Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s

The music of the 1980s was very exciting, with a unique mix of pop, rock, new wave, and synth-pop. From famous chants to catchy dance songs, the decade gave us a wide range of songs that became symbols of the lively spirit of the time. We’ll look at the top 100 songs of the 1980s in this carefully chosen list. Each shows how the decade affected culture and its popularity today. In this article, we explore the top 100 songs of the 1980s, a compilation that embodies the essence of a decade whose music was just as influential as its style and social changes.

The Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s

The music, fashion, and style of the 1980s were revolutionary. During this innovative era, music videos were born, and the growth of MTV altered how we listened to music for the rest of our lives. In the 1980s, various musical styles emerged, from synth-pop to hard rock, contributing to the era’s enduring popularity. Here, we explore the unforgettable melodies and timeless classics that marked one of music history’s most exciting and important times.

Why 80s Music Is So Popular?

The enduring popularity of 80s music is a fascinating phenomenon that transcends generations, captivating those who lived through the decade and younger audiences discovering these sounds for the first time. This unique appeal can be attributed to several key factors that create a compelling case for why 80s music remains a vital and cherished part of our cultural landscape.

Innovation And Freshness

The 1980s were a period of significant innovation in music. Artists tried different sounds and styles, making classic songs that have stood the test of time. The introduction of music videos also played a crucial role, allowing artists to express their creativity visually and connect with their audience in unprecedented ways.

Nostalgia And Cultural Impact

For many, 80s music evokes nostalgia, bringing back memories of a simpler time. Significant social changes marked this era, and the music of the time reflects that, making it still relevant today. The diversity of genres that flourished in the 80s, including new wave, synth-pop, punk rock, and heavy metal, means that there’s something for everyone in this decade’s music.

The Role Of Media And Technology

Music from the 1980s is returning thanks largely to its usage in modern media such as movies, TV series, and social media. “Ready Player One” and “Stranger Things” have brought new listeners to music from the 1980s.

The Power Of Nostalgia

An important part of the return of 80s music is nostalgia. It’s a sentimental longing for the past that many find comforting. This connection to the past, combined with the quality and diversity of the music, ensures that 80s tracks continue to find new fans.

The Influence Of Pop Culture

Pop culture has significantly influenced the resurgence of 1980s music. The decade’s music is featured in current T.V. shows and movies, which has helped bring it back into the public eye. Fashion trends and the general fascination with the 1980s aesthetic have also contributed to this revival.

Pop Icons Of The 80s

The 1980s was a decade of bold style, colors, and silhouettes—permed hair included. Not just that, it was also a decade that saw some of the best pop music ever made, thanks to the pop icons who made their mark with timeless hits. Here’s a dive into the pop icon songs of the 80s, celebrating the artists who crafted these unforgettable tunes.

1.

“Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson (1983)

The King of Pop’s masterpiece, “Billie Jean,” is not just an 80s anthem but a song that transcended its time to become one of the greatest hits in music history. Its infectious beat, coupled with Jackson’s unparalleled vocal delivery, makes it a staple on any 80s pop playlist.

Listen: “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson (1983)

2.

“Like A Prayer” – Madonna (1989)

Madonna, the Queen of Pop, pushed boundaries with “Like a Prayer,” blending pop with religious themes in a groundbreaking way at the time. The song’s controversial music video only added to its legend, cementing Madonna’s status as a pop icon.

Listen: “Like A Prayer” – Madonna (1989)

3.

“When Doves Cry” – Prince -(1984)

From the album Purple Rain, “When Doves Cry” showcases Prince’s genius in blending rock, pop, and funk. The song’s innovative sound and emotional depth highlight why Prince remains one of the 1980s’ most influential artists.

Listen: “When Doves Cry” – Prince -(1984)

4.

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” – Whitney Houston – (1987)

Whitney Houston’s powerful vocals on “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” create an upbeat, joyous track that embodies the spirit of 80s pop. It’s a song that invites you to the dance floor, showcasing Houston’s talent in delivering pop perfection.

Listen: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” – Whitney Houston – (1987)

5.

“Girls Just Want To Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper (1983)

Cyndi Lauper’s anthem became a rallying cry for female empowerment and fun, wrapped in a catchy, vibrant tune that’s as fresh today as it was in the 80s. Lauper’s quirky, colorful image and strong vocals made this song a pop icon staple.

Listen: “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper (1983)

6.

“Faith” – George Michael (1987)

With “Faith,” George Michael delivered a rockabilly-inspired pop hit that showcased his smooth vocals and charisma. The song’s catchy chorus and upbeat rhythm make it an unforgettable track from the 80s.

Listen: “Faith” – George Michael (1987)

7.

“Let’s Dance” – David Bowie (1983)

David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” brought a funky, upbeat sound to the 80s music scene, highlighting his ability to reinvent himself and stay relevant across decades. The song’s infectious rhythm and Bowie’s distinctive voice make it a classic.

Listen: “Let’s Dance” – David Bowie (1983)

8.

