These 17 candid photos of '80s pop stars having fun together will take you right back in time

26 April 2021, 17:17

Clockwise from Left to Right: George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston
Clockwise from Left to Right: George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston. Picture: Getty

By Giorgina Hamilton

From George Michael and Freddie Mercury larking around backstage to Lionel Richie singing with Eric Clapton and Elton John on a night out with Liza Minelli, here are the best vintage pop star photos from the 1980's.

As lockdown starts to ease and socialising begins to become an option again our minds begin to turn to times with loved ones – and no one did hanging out with friends quite like the pop stars of the 1980's.

The decade of money, excess, big shoulders and even bigger hair (here's looking at you, George Michael) was one that is hard to forget and as the American writer Carrie Vaughn once said: "1980's: Not a time period, but a way of life."

See more: The Freddie Mercury tribute concert: A guide to the greatest gig of the ‘90s

While the current generation may think life started with the invention of the internet, the eighties gave us many cultural turning points we now take for granted.

Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael (right) of Wham! with Elton John (left) backstage prior to performing at their farewell concert, entitled 'The Final' at Wembley Stadium in London on 28th June 1986.
Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael (right) of Wham! with Elton John (left) backstage prior to performing at their farewell concert, entitled 'The Final' at Wembley Stadium in London on 28th June 1986. Picture: Getty
Queen's Freddie Mercury with comedian Billy Connolly and DJ Kenny Everett, during Mercury's 38th birthday party at the Xenon nightclub, 1984.
Queen's Freddie Mercury with comedian Billy Connolly and DJ Kenny Everett, during Mercury's 38th birthday party at the Xenon nightclub, 1984. Picture: Getty

Workout videos, mobile phones, Dior's Poison (the scent of the decade) and Princess Diana's wedding dress were huge turning points in the eighties landscape, but it was the music scene that really made its biggest impact.

See more: Forgotten photos of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley at the height of their Wham! fame

'Frankie Says Relax' by Frankie Goes To Hollywood became a worldwide anthem in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and in 1982 Duran Duran's hit 'Rio' had teenagers up and down the country clamouring for a visit to Brazil.

Culture Club's first appearance on Top of The Pops with their smash record 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me' in 1982 blasted the band to global success and Adam Ant's famous white stripe saw copycats across the land.

But perhaps it was Queen who summed it up better than anyone, with their 20 minute set at Live Aid in 1985 blowing every other live performance of the decade out of the water.

See more: Freddie Mercury in private: Rarely seen photos of the star behind closed doors

Here we bring you an album of candid 80's moments from the greatest pop stars of their time because one day, in the not too distant future, we'll all be together with friends again...

Michael Jackson and Liza Minnelli at a David Geffen party at the Universal City Studios circa 1982 in Los Angeles, California.
Michael Jackson and Liza Minnelli at a David Geffen party at the Universal City Studios circa 1982 in Los Angeles, California. Picture: Getty
Bee Gee brothers (L to R) Maurice Gibb, Barry Gibb, Andy Gibb and Olivia Newton-John practising harmonies, circa 1980 in New York City.
Bee Gee brothers (L to R) Maurice Gibb, Barry Gibb, Andy Gibb and Olivia Newton-John practising harmonies, circa 1980 in New York City. Picture: Getty
Wham!'s George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley backstage at a concert in Japan in 1985.
Wham!'s George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley backstage at a concert in Japan in 1985. Picture: Getty
David Bowie at a party with actress Susan Sarandon, circa 1983.
David Bowie at a party with actress Susan Sarandon, circa 1983. Picture: Getty
Elton John, Liza Minnelli, Rod Stewart and Alana Stewart pictured at the White Elephant Restaurant in London to celebrate Liza Minnelli's opening night show on May 17, 1983.
Elton John, Liza Minnelli, Rod Stewart and Alana Stewart pictured at the White Elephant Restaurant in London to celebrate Liza Minnelli's opening night show on May 17, 1983. Picture: Getty
Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie at the Various in Los Angeles, California in circa 1980.
Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie at the Various in Los Angeles, California in circa 1980. Picture: Getty
Grace Jones and Tina Turner at the Tina Turner Opening Party May 7, 1981 at The Ritz in New York City.
Grace Jones and Tina Turner at the Tina Turner Opening Party May 7, 1981 at The Ritz in New York City. Picture: Getty
Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston at a party in circa 1989.
Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston at a party in circa 1989. Picture: Getty
(Back: L to R) Davie Bowie, Brian May and Roger Taylor have a talk during the Live Aid Concert at Wembley Stadium as they sit behind sit behind Princess Diana and Prince Charles (front) on 13th July 1985.
(Back: L to R) Davie Bowie, Brian May and Roger Taylor have a talk during the Live Aid Concert at Wembley Stadium as they sit behind sit behind Princess Diana and Prince Charles (front) on 13th July 1985. Picture: Getty
Lionel Richie kisses Aretha Franklin on the cheek at the 1985 American Music Awards.
Lionel Richie kisses Aretha Franklin on the cheek at the 1985 American Music Awards. Picture: Getty
Madonna and singer Marilyn celebrate Boy George's birthday at the Palladium nightclub in New York City, 1985.
Madonna and singer Marilyn celebrate Boy George's birthday at the Palladium nightclub in New York City, 1985. Picture: Getty
Boy George with Stevie Wonder during the taping of the television special 'Motown Returns to the Apollo,' Harlem, New York, May 4, 1985.
Boy George with Stevie Wonder during the taping of the television special 'Motown Returns to the Apollo,' Harlem, New York, May 4, 1985. Picture: Getty
Eric Clapton appeared as a special guest at Lionel Jr. Richie's concert at Wembley Arena, London  on May 27, 1987.
Eric Clapton appeared as a special guest at Lionel Jr. Richie's concert at Wembley Arena, London on May 27, 1987. Picture: Getty
Sting takes a picture at the Sport Aid charity run, London, May 25 1986. Behind him, the event's organizer, Bob Geldof (centre) can be seen with his girlfriend Paula Yates (left)
Sting takes a picture at the Sport Aid charity run, London, May 25 1986. Behind him, the event's organizer, Bob Geldof (centre) can be seen with his girlfriend Paula Yates (left). Picture: Getty
Matt Dillon, musician Debbie Harry of Blondie and actor Richard Gere attend the "Art Against AIDS" Cocktail Party and Auction to Benefit AIDS Research on June 4, 1987 at Sotheby&squot;s in New York City.
Matt Dillon, musician Debbie Harry of Blondie and actor Richard Gere attend the "Art Against AIDS" Cocktail Party and Auction to Benefit AIDS Research on June 4, 1987 at Sotheby's in New York City. Picture: Getty