With New Wave now dominating the mainstream in 1983, new bands arose, taking the driver’s seat from the class of 1979. A lot of these bands were too esoteric for the majors or still hewed to punk idealism, so a new breed of independent record labels arose to serve their audiences.
College radio stations became the go-to outlet for these bands, which naturally thrived in towns with a lot of schools.
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Mind-blowing, I know.
1983 was a huge year for Heavy Metal, and not only because of Quiet Riot’s soundalike cover of Slade’s 'Cum On Feel the Noize' sending the Metal Health LP to the top of the charts, the first metal band to ever do so.
1983 was one of those pivotal years when a new generation of kids took over and embraced a new generation of music. It was the first year that GenXers graduated high school and with the rise of MTV and few had time for the hoary, hairy heroes of yesteryear.
So while a host of acts found themselves on the wrong side of the generational divide, a number of the smarter dogs were able to learn some new tricks and stay atop the charts. It was all very exciting, since you had the New Wave pulling in influences from both disco and rock -- bitter rivals in the early 80s-- and creating this incredibly huge middle ground where all sorts of influences could meet and exchange musical body fluids.
You can’t talk about 1983 without talking about Eurythmics, who bookended the year with two big hit LPs Sweet Dreams and Touch. Their sound wasn’t anything new for the genre but was certainly a bracing shock to be hearing on Top 40 radio at the time.