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The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s

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  • published
    24 Jun 2013
  • words by
    Tom Lea, Joseph Morpurgo, Chris Kelly, John Twells, Chal Ravens, Joe Muggs, Ruaridh Law, Peter Rix & Tam Gunn, unless otherwise stated
  • tags
    The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s
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Skip to: #100 / #90 / #80 / #70 / #60 #50 #40 / #30 / #20 #10, or view the selection as a single page text list – without audio, images, write-ups or guest blurbs – here.

Like this? You can read FACT’s rundown of the 100 Best Albums of the 1990s here.


Last year, FACT counted down our 100 favourite albums of the 1990s – a years-in-the-making effort that, we thought, was about as tough as undertakings got. We were wrong.

If narrowing the 1990s down to 100 records was a tricky job, doing the same with the 1980s felt like squeezing a horse through a catflap. The birth of hip-hop, US hardcore, techno, house, metal, first wave indie, second wave disco, goth, new wave…it’s a decade which, unsurprisingly, refuses to be pinned down. Still, pints of blood, buckets of sweat and enough tears to fill a bath later, the list is complete – and we’re very proud of the results.

Lists, ultimately, tell a story, and we’ve attempted to make ours as comprehensive as possible – one that does its best to reflect the full patchwork of musical activity going on in the period, and brings some forgotten heroes to light in the process. No fast passes or sacred cows, and no obscurities-for-obscurity’s-sake either – every record here is one that has something important to add to the narrative of the period. Crucially, it’s also very much a story as seen from the vantage point of 2013 – hindsight, critical advances and contemporary tastes have all had a major part to play in shaping the list.

More than anything though, the following is a catalogue of music that we genuinely love – records that have moved us, records that have surprised us, records that have inspired us, records we still come back to today. Gather round: these are the 100 Best Albums of The 1980s. We’ll be counting them down over the course of the week, posting 20 records a day and concluding on Friday.


To accompany the list, our team curated and recorded five downloadable mixes featuring material from all 100 records on the list: 

Mix 1 (#100-#81)
Mix 2 (#80-#61)
Mix 3 (#60-#41)
Mix 4 (#40-#21)
Mix 5 (#20-#1)

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