In the 80s - Top Ten Lists of Eighties Songs

What are your top ten favorite songs from the 80s?

This page currently edited by: Quirk. Past editor: RetroGuyDK, Absolutely Vile, Junior

By: Jim's Limelight Dancfloor Obscurities
  • 10. Dead Eyes Open by Severed Heads
    Anything goes lyrics, with great music behind it
  • 9. Pale Shelter (Razormaid Mix) by Tears for Fears
    Great song made better by Razormaid
  • 8. Don't Argue by Cabaret Voltaire
    Great beat...easy...nope, won't say it
  • 7. I Wanna Be Adored by Stone Roses
    Taking it down a notch
  • 6. On Your Own by Pete Shelley
    Great roof down cruising song
  • 5. Appetite by Prefab Spout
    One of Graham Dean and Rock Over London's favourites!
  • 4. Stripped by Depeche Mode
    Crossing the line of losing clothes and skin!!
  • 3. I Travel by Simple Minds
    Pre-Pop driving dance song
  • 2. Ceremony by Joy Division
    Darker New Order lead precursor
  • 1. Jack the Ripper by The Smiths
    Haunting, even for them!!
Nothing could match the numerous nights hanging at Limelight, Neo, Exit and other clubs in Chicago during the mid 1980's. Met my wife, and lusted after many others while listening to these and many others. Nothing much could beat Limelight's dance floor's speakers!!
By: Materande
  • 10. We Built This City by Starship
    Great Song from a great band!
  • 9. Dancing With Tears In My Eys by Ultravox
    A lot of Emotions coming up when I dance to this great song!
  • 8. Goonies R Good Enough by Cyndie Lauper
    Great Song, great Movie
  • 7. Don`t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds
    Great Song, great Movie
  • 6. Where The Streets Have No Name by U2
    I always feel great when I am listening to this song!
  • 5. True by Spandau Ballet
    Sixteen Candles Rules! This song too!
  • 4. We Belong by Pat Benatar
    I love this song!
  • 3. Dancin On The Ceiling by Lionel Richie
    Great song for 80s Partys!
  • 2. St. Elmo's Fire by John Parr
    Great Song for a great movie
  • 1. With Or Without You by U2
    I think this is the just best song ever!
The 80s RULE!!
By: Jerry in Gladstone, Oregon
  • 10. Cool It Now by New Edition
    Could there ever be a follow up to the Jackson 5 that made anyone dance more than these guys? Maurice Starr found a talent trough here in Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, and the other 3 guys who went on to form Bell, Biv Devoe
  • 9. Physical by Olivia Newton John
    How quickly people today want to forget that we all had the headbands and workout outfits going in 1982 when ONJ was telling us to get "Physical", it went number 1 for 10 weeks, and for good reason.
  • 8. Strut by Sheena Easton
    "Strut, pout, put it out"... who could question those words? Exactly what we all wanted from the sexy little Easton, especially if you were a Junior in High School, like I was when she hit number one with this number.
  • 7. Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears
    Come on... admit it, who didn't try to do the hand rotating, semi-robotic dance that came along with this video? Catchy mainstream release from the fellas who brought us "The Hurting"... and it went all the way to number 1.
  • 6. Go Crazy (long version) by Prince & The Revolution
    The short version really was not fair for listeners in 1984. The first song requested countless times to be played, "long form", since we all wanted to hear Prince preach, "Dearly Beloved, we r gathered to day to get thru this thing called life." #1 for 4 weeks didn't hurt any either
  • 5. Stuck On You by Lionel Richie
    I chose this for Lionel, despite his other #1 hits, because this song was so simple from "Can't Slow Down" and because it went #3 on the Country Charts as well. Not bad for an African American not named Charley Pride. Lionel owned the 80's and we thank him for his numerous contributions
  • 4. True by Spandau Ballet
    When Steve Buscemi can parody your song in the 1998 Hit The Wedding Singer, you know you've got a winner on your hands. Sure, they never quite had the success with Gold or Fly For You, that they did with True, but this ballad was definitely a key song of the 80's generation.
