How many people see the term "80s music" and cringe? Not only did it see the rise of synth-pop, hair-metal, prancing disco-pop one hit wonders, and video killing the radio star, but it also saw the artistic decline of some of my favorite bands, such as Jethro Tull, Genesis, Aerosmith, and Yes. Well, the 80s were not all bad. What diamonds in the rough do you remember or still listen to? The most important musical movement in the 80s for me was the new breed of heavy metal acts, that poisoned rock with lightning riffs, chunky guitars, and over-the-top vocals. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden began and reached their creative peaks in the 80s. Guns 'N' Roses picked up on the new music and injected it with the macho, immature posturing of the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith. "Welcome to the Jungle," Axle crooned before taking a hit, and accept his invite we did. While everyone else applied sick amounts of hair spray and jumped around to Cyndi Lauper, we who thought we were oh so cool would blast Master of Puppets out of our bedroom windows, much to the chagrine of our poor neighbors and parents. Fates Warning and King's X expanded on the hard rock of the 80s to create fresh, complex soundscapes for the new generation of aggressive music lovers. Rush hit their most creative stride in the early 80s with Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures. Despite some self-admittedly failed sound experimentation throughout the decade, they created some of the best pop-rock music ever in Signals, Power Windows, and Hold Your Fire. Frank Zappa was on and off throughout the decade, but Them Or Us and the live albums of his last tour rank amongst his best work. The Talking Heads and The Police brought about a new direction in popular music. Now it was OK for prog-snobs, jazzers, and musical outsiders to dig pop. Sure they had big hits, but they were good, gosh-darnit, and oh so fun. Guitar gods Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani wowed us with their technical prowess. Satriani even had good songs, and showed us that you could have pleasant, accessible and musically interesting rock music without vocals. One of the real gems of the 80s was Marillion. Building upon Genesis' 70s work, they created a unique sound with the introspective lyrics and vocal styling of Fish and their lush arrangements. His exit from the band brought about a new, more mature direction in their music, and went on to have a long, productive and brilliant recorded output that is strong and still around. Huzzah for the 80s, as long as you forget about almost all of it.