“Take On Me” – A-Ha (1985)

Norwegian band A-ha delivered one of the 80s’ most memorable songs with “Take On Me,” thanks to its catchy melody and groundbreaking music video. The song’s high-pitched chorus and synth-pop sound epitomise the decade’s music.

Listen: “Take On Me” – A-Ha (1985)

9.

“Every Breath You Take” – The Police (1983)

Sting and The Police created a hauntingly beautiful song with “Every Breath You Take.” Its soft rock sound, combined with Sting’s evocative lyrics, resulted in one of the most iconic tracks of the 80s.

Listen: “Every Breath You Take” – The Police (1983)

10.

“Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” – Eurythmics (1983)

Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, known as Eurythmics, brought synth-pop to the forefront with “Sweet Dreams.” The song’s synthesiser riff and Lennox’s powerful vocals made it a defining track of the 80s.

Listen: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” – Eurythmics (1983)

Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s

Ballads And Love Songs

The 1980s was a decade rich in music, characterised by the emergence of new genres, the rise of iconic stars, and the creation of songs that have stood the test of time. Among these, the ballads and love songs of the ’80s hold a special place, capturing the hearts of listeners with their emotive lyrics and memorable melodies. Here, we delve into the ballads and love songs of the ’80s, each a testament to the decade’s enduring legacy in music.

1.

“Endless Love” – Lionel Richie & Diana Ross (1981)

A duet that epitomises the romantic ballad, “Endless Love” remains one of the greatest love songs ever recorded. Its melody and lyrics encapsulate the essence of deep affection.

Listen: “Endless Love” – Lionel Richie & Diana Ross (1981)

2.

“I Just Called To Say I Love You” – Stevie Wonder (1984)

With its simple yet profound lyrics, Stevie Wonder’s hit is a warm expression of love, transcending the need for a special occasion to say “I love you.”

Listen: “I Just Called To Say I Love You” – Stevie Wonder (1984)

3.

“Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper (1983)

A song that speaks to the enduring nature of love, Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” is a heartfelt promise of constant support and companionship.

Listen: “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper (1983)

4.

“Hello” – Lionel Richie (1984)

With its iconic opening line, Richie’s soulful ballad is a poignant narrative of love from afar, showcasing his talent for crafting emotionally resonant songs.

Listen: “Hello” – Lionel Richie (1984)

5.

“Crazy For You” – Madonna (1985)

Madonna, known for her pop anthems, showed her softer side with this ballad, a tender declaration of love set against a backdrop of slow, rhythmic beats.

Listen: “Crazy For You” – Madonna (1985)

6.

“Saving All My Love For You” – Whitney Houston (1985)

Whitney Houston’s powerful vocals bring to life the longing and devotion expressed in this ballad, making it a standout love song of the decade.

Listen: “Saving All My Love For You” – Whitney Houston (1985)

7.

 “Keep On Loving You” – Reo Speedwagon (1980)

With its heartfelt pledge of fidelity, this rock ballad exemplifies the genre’s ability to capture the complexities of love and relationships.

Listen: “Keep On Loving You” – Reo Speedwagon (1980)

8.

“The Power Of Love” – Jennifer Rush (1984)

A powerful anthem about love’s transformative ability, Jennifer Rush’s song is a sweeping ode to the emotion’s intensity and strength.

Listen: “The Power Of Love” – Jennifer Rush (1984)

9.

“Careless Whisper” – George Michael (1984)

Featuring one of the most recognisable saxophone solos in music history, George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” is a lament on love lost and the pain of betrayal.

Listen: “Careless Whisper” – George Michael (1984)

10.

“True” – Spandau Ballet (1983)

A smooth, soulful track synonymous with ’80s romance, “True” is a soothing ballad about unrequited love and longing.

Listen: “True” – Spandau Ballet (1983)

11.

“With Or Without You” – U2 (1987)

U2’s haunting ballad captures the torment of love and dependency, with Bono’s expressive vocals perfectly complementing the song’s introspective lyrics.

Listen: “With Or Without You” – U2 (1987)

12.

“Eternal Flame” – The Bangles (1989)

With its gentle melody and earnest inquiry about love’s permanence, this song showcases The Bangles’ softer side and remains a beloved ballad.

Listen: “Eternal Flame” – The Bangles (1989)

13.

“Heaven” – Bryan Adams (1985)

A rock ballad about the heavenliness of love, Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” combines passionate lyrics with a powerful delivery. It’s one of the songs that could make it into the Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s.

Listen: “Heaven” – Bryan Adams (1985)

14.

“Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)” – Phil Collins (1984)

Phil Collins’ heartfelt plea for a second chance in love is conveyed with raw emotion, making it one of the most poignant ballads of the ’80s.

Listen: “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)” – Phil Collins (1984)

15.

“I Want To Know What Love Is” – Foreigner (1984)

This song’s universal quest for understanding love and its soaring chorus has made it an enduring anthem of longing and discovery.

Listen: “I Want To Know What Love Is” – Foreigner (1984)

16.

“The Winner Takes It All” – Abba (1980)

ABBA’s hit is a bittersweet narrative of love’s end, delivered with the group’s signature melodic flair and emotional depth.

