While that “rock is dead” debate continually pops up, it should be noted that rock acts make up a majority of the list of acts that have nailed a Top 10 album in every decade since the ’80s. There are nine acts in total that have done that, and some have a streak that even precedes the ’80s.
This list actually just included one new member with Def Leppard joining thanks to their latest album, Diamond Star Halos, which arrives at No. 10, according to Billboard. The band’s first Top 10 was 1983’s Pyromania album, peaking at No. 2. Adrenalize did the trick in the ’90s hitting No. 1. Rock of Ages; The Definitive Collection and Songs From the Sparkle Lounge took care of the 2000s, while their self-titled set kept the streak alive in 2015 hitting No. 10. And now you can add Diamond Star Halos to the list. They’ve also hit the Top 10 with Hysteria, their biggest selling album, and Retro Active.
The company they are keeping is quite impressive as others to have hit the list include AC/DC, Paul McCartney, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor.
For AC/DC, their string goes back to the ’70s, with Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap hitting No. 3. Back in Black was the first entry of the ’80s, while The Razors Edge hit the Top 10 first in the ’90s, Stiff Upper Lip in the 2000s, Rock or Bust in the 2010s and Power Up registering for the 2020s. They’ve also hit the Top 10 with For Those About to Rock We Salute You, Ballbreaker and Black Ice, not to mention the Iron Man 2 soundtrack.
McCartney’s run started with his self-titled debut in 1970, with McCartney II hitting No. 3 in 1980, Flaming Pie hitting No. 2 in 1997, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard taking care of the 2000s, Kisses on the Bottom covering the 2010s and McCartney III hit No. 2 in 2020.
Metallica’s run started with 1988’s …And Justice for All cracking the Top 10 at No. 6. The self-titled “black” album hit No. 1 in 1991. St. Anger was their first chart-topper of the 2000s, and the-chart-topping Hardwired … to Self-Destruct took care of the 2010s. The band’s symphonic release, S&M2, carried them over into the current decade.
Ozzy Osbourne first cracked the Top 10 in 1986 with The Ultimate Sin. His “decades” string also includes 1991’s No More Tears, 2001’s Down to Earth, 2010’s Scream and 2020’s Ordinary Man.
For Robert Plant, he’s had a varied discography since leaving Led Zeppelin. Pictures at Eleven kicked it off while he was still a core rock artist, reaching No. 5 in 1982. The collaborative Walking Into Clarksdale album with Jimmy Page was his ’90s entry, peaking at No. 8. Raising Sand, a collaborative release with country-bluegrass star Alison Krauss, hit No. 2 in 2007. He continued down the folk and roots rock path with Band of Joy in 2010, and a reunion with Krauss on 2021’s Raise the Roof lodged his 2020s entry.
Even though he died in 2016, Prince was a prolific artist who still have music arriving in this decade. His run started with 1999 in 1982, peaking at No. 7. Among his other Top 10s were the Graffiti Bridge soundtrack that was his first ’90s entry, hitting No. 6. Musicology hit No. 3 in 2004. Plectrumelectrum dropped in at No. 8 in 2014, and Welcome 2 America hit No. 4 in 2021.
Bruce Springsteen is one of the acts who has a Top 10 album dating back to the ’70s, starting with 1975’s Born to Run that topped out at No. 3. 1980’s The River topped the charts upon its arrival. Human Touch and Lucky Town were released simultaneously in 1992, hitting No. 2 and No. 3 on the charts. 2002’s The Rising, 2012’s Wrecking Ball and 2020’s Letter to You kept the streak alive.
Finishing out the list is James Taylor, who leans more to the soft rock side. also dates back to the ’70s, with Sweet Baby James starting the run at No. 3. Dad Loves His Work hit No. 10 in 1980. Hourglass was a No. 9 entry in 1997. His other decade entries include 2002’s October Road, 2015’s Before This World and 2020’s American Standard.
It’s a short list, but one that is well represented by rock acts that have built an enduring legacy.
80 Rock + Metal Acts With Multiple Platinum Albums
Selling a million copies of an album is a big deal and these acts did it more than once.