The 1980s had its share of British female singers and bad fashion! Acid wash jeans, thick patent leather belts, big hair, and for men, footballer perms with a suspicious aubergine tinge was all the rage. The clothing and hairstyles may have been questionable, but the music was not.
The sound of the 80s was a mix of post-punk, pop, and electronica, with an overall sound that was a little more upbeat than the previous decade. This was music to dance all night and go clubbing to.
Several English female singers from the 80s burst onto the music scene during this decade. Many are still surviving and performing today. Here are some of the best British female 80s singers of the decade.
Sheena Easton – British female singer that achieved transatlantic success
Sheena Easton hails from Scotland and during the 80s saw success with a string of pop hits. Modern Girl and 9 to 5 both made the top 10 singles charts.
Sheena was the first British female singer of the 80s to have 2 songs in the top 10 simultaneously. She also achieved good success in the USA and won 2 Grammy awards.
Kate Bush – one of the most unconventional British female singers
Known for her Avante Garde style, and unconventional music, Kate Bush is perhaps one of the most unique 80s British female singers in musical history.
She first hit the scene with the hit Wuthering Heights in the late 70s. She was the first of the 80s British female singers that achieved a hit with a self-written song.
The 80s saw several hits for Kate, solidifying her place as one of the most popular female artists of the decade. In 1987 she won an award for Best British Female Artist.
Samantha Fox – ex-model turned pop artist
The famous topless Page 3 model turned singer Samatha Fox surprised many people when she made the transition from glamour model to pop star. Her debut hit ‘Touch Me’ landed on the charts in 1986 and climbed to the number 1 spot in no less than 17 countries.
Samantha was awarded the title of Best British Female Artists in 1988 by the Brit awards. In 2003 Samantha, the topless model that had attracted thousands of men, shocked the nation by announcing she was in a relationship with her female manager Myra Stratton.
Kim Wilde – one of the best British female singers of the 80s
One of the best British singers of the 1980s was Kim Wilde. She saw a string of hits starting with ‘Kids in America’ in 1981. In 1983 Kim received a Brit Award for being the Best British Female Solo Artist and saw her second hit in 1986 with ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’.
A cover of an old Supremes classic. Worldwide she has sold over 20 million records and 10 million albums making her without a doubt, one of the best British female singers of all time.
Elkie Brooks – still records and performs today
Probably best known for the song ‘Pearl’s a Singer’ that charted in the late 70s, Elkie Brooks also had some success in the 1980s. Her song ‘No More the Fool’ peaked at number 5 on the UK charts and along with the album of the same name, became her biggest commercial success.
Elkie is one of the most enduring British female singers and still records and holds live performances today. She also writes theme songs for television shows and movies.
Bonnie Tyler – British female singer and Grammy winner
This popular singer from Wales is known for her recognizable raspy voice. After beginning a musical partnership with America Jim Steinman as her producer, she saw her biggest hit with ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ in 1983.
The record reached number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. Bonnie was the recipient of 2 Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
Kirsty McColl – British singer known for Fairytale of New York
Kirsty McColl was possibly one of the best-loved British female singers of the 80s who tragically died in a boating accident in 2000. Her string of hits included ‘There’s a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop, Swears He’s Elvis’, ‘A New England’, and perhaps the best remembered Christmas collaboration with the Pogues, ‘Fairytale of New York’.
The latter has become a regularly played seasonal favorite. Kirsty, along with her own success, regularly performed backing vocals for other famous bands like The Smiths, Simple Minds, and Talking Heads.
Hazel O’Connor – BAFTA award winner and British singer
Singer, songwriter, and actress Hazel O’Connor had several hits through the eighties and has appeared in several films and television productions, even winning a nomination for a BAFTA award.
This popular female singer from England released a number of tracks during the decade and saw the biggest success with songs ‘Eighth Day’, ‘Will You’ and ‘D-Days’.
Toyah Wilcox – one of the edgiest post-punk British female singers
Anyone that was around in the 80s will remember Toyah as one of the edgiest female British singers of the decade. Releasing hits that included ‘I Want to be Free’, ‘Thunder in the Mountains’ and ‘It’s a Mystery’ she won several nominations for various music industry awards.
Toyah is a British female singer, songwriter, producer, actor, and author and her career has spanned 40 years making her one of the longest performing, if not one of the best British female singers of all time.
Alison Moyet – one of the most popular British female singers
Initially shooting to fame as one half of the popular duo Yazoo (Yaz in the USA), Alison Moyet embarked on her solo career and released her first solo album in 1984, entitled ‘Alf’, an old nickname of Alison’s.
Alison is one of the most highly regarded female singers of the 80s, and she achieved solo success with a string of songs like ‘Love Resurrection’, ‘Invisible’ and ‘All Cried Out’.
All 3 saw international success and as one of the most successful British female singers of the decade, Alison saw several more hits and performed at Live Aid.
Many of these popular British female singers continue to write and perform today. Some make appearances in film or television shows, some have moved into writing and producing.
The 80s was the decade where many of them saw their biggest success and recognition but their talent still endures and the ladies that are still performing today continue to draw crowds of loyal fans.