The 80s Sound
The 1980’s were dominated by an entertainer, recording artist and businessman by the name of Michael Jackson, the undisputed King of Rock, Pop and Soul.  His Thriller album has been cited as the best-selling album of all time, with between 47 and 109 million copies sold worldwide.  Another powerful force in the 80’s were the elements of Earth, Wind and Fire who won 6 Grammys, earned over 50 gold and platinum albums, and have sold over 90 million albums worldwide.  Other great acts include Kool & the Gang, a highly successful band which has the makings of jazz, funk, disco, soul and R&B has sold over 70 million albums worldwide and Frankie Beverly & Maze.


Michael Jackson debuted on the professional music scene at the age of 11 as a member of The Jackson 5 and began a solo career in 1971 while still a member of the group.  In the early 1980s, he became a dominant figure in popular music and the first African-American entertainer to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. The popularity of his music videos airing on MTV, such as "Beat It", "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" - credited for transforming the music video into an art form and a promotional tool - helped bring the relatively new channel to fame.With stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced hip hop, pop and contemporary R&B artists.


Earth, Wind & Fire are also known as EWF or the Elements of the Universe. The band's music contains elements of African music, Latin music, funk, soul, jazz, pop, rock, and other genres. The band is known for the dynamic sound of their horn section and the interplay between the contrasting vocals of Philip Bailey's falsetto and Maurice White's tenor. They have won six Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards. They have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. They have sold over 90 million albums worldwide earning them a place on the list of best-selling music artists where they are ranked as the seventh best selling American band of all time.


Kool & the Gang are an American jazz/R&B/soul/funk/disco group. They originally formed in Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S. in 1964. They went through several musical phases in their career, starting out with a purist jazz sound, becoming practitioners of R&B and funk, progressing to a smooth disco ensemble, and ended the successful period of their career producing pop/R&B crossovers. They have sold over 70 million albums worldwide.


Frankie Beverly and Maze has been, by any measure, one of the most talented but criminally underappreciated self-contained bands of the past quarter century. Their ability to fuse soul and jazz with an irresistible groove and intelligent lyrical content has gained for them an extremely loyal following among Soul music fans and great respect among their performing peers, but little attention in the pop music world.