18 Male Pop Stars From the '80s -- All The Details You Didn't Know! (PHOTOS)

18 Male Pop Stars From the '80s -- All The Details You Didn't Know! (PHOTOS)

Let's face it: When it comes to '80s male pop, there was Michael Jackson, then there was everybody else. But the King of Pop wasn't alone in climbing charts and selling albums.

Here are 18 gents who made '80s pop memorable and went on to become film actors, humanitarians, and great dads.


Image via © Eduardo Munoz/Reuters/Corbis

  • Boy George


    Image © Splash News/Corbis

    With his androgynous outfits, full makeup, and golden voice on hits like "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" and "Karma Chameleon," Boy George (with band Culture Club) captivated '80s music fans. Drug addiction nearly killed his career, as did a four-month jail stint for the assault and false imprisonment of a sex partner he believed had stolen pornographic pictures from his laptop. Boy George recently made a stab at a comeback with a big tour. 

  • Jack Wagner


    Image © Splash News/Corbis

    Rakish Midwestern heartthrob Jack Wagner scored a number one hit with 1985's "All I Need" and though he's recorded six albums, he's better known for his TV work as variously gallant and villainous men on soaps such as General Hospital, Melrose Place, and The Bold and the Beautiful, never visiting a music chart again.

  • Rick Springfield


    Image © Eduardo Munoz/Reuters/Corbis

    He never matched the mainstream success of "Jessie's Girl" but Rick Springfield has continued to create music and tour. He also added other things to his resume, including acting. He is a former General Hospital regular and recently played Meryl Streep's bandmate in Ricki and the Flash.

  • Huey Lewis


    Image © Phil McCarten/Reuters/Corbis

    An engineering college dropout who also once tried his hand at wedding planning, Huey Lewis and his band, The News, somehow put out one of the bestselling pop-rock albums ever, 1983's jaunty Sports. Between golfing and fly-fishing near his Montana home, he's found a niche for himself making appearances on other musicians' albums and taking small parts in films including Duets, co-starring Gwyneth Paltrow (which in 2000 earned him a late-career number one song on the adult contemporary charts, "Cruisin').

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  • Lionel Richie


    Image © Carlos Manuel Martins/Atlantico Press/Corbis

    Former Commodore Lionel Richie's solo career took off in the '80s, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time thanks to mega hits like "Truly," "Hello," and "All Night Long." Eventually the industry moved on and lost interest in his smooth, soulful style — until 2012, when he released Tuskegee. The country album (yes, country), featured duets of his hits with some of the genre's biggest stars (Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, and Willie Nelson), and became the fourth biggest-selling country album of that year.

  • Phil Collins


    Image © Bob Daemmrich/Corbis

    Once a member of the progressive rock band Genesis, Phil Collins took a more commercial route as a solo artist. The move paid off when "In The Air Tonight" was used in the Miami Vice pilot and he amassed seven number one singles. His career slowed down in the 1990s, and in 2011, he announced his retirement to focus on family. He is deeply involved in charity work.

  • Richard Marx


    Image © Robb D. Cohen./Retna Ltd./Corbis

    After harvesting a bumper crop of hits in the '80s (he's the first artist to have his first seven singles hit the Top 5 on Billboard's Hot 100), the singer of "Hold on to The Night" and "Right Here Waiting" went on to achieve a rare kind of success as a songwriter: He has had a song he wrote or co-wrote hit number one in each of four decades (Keith Urban's "Long Hot Summer" is a recent one). Not too shabby.

  • Kenny Loggins


    Image © RD / Orchon /Retna Ltd./Corbis

    When '80s movie producers wanted a hit soundtrack, they called Kenny Loggins, nicknamed the "King of the Movie Soundtrack." Among his best known songs are two synonymous with the movies they appeared in, "Footloose" (Footloose), and "Danger Zone" (Top Gun)He continues to tour.

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  • El DeBarge


    Image © Kevork Djansezian/Reuters/Corbis

    As the lead singer of the family music group DeBarge, El DeBarge's signature song was "Rhythm of the Night." A solo career yielded more hits but was derailed partly because of the singer and songwriter's history of drug abuse. A 2010 album — his first in 16 years — was nominated for a Grammy but a stint in rehab stopped DeBarge's momentum indefinitely.