  • 3. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
    This number 1 ballad from the "unusual" Lauper was key to the 80's being about heart and soul, as much as sound and content. Romy and Michelle's Class Reunion has an incredible dance sequence with Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow and Alan Cumming that is simply to die for, while Cyndi plays. If you haven't seen it, you need to... it's epic!
  • 2. Thriller by Michael Jackson
    Sure, we all know Michael is the king of the 80's, no question! However, this is his "HIT" of the 80's, hands down... I mean, when you think Halloween Songs, is there any other song that you think of besides Thriller and Monster Mash? Nope, me neither. I talked with a couple of friends of mine in radio, and they say they get 100's of requests a year, during Halloween and the Friday and Saturday of that week, for Thriller, to the point where they play it once an hour, and still get more requests for it. Now that's staying power!
  • 1. Romancing The Stone by Eddy Grant
    I know, I'm going to get some email on this one, but if you haven't listened to this Top 30 hit from Eddy Grant, the theme song to the 1984 movie of the same name, then don't send those emails just yet. Everyone knows about the success of his #2 hit, Electric Avenue, however it is in Romancing The Stone that we have the greatest portrayal of movie theme in movie song, ever!
Of course I left out the rock songs of the 80's, but who doesn't mention and re-mention those? These songs were what the 80's were really about, big hair, piercings, being slow in the middle of fast, being bold when you meant to be cautious. The 80's had the greatest collection of music ever, no question, however it's disheartening to me that certain songs, many of the more forgettable ones, are the ones that pop up in numerous "best of collections" in the 80's and it tends to give our generation a bad name.
  • 10. Ain't Even Done With the Night by John Mellencamp
    Before Mellencamp was a superstar, he released this tender little ditty.
  • 9. To Live and Die in L.A. by Wang Chung
    A very underrated song from an equally underated movie. Hypnotizing.
  • 8. Tender is the Night by Jackson Browne
    "In the Shape of a Heart" is a close second to this dulcet ballad.
  • 7. Changes by Yes
    Barely edges "Owner of a Lonely Heart." In fact, the entire album: 90125 is a progressive rock masterpiece.
  • 6. Hysteria by Def Leppard
    Melodic title track to the best selling hard rock album in history.
  • 5. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
    "Thriller" was the first album I ever bought, and this song was the best of all.
  • 4. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns n' Roses
    Simply rocks.
  • 3. In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
    Best use of a song in an 80's movie. Who could forget John Cusack in "Say Anything..."
  • 2. Where the Streets Have No Name by U2
    Just edges out "All I Want Is You." Both are featured in the film "Rattle and Hum," which has to be the best rock documentary of the decade.
  • 1. Boys of Summer by Don Henley
    Insightful and catchy. Has enjoyed a resurgence on the radio, after being covered by The Ataris.
I have too many honorable mentions to mention. "Send Her My Love" Journey, "Two Sides of Love" Sammy Hagar, "Waiting for a Girl Like You" Foreigner, "Live to Tell" Madonna, "Downbound Train" Bruce Springsteen, "Souls" Rick Springfield, "It's a Mistake" Men at Work, "Keep on Loving You" REO Speedwagon, "Fade to Black" Metallica, "Queen of the Broken Hearts" Loverboy, must stop typing...