Listen: “The Winner Takes It All” – Abba (1980)

17.

“Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” – Soft Cell (1981)

A synth-pop ballad that explores the complexities of a parting relationship, marked by Soft Cell’s unique sound and introspective lyrics.

Listen: “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” – Soft Cell (1981)

18.

“It Must Be Love” – Madness (1981)

Madness brings a ska-infused joyfulness to the love song genre, with “It Must Be Love” celebrating love’s simple, undeniable truths.

Listen: “It Must Be Love” – Madness (1981)

19.

“You’re The Best Thing” – The Style Council (1984)

A smooth, jazzy love song that showcases Paul Weller’s songwriting prowess, celebrating love’s ability to uplift and inspire.

Listen: “You’re The Best Thing” – The Style Council (1984)

20.

“Zoom” – Fat Larry’s Band (1982)

A soulful ballad that captures the dreamy, all-encompassing nature of love, “Zoom” is a testament to the enduring appeal of ’80s love songs.

Listen: “Zoom” – Fat Larry’s Band (1982)

Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s

Rock Anthems

Many of the most iconic rock songs that have stood the test of time and won over listeners of all ages were written in the 1980s, a golden age for the genre. This decade saw the rise of MTV and music videos, the explosion of glam rock and heavy metal scenes, and the emergence of bands that would define the rock genre for years. We explore the 80s rock anthems here, listening to the music that defined a generation and changed the world forever.

1.

“Livin’ On A Prayer” – Bon Jovi (1986)

A rallying cry for the working class, Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” tells the story of Tommy and Gina, a couple fighting to survive tough times. Its infectious chorus and memorable guitar riff make it a quintessential 80s rock anthem.

Listen: “Livin’ On A Prayer” – Bon Jovi (1986)

2.

“Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses (1987)

Featuring one of the most iconic guitar intros in rock history, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is a powerful ballad that showcases Axl Rose’s vocal range and Slash’s guitar prowess.

Listen: “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses (1987)

3.

“Eye Of The Tiger” – Survivor (1982)

Written as the theme for “Rocky III,” “Eye of the Tiger” is the ultimate motivational anthem, its driving beat and gritty lyrics inspiring listeners to fight through adversity. Definitely a song to consider for the Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s.

Listen: “Eye Of The Tiger” – Survivor (1982)

4.

“Don’t Stop Believin” – Journey (1981)

With its uplifting message and sing-along chorus, “Don’t Stop Believin'” captures the essence of the 80s rock spirit, encouraging listeners to hold on to their dreams.

Listen: “Don’t Stop Believin” – Journey (1981)

5.

“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” – Joan Jett And The Blackhearts (1981)

Joan Jett’s anthem to the power of rock music is a defiant celebration of the genre, with a catchy chorus that has become a staple in rock history. It’s a prime candidate for the Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s.

Listen: “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” – Joan Jett And The Blackhearts (1981)

6.

“Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Def Leppard (1987)

A glam rock masterpiece, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is known for its suggestive lyrics and infectious rhythm, making it one of Def Leppard’s biggest hits.

Listen: “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Def Leppard (1987)

7.

“Radio Ga Ga” – Queen (1984)

Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga” is hailed as one of rock and roll’s anthems due to its infectious melody and powerful message about the impact of mass media, resonating with audiences worldwide. Its timeless appeal and Queen’s electrifying performance ensure its status as a classic in music history.

Listen: “Radio Ga Ga” – Queen (1984)

8.

“Back In Black” – Ac/Dc (1980)

As a tribute to their late bandmate Bon Scott, AC/DC’s “Back in Black” features hard-hitting lyrics and one of rock music’s most recognisable guitar riffs.

Listen: “Back In Black” – Ac/Dc (1980)

9.

“Jump” – Van Halen (1984)

Blending rock with synthesisers, “Jump” showcases Eddie Van Halen’s keyboard skills alongside his guitar solo, creating an energetic and inspiring anthem.

Listen: “Jump” – Van Halen (1984)

10.

“Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake (1982)

Whitesnake’s tale of resilience and determination, “Here I Go Again,” is a power ballad that speaks to the journey of finding oneself and moving forward. This track is a strong candidate for the Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s.

Listen: “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake (1982)

11.

“You Give Love A Bad Name” – Bon Jovi (1986)

With its catchy chorus and electrifying guitar solos, “You Give Love a Bad Name” is a rock anthem that captures the pain and passion of love gone wrong.

Listen: “You Give Love A Bad Name” – Bon Jovi (1986)

12.

“Rock You Like A Hurricane” – Scorpions (1984)

A hard rock classic, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” is known for its powerful guitar riffs and Klaus Meine’s soaring vocals, embodying the energy and intensity of the 80s rock scene. A staple in Air Shows around the world since the 1980s.

Listen: “Rock You Like A Hurricane” – Scorpions (1984)

13.

“Breaking The Law” – Judas Priest (1980)

An anthem for rebels, “Breaking the Law,” combines heavy metal with a catchy melody, showcasing Judas Priest’s influence on the genre. An excellent choice for the Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s.