  • Weird Al Jankovic


    Image © Paul Buck/epa/Corbis

    His career has outlasted many a one-hit-wonder, which is ironic, because Weird Al Jankovic makes a living parodying others' songs. Among his greatest hits: "Eat It" a parody of ("Beat It"); and "I Love Rocky Road" ("I Love Rock and Roll"). His latest targets include Robin Thicke. His constant output has earned him four Grammys and made him one of only three artists to have a Top 40 single in every decade since the '80s. The other two artists? Madonna and Michael Jackson. 

  • Bryan Adams


    Image © Jorge Amaral/Atlantico Press/Corbis

    The raspy-voiced Canadian singer's biggest mainstream success was concentrated in the '80s, when hits like "Heaven" and "Summer of '69"  made him a pop-rock favorite. But Bryan Adams has also been a go-to movie soundtrack guy with songs in more than 10 flicks, from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves to The Guardian. Adams has steadily recorded music but he is equally known for his humanitarian work, especially on behalf of education.

  • Fab Morvan of Milli Vanilli


    Image © JC/Splash News

    Give Fab Morvan props for even trying to have a career after Milli Vanilli. Morvan and Rob Pilatus rose to fame with impossibly catchy singles like "Blame It On The Rain" and "Girl You Know It's True." That is, until it was revealed that the pair didn't sing the vocals. After a comeback attempt bombed, Pilatus descended into a life of crime and drugs and died of an overdose. Morvan went on to work as a session musician and put out an album with one of the men who actually sang Milli Vanilli's vocals.

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  • Prince


    Image © Rob Kim/Retna Ltd./Corbis

    He is the only male artist whose name can be mentioned alongside Michael Jackson's as dominating the '80s, with top singles and albums, a hit movie, Purple Rain, and general creative badassness. He's never stopped creating and reinventing — remember when he switched his name to a symbol and left his label to put out his own music? He's never lost his coolness: Ever appreciative of women, the Minnesota native recently threw a three-hour concert for WNBA champs, the Minnesota Lynx.  

  • Corey Hart


    Image via YouTube

    After scoring two big international hits with "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night" and "Never Surrender," the singer settled for more moderate success in his homeland, Canada. He had four good reasons; his kids. This is why you've basically never heard from him again. He also paints, occasionally selling pieces for charity on his website, coreyhart.com.  

  • Billy Ocean


    Image © Matt Thorpe/Splash News/Corbis

    Like many other artists who found a chart-climbing sweet spot in the '80s, soul-pop master Billy Ocean ("Caribbean Queen," "Suddenly," "Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car"), faded away in the '90s. But he continues to create music, record, and tour.  

  • Robert Palmer


    Image © Kim Kulish/Corbis

    Long before "suit up!" became a pop culture phrase, Robert Palmer made rocking a two-piece and tie sexy. Just watch his iconic videos for "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible," complete with guitar-wielding models and a driving hook. He died in 2003 of cardiac arrest without having matched his early success.

    More from The Stir: 16 Singers Whose Solo Careers Crashed After Leaving the Group (PHOTOS)

  • Robert Smith of the Cure


    Image © Robb D. Cohen./Retna Ltd./Corbis

    Red lipstick and Edward Scissorhands hair may or may not age well, but Robert Smith, lead singer of the Cure, can still belt out a tune. In the '80s, he was the go-to brooder with a talent for catchy, poppy New Wave hits, including "Just Like Heaven," "Lovesong," and "Friday I'm In Love." His influence is vast: Everyone from Tim Burton to Neil Gaiman have taken inspiration from his look and lyrics.

  • Rick Astley


    Image © Juanjo Martin/epa/Corbis

    The British singer sold 40 million albums on the strength of his sole number one hit in the U.S. — 1987's "Never Gonna Give You Up" — which took the top spot in 25 countries. Nevertheless, he retired from music in 1993 to raise his daughter, later releasing a few compilation and cover albums. His career was ultimately revived by the infamous "rickrolling" meme, in which a person posts a link that they claim leads to a legitimate news article or video but actually links to Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video.


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