Where Are They Now: '80s New Wave Musicians

Eighties icon Cyndi Lauper takes the "GMA" Summer Concert stage today.

ByABC News via logo
September 11, 2008, 1:46 PM

June 12, 2008 — -- The 1980s were a special time for many of us, full of both fond and embarrassing memories.

Whether you were a Madonna clone, a hair band groupie or worshipped at the electronica altar of Depeche Mode, chances are you listened to and loved the music of some of the following bands. From Devo to Duran Duran to Culture Club and the Cure, here's a look at some of the most popular musicians of the decade and where they are now.

For more than three decades Cyndi Lauper has wowed audiences and critics alike, while maintaining her unique style and outspoken sensibility. Now the 80s icon prepares to introduce herself to a fresh generation of listeners with her latest release, "Bring Ya To The Brink."

Tune in to "Good Morning America" Friday, June 13 as Cyndi Lauper rocks the Summer Concert stage LIVE in Bryant Park.

The Queens, N.Y., native first captured the nation's attention in 1983, when her debut album, "She's So Unusual," propelled her to international superstardom.

The album spawned four Billboard Top 5 singles: "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," "Time After Time," "All Through the Night," and her paean to masturbation, "She Bop."

With her multi-hued hair and outrageous outfits, Lauper embodied the 1980s punk-pop hybrid. Her video for "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," starring professional wrestler Capt. Lou Albano as her dad, made her an MTV staple.

In 1985 Lauper picked up the Grammy for Best New Artist, cementing a place in pop history. Her record sales have surpassed 25 million worldwide.

Unlike many other artists of her time, she has maintained an active music career, as well as undertaking various on-screen roles in films and television series.

Along with the release of her new album, this year brings the return of her second annual True Colors tour. Lauper launched the 24-city show last year to raise awareness about gay rights and promote equality for gays and lesbians.

Lauper conceived of the tour, she said, "to give back to the community for the love and support they have given throughout my career."

Her sister Ellen is a lesbian, and another inspiration for the tour. The tour puts Lauper on stage with various other artists including the '80s great "Love Shack" band, The B52's, and current alternative scene star, Regina Spektor.

Did You Know?

Steven Spielberg asked Lauper to be the musical director of his movie "The Goonies." The movie's theme song, "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough," spawned another hit for Lauper and a Grammy nomination for best female pop vocal performance in a movie.

Though best known for the 1980 hit "Whip It!" Devo's music has been very influential for many New Wave and alternative rock artists.

The original incarnation of the band formed at Kent State University in Ohio in the late '60s as something of a joke, but they began taking the music more seriously after the Kent State shootings, in which four students were killed and nine wounded.

Devo band members have come and gone, but the bedrock members are the Casale brothers Gerald and Bob and the Mothersbaugh brothers Mark, Bob and Jim.

Those funny yellow suits and red hats you remember were actually part of the band's biting social satire the chemical protection suits mocked America's industrialization and consumerism. The red "flower pot" hats were intended to channel their sexual energy into their voices, according to the band. The name Devo actually stands for the "de-evolution" they saw in American culture.

The band has worked on various songs and projects over the past few years, including a project with Disney, called Devo 2.0, made up of child performers re-recording the band's songs. Devo also toured briefly in 2006.

Mark Mothersbaugh, perhaps the best known member of the band, has cultivated a very successful career composing musical scores for films, TV and, even, video games. He has frequently worked with quirky filmmaker Wes Anderson, scoring the films "Bottle Rocket," "Rushmore," "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou."

Did You Know?

Pretty boy '80s hitmaker Duran Duran has weathered the ravages of time quite well. The band's recently released album, "Red Carpet Massacre," includes collaborations with today's pop princes Justin Timberlake and Timbaland.

The band (minus original member Andy Taylor, who didn't participate on the album) performed the album's first single, "Falling Down," and "Skin Divers" on "Good Morning America." (See related video.)

Duran Duran, with original members Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor, achieved massive success during the early '80s with a string of hits like "Rio," "Hungry Like the Wolf," "Save a Prayer" and "Is There Something I Should Know?"

By 1985, however, they split to pursue different projects. All told, Duran Duran has had 21 singles in the Billboard Hot 100, and has sold 85 million albums.

Did You Know?

Boy George (a.k.a. George Alan O'Dowd) and his band Culture Club took the '80s music scene by storm thanks to George's "blue-eyed soul" sound and hip, gender-bender persona. The band's 1982 album, "Kissing to Be Clever," spawned the massive singles "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" and "I'll Tumble 4 Ya."