Listen: “Breaking The Law” – Judas Priest (1980)

14.

“Beat It” – Michael Jackson (1982)

“Beat It” by Michael Jackson is celebrated as one of the best rock songs of the 80s for its groundbreaking fusion of rock and pop, featuring Eddie Van Halen’s legendary guitar solo and Jackson’s electrifying vocals, setting a new standard for musical innovation and crossovers.

Listen: “Beat It” – Michael Jackson (1982)

15.

“Talk Dirty To Me” – Poison (1986)

Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me” is a glam metal anthem that combines cheeky lyrics with catchy guitar hooks. It epitomises the band’s playful and provocative style.

Listen: “Talk Dirty To Me” – Poison (1986)

16.

“The Final Countdown” – Europe (1986)

With its iconic keyboard intro and epic chorus, “The Final Countdown” is a rock anthem that captures the anticipation and excitement of embarking on a new journey.

Listen: “The Final Countdown” – Europe (1986)

17.

“Kickstart My Heart” – Mötley Crüe (1989)

A high-energy track inspired by Nikki Sixx’s overdose and revival, “Kickstart My Heart” is a testament to the band’s wild lifestyle and resilience.

Listen: “Kickstart My Heart” – Mötley Crüe (1989)

18.

“Money For Nothing” – Dire Straits (1985)

Known for its groundbreaking music video and Mark Knopfler’s distinctive guitar riff, “Money for Nothing” critiques the music industry and the concept of fame.

Listen: “Money For Nothing” – Dire Straits (1985)

19.

“Summer Of ’69” – Bryan Adams (1984)

A nostalgic look back at youth and love, “Summer of ’69” is a rock anthem celebrating the formative years of Bryan Adams’s life and career.

Listen: “Summer Of ’69” – Bryan Adams (1984)

20.

“You Shook Me All Night Long” – AC/DC (1980)

The song’s lyrics tell the story of a wild night of passion and romance, capturing the energy and excitement of a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

Listen: “You Shook Me All Night Long” – AC/DC (1980)

Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s

Hip-Hop Breakthroughs

The 1980s marked a transformative era for hip-hop, transitioning from its roots in block parties and underground scenes to a dominant force in global music culture. Hip-hop became a medium for creative expression, political critique, and cultural revolution this decade. Here, we explore the breakthrough hip-hop songs of the 1980s, each contributing to the genre’s evolution and enduring legacy.

1.

“The Message” – Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (1982)

A pioneering track that shifted hip-hop from party jams to a medium for social commentary, “The Message” highlighted urban struggles, setting a precedent for conscious rap.

Listen: “The Message” – Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (1982)

2.

“Sucker M.C.’s” – Run-D.M.C. (1983)

This track’s raw energy and minimalist production departed from the disco-influenced sounds of early hip-hop, heralding the new school era.

Listen: “Sucker M.C.’s” – Run-D.M.C. (1983)

3.

“Fight The Power” – Public Enemy (1989)

An anthem of resistance and empowerment, “Fight the Power” encapsulated Public Enemy’s politically charged message and became a soundtrack for social movements.

Listen: “Fight The Power” – Public Enemy (1989)

4.

“Paid In Full” – Eric B. & Rakim (1987)

With Rakim’s complex lyricism and Eric B.’s innovative sampling, “Paid in Full” was a landmark in hip-hop’s lyrical and production standards.

Listen: “Paid In Full” – Eric B. & Rakim (1987)

5.

“Straight Outta Compton” – N.W.A (1988)

Introducing gangsta rap to a wider audience, N.W.A.’s explosive debut challenged censorship and portrayed the realities of life in South Central L.A.

Listen: “Straight Outta Compton” – N.W.A (1988)

6.

 “I’m Bad” – Ll Cool J (1987)

L.L. Cool J’s boastful lyrics and aggressive delivery on “I’m Bad” exemplified the braggadocio and swagger that would become staples in hip-hop persona.

Listen:  “I’m Bad” – Ll Cool J (1987)

7.

“Paul Revere” – Beastie Boys (1986)

A storytelling masterpiece with a reversed beat, “Paul Revere” showcased the Beastie Boys’ unique style, blending humor with hip-hop.

Listen: “Paul Revere” – Beastie Boys (1986)

8.

“Children’s Story” – Slick Rick (1988)

Slick Rick’s narrative prowess shone in “Children’s Story,” a cautionary tale highlighting his storytelling ability and influence on hip-hop narrative techniques.

Listen: “Children’s Story” – Slick Rick (1988)

9.

“Me Myself And I” – De La Soul (1989)

De La Soul’s playful lyrics and eclectic samples on “Me Myself and I” introduced a lighter, alternative perspective to hip-hop’s golden age.

Listen: “Me Myself And I” – De La Soul (1989)

10.

“Ain’t No Half-Steppin'” – Big Daddy Kane (1988)

With his smooth flow and sharp wordplay, Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half-Steppin'” solidified his status as one of hip-hop’s premier lyricists.

Listen: “Ain’t No Half-Steppin'” – Big Daddy Kane (1988)

11.

