Best New Wave/Romantic Music Artists Ever

  • Thread starter CampFireJack
  • Start date


Aug 1, 2020
  • #1
I already have a feeling that this thread is going to go on for miles and I really hope it does. We all have our favorite bands and artists, so I highly doubt that you will agree exactly with what I list here. That's why I would love it if you chimed in to let me know what your favorite all-time New Wave or New Romantic artists and bands are. I'll get the ball rolling down below, but you should totally add to it.

Before I begin though, I think it might be helpful to define what New Wave and New Romantic are. These names are part of two different music scenes in the 1970s and 1980s, but there's a lot of crossover between the two of them. I actually wasn't aware that New Romantic was a thing until I began delving into what I liked best. I kept looking up New Wave bands and what I found didn't quite hit the nail on the head. But when I began researching New Romantics, yes, that's when I found what I loved most. Some of those groups are simply incredible and so, so good.

I'm going to link to both Wikipedia pages for these music genres, so you can take a look at them for yourself. Then, I'll give you a few definitions that resonate with me. It's quite challenging to accurately define such things, but I'll do my best. Tell me if you agree with me or not. You can offer your own definitions too if you'd like.

New Wave: Okay, so here it is. New Wave isn't just one type of music. It's a bunch of different types that overlap one another. The name stems from the late 70s and early 80s era and encompasses the edges of both rock and pop. You see, when someone creates music, they don't choose a genre and then confine themselves within it. It's actually quite the opposite. The artist first creates the music and then hunts down a genre or genres to fit their music into. And sometimes that's a challenge. So if someone produced a punky rock pop song in 1980, they'd likely call it something along the lines of New Wave. This genre is known as being post-punk. It typically includes electronics, creative visuals, and synthesizers. Some say that New Wave is a combination of power pop, synth-pop, ska revival, and other forms of post-punk, but not necessarily confined to those genres I just listed.

If you're like me, in your late 40s, you were introduced to New Wave by MTV. And really, most of what I probably consider New Wave isn't even in the most pure sense. Examples of the more purist New Wave bands/artists are XTC, Gary Numan, and some from the underground late 70s music scene in the UK. What I consider New Wave to be is much more American styled. Bands like Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, and INXS to name a few. Totally A Flock of Seagulls and OMD. So yeah, New Wave is tough to pin down, but I'll tell you this: when I discuss this genre, I'm coming from the American viewpoint of someone who grew up right outside New York City, who listened to WPLJ, Hot 97, Hot 103, Z100, and the rest of those incredible music radio stations. I lived right outside one of the best music markets in the world, so that's what I know. I also know MTV, VH1, and Friday Night Videos. So that's my perspective. I love some New Wave bands and can't stand some others.

New Romantic: There is a lot that's said about New Romantic music, but this is what I think of it - how I can define it. It's sort of like a more gentle New Wave. Forget about that abrupt Punk style that can at times be hard on the ears and think more along the lines of smooth music that's really easy to listen to. Think Spandau Ballet, Boy George, Ultravox, and David Bowie. I like to think of The Church and China Crisis as being New Romantic. You can read up on this genre if you want. I'll tell you that it's all pretty confusing because it seems that people were simply tossing around new genres everywhere back in the early 80s. New Wave competed with New Romantic and Synthpop and so forth. And at the same time these genres were competing, many groups and individual artists belonged to many of them. It was crazy.


Aug 1, 2020
  • #2
The Best New Wave Bands

I found a great list of New Wave bands and artists. I'll list it here and I'll bold the ones that I like the best. Again, some of the bands from this era I don't really care for but others I really do. They're my favorites. Also, I think some wouldn't actually consider many of these artists New Wave at all, but more of 80s pop. That's understandable. People from the UK would especially think this, I would say.

