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Set your calculator watches for 1980 and join us on a trip deep into the BBC's picture archives - the realms of Top of the Pops, Saturday Superstore and many a striking photoshoot.

This was the era of voguish shoulderpads, voluminous hairstyles and smouldering stares, all heralding a daring new streak of ostentation. For the fans, it was a gift of dress-up glamour that brought escape from the humdrum. Embracing the rapid rise of a new electronic era, it played with the concept of the high gloss, semi-synthetic human.

Those who rode the crest of the New Wave, glittered in the discotheques or found love with the New Romantics - we salute you.

Kelly Marie

Spandex - check. Lipgloss - check. Here's Scottish singer Kelly Marie, who scored a No.1 hit in 1980 with disco track Feels Like I'm In Love. Hear it on Sara Cox's Sounds of the 80s playlist.

Toto Coelo

Kaleidoscopic quintet Toto Coelo savaged the charts in 1982 with I Eat Cannibals, a love-hungry number (sample lyric: "Intake, home bake, you're the icing on the cake / Full up, can't stop, dicing on a chop chop") that would sadly prove to be their only hit.

Central Line

This distinctive disco-funk combo went by the name Central Line, and that magnificent instrument by the name "the serpent" - a distant relative of the tuba. Hear them on Craig Charles' The Funk & Soul Years - 1981.


After depleting global stocks of hairspray, Leighton Buzzard boys Kajagoogoo strike a pose in the Top of the Pops studio, 1983. Too Shy, the band's biggest hit, features on our TOTP: The Story of 1983 playlist.

Break Machine

The sweatband - perhaps the definitive item of 80s headwear. Here it's sported in style by US rap trio Break Machine, pictured backstage on Top of the Pops, 1984. Hear them on Sara Cox's Sound of the 80s playlist.

Dolly Dots

Although never big in the UK, Dutch girl group Dolly Dots enjoyed such success across Europe that they even had a TV series and film (Dutch Treat) to their name. Fact fans: Anita Heilker (front middle) is the voice of the Dutch Donald Duck.


They said It Ain't What You Do (It's The Way That You Do It), and Bananarama have been doing it since 1979, albeit with a couple of line-up shuffles. Here they're pictured in 1985 on the Kenny Everett Television Show, shortly before Venus went No.1 worldwide. Find out more about their recent reunion.


Acid house outfit S'Express perform Mantra for a State of Mind on Top of the Pops in 1989. Can you guess why they appear in our 10 strange quirks in pop songs you won't be able to unhear?


Just look at those cheekbones. Post-punk quartet Bauhaus, pictured here in 1983, can be heard on Stuart Maconie's magnificent Freaky Tracks To Hear Before You Die playlist.

Spandau Ballet

The meticulously-coiffured Spandau Ballet - perhaps the definitive New Romantic band - gather backstage before a Top of the Pops performance in 1982. A year later, their album True would make them global stars.


Peckham heartthrobs Bros belt out I Owe You Nothing on Top of the Pops, 1988. Hear Matt Goss talk about the band's heyday, and his memories of performing at Wembley Stadium.

Black Lace

Agadoo, Do The Congo, Hokey Cokey... who knows how much dancefloor carnage has been soundtracked by Black Lace over the years. Recreate the experience at home with our Pop's Greatest Dance Crazes playlist.

The Hollies

It was in the 80s that the smart-casual combo of blazer and blue jeans really hit its stride, showcased here by The Hollies performing amid a sea of dry ice on Top of the Pops, 1988.

The Weather Girls

It's Raining Men was a globally successful (though meteorologically implausible) hit for California's The Weather Girls, later covered by Geri Halliwell for the soundtrack to 2001's Bridget Jones's Diary.


Still riding high on the crest of Take On Me and The Sun Always Shines On T.V., Norway's finest export a-ha perform Train of Thought on Top of the Pops, 1986. Hear them on EastEnders: The Queen Vic Jukebox playlist.

Tight Fit

The Lion Sleeps Tonight ("Awimbawe") by Tight Fit lodged itself at the top of the UK Charts for three weeks running in 1982, denying Toni Basil's Hey Mickey the No.1 spot.


Has there ever been a more dapper duo? Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart - the Eurythmics - pictured in 1983, the year they released Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).