The next album, "Colour by Numbers," was also huge, anchored by the group's biggest hit "Karma Chameleon." By 1985, though, George was deep in the throes of a serious heroin addiction, which eventually tore the band apart and put George under the radar for many years.

George still makes the scene, mainly as a club DJ, but the biggest headlines about him of late concern his legal troubles. In October 2005, George called the police to report a burglar in his Greenwich Village apartment. When police showed up, they didn't find an intruder, but they did find 13 bags of cocaine.

In 2006, George served out the community service portion of his sentence by picking up garbage in Manhattan, wearing a bright orange prison jumpsuit.

And in early November, George, 47, was charged with falsely imprisoning a 28-year-old man, British police said. The Norwegian man, Auden Karlsen, said he went to the singer's London flat to pose for some photographs, but claimed he was chained up and threatened by George and another man. Did you really want to hurt him, George?

Did You Know?

Adam Ant, born Stuart Leslie Goddard, fronted the short-lived '80s post-punk band Adam & the Ants. After the band broke up in 1982, Ant went solo and recorded his biggest hit, "Goody Two Shoes," which asks the question, "Don't drink, don't smoke / What do you do?"

When his 1985 hard-rock album, "Vive Le Rock," received poor reviews and disappointing sales, Ant quit music and focused on his acting career. He appeared in a number of TV shows and movies, including "Tales From the Crypt," "Love Bites," "Northern Exposure" and "La Femme Nikita." He returned to making music in the 1990s.

In September 2006, Ant began promoting his autobiography, "Stand and Deliver," in which he chronicles his career and relationships and how bipolar disorder has affected his life. A Time Out magazine review called the book "a whirlwind story of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, suicide attempts and deranged stalkers."

Ant performed live for the first time in 11 years at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London in September 2007, where he read excerpts from his book and performed acoustic versions of many of his songs and a few covers. A new album is said to be planned for 2008.

Did You Know?

A legendary "swordsman" of the decade, Ant was featured in VH1's five-part "Retrosexuals: The '80s," in the episode called "Hotties."

The Cure formed in England in 1976, and while the band has undergone a number of personnel changes through the years, frontman Robert Smith has always been there. It was his signature look white makeup, dark eyeliner, red lipstick and spiked black hair that popularized the "goth" movement. The band's depressing lyrics further cemented them as the faces of the gloomy goths.

Smith, however, never liked the goth label. By the early '80s, Smith was writing catchier, pop-friendly songs like "Let's Go to Bed," and went on to write hits like "Just Like Heaven" and "Friday I'm in Love." The Cure's best-selling album, "Disintegration," was released in 1989, and included "Lovesong" and "Fascination Street."

In recent years, Smith has collaborated with musician Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, and the bands Korn and Blink-182.

But The Cure goes on. Smith, Simon Gallup, Jason Cooper and Porl Thompson are currently in the studio finishing off their latest album, which is scheduled for release in spring 2008. It will be The Cure's 13th studio release, and is expected to be a double CD package. The band also has a 2008 tour in the works.

Did You Know?

Morrissey born Steven Patrick Morrissey, in Manchester, England, to Irish immigrants and Johnny Marr formed The Smiths in 1982, regarded by many as one of the most influential bands of the post-punk '80s.

Like Smith of The Cure, Morrissey was known for his dark, yet witty, lyrics in songs like "Girlfriend in a Coma" and "Bigmouth Strikes Again." The Smiths broke up in 1987, but not before putting out five best-selling albums and 14 top singles, and inspiring a devoted, if cultish, fan base, especially for Morrissey.

After The Smiths broke up, Morrissey continued with a successful solo career. He also piqued fans' interest about his ambiguous sexuality.

Some people say his lyrics point to the singer being gay, but Morrissey's own reticence on the subject has also raised questions. A 1984 article in Rolling Stone magazine said that Morrissey "admits he's gay." Morrissey responded that was news to him.

In interviews, the singer has said he is asexual and celibate, though in recent years, he has referred to a relationship (without naming the person's gender) and said he is no longer celibate.

It's been reported, but not confirmed, that Morrissey will release a new album in 2008.

Did You Know?

While performing at a PETA benefit show in Virginia in July, Morrissey commented on Madonna's adoption of a boy from Malawi: "I wouldn't be surprised if she made that African boy she adopted into a coat, and wore him for 15 minutes, then threw it away."

Of Michael, Morrissey said, rather cryptically, in a 1991 Details magazine profile: "If George Michael had to live my life for five minutes, he'd strangle himself with the nearest piece of cord."