Starting in 1981 (the year that forever changed modern stardom with the premiere of MTV
cementing the music video as an elemental factor in pop iconicity) and ending in 2019, check out the list and see if
your favorite artists made the cut!
The list includes everyone from your favorite divas to notorious rappers,
highlighting those that best defined each year and whose impact was most deeply felt across the most spaces.
Artists making more than one appearance on the list include global icons
Madonna, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé and Rihanna, who all made the list twice!
Check out highlights below and link to the site HERE!
Madonna (1985 and 1989)
- “…the year after Like a Virgin’s release was owned by Madonna from back to front — the last four weeks of the title track’s run at No. 1 on the Hot 100 opened 1985, and she followed it up with smash singles like “Material Girl” and “Angel,” her feature-film debut and first silver-screen starring role, and yet more unavoidable music videos.”
- (1989) “This is the year where Madonna went from dance-pop purveyor with an iron-grip on American teens to a capital-A Artist, someone who could deliver an album every bit as geared toward the charts as to critics’ tastes.”
Janet Jackson (1990 and 1993)
- “If you were lucky, you got the Rhythm Nation black cassette tape to pop into your Walkman for Christmas in 1989. But even if you weren’t, the songs were inescapable through 1990, yielding her a record seven top five hits on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1989-1991, with four of those — “Miss You Much,” “Love Will Never Do (Without You),” “Escapade,” and “Black Cat” — going all the way to No. 1.”
- “Janet Jackson’s sound would move away from the industrial new jack swing of Nation to something earthier, acknowledging mainstream R&B’s shift into both Toni Braxton-led smooth urban contemporary and Mary J. J. Blige-esque hip-hop soul.”
Beyoncé (2003 and 2014)
- “’You ready?’ Beyoncé Knowles asks to kick off the lead single from her first solo offering, Dangerously in Love. What fools we were to shrug it off as a throwaway line, when it really was a declaration of independence, the opening statement in the most successful solo transition since Michael Jackson a quarter-century earlier.”
- “Beyoncé might have caught a lot of the industry with its pants down at the end of 2013, but by the end of 2014, everyone was permanently on alert to expect the unexpected from pop’s biggest stars — and no one was underestimating the Queen’s place within those ranks again.”
Rihanna (2007 and 2012)
- “Of course, Rihanna didn’t come out of nowhere — we met her in 2005 through her sun-kissed debut single “Pon De Replay,” and then she took her island roots all the way to No. 1 on the Hot 100 the next year with the Soft Cell-sampling “S.O.S.” — but it was all leading to something much bigger, and that something bigger was her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad, released in May 2007.”
- “Rihanna opened 2012 with her chart-topping collaboration with Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, the dizzying 2011 smash “We Found Love” — in which Rihanna became one of the first (and most successful) pop stars to adapt to EDM’s mainstream takeover — still lingering around the top of the Hot 100.”
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