1. Talking Heads
2. Elvis Costello
3. The Police
4. Blondie
5. Eurythmics
6. Duran Duran
7. Tears for Fears
8. Depeche Mode
9. The Cars
10. Frankie Goes To Hollywood
11. a-ha
12. B-52's
13. The Psychedelic Furs
14. The Pretenders
15. Men at Work
16. INXS
17. The Fixx
18. Devo
19. Bananarama
20. Culture Club
21. A Flock of Seagulls
22. Simple Minds
23. Thompson Twins
24. XTC
25. Spandau Ballet
26. Pet Shop Boys
27. ABC
28. Thomas Dolby
29. Modern English
30. The Human League
31. Squeeze
32. Adam Ant
33. Howard Jones
34. Soft Cell
35. Berlin
36. Talk Talk
37. Level 42
38. The Jam
39. Gary Numan
40. New Order
41. OMD
42. Joe Jackson
43. Ultravox
44. Erasure
45. Midnight Oil
46. Naked Eyes
47. Nik Kershaw
48. Boomtown Rats
49. Dexy's Midnight Runners
50. The Motels
51. Planet P Project
52. The English Beat
53. Madness
54. Split Enz
55. General Public
56. Animotion
57. The Call
58. Paul Young
59. Missing Persons
60. Wall of Voodoo
61. Til Tuesday
62. The Vapors
63. Heaven 17
64. The Dream Academy
65. Falco
66. Dead Or Alive
67. Men Without Hats
68. Big Country
69. Bronski Beat
70. The Hooters
71. The Go Go's
72. Real Life
73. The Buggles
74. Bow Wow Wow
75. The Tubes
76. Peter Schilling
77. Oingo Boingo
78. Kajagoogoo
79. Swing Out Sister
80. Graham Parker & the Rumour
81. Timbuk 3
82. Wang Chung
83. The Members
84. Mr. Mister
85. Frida
86. Gene Loves Jezebel
87. The Power Station
88. The Specials
89. The Plimsouls
90. Information Society
91. Arcadia
92. Haircut 100
93. The Church
94. China Crisis
95. Icehouse
96. Tom Tom Club
97. The Sisters of Mercy
98. Ian Dury & The Blockheads
99. Big Audio Dynamite
100. Visage


Aug 1, 2020
  • #3
Best New Romantic Bands

And here are some of the best New Romantic bands. Now that I look at them, they mostly overlap with New Wave. That's pretty nuts. I'll include my current music collection down below so you can see what I'm into and I would consider myself into New Romantic more than New Wave. Again, I'll bold the ones I prefer most.

1. Duran Duran
2. Spandau Ballet
3. Adam & the Ants
4. Japan
5. Culture Club
6. Visage
7. The Human League
8. Ultravox
9. Heaven 17
10. ABC
11. Johnny Foxx
12. Soft Cell
13. Talk Talk
14. Pseudo Echo
15. A Flock of Seagulls
16. David Bowie
17. Roxy Music


Aug 1, 2020
  • #4
And this is my partial music collection to date. I removed most regular ol' rock and pop albums I have in an effort to leave only the New Wave and New Romantic albums. I just wanted to get this out there to show you what awesome music is. I also wanted to mention that some of this music is listed under various other genres, such as Alternative Rock. That's not what I would have put them under, but who am I to argue?

18 New Wave Classics (Vol. 1)
A Flock of Seagulls (Wishing - The Very Best Of Disc 1 & 2) *
ABC (20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection - Best of ABC) *
a-ha (25 - The Very Best of a-ha Disc 1 & 2) *
Alphaville (First Harvest - The Best of Alphaville 1984 -1992) *
Big Dish (Rich Man's Wardrobe - Concise History Of) *
Bryan Ferry - Roxy Music (More Than This - The Best of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music) *
Camouflage (The Singles) *
China Crisis (Diary of a Hollow Horse) *
China Crisis (Wishful Thinking - The China Crisis Spectrum Collection) *
Cocteau Twins (Lullabies To Violaine [Disc 3] & [Disc 4]) *
Cutting Crew (The Best of Cutting Crew [1994]) *
David Bowie (Legacy Disc 1 & 2) *
Depeche Mode (The Singles 81]85 & The Singles 86]98 Disc 1 & The Singles 86]98 Disc 2) *
Duran Duran (All You Need Is Now Disc 1) *
Duran Duran (Astronaut)
Duran Duran (Greatest) *
Duran Duran (Red Carpet Massacre) *
Echo & the Bunnymen (Ballyhoo)
Echo & the Bunnymen (Do It Clean [An Anthology 1979-1987]) *
Faith Assembly (Shades of Blue) *
Frankie Goes To Hollywood (Welcome To The Pleasuredome + [2010 Deluxe Edition]) *
Gene Loves Jezebel (Voodoo Dollies- The Best of Gene Loves Jezebel) *
Go West (The Very Best of Go West Disc 1 & 2) *
Howard Jones (The Best of Howard Jones) *
Icehouse (The Best of Icehouse) *
Information Society (Information Society) *
INXS (The Very Best of INXS) *
Jimmy Somerville (Very Best Of [Bonus CD] Disc 1) *
Johnny Hates Jazz (Best of Johnny Hates Jazz) *
Morrissey (The Very Best of Morrissey Disc 1) *
Mr. Mister (Broken Wings - Best of Mr. Mister) *
New Order (Substance Disc 1) *
New Wave 80s (New Wave 80's [Madacy] Disc 1 & 2) *
Oingo Boingo (Best O' Boingo) *
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (The OMD Singles) *
Pet Shop Boys (Popart- The Hits 1985-2003 Disc 1 & 2) *
Pseudo Echo (Best Adventures) *
Psychedelic Furs (Greatest Hits) *
Red Flag (Naïve Art) *
Red Rockers (Good as Gold - Schizophrenic Circus) *
River Detectives (Saturday Night Sunday Morning) *
Simple Minds (The Best of Simple Minds Disc 1 & 2) *
Talk Talk (The Very Best of Talk Talk) *
Tears for Fears (Elemental) *
Tears For Fears (Songs From the Big Chair) *
Tears for Fears (Tears Roll Down - Greatest Hits 1982 -1992) *
The Adventures (The Sea Of Love) *
The Adventures (Theodore and Friends) *
The Bolshoi (Away...Best of the Bolshoi) *
The Church (Gold Afternoon Fix) *
The Church (Starfish) *
The Church (Under the Milky Way - The Best of the Church) *
The Fixx (Ultimate Collection) *
The Human League (A Very British Synthesizer Group - The Anthology [Deluxe Edition] Disc 1 & 2) *
The Icicle Works (Blind [Expanded Edition]) *
The Icicle Works (Icicle Works [Disc 2]) *
The Icicle Works (If You Want To Defeat Your Enemy Sing His Song) *
The Icicle Works (Live At The Town & Country Club 1986) *
The Icicle Works (Lost Icicles, Vol. 2 [Live]) *
The Icicle Works (The Icicle Works) *
The Icicle Works (The Small Price Of A Bicycle) *
The Jesus and Mary Chain (21 Singles 1984-1998) *
The Mission (Singles A's & B's [Disc 1 & 2]) *
The Ocean Blue (Beneath the Rhythm and Sound) *
The Ocean Blue (Cerulean) *
The Ocean Blue (The Ocean Blue) *
The Railway Children (Listen On - The Best of the Railway Children) *
The Smiths (The Very Best of the Smiths) *
The Stone Roses (The Very Best of the Stone Roses) *
The The (Soul Mining [Reissue]) *
The Wild Swans (Bringing Home the Ashes) *
Thompson Twins (Big Trash) *
Thompson Twins (Greatest Hits [Arista]) *
Toto (Africa - The Best of Toto Disc 1 & 2) *
Ultravox (The Very Best Of) *
Ultravox (Vienna + Bonus Disc) *
Pretty in Pink [Original Soundtrack] *

