183 artists, 3652 songs
Michael Jackson became the biggest pop sensation of the 1980s, selling more than 26 million copies of his 1982 album Thriller. Stars like Prince, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Madonna vied for second place by releasing singles and albums laden with synth-driven hooks and delirious dance beats, while singers like Billy Joel and Steve Winwood concentrated primarily on adult contemporary audiences. Artists like Peter Gabriel and Sting represented a more mature and artistic style of pop, while Cyndi Lauper and Wham! made kitschy dance-pop aimed at teens. All of these performers benefited from exposure on MTV where they displayed their star power on increasingly expensive video productions.