By: Shakedisease
  • 10. Lost In The Shadow by Lou Gramm
    Song from "The Lost Boys"
  • 9. Maria Magdalena by Sandra
  • 8. Wouldn't It Be Good by Nik Kershaw
    Nik Kershaw is a big singer
  • 7. Sunglasses At Night by Corey Hart
    Full in emotion
  • 6. Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears
    Fantastic song
  • 5. Too Shy by Kajagoogoo
  • 4. Dancing With Tears In My Eyes by Ultravox
  • 3. Goones Good Enough by Cyndi Lauper
    Song from "The Goonies"
  • 2. I'm free by Kenny Loggins
    Song from "Footloose"
  • 1. Shake The Disease by Depeche Mode
    Depeche mode are great
By: J-o-e
  • 10. With or Without You by U2
    One in my opinion is their best track but this is strong song and well defined,and kind of like the Every Breath you take of later 80s
  • 9. Walk This Way by Run Dmc
    Brought hiphop to the pop age, my third favroite hip hop song ever,RIP Jam Master Jay
  • 8. Every Breath You Take by The Police
    Sting's coup de grace, psycho song,for a damn good band, too bad diddy ruined it 14 yrs later, great riff ,simple and to the point song
  • 7. Like A Virgin by Madonna
    The 80s most dominant woman of 80s, and this is her defining song(though I like take a bow and music better personally)and nile rodgers,the producer of 80s(wild boys,lets dance and this for starters)best female sung song of 80s
  • 6. Don't You Want Me Baby by Human League
    Synths, synths and more synths only personal jesus fans can make argument about this song being in top 10, definitive 80s no doubt about it
  • 5. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns 'n' Roses
    One of ten best guitar riffs of all time, classic ballad for kick ass for the real question Axl WTF are you doing with buckethead,get back with slash and them
  • 4. Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor
    The riff, the song, the hit, and precursor to Eminems lose yourself, underrated song that belongs in top 5
  • 3. Faith by George Michael
    For good or bad, the precursor for ass shaking,boy band making hits,but a damn good song, that is so simple its ridiculous
  • 2. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
    The only Michael Jackson that in 30 yrs people will say he was the man, about. Great drum track, and definitve R and B song of 80's
  • 1. When Doves Cry by Prince
    Took out the bassline,used linn drum(which is huge sound of 80s and late 70s) and defined the artist no pun intended(though george michael and michael jackson fans can argue this)of the 80s
Top 5 songs to miss cut 5. Institutionalized--suicidal tendencies,makes you want a pepsi eh,great damn song 4. The Message---the first great hiphop joint 3.Shout--Tears For Fears---great pop song,infleuncing everyone from neptunes to disturbed, great use of fairlight 2. Another Brick in the Wall---floyd, great band wouldve made top ten but other songs slightly more powerful to me i guess but floyd woooooooo 1. Kiss---aaah try playing this song and not getting some, awesome riff, Princes other defining song
By: 80s child
  • 10. Look Of Love/poison Arrow by ABC
    You can dance to this cry to this or wateva they are sooo versitile
  • 9. Relax/Two Tribes by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
    Both gr8 dancing tunes
  • 8. Hold Me Now by Thompson Twins
    I got this song on vinyl and it rocks
  • 7. House Of Fun by Madness
    Can't believe no one has sent this in yet beats "Our House" by far
  • 6. Boom Boom (lets Go Back To My Room) by Paul Lekakis
    This song is gr8 to dance to anywhere anytime
  • 5. Don't You Want Me Baby? by Human League
    This song is sooo catchy
  • 4. Hip To Be Square by Huey Lewis And The News
    This song is for the square in all of us
  • 3. Rio by Duran Duran
    This has to be the best song by this band. the film clip waz awesome too
  • 2. Cherry Pie by Warrant
    This song just rocks and the film clip is awesomely funny
  • 1. You Might Think (I'm Crazy) by The Cars
    This song is the best of the best band eva!!!
Tther bands that deserve mention are "Def Leppard - Love Bites", "Men Without Hats - Safety Dance", "Bon Jovi - Livin' on a Prayer", "B52s - Rock Lobster", "Bauhaus - Ziggy Stardust", "Billy Idol - Rebel Yell", "Corey Hart - Sunglasses at Night", these all rock!!! keep on livin the 80s fellow 80s childs
By: Stephanie Conroy
  • 10. Wings Of A Dove by Madness
  • 9. Get The Balance Right by Depeche Mode
  • 8. Watching The Wildlife by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
    my fav frankie song, don't know why
  • 7. Rip It Up by Orange Juice
  • 6. Footloose by Kenny Loggins
    just makes me want to dance!
