I spent the 80's going to about 700 gigs and played a few gigs around the London area. Here are some of my fave artists and albums - mostly from that era.

Front cover - Signed by Dennis Greaves Nine Below Zero
Live at the Marquee
I still love this album. Not every track is a classic, but 80% of this high octane, British R&B album is shear brilliance. Unfortunately I was (just) too young to be at this gig, but I saw them several times before their sad demise in 1981. They're back together again nowadays, but back then they were young guns throwing down the gauntlet to all the pedestrian, aging rockers and their vitality was second to none. Swing Job has to be my fave. Back cover - signed by the rest of the band
I first saw them in 1986 supporting del Amitri at the Marquee. I saw them dozens of times after that and even played a gig with them at the Kings Head in Fulham in 1987. Somewhere I have a picture of Bob Collins playing my Telecaster Thinline after he'd run out of spare strings. Awesome band, remembered by some for their unusual song titles, such as Where's my Chicken you Bastard, Daffodil Scare, You and Your Bloody Oranges, John Noakes vs. Tony Bastables and the legendary There's strawberries in my garden (and it's wintertime).
The Dentists
Some people are on the pitch, they think it's over, it is now

Prefab Sprout
Steve McQueen

I can't decide between these two albums. They're definitely two of my favorites ever. Paddy McAloon has a unique skill. Like so many bands they had their biggest success with some of their worst songs. I never listen to Langley Park, but despite it's commercial success, it nearly killed the band off creatively in my eyes. Having said that, I really like Andromeda Heights, which appeared much later in their career.
I bet you've never heard this album, despite the band's commercial success. This album is pure genius. It came out in 1985, five years before Waking Hours. It is of a completely different style and I can still listen to it now, despite two decades of incessant playing. del Amitri
del Amitri
In the early to mid 80's this quartet were hailed as visionaries by the indie guitar crowd. Then along came Green, with it came popularity; and the raw, ingenuity was mostly gone. Southern Central Rain, Camera, The One I Love, Driver 8, Wendell Gee... the list of brilliant songs is almost endless. I yearn for the days when Michael Stipe had hair, and the man in the street thought REM was an attribute of deep sleep. REM

The Church
The Blurred Crusade
I saw this Aussie psychedelic outfit at their first gig in the UK when they supported The Truth (Dennis Greaves, Nine Below Zero) at Dunstable Queensway Hall in September 1982. Roz Fleetwood ran the fan club for Nine Below and the Q-tips, and the Church were on the same label. She gave me this album and I went on to buy many more and saw them every time they visited the UK. I bought the Temperature Drop in Downtown Winterland ep at the next gig I went to (the Venue, Victoria). It is quite a collectors item these days. I particularly remember being blown away by Is This Where You Live? from that first gig.
Everything But The Girl
A Distant Shore by Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt's North Marine Drive are classic albums also and remind me very much of my days as a student. Tracey occasionally worked in JJ Records, Hatfield with the other Marine Girls - which was more than a treat for a fan.
Each and Every One and Soft Touch are still my favourites - but I like them all bar Crabwalk.

Ben Folds Five
Whatever and Ever Amen

This has been played non-stop in the car for the last 8 months. I liked it when it came out, but only got hold of a copy recently. What an album! This is one bitter and twisted guy, his lyrics reflect his anger and pain. Selfless, cold and composed, Missing the War and Brick are just some of my favourites.