Nirvana

Nirvana

Although they would never be entirely comfortable with the rabid attention, Nirvana became the flagship band for an entire generation. Prior to their monumental breakthrough, alternative rock wasn't taken seriously by the music industry and was typically delegated to a small corner of most record stores. With the release of the 1991 album, Nevermind, the entire landscape of rock and roll would be forever altered. Continue reading...

Hanson

Hanson

The most ubiquitous song during the summer of 1997 was the breakthrough hit “MMMBop” by the band Hanson. Yeah, we don’t know what it means either, but the sunny pop hit ruled the airwaves back then. The accomplishment is even more incredible when you consider that the performers weren’t old enough to shave. Or drive. Or have their braces off. Or ride a rollercoaster. The point is, they were really, really young. Continue reading...

Culture Club

Culture Club

With the advent of MTV, bands that focused on visual style began to dominate the pop charts. Few were as visually stylish as Culture Club. Each member of the group wore colorful, new-wave togs, but Boy George was the most attention-getting by far: His gender-bending mix of makeup, hair-dye and frilly clothing (including dresses) made him a magazine-cover fixture. He also happened to be a fine songwriter, turning Culture Club into one of the most successful hitmaking bands of the 1980's. Continue reading...

Duran Duran

Duran Duran

In the early 80's, MTV made it possible for image-conscious groups to become stars with a few well-made videos. Few bands took advantage of this the way Duran Duran did. Utilizing a string of sleek, cinematic videos that played up their teen-friendly charisma, the group rocketed to fame as one of the top attractions of early MTV. However, they could also back up their visual appeal with songs that married crafty, hook-laden pop melodies to elements of new wave and dance music. As a result, they became one of the top international pop groups of the 80's and have survived well into the new millennium. Continue reading...

Def Leppard

Def Leppard

There are few bands that exemplified the 1980's quite like Def Leppard. Their combination of pop and metal had its finger on the pulse of 80's record buyers. The high-tech sound they pursued on their albums helped define pop-music recording techniques of the 80's. They were also one of the first bands to take advantage of the possibilities of MTV by creating a string of videos that played up their good looks and youthful appeal to help sell their records. As a result, they became internationally successful and their sound and style set the tone for many future pop/metal acts. Continue reading...

New-Kids-on-the-Block

New Kids on the Block

You would be hard-pressed to find a young girl in the late 80s who didn't have a New Kids on the Block poster on her wall or in her locker. They weren't the first boy band by any means, perhaps not even the most talented, but there is no denying that this group of Boston teens took the world by storm back in the day, filling the airwaves and countless concert halls with screaming fans, and paving the way for a plethora of groups that followed in their footsteps. Continue reading...

Spice Girls

Spice Girls

Nobody could have predicted the monumental impact of the Spice Girls on the world of pop music. Their achievements are, in a word, astounding. With 55 million records sold around the world, and that’s thanks to a mere three albums, they are not only the most successful girl band of all time, they are the most successful English band to emerge since The Beatles. But, while their music represents the largest portion of their fame, they also managed a popular crossover into both films and television, all thanks to the provocative personalities of these five multi-talented women. Continue reading...

bowie_changes

Time May Change Him… David Bowie

There's a saying in Montana that if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes. The same thing could be said for David Bowie (although we at Retroland would have a hard time finding anything about David Bowie to dislike). The ever-changing image and persona that is David Bowie is also a metaphor for the aesthetic changes of pop-culture over the last half-century. One look at a particular image of Bowie and we have almost no trouble identifying what year it was. Continue reading...