The Cultural Revolution in the sixties birthed a wave of bands that influenced musicians for decades to come. Today however, there seems to be a lot of subtle nods to the sound of the 80s and 90s in music recently released by artists the world over. Whether it’s Tame Impala’s The Less I Know the Better or Kavinsky’s Nightcall, the influences are obvious. These songs as well as many others pack quite the nostalgic kick with their hard and sometimes unchanging snare strikes and clever synthesizers use.

If you’re an aspiring musician, play music or are even just an enthusiast that maybe missed the 80s and 90s, there might be music out there that never reached you! We’ve put together a list of 10 inspirational musicians from these ages that any young musician or music enthusiast absolutely must hear!

Elton John

Extremely popular in the 80s and 90s, this British pop sensation is known for his beautiful piano tunes backed by a melodious voice full of emotion. Songs like Rocket Man, Sacrifice and I Guess that’s why they call it the Blues are just a few of his golden must listen-tos! Cherry on top; he did the sound track for Disney’s Lion King!

Marvin Lee Aday (Meatloaf)

If his appearance in the 1975 musical The Rocky Horror Show isn’t good enough, how about the fact that his album Bat out of Hell was insanely popular for almost a decade! It still sells and for good reason. This man’s sound is a combination of pure unadulterated rock and roll, heart wrenching and poignant lyrics backed by a voice that hits notes like an opera singer.

Natalie Merchant

This very under rated singer from the 1990s left her band to go solo and did well for it! Her calming and soft vocals and versatile musical sound makes her a must hear. Motherland, Wonder and San Andrea’s Fault are a few great numbers to get you started!


This poet rapper from the streets of L.A. is arguably one of the most influential names in the rap world to ever live. His lyrics echo the socio-political climate of the time and his harsh words are only matched by his equally powerful voice. That being said, songs like Life Goes On could also make you tear up in seconds!

Biggie Smalls

Another extremely influential name in the 90s rap scene, this artists sound is something many today attempt to mimic hence the phrase; he ain’t no biggie! Biggies music though strong in content is also the sort you can really move to!


Madonna was huge. Even today, despite facing some pretty strange allegations including involvement with a satanic cult (not proven), continues to sell albums the world over. Her music has been sampled by other musicians and artists and tracking her musical evolution is a good way to review how pop changed over the ages!

Red Hot Chilli Peppers

We love our RHCP don’t we? But how many of us can brag about hearing Mommy Where’s Daddy and Police Helicopter from their 1984 album? On the note of versatility and evolution, like Madonna, RHCPs progress is worth following!


I think the name here speaks for its self. This unapologetic American pop singer moved hearts with his high pitched notes and musically genius compositions. One could say he ran the 80s. His musical magnificence matched only by his flamboyant attire!

Sinead O’ Connor

This woman in her day was sheer brilliance. With one of the most beautiful voices of the time, O’Connor is known best for her heartbreaking number; Nothing Compares to You.


Destiny’s child a few before and most to follow were fortunate to have predecessors like TLC. These hybrid musicians whose sound is a mix of R&B, soul and hip-hop were the original girl power trio! Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls is a track that could still stand out!


The pity here is that for every brilliant inspirational musician mentions, there are five more we couldn’t! That being said, we’ll keep putting up more interesting and informative stuff for you to read! In the mean time, if you’re already making music and are looking for Music Notation Software, it’s just a click away!

Music Jotter is an easy to use music notation program that allows you to create, analyze, sample and play back music via realistic playback or semi-real time recording.