“My Philosophy” – Boogie Down Productions (1988)

KRS-One’s insightful commentary on “My Philosophy” blended philosophy with social critique, pushing the boundaries of hip-hop’s lyrical content.

Listen: “My Philosophy” – Boogie Down Productions (1988)

12.

“Push It” – Salt-N-Pepa (1986)

“Push It” brought female voices to the forefront of hip-hop, combining catchy hooks with Salt-N-Pepa’s empowering messages.

Listen: “Push It” – Salt-N-Pepa (1986)

13.

“It Takes Two” – Rob Base And Dj E-Z Rock (1988)

A party anthem transcending hip-hop, “It Takes Two,” utilised a James Brown sample to create a universally appealing sound.

Listen: “It Takes Two” – Rob Base And Dj E-Z Rock (1988)

14.

“You Gots To Chill” – Epmd (1988)

EPMD’s laid-back flow and funk-infused beats on “You Gots to Chill” exemplified the duo’s chemistry and influence on hip-hop’s sonic landscape. It’s certainly a top contender for the Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s.

Listen: “You Gots To Chill” – Epmd (1988)

15.

“The Show” – Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick (1985)

Combining Doug E. Fresh’s beatboxing with Slick Rick’s storytelling, “The Show” was a groundbreaking collaboration that showcased hip-hop’s diverse artistry.

Listen: “The Show” – Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick (1985)

16.

“Planet Rock” – Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force (1982)

Merging hip-hop with electronic music, “Planet Rock” was a futuristic anthem that expanded hip-hop’s musical boundaries. A solid pick for the Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s list.

Listen: “Planet Rock” – Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force (1982)

17.

“The Breaks” – Kurtis Blow (1980)

One of hip-hop’s earliest commercial successes, “The Breaks,” highlighted Kurtis Blow’s charisma and the genre’s crossover potential.

Listen: “The Breaks” – Kurtis Blow (1980)

18.

“F*** Tha Police” – N.W.A. (1988)

“F*** the Police” by N.W.A. is a groundbreaking hip-hop track that challenged authority and shed light on issues of police brutality and racial profiling, making it a powerful and controversial anthem of its time.

Listen: “F*** Tha Police” – N.W.A. (1988)

19.

“Cha Cha Cha” – Mc Lyte (1989)

MC Lyte’s “Cha Cha Cha” showcased her lyrical prowess and stood out as a powerful female voice in a predominantly male industry.

Listen: “Cha Cha Cha” – Mc Lyte (1989)

20.

“6 ‘n The Mornin'” – Ice-T (1986)

A precursor to gangsta rap, “6 ‘N the Mornin'” depicted street life with Ice-T’s vivid storytelling and gritty realism. It’s a strong contender for inclusion in the Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s.

Listen: “6 ‘n The Mornin'” – Ice-T (1986)

Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s

Synth-Pop And New Wave

The 1980s was a decade of musical innovation and transformation, where synthesizers’ sounds and new wave rhythms took the world by storm. This era birthed an array of songs that not only defined the musical landscape of the time but also left an indelible mark on the history of music. Here, we dive into the synth-pop and new wave songs of the 80s, celebrating the tracks that resonate with global audiences.

1.

“Life in a Northern Town” – The Dream Academy (1985)

synth-pop and new wave song by the British band The Dream Academy. Released in 1985 as the lead single from their self-titled debut album, the song quickly became a hit and remains one of the band’s most popular tracks.

Listen: “Life in a Northern Town” – The Dream Academy (1985)

2.

 “Under Pressure” – Queen & David Bowie (1981)

Under Pressure” received widespread critical acclaim and commercial success, topping the charts in multiple countries. Its powerful message and infectious energy struck a chord with listeners, making it a timeless anthem that continues to resonate with worldwide audiences.

Listen:  “Under Pressure” – Queen & David Bowie (1981)

3.

“Don’t You Want Me” – The Human League (1981)

This track by The Human League is a staple of 80s synth-pop. It’s catchy chorus and synthesiser backdrop tell a story of love and rejection. It’s a song that defined the genre and the era.

Listen: “Don’t You Want Me” – The Human League (1981)

4.

“Blue Monday” – New Order (1983)

“Blue Monday” by New Order is among the best-selling 12-inch singles ever. Its driving beat, synthesiser bassline, and sequencer melody made it a groundbreaking track in the dance music scene.

Listen: “Blue Monday” – New Order (1983)

5.

 “Just Can’t Get Enough” – Depeche Mode (1981)

Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” is an upbeat track that showcases the band’s early synth-pop sound. Its infectious melody and optimistic lyrics made it a hit and a fan favorite.

Listen:  “Just Can’t Get Enough” – Depeche Mode (1981)

6.

“Tainted Love” – Soft Cell (1981)

Soft Cell’s cover of “Tainted Love” transformed the soul classic into a synth-pop masterpiece. The song’s distinctive synth riff and Marc Almond’s emotive vocals made it one of the most iconic tracks of the 80s.

Listen: “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell (1981)

7.

