Andre Gardner

The 2024 MGK Top 20: Classic Rock’s Greatest Artists Of The 80s is in the history books.

MAN was that a fun month of artists to spotlight! Thanks so much to everyone who voted! After we tabulated the results, it was Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen who reigns supreme at #1. Billy Joel takes the silver at #2, with Van Halen finishing at #3. You can see the whole top 20, as you voted them, right here. It’s a pretty cool list, I must say. Our MGK listening family never disappoints. You always throw in a few twists, turns, and surprises every time we ask you to vote. Whether it’s this yearly top 20, or our Philly 500, we love seeing what you think! Having said that, I can think of 9 bands that I’m shocked didn’t make the MGK top 20.

I realize with top 20 lists there have to be some bands and artist that don’t make it. Still, some of these omissions are downright head-scratching to me. There are even a few that DID make the cut that I admit being surprised at their inclusion. The Eagles, for one, basically broke up in 1980 and didn’t do anything until their “Hell Freezes Over” tour in 1993. Our MGK voting listeners still made them #4! I guess that proves we don’t fudge the results!!

Now, if I Had my way, I’d include bands like XTC, Dire Straits, Tears For Fears, and maybe Deep Purple on their Perfect Strangers album alone! Being as objective as I can, and putting personal opinion aside, here are 9 bands that I’m shocked didn’t make the MGK top 20. See if you agree or disagree. I’d love to know your list of omissions.

  • Bryan Adams

    Bryan Adams onstage.

    Bryan Adams performs onstage during ‘A Concert For Killing Cancer’ at Hammersmith Apollo on January 13, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

    Bryan Adams was one of the first I thought of with this list, and I couldn’t believe he didn’t make the cut. Two of his albums are iconic 80s releases, Cuts Like A Knife and Reckless. In fact, Reckless has sold 5 million copies and produced 7 top 15 singles!

  • Metallica

    Metallica performs onstage.

    Musicians Robert Trujillo, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett, of Metallica, perform at The Silverlake Conservatory of Music Benefit at the Wiltern Theater on May 14, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

    Sure, their self titled “black” album was THE one for them. It came out in 1991 and solidified Metallica in music history. That said, you can’t deny the influence and true excellence of their first four albums, all 80s metal masterpieces. I’d be willing to bet when we do an MGK Top 20 of 90s artist, they’ll be right up there.

  • The Clash

    Early photo of The Clash.
    I was SO bummed when I saw these guys didn’t make it. To me, The Clash were the band to bring punk rock toe th mainstream. Maybe that ticked off their devoted early fans, but it brought the music to a whole new audience, and the triad of London Calling, Sandanista Now! and Combat Rock are three of my favorite albums of that whole decade.

  • The Police

    The Police at the Grammys

    Musicians Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers of The Police take a bow after performing “Roxanne” onstage opening the 49th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on February 11, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

    These guys would have absolutely been in my top 20, maybe top 3. Their time together was brief, but the music they left behind was stellar. Each and every song had something different and exciting to offer. The fact they’re not in this years top 20 made me boo a little bit.

  • ZZ Top

    ZZ Top answer questions at a press conference.

    Musicians Dusty Hill, Frank Beard, and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top talk to the media before performing at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 8, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

    Are you kidding me? These dudes from Texas were the darlings of MTV for a full year, thanks to the videos from their Eliminator album. Never for a second did I think they wouldn’t be on this year’s MGK Top 20, but they are!

  • REO Speedwagon

    REO Speedwagon

    Members of REO Speedwagon Kevin Cronin, Bryan Hitt, Neal Doughty, Dave Amato, and Bruce Hall attend the T.J. Martell 40th Anniversary NY Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on October 15, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for T.J. Martell)

    When their Hi Infidelity album came out, it began a long, slow climb to the top of the charts, and stayed there! It ended up being the best selling album of 1981, and gave the band four top 20 singles! They followed that up with another big album three years later called Keep The Fire Burnin’, which gave them another #1 single. Yet, they are NOT in the MGK Top 20 for 2024.

  • Heart

    Nancy And Ann Wilson of Heart

    Musicians Nancy Wilson (L) and Ann Wilson of the rock band Heart pose at MusiCares’ “An Evening with Heart” at The Grammy Museum on May 24, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

    Heart definitely had a legitimate shot getting into our MGK Top 20. After initial success in the 70s, they experienced a rejuvenation of sorts, and saw their biggest chart success in the 80s. I’ll never forget seeing them in ’83 at the Spectrum – what a show! I was sorry they weren’t in our Top 20 this time out.

  • Elton John

    Sir Elton John poses

    Honoree Elton John attends the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, which was broadcast live on FOX on May 27, 2021. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

    To me, Elton John was a bit of a long shot for the top 20. His biggest success was definitely in the 70s, but his 80s output was still mighty impressive. I’d give it to him on “I’m Still Standing” alone! Our listeners, on the other hand, felt otherwise.

  • Phil Collins

    Phil Collins

    Phil Collins attends Tarzan Musical 3rd anniversary at Theatre “Neue Flora” on October 22, 2011 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Christian Augustin/Getty Images)

    The shocker of all shockers. For one thing, Genesis DID make the top 20, coming in at 10. I was certain Phil would do even better than his band when it came to the 80s. His albums were huge, he was playing on everything during that decade, and he played BOTH Live Aid concerts! You couldn’t listen to the radio for more than 30 minutes in the 80s without hearing SOME kind of Phil-influenced song. Of course, this is why I love our top 20 and Philly 500 lists – they’re ALWAYS unpredictable!

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