I know a lot of people like to pick on the 80s music scene- imitator new-wave bands, hair metal, cheese-pop, etc. Ok, fine. But it seems to me that most of the bands or artists who I liked that started before the 80s suddenly started to suck once that decade began. What happened? Here are some examples to help illustrate my point: Yes Anti-proggers, you might want to skip this part. I love Yes when they're at their most absurd and "progressive." Relayer, Close To the Edge, and even Tales From Topographic Oceans. They broke up and reformed in the 80s with Trevor Rabin playing guitar and played simple, direct pop music. I have no problem with this. I like some pop music. But Yes' pop was particularly awful, IMO. I'd honestly rather listen to Madonna. Jethro Tull In my book, Ian Anderson is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. When the 80s hit, he formed a completely new band and bogged down his sound with cheesy synthesizers and electronic beats. Yech. The sad thing is, I can hear some great songwriting here and there, but I can't tolerate listening to it because of the sound and production. Add to the fact that Anderson's voice deteriorated, and the 80s were just not kind to Tull. Bob Dylan Ok, I know little of Dylan's 80s stuff. But, I've heard some, and it is weak. Of course I love a lot of what he did before (Blood On the Tracks, John Wesly Harding, etc) and I really like his latest stuff. So what happened in between? Am I just missing something? Judas Priest They used to ROCK! There early stuff is some good metal listenin'. British Steel is decent, but they became like Poison afterwards. Uch. Genesis Their change in style certainly helped them commercially. Artistically, however, a lot of it sounds silly nowadays. In recent memory, I see younger people more interested in 70s Genesis than 80s Genesis. Perhaps their better material will be remembered more kindly. The only band that stayed good or got better in the 80s was Rush (though most would argue with this, I know, but this is my post, so I say Moving Pictures, Signals, and Hold Your Fire were three of their best albums ). Possible factors for the crappiness of the 80s: Obsession with synthesiser technology: I guess it sounded cool then, but it sounds cheesy and dated now. Funny how electric guitars and regular drums don't sound dated now. I wonder if the electronic music of today will sound dated in 20 years. Punk / new wave: The whole "movement" of getting music back to basics, DYI, etc, took the passion away from music that may have been more involved. There's certainly nothing wrong with simple music (I like the Talking Heads and such.) But bands like Yes and Gentle Giant were probably under a lot of pressure to make pop music. Since these bands simply were not plain ol' pop bands, they failed. Running out of steam: Happens to the best of us. Maybe they just didn't have it anymore and were past their prime. What an odd decade for music.