“Never Gonna Give You Up” – Rick Astley (1987)

“Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley is a quintessential synth-pop anthem of the 80s, known for its catchy melody and infectious groove. Its resurgence on the internet as part of the “Rickrolling” meme has cemented its status as a cultural icon, showcasing its enduring popularity and influence in the digital age.

Listen: “Cars” – Gary Numan (1979)

8.

“Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – Tears For Fears (1985)

With its blend of synthesisers, guitars, and thoughtful lyrics, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears became an anthem of the 80s. The song’s universal message of power and corruption resonates to this day.

Listen: “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – Tears For Fears (1985)

9.

“West End Girls” – Pet Shop Boys (1984)

With its synth-pop arrangements and deadpan vocals by Neil Tennant, “West End Girls” by Pet Shop Boys is a synth-pop masterpiece. The song’s commentary on class and inner-city pressure showcased the duo’s knack for thoughtful pop music.

Listen: “West End Girls” – Pet Shop Boys (1984)

10.

“Mr. Roboto” – Styx (1983)

“Mr. Roboto” by Styx is often considered a prominent example of synth-pop music due to its prominent use of synthesizers and electronic elements, coupled with catchy melodies and futuristic themes, embodying the essence of the synth-pop genre popularized in the 1980s.

Listen: “Mr. Roboto” – Styx (1983)

One Hit Wonder

One-Hit Wonders

The 1980s was a decade rich in musical diversity, marked by the rise of genres like synth-pop, new wave, and the burgeoning hip-hop scene. Amidst this sonic boom, a unique phenomenon emerged: the one-hit wonder. These artists graced the charts with a single unforgettable hit, leaving an indelible mark on the music landscape despite never replicating their initial success. Here, we celebrate the one-hit wonders of the 80s, a collection of artists and bands whose brief flirtation with fame resulted in some of the most iconic tracks of the decade.

1.

“Bette Davis Eyes” By Kim Carnes (1981)

A mesmerising pop-rock anthem is known for its distinctive synth riff and Carnes’ raspy vocals. It was one of the most popular songs of the 1980s. The song’s catchy tune and powerful lyrics made it a hit.

Listen: “Bette Davis Eyes” By Kim Carnes (1981)

2.

 “Walking On Sunshine” By Katrina And The Waves (1985)

An infectious pop-rock anthem celebrated for its upbeat tempo and optimistic lyrics. The song’s catchy melody and energetic rhythm became a feel-good classic, inspiring listeners to embrace positivity and dance their cares away. This song definitely deserves a spot among the Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s.

Listen:  “Walking On Sunshine” By Katrina And The Waves (1985)

3.

“Come On Eileen” – Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)

Blending folk melodies with pop sensibilities, Dexys Midnight Runners struck gold with “Come On Eileen,” a song synonymous with 80s music nostalgia.

Listen: “Come On Eileen” – Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)

4.

“Video Killed The Radio Star” – The Buggles (1980)

Marking the dawn of the MTV era, The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” is remembered for its catchy tune and is the first music video aired on MTV.

Listen: “Video Killed The Radio Star” – The Buggles (1980)

5.

“867-5309/Jenny” – Tommy Tutone (1981)

Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny” became an instant classic, with its memorable phone number chorus becoming a piece of pop culture trivia.

Listen: “867-5309/Jenny” – Tommy Tutone (1981)

6.

“I Ran” – A Flock Of Seagulls (1982)

With its distinctive synthesiser hook and futuristic aesthetic, “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls epitomised the sound and style of 80s new wave music.

Listen: “I Ran” – A Flock Of Seagulls (1982)

7.

“Relax” – Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1984)

Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s provocative “Relax” stirred controversy while dominating the charts. It became a dance floor anthem with its bold lyrics and pulsating beats.

Listen: “Relax” – Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1984)

8.

“Electric Avenue” – Eddy Grant (1982)

Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” brought reggae rhythms to the mainstream, addressing social and political issues with a catchy refrain that made it a global hit.

Listen: “Electric Avenue” – Eddy Grant (1982)

9.

“Mickey” – Toni Basil (1981)

The cheerleader anthem “Mickey” by Toni Basil combined pop hooks with a high-energy video, making it one of the most recognizable and enduring hits of the 1980s.

Listen: “Mickey” – Toni Basil (1981)

10.

“In A Big Country” – Big Country (1983)

Big Country’s “In a Big Country” stood out for its anthemic quality and distinctive guitar sounds that mimicked bagpipes, encapsulating the spirit of 80s rock.

Listen: “In A Big Country” – Big Country (1983)

11.

“Somebody’s Watching Me” – Rockwell (1984)

Featuring backing vocals by Michael Jackson, Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” fused funk and paranoia into a hit that resonated with listeners.

Listen: “Somebody’s Watching Me” – Rockwell (1984)

12.

“99 Luftballons” – Nena (1984)

German band Nena’s anti-war anthem, “99 Luftballons,” achieved international success and symbolized 80s pop music’s global reach.

Listen: “99 Luftballons” – Nena (1984)

13.

“It’s Raining Men” – The Weather Girls (1983)

The Weather Girls’ disco hit “It’s Raining Men” became a dance floor staple and an enduring anthem of empowerment and celebration. Surely a contender for the Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s.

