Music provides the backdrop for culture. This is especially true in the 1980s in the United States, when popular music became more commercialized than any time in previous history. The 80s was also the decade when urban-based rap and hip hop music began to emerge, which has since become permanently entrenched in mainstream American culture. Popular music in the United States during the 1980s is well known for imports from abroad, such as A-ha, Def Leppard, Falco, and Men at Work, as well as homegrown American rock acts such as Guns 'N Roses, Huey Lewis and the News, Bon Jovi, and Poison. But there were many other types of genres of music that never received airplay on the radio or MTV that also experienced significant evolutions or growth in that decade. Music of the 1980s examines the key artists in specific genres of popular music: pop, hard rock/heavy metal, rock, and country. No other reference book for students has previously explored the surprisingly diverse categories of hard rock and heavy metal music with such detail and depth. Additionally, a chapter focuses on the prominent artists and composers of less-mainstream genres for specialized audiences, including music theater, jazz, and classical music.