It wasn't just MTV that helped shape and define 1983. But the still-growing music-video network sure had a big part in it.

As you'll see in the below list of the Top 40 Albums of 1983, pop, new wave, punk and rock collided in a year that opened possibilities that didn't exist just three years earlier. And the advent of MTV, arguably at the height of its new influence in 1983, had much to do with it.

Veteran artists like Randy Newman, Paul Simon and Yes were still making music that mattered in 1983, but the year was mostly dominated by the new artists finding themselves on radio (and television) playlists. Among others, Metallica, Motley Crue, R.E.M. and U2 would lay the groundwork for their future successes this year, releasing some of the most pivotal records of their long, respective careers.

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The blossoming influence of newly surfaced subgenres also became more clear in 1983. Metal, college rock and synth-pop expanded beyond their previous limitations and were becoming viable commercial possibilities. Groundwork was laid for many artists who'd survive some unfortunate choices in the '80s on their way to bigger, and sometimes better, work.

What Were the Best Albums of 1983?

Several LPs in the list of Top 40 Albums of 1983 have since become classics of their time and field. Many were long ago rewarded with No. 1s or industry awards, but their place in history is now established, too. In some ways, 1983 was the most pivotal year of the decade; it's difficult to imagine the inroads made by Synchronicity, Murmur and Pyromania even possible without those trailblazers. They were just the start of something great.

Top 40 Albums of 1983

Pop, new wave, punk and rock collided in a year that opened possibilities.

Gallery Credit: Michael Gallucci

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