Listen: “It’s Raining Men” – The Weather Girls (1983)

14.

“Too Shy” – Kajagoogoo (1983)

Kajagoogoo’s “Too Shy” captured the essence of synth-pop with its catchy melody and sleek production, making it a quintessential 80s track.

Listen: “Too Shy” – Kajagoogoo (1983)

15.

“Maniac” – Michael Sembello (1983)

Featured in the movie “Flashdance,” Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” became synonymous with the 80s dance craze, driven by its energetic rhythm and memorable lyrics.

Listen: “Maniac” – Michael Sembello (1983)

16.

“Turning Japanese” – The Vapors (1980)

Despite the band’s fleeting success, the Vapors’ “Turning Japanese” is remembered for its catchy riff and quirky lyrics.

Listen: “Turning Japanese” – The Vapors (1980)

17.

“The Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats (1982)

With its iconic dance and message of non-conformity, “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats became an anthem for the alternative scene.

Listen: “The Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats (1982)

18.

“Voices Carry” – ’til Tuesday (1985)

‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” stood out for its emotional depth and Aimee Mann’s distinctive vocals, making it a hit that transcended its one-hit wonder status.

Listen: “Voices Carry” – ’til Tuesday (1985)

19.

“Break My Stride” – Matthew Wilder (1983)

Matthew Wilder’s “Break My Stride” combined reggae and pop elements into a feel-good track symbolising perseverance and joy. A definite candidate for Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s.

Listen: “Break My Stride” – Matthew Wilder (1983)

20.

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – Bobby Mcferrin (1988)

Bobby McFerrin’s a cappella hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” offered a simple yet profound message of positivity, becoming a timeless reminder to embrace happiness.

Listen: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – Bobby Mcferrin (1988)

Conclusion

So that’s our Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s. In the 1980s, music underwent significant changes, with artists exploring new sounds and styles that produced timeless classics. The advent of music videos and the rise of MTV revolutionized how people engaged with music, creating a nostalgic connection to the era’s iconic tracks. Today, the resurgence of 80s music in various media platforms like movies and social media, coupled with its ability to evoke feelings of nostalgia and joy, has cemented its enduring popularity, reminding us of the creativity and innovation that defined this remarkable decade.

From unforgettable love ballads to energetic rock anthems and the emergence of hip-hop, the 1980s witnessed a diverse array of musical genres that left an indelible mark on the industry. Iconic hits like “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper and “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey captivated listeners with their moving lyrics and infectious melodies, while hip-hop tracks like “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy challenged cultural norms and pushed creative boundaries. Additionally, the era saw the rise of synth-pop and new wave rhythms, with chart-toppers like “Take On Me” by A-Ha and “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell defining the era’s innovative sound.

 

Also, check out our other blogs: Top 100 Songs Of The 1970s, 100 Best Wedding Dance Floor Songs / Music, or Top 100 songs of the 1950s for more song lists.

Feel the excitement at your event with Melbourne Entertainment Company! From live bands to DJs and beyond, we offer a diverse range of entertainment options to make your party unforgettable. You and your guests will have a great time and remember it for a long time.

