I have been listening to a lot of 1980 music lately, and also searching the web for 1980 lists. There are several top 10 lists for 1980 metal music. Back in those days, there just was not much choice. Almost every top ten list looks the same. They all have the same top 8, but in different order. Inevitably, you'll find Ozzy, Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, Motorhead, Leppard, Diamond Head* and AC/DC. Most lists also have Angel Witch and a Saxon album (or two), but for the most part their top 8 look like those household names you see above.
By no means is this the fault of the authors. I have scoured YouTube and other corners of the web for 1980 albums that are rare and on the border of metal (Gillan, Krokus, MSG, etc.) that stand up to these, and while I have found some interesting things, the aforementioned groups put out the best stuff of that year (mostly).
I will be doing a top 15 or 20 list in a few days, but don't look here for anything really different. Bands like Fist (the one from Canada), Viva and Sorcery are only footnotes in the history of metal for a good reason.
*I am convinced that Diamond Head is seen as the lost NWOBHM gem solely because of their influence on Metallica, and therefore it is uncool** not to have Lightning to the Nations in your top 10.
** It may actually be in mine too - but for the right reasons.....