  • 5. Big In Japan by Alphaville
    Great song
  • 4. Don't You Forget About Me by Simple Minds
    Went down on my list when Jim Kerr married Patsy Kensit LOL
  • 3. Brilliant Mind by Furniture
    This is fantastic
  • 2. First Picture Of You by Lotus Eaters
    I still play this song nearly every day!
  • 1. Dream To Sleep by H20
    Best song ever made
By: DJ LB Jones
  • 10. The Message by Grandmasterflash And The Furious Five.
  • 9. You Got It All Over by The Jets
  • 8. Mercedes Boy by Pebbles
  • 7. I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man by Prince
  • 6. We Got Our Own Thing by Heavy D.and The Boys
  • 5. Tears Are Not Enough by ABC
  • 4. Catch Me I'm Falling by Pretty Poison
  • 3. Ani't Nothing Going On But The Rent by Gwen Guthrie
  • 2. I Feel For You by Chaka Khan
  • 1. Cassanova by Levert
By: Hussien
  • 10. Alone by Heart
  • 9. the Final Countdown by Europe
  • 8. Careless Whisper by George Michael
  • 7. Hello by Lionel Richie
  • 6. Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx
  • 5. One More Night by Phil Collins
  • 4. Take On Me by A-ha
  • 3. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
  • 2. Can't Fight This Feeling by Reo Speedwagon
  • 1. We Are The World by U.S.A. for Africa
11 "Foreigner - Waiting For A Girl Like You" 12 "Madonna - La Isla Bonita" 13 "Prince - When Doves Cry" 14 "Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse Of The Heart" 15 "Toto - Africa" 16 "Billy Joel - Uptown Girl" 17 "Survivor - Eye of the Tiger" 18 "Modern Talking - You`re My Heart, You`re My Soul" 19 "The Police - Every Breath You Take" 20 "Laura Branigan - Self Control"
By: Alberto
  • 10. She's Wicked by Fuzztones
  • 9. Summer fun by Barracudas
  • 8. Superman by R.E.M.
  • 7. Tell Me When It's Over by Dream Syndicate
  • 6. American Beat by Fleshtones
  • 5. I Want You Back by Hoodoo gurus
  • 4. Greatness & Perfection of Love by Julian Cope
  • 3. Will The Wolf Survive? by Los Lobos
  • 2. It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Fee by R.E.M.
  • 1. Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo
Best Venue: Slego (Rimini-Italy)
By: Steven
  • 10. Nothings Gonna Change My Love For You by Glen Mederios
  • 9. Wild Boys by Duran Duran
  • 8. Keep me hanging on by Kim Wilde
  • 7. Take on me by A-Ha
  • 6. Take My Breath Away by Berlin
  • 5. Don't Leave Me This Way by Communards
  • 4. Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
  • 3. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
  • 2. The Sun Always Shines On TV by A-Ha
  • 1. I Think We're Alone Now by Tiffany
By: Dikla
By: Cadjamie
By: Shakedisease
  • 10. Lost in the shadow by Lou Gramm
    Song from "The Lost Boys", big original soundtrack
  • 9. Maria Magdalena by Sandra
  • 8. Wouldn't It Be Good by Nik Kershaw
    I love Nik Kershaw
  • 7. Sunglasses At Night by Corey Hart
  • 6. Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears
  • 5. Too shy by Kajagoogoo
    I don't know why I love this song. lol
  • 4. Dancing With Tears In My Eyes by Ultravox
    Crying song
  • 3. Good enough by Cyndi Lauper
    Song from The goonies
  • 2. I'm Free by Kenny Loggins
    Song from "Footloose", big song, it's a big representation of 80's
  • 1. Shake The Disease by Depeche Mode
    Depeche mode are the best
80's is the greatest period of the times
By: Ste
  • 10. Don't Stop Believin' by Journey
    A great ballad with an even better solo
  • 9. Hysteria by Def Leppard
    Not far off Love Bites.This is a much more easy listenin and pleasant but not quite the same emotion
  • 8. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
    Why is this not included in everyones list this is amazing
  • 7. I Ran by A Flock Of Seagulls
    This is absolutley brilliant,even though they only had 2decent songs
  • 6. Money For Nothing by Dire Straits
    NOVELTY this song is novelty and the geetarin is ace
  • 5. With Or Without You by U2
    Bono is brilliant he puts everything into this song this is a slow powerful song
  • 4. Here I Go Again by Whitesnake
    I'm still not sure which I prefer this, or "is this love?" this is rock at its best
  • 3. Hotel California by The Eagles
    Absolute legends the eagles, I usually prefer rockin songs but this is a touch of class (Editor: This doesn't really count, "Hotel California" came out in 1976)
  • 2. Livin' On A Prayer by Bon Jovi
    What needs to be said?