Content Summary

Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s
  • A vibrant mix of genres, including pop, rock, new wave, and synth-pop, marked the 1980s music scene.
  • This era is celebrated for its wide range of iconic songs that symbolise the lively spirit of the decade.
Why 80s Music Is So Popular?: Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s
  • The article explores the top 100 songs of the 1980s, highlighting their impact on culture and enduring popularity.
  • 80s Music’s appeal spans generations, captivating those who experienced the decade firsthand and younger audiences.
  • The decade was a period of significant musical innovation, with artists experimenting with new sounds and styles.
  • Music videos, introduced in the 80s, played a crucial role in visually connecting artists with their audience.
Pop Icons: Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s
  • Nostalgia for the 80s is a key factor in the enduring popularity of its Music, evoking memories of a simpler time.
  • The diversity of 80s Music, from punk rock to heavy metal, ensures something for everyone from this era.
  • Modern media, including movies and TV series, have played a role in reintroducing 80s Music to new audiences.
  • The resurgence of 80s Music is partly driven by nostalgia, offering a comforting connection to the past.
  • Pop culture has significantly influenced the revival of 1980s Music, with its inclusion in current media.
  • The 1980s were revolutionary for Music, fashion, and style, with the birth of music videos and the rise of MTV
  • Pop icons of the 80s, like Michael Jackson and Madonna, made their mark with timeless hits.
Ballads And Love Songs: Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s
  • Ballads and love songs of the 80s, such as “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie & Diana Ross, captured hearts with emotive lyrics.
  • Rock anthems like “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi became symbols of the decade’s energy and spirit.
  • Hip-hop breakthroughs, including “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, marked the genre’s prominence.
  • Synth-pop and new wave tracks, like “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics, defined the musical landscape of the 80s.
One-Hit Wonders: Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s
  • One-hit wonders of the 80s, such as “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes, left a lasting impact despite the artists’ brief chart success.
  • The article delves into the reasons behind 80s Music’s popularity, including its innovation, nostalgia, and cultural impact.
  • The role of media and technology in the resurgence of 80s Music highlights its continued relevance.
  • The influence of pop culture on the popularity of 80s Music demonstrates its integration into contemporary entertainment.
  • Exploring top 80s songs offers insight into the decade’s musical diversity and legacy.
  • The list of top 100 songs from the 80s includes a variety of genres, showcasing the decade’s eclectic musical scene.
  • The enduring appeal of 80s Music across different age groups underscores its timeless quality.
  • The article comprehensively overviews the 1980s music scene, from pop icons to one-hit wonders.
  • The innovation and freshness of 80s Music contributed to its classic status and appeal today.
  • Nostalgia played a significant role in the popularity of 80s music, connecting listeners to a bygone era.
Rock Anthems: Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s
  • The diversity of musical genres in the 80s means that the decade’s Music has something to offer for every listener.
  • The resurgence of 80s Music in modern media has introduced these classic sounds to a new generation.
  • The power of nostalgia in driving the popularity of 80s Music highlights its emotional impact on listeners.
  • The influence of 80s Music on pop culture is evident in its frequent inclusion in contemporary media.
  • The article’s exploration of the top 100 songs of the 80s is a tribute to the decade’s influence on music history.
  • The list of top songs includes iconic tracks from pop, rock, hip-hop, synth-pop, and new wave genres.
  • The selection of songs reflects the 1980s’ role as a pivotal decade in Music, characterised by innovation and diversity.
  • The enduring popularity of 80s Music is attributed to its unique blend of catchy melodies, innovative sounds, and cultural significance.
  • The article highlights the cultural and social impact of 80s Music, linking it to significant events and trends.
  • The inclusion of music videos in the 80s music scene revolutionised how artists connected with their audience.
  • The list of top 100 songs from the 80s includes tracks that have become anthems for various reasons, from their lyrical content to their groundbreaking production.
  • Exploring different musical genres within the 80s underscores the decade’s eclectic and experimental nature.
  • The article’s focus on one-hit wonders of the 80s showcases the fleeting nature of fame but the lasting impact of certain songs.
Hip-Hop Breakthroughs: Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s
  • The discussion of hip-hop’s rise during the 80s highlights the genre’s evolution from underground scenes to mainstream success.
  • The impact of rock anthems on the 80s music scene is noted, with songs that captured the spirit of rebellion and innovation.
  • The significance of ballads and love songs in the 80s music landscape is explored, emphasising their emotional depth and universal appeal.
Synth-Pop And New Wave: Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s
  • The role of synth-pop and new wave in defining the sound of the 80s is highlighted, with tracks that utilised synthesisers to create memorable melodies.
  • The article provides insights into the reasons behind the lasting appeal of 80s Music, from its innovative production techniques to its thematic diversity.
  • The influence of 80s Music on contemporary artists and genres demonstrates its ongoing relevance in the music industry.
  • The exploration of 80s Music’s role in pop culture reveals its contribution to defining the aesthetic and sound of the decade.
  • The list of top 100 songs from the 80s is a comprehensive guide to the decade’s musical highlights and enduring classics. Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s
  • The article’s focus on the cultural significance of 80s Music underscores its role in reflecting and shaping societal trends.
  • The enduring popularity of 80s Music, as explored in the article, showcases its timeless appeal and continued influence on Music and culture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Criteria Are Used To Select The Songs On The List?

Criteria for selecting the top songs of the 80s can vary depending on the source. Generally, factors such as chart success, critical acclaim, cultural significance, and enduring popularity are considered.

Are There Any Notable One-Hit Wonders In The “Top 100 Songs Of The 80s”?

Yes, the “Top 100 Songs of the 80s” includes several notable one-hit wonders, artists who achieved significant success with a single song but could not replicate it with subsequent releases. These tracks, such as “Take On Me” by A-ha and “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell, remain enduring symbols of the decade. Despite the artists’ brief chart-topping success, their hits have stood the test of time, continuing to be celebrated and remembered for their catchy melodies, innovative production, and impact on the music scene of the 1980s.

What legacy has the “Top 100 Songs Of The 80s” left on pop culture and music?

The “Top 100 Songs of the 80s” have left an indelible mark on pop culture and the music industry, influencing the sound of subsequent generations of musicians and fashion, film, and television. The decade’s Music introduced a level of diversity and innovation that set new standards for creativity and production in the industry. Many of the era’s songs have been sampled, covered, or remixed by contemporary artists, demonstrating their lasting influence. Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s

What Genres Of Music Were Popular In The 80s?

The 1980s saw the rise of various musical genres, including pop, rock, new wave, synth-pop, punk, hip-hop, electronic, and heavy metal. Each genre contributed to the vibrant and diverse music scene of the decade. Top 100 Songs Of The 1980s

Are There Any Trends Or Themes Common In 80s Music?

The 80s witnessed the emergence of synthesisers and electronic production techniques, leading to synth-pop and new-wave music prominence. Additionally, themes of love, relationships, partying, societal issues, and political commentary were prevalent in 80s song lyrics.

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