* = I own the CD. Otherwise I own the files.




China Crisis: Working with Fire and Steel
Heyday by The Church
2 By 2: Expanded Edition by Blue Zoo
Southern Lands by Cetu Javu
Believe You Me or Platinum Collection by Blancmange (Lose Your Love, Don't Tell Me)
Some Kind of Wonderful Soundtrack
The Roaring Boys - House Of Stone
Roller Coaster: The Best of the Mighty Lemon Drops, 1986-1989
Vitamin Z
Twist of Shadows by Clan of Xymox
Wild Birds 1985-1995: Best Of Beggars Banquet Years by Peter Murphy
35: Collection 1985-2015 by ESSENCE
Lullabies To Violaine: Singles And Extended Plays 1982-1996 Vol.1 by Cocteau Twins
All Over England by Somewhere Over England
Still Looking for Heaven on Earth by Crazy House
OMD - Crush (Secret)
The Field Mice - Snowball
The Pale Fountains - From Across the Kitchen Table
When in Rome - When In Rome
The Sisters Of Mercy - Slight Case of Overbombing
The Big Supreme - Don't Walk


Aug 8, 2020
  • #5
A few of my favorites from your personal list are:

- The Stone Roses - Rock
- The Railway Children - Alternative Rock
- The Ocean Blue - Indie Pop
- The Jesus and Mary Chain - Alternative Rock
- The Church - Alternative Rock
- China Crisis - New Wave/Synth Pop
- The Adventures - Rock/Pop
- River Detectives- Folk Rock
- Psychedelic Furs - New Wave
- Pseudo Echo - New Wave
- Gene Loves Jezebel- Rock
- Big Dish - Pop
- The Roaring Boys - Synth Pop
- The Pale Fountains - Quiet Pop, Jangle Pop, Sophisti-Pop, Indie Pop

I mean, there is some good stuff on that list. Some of it is extremely esoteric. For instance, The Roaring Boys, The Big Supreme, and The Pale Fountains? I haven't heard of them in years. They are excellent! I'm actually very glad I stumbled across this list. I also hope you don't mind that I added the genre/genres to each of the groups/artists that I like best. I thought that would help out with some of this genre mess. As you can see, many of these groups straddle the line of a few different genres. And I don't really agree with a couple of them. I guess it really depends on who you talk to.


Aug 1, 2020
  • #6
Check this out. I picked these two records up last year some time when I got hooked on the Roaring Boys and The Big Supreme. I don't even own a turntable yet and I'm thinking I may eventually buy one just to play these two pieces of vinyl. House of Stone and Don't Walk are insanely great songs. These 45 singles weren't easy to get my hands on either, as they're somewhat rare. A perfect start to my vinyl collection.

Best New Wave/Romantic Music Artists Ever was posted on 10-10-2020 by CampFireJack in the Entertainment Forum forum.


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