If Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, Madonna was clearly the Queen. Rising to fame in the early 80s, the Michigan-born singer excited the young and often shocked the old with her provocative lyrics and suggestive performances. As well as becoming the most popular female recording artist of the time, she also became a major fashion icon.
In addition, Madonna enjoyed some success as a movie star with Desperately Seeking Susan, Who’s That Girl? and further films in the 90s. She also became noted for her knack for reinvention, adopting different styles and sounds as her career progressed, proving a huge influence on Lady Gaga and other artists to come in her wake.
23. Steven Spielberg
After breaking into the film industry in a big way with legendary 70s blockbusters Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, filmmaker Steven Spielberg went on to dominate the 1980s. After directing 1981’s huge hit Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg made what proved to be the highest-earning film of the decade, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – and the hits just kept coming.
Even when he wasn’t in the director’s chair, Spielberg had a knack for churning out hits: his producer credits include Poltergeist, Gremlins, The Goonies, Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Spielberg honed a model of populist cinema which every mainstream filmmaker in the 80s tried to emulate, and most modern blockbusters are still trying to capture his distinctive spirit.