New Sensations: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1984

Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Four represented an interesting crossroads in music.

Classic rock giants of the Sixties and Seventies had strayed far from their roots. Speed and thrash metal were on the rise, waiting in the background to storm the parapet.

In the underground, there was a fascinating musical stew brewing. Black Flag had turned their back on the ultra-influential, hyper-speed hardcore that had made them famous and turned to sludge metal. Husker Du were writing pop songs buried in layers of noise. Minutemen were a politically conscious funk-punk band with songs that frequently skirted under two minutes.

Prince broke boundaries and records with Purple Rain, an album that merged funk, R&B, soul, disco and rock into one irresistible combination. Bruce Springsteen turned to synthesizers and simplified messages for his own blockbuster album, Born In the USA, a record that sawed off the more difficult-to-grasp edges of his previous masterpieces.

Pink Floyd had essentially fallen apart (so David Gilmour and Roger Waters released solo albums), the Rolling Stones were at a creative low point, while Led Zeppelin and the Who had called it quits earlier in the decade. Their struggles left a gaping chasm at the center of rock, and bands of all kinds from a myriad of increasingly splintered sub-genres raced to fill it in.

Meanwhile, Stevie Ray Vaughan released his second album, and Johnny Winter was burning up the fretboard over at Alligator Records.

Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Four didn’t bring the sort of apocalyptic world promised by George Orwell, but it did bring a year of absolutely fascinating music! Enjoy the photo gallery below. Remember you can click on each photo to take a closer look.

NOTE: As we say every year, this list is presented in no particular order. Once again, it is presented in no particular order. None.

Enjoy! (P.S.: There might actually be 51 albums in the gallery. Hope you don't mind!)

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