Alyson Williams

Now those are some shoulder pads. New York's Alyson Williams performs her hit I Need Your Lovin' on Top of the Pops in 1989. Hear her on our Sound of 1989 playlist.


Madonna - flanked by dancers Erikah Belle and brother Christopher Ciccone - after performing Holiday on Top of the Pops in 1984, her first charting single in the UK.

Big Country

It's good to be coordinated, as these dashing space cowboys prove; Scottish rockers Big Country, pictured in 1983. For a full decade, the band enjoyed numerous Top 40 hits in the UK.

Musical Youth

Musical Youth landed a global smash with Pass the Dutchie in 1982, the first record by a black artist or group to be playlisted by America's MTV, shortly before Jacko's Billie Jean. See them in our Black and British: iconic images gallery.

Lisa Stansfield

Lisa Stansfield with electronic duo Coldcut performing People Hold On for Top of the Pops, 1989. Hear Lisa Stansfield in conversation with 6 Music's Craig Charles.

Def Leppard

Lustrous locks and tight-fitting jeans ahoy as Def Leppard belt out their chant-along anthem Rocket on Top of the Pops, 1989.

Level 42

Level 42 pictured in 1983. The Isle of Wight band popped into the UK Top 40 throughout the 80s, peaking at No.3 with 1986's Lessons in Love. Hear Level 42 live in session for Michael Ball on Radio 2.


First came The Go-Jos, then Pan's People, Ruby Flipper, Legs & Co. and finally Zoo, the last of the TOTP dance troupes to perform routines along to the hits. As the music video rose in popularity, we sadly waved goodbye to these high energy combos.

Depeche Mode

It's 1981 and Basildon synth-lords Depeche Mode are just a year down the road, yet to embrace the darker side of pop as they perform their upbeat hit New Life on Top of the Pops. Hear Martin Gore & Andy Fletcher chat with Matt Everitt.

Kim Wilde

Kids In America singer Kim Wilde pictured on Top of the Pops in the year of her debut, 1981. Kim recently chatted with Sara Cox about her memories of the period.

Bucks Fizz

Winners of the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest, Bucks Fizz have had a remarkable 16 members since their formation. Pictured here in 1983 is the original quartet.

Tears For Fears

Tears For Fears flash their best 'blue steel' gaze for the BBC's Top of the Pops snapper in 1982. Ice cold. Hear them on our playlist for BBC Two series The 80s with Dominic Sandbrook.

Culture Club

Everyone knows Culture Club frontman Boy George, but don't forget his club compadres Jon (left), Roy (top) and Mikey (right). Here they are in 1983, when they performed the single Victims on Top of the Pops.

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees enchants the audience with a performance of Spellbound, in 1981.

Grace Jones

The always-striking Grace Jones performs Private Life - a cover of The Pretenders - on Top of the Pops in 1980. Her biggest hit, Slave to the Rhythm, as well as a role in a Bond film, were still to come in 1985.

Duran Duran

Wild boys! Duran Duran at their absolute Mad Max-imum in 1984, snapped for posterity before a Top of the Pops appearance. Hear them on our People's History of Pop 1986-1996 playlist.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Form an orderly queue, chaps. Just days after Frankie Goes to Hollywood posed for this 1984 shot and performed Relax on Top of the Pops, the track was famously banned from the BBC airwaves.

Classix Nouveaux

English New Wave outfit Classix Nouveaux were only around briefly (1979-1985), but still managed to pack three full-length albums into the first half of the 1980s.


Dry ice, popstars in suits, colourful geometric shapes... it can only be the 80s. And this can only be New Wave champions Ultravox. Ohhhhh Vienna.


Wham! have a boogie on morning kids' TV show Saturday Superstore, 1982. The programme aired until 1987, playing host to the likes of Eurythmics, Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode and Dexys Midnight Runners. Remembering George Michael: a collection.

Robert Palmer

Leather jacket and tie - it's a hard combo to pull off... unless you're Robert Palmer, here rocking the look on Top of the Pops for a 1980 performance of Looking for Clues.

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate perform on Top of the Pops, 1980, against the backdrop of a fabulously geometric set. The combo scored many a Top 10 hit, including You Sexy Thing and So You Win Again.

London Boys

The late and much-loved London Boys, whose album The Twelve Commandments Of Dance spawned the hit singles Requiem and London Nights in the late 80s.

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