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12 British Female Singers Who Defined The 1980's

#1 Kim Wilde

Kim Wilde was born in Middlesex, England, in 1960 and became one of the 80's most successful female pop artists, first hitting the charts in 1981 with her debut single "Kids in America" which reached number 2 in the UK. She then went on to have many more hits throughout the 80's and 90's with 25 singles reaching the UK top 50 with hits such as "Chequered Love" (1981) "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (1986) and "You Came" (1988) bringing her great success and earning her a Brit Award for Best British solo artist in 1983. Kim holds the record for being the most-charted British female solo act of the 1980s, with seventeen UK Top 40 hit singles under her belt. She eventually took up an alternative career in gardening, presenting gardening shows for Channel 4 and the BBC, and in 2005 went on to win a prestigious Gold award at the Chelsea Flower Show for her courtyard garden. Kim still sings and performs, and in 2018 released her 14th studio album "Here Come the Aliens" which peaked at number 21 in the UK charts.

Kim Wilde has sold over 10 million albums, and over 20 million singles worldwide.

#2 Alison Moyet

Born in 1961 in Essex, England, the wonderful contralto voice of Alison Moyet was first heard as part of the successful early 80's duo "Yazoo" which she formed alongside Vince Clarke of Depeche Mode and later Erasure fame, before she went on to have a successful solo career of her own throughout the 80's and which continues today.  Moyet's first studio album was called "Alf" and was released in 1984, reaching number 1 in the UK. It contained the singles "Love Resurrection", "All Cried Out", "Invisible" and "For You Only". Her biggest hit however, was "That Ole Devil Called Love" which was a non-album single released in 1985, and reaching number 2 in the UK charts.

Alison Moyet has sold over 23 million albums and over 2 million singles worldwide.

#3 Sheena Easton

Born in 1959 in Lanarkshire, Scotland, Sheena Easton rose to fame in the early 80's with hits such as "Modern Girl" (1980) and "9 to 5" (1980) which both appeared in the same Top Ten making Easton the first female artist to do this since Ruby Murray in the 1950's. Easton also had great success in the US where "9 to 5" (retitled "Morning Train (9 to 5)" for the US market) topped the US Hot 100, making Easton the third British female solo artist to achieve this.

Easton won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1982, and in 1985 she won Best Mexican-American Performance for her duet with Luis Miguel on the song "Me Gustas Tal Como Eres".

Other big hits for Easton through the 80's included the Bond theme "For Your Eyes Only" (1981) and "U Got The Look" (1987) with Prince, and "The Lover In Me" (1988).

Sheena Easton has sold over 20 million records and albums worldwide.

#4 Kate Bush

Born in 1958 in Bexleyheath, Kent, England, the incredibly talented Kate Bush began writing her own songs at the age of 11, and in 1978 became the first British woman to reach number one in the UK with a self-written song - "Wuthering Heights" which topped the UK charts for four weeks. Bush wrote the song at the age of 18 after watching the 1967 BBC adaption of the 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, after which she also read the book.

After her initial 1970's success, Kate Bush went on to have a string of hits throughout the 80's, including  "Babooshka" (1980), "Running Up That Hill" (1985),  and "Don't Give Up" (1986) with Peter Gabriel.

#5 Hazel O’Connor

Born in 1955 in Coventry, England, Hazel O'Connor became famous during the early 80's with hit singles "Eighth Day", "D-Days", and "Will You?". She also starred in the 1980 film Breaking Glass, which she wrote all the songs for after being chosen for the lead role ahead of Toyah Wilcox whom she is friends with.

#6 Toyah Wilcox

Born in 1958 in Kings Heath, Birmingham, England, Toyah Wilcox featured frequently throughout the 1980's with several hit songs and a successful acting and TV career, making her one of the most famous and most recognisable British female artists of the 1980's.

#7 Kirsty MacColl

Kirsty MacColl (1959 - 2000) was born in Croydon, Surrey, and had several pop hits throughout her career including the 1981 hit "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis" and "A New England" (1985). 

Kirsty also sang with Shane MacGowan in the hit record "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues which was released in 1987 and in the UK has gone on to be the most-played Christmas song of the 21st century, spending more time in the top 20 than any other song.

Sadly, Kirsty MacColl was killed whilst on a holiday in Mexico in 2000. She had been diving with her sons when a powerboat entered the area illegally, striking MacColl after she managed to push her son out of its path, killing her instantly.

In 2001 a memorial bench was placed by the southern entrance to Soho Square, after a lyric from her song "Soho Square" - "One day I'll be waiting there / No empty bench in Soho Square". Every year on the Sunday nearest her 10th of October birthday, fans from all over the world gather at the bench to sing her songs and pay tribute to her.

#8 Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie Tyler was born in Wales in 1951 and during the 1970's/1980's released two of the best selling singles of all time, both of which sold over 6 million copies each - "It's a Heartache" ( 1977) and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (1983). Another huge hit for Tyler during the 80's was "Holding Out for a Hero" (1984) which reached number 2 in the UK and number 1 in Ireland.

Bonnie Tyler still records and performs today, and in March 2020 announced her eighteenth studio album titled "The Best Is Yet To Come" which is due to be released in February 2021 after its initial released date was pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

#9 Annie Lennox

Born in 1954, Aberdeen, Scotland, Annie Lennox was a huge star through the 80's as part of the Eurythmics, who she formed  with Dave Stewart, after they had both found success in the late 70's with the band 'The Tourists' which disbanded in 1980.

With her androgynous looks and wonderful contralto voice, Lennox gave us timeless hits such as "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" (1983), "Here Comes The Rain Again" (1984) and the 1985 hit "There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)".

Lennox was named "Best British Female Artist" a record six times, collected four Grammy Awards, an MTV Video Music Award, a Billboard Century Award, and in 2004 she recieved a Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Into the West" which was written for the soundtrack to the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Rolling Stone named Lennox as one of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and she was rated number 22 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music.

In 2011 Lennox was appointed an OBE by the Queen for her charity campaigns and for championing humanitarian causes.

#10 Samantha Fox

Samantha Fox was born in London in 1966 and went on to become a page 3 model and the most popular pin-up girl of her era.

In 1986 Sam launched a pop music career and her first single "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" peaked at number 1 in 17 countries around the world. In 1988 Fox received a Brit Award nomination for Best British Female Artist, which eventually went to Alison Moyet.

Other hits by Sam during the 1980's were  "Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me)" (1986),  "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now" (1987), and "Naughty Girls" (1988).

#11 Sade

Born in Nigeria, but living in England since the age of 4, Sade formed the band 'Sade' in 1983 and went on to release the album 'Diamond Life' - one of the best-selling albums of the 1980's featuring the hits "Your Love Is King" and "Smooth Operator". The album sold over 1.2 million copies in the UK and won Brit Award for Best British Album in 1985.

Sade has been credited as one of the most successful British female artists in history, and her services to music were recognised with an award of the OBE in 2002 and a CBE in 2017.

#12 Lisa Stansfield

Born in Manchester in 1966, Lisa Stansfield came to the fore with the Coldcut hit single "People Hold On" in 1989 before releasing her first solo album 'Affection' later in 1989 which featured the hit "All Around the World" which peaked at number 1 in many countries, including in the UK.

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