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Soul to Soul: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1985

Soul to Soul: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1985

Nineteen hundred and eighty-five was an endlessly intriguing year for music.

Hair/glam metal was on the cusp of world domination, with Mötley Crüe exploring the sounds that would make them, and the genre they stood on top of, the biggest in the world in a few years time.

As for speed and thrash metal, three of the genre's "Big Four" (Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax), released new albums. Though these groups also hadn't fully formed their sonic identity yet, there was definitely a sense that these groups were also gaining quite a bit of momentum.

And let's not forgot the releases from a trio of now-departed blues legends—B.B. King, Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan. BTW, the "star" moment for Vaughan's brother's band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, was still a year away.

Rock's underground was an extraordinarily diverse and exciting place.

The Smiths took over the U.K. with their melancholy, angst-driven jangle-pop. The Meat Puppets fused hardcore punk with healthy doses of laid-back, outlaw country. Sonic Youth turned guitar rock on its head with dark songs that embraced noise, unusual song structures and bizarre guitar tunings. The Replacements embraced the muscle and innocent romanticism of classic rock, while churning out their own thrilling, punk-indebted tales of youth.

Singer/songwriters of all kinds dotted the musical landscape. Tom Petty released a strange but endearing LP that was half Eurythmics-style pop and half a gritty homage to his Southern roots. The gravelly voice of Tom Waits sang of the downtrodden and the out-of-luck. Nick Cave led the Bad Seeds through a gothic tour of American musical history, providing a darker, more primitive spin on the blues.

Nineteen hundred and eighty-five was one of music's stranger years, but it had plenty worth remembering. Enjoy the photo gallery below. Remember you can click on each photo to take a closer look!

NOTE: This list is presented purely in alphabetical order, not an order of worst to best or best to worst. So there's no order of preference. And there might actually be 51 albums on this list; we're not great at math. Enjoy!

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