say ‘viral’ now!

To this day I have friends with teenage sons and daughters that are blasting out Britpop music from 1980-something; it makes me smile every time.

So, put on a fluffy sleeved shirt, grab your eyeliner, put some sparkly highlights in your hair, and let’s take a walk down memory lane.

Here are some of the most popular British Pop Groups, bands and solo performers of the 1980s.

How many of these do you remember?

Duran Duran

Bursting on to the scene with the song Girls on Film, Duran Duran (named after a character from the sci-fi movie Barbarella) an electrical, synth-pop beat and a catchy refrain from our very own Simon Le Bon.

This breakout hit landed at number 1 shortly after its 1981 release. It may have been helped by the accompanying video which was still a relatively new music medium back them.

It featured several scantily clad girls in a wrestling contest and was even banned by the BBC.

duran duran best british pop groups

Duran Duran followed up the hit with songs such as Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf and Union of the Snake to become one of the most popular and best-selling British pop groups of the decade.

From 1980 on Duran Duran have placed 14 records in the UK Top 10 Singles Chart and have sold in excess of 100 million records.

Spandau Ballet

Probably Duran Duran’s biggest rival in the 80s was London based Spandau Ballet. Also darlings of the New Romantic movement featuring brothers Gary and Martin Kemp and frontman Tony Hadley.

The band has had 8 UK Top 10 albums and performed at Live Aid. It was at the event that the long-running rivalry with Duran Duran was finally put to rest.

spandau ballet best pop groups of the '80s

Spandau Ballet’s first record was ‘To Cut a Long Story Short’ released in 1980. It was followed by Top 10 hits, ‘Gold’, ‘True’,  and ‘Chant No1’.

Tony Hadley is no longer with the band and was replaced by a new lead singer in 2018.

What are some of the Best Music Festivals in Britain? Find out HERE


Formed in 1976 the band Ultravox had performed as ‘Tiger Lily’ in the year prior.

After a bit of a reshuffle and replacement of band members, the group seemed like it was almost on the outs until frontman Midge Ure joined the line up in 1979.

ultravox best british pop groups

The album ‘Vienna’ was released and yielded the band’s first top 40 hit with ‘Sleepwalk’.

The title track of the album was released third and in 1981 ‘Vienna’ reached number 2 on the pop charts making it Ultravox’s biggest ever hit.

They were prevented from reaching the top spot by John Lennon’s ‘Woman’

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