  • 1. Love Bites by Def Leppard
    Absolutely colossus power ballad,definetly def leps best
Unbelievably cheesy but its my list so hey
By: Lee Sherman
  • 10. Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles
    I love how Classical orchestration and synthpop are mixed in this song (in the long version).
  • 9. Der Kommissar by After the Fire
    Near as I can tell, this song is about our repressive society. The 3 notes played on the echoey electric guitar in the background are as awesome as any riff by Hendrix or Gilmour.
  • 8. The Fall by The Electric Light Orchestra
    This song from the "Xanadu" soundtrack is sadly overlooked, even by E.L.O. fans.
  • 7. I Don't Love You, You Don't Love Me by Trio
    Just a bit of amusing and catchy synthpop. Does anybody else here a budgie squawking in this song?
  • 6. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
    I don't quite know why I love this song, but I really, really do.
  • 5. Don't Come Around Here No More by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
    The instrumentation in this song is so mesmerizing I listened to it a dozen times before I noticed what the lyrics were saying. Great video, too.
  • 4. Always Something There to Remind Me by Naked Eyes
    Another very touching and melodic song.
  • 3. If You Leave by Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark
    I used to go into a trance each time I heard this song. Definitely O.M.D.'s peak.
  • 2. As the World Falls Down by David Bowie
    It's really hard to say what David's all-time best song is, but this is my favorite at the moment, a wonderful love song from "Labyrinth."
  • 1. End of the Line by The Traveling Wilburys
    It's all right. : )
If you ask me, the 80s were the golden age of rock.
By: David
  • 10. Rio by Duran Duran
    One of the first songs I learned all the lyrics to. Great driving song.
  • 9. Legs by ZZ Top
    The best video ever made.
  • 8. Go To Pieces by Paul Janz
    Another great driving song. Not mentioned enough
  • 7. Broken Wings by Mister Mister
    A great 80's ballad.
  • 6. Doctor Doctor by Thompson Twins
    Picked this over Hold Me Now because this one is rarely picked.
  • 5. Major Tom by Peter Schilling
    Totally awesome one hit wonder.
  • 4. Boys Of Summer by Don Henley
    Was my favorite 80's song for quite some time. It's slipped a little but it's still great to hear on the radio.
  • 3. The Look by Roxette
    This is the best group ever, unfortunatly they faded in North America. (Editor: Home in Scandinavia too)
  • 2. Nova Hearts by The Spoons
    Underrated group of the 80's, this song was their best.
  • 1. Listen To Your Heart by Roxette
    First I can't believe this one has hardly been mentioned. Second, I can't believe they consider "It Must Have Been Love" to be better then this one. A lot of people confuse this song for being the sung by the group Heart. It's Roxette at their rock finest.
By: Wade
  • 10. Pay to Cum by Bad Brains
  • 9. The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson
  • 8. Our House by Madness
  • 7. Livin' on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
  • 6. I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man by Prince
  • 5. I Wanna Be Sedated by The Ramones
  • 4. Should I Stay or Should I Go? by The Clash
  • 3. 99 Red Balloons by Nena
    (Editor: The orginal version "99 Luftballons" was in German)
  • 2. When Doves Cry by Prince
  • 1. Every Breath You Take by The Police
By: Monte
  • 10. Every Breath You Take by Police
    I love the LiveAid version, it's so hot!!
  • 9. Girls, Girls, Girls by Mötley Crüe
    I like to think this song is about me - how very wrong I am!
  • 8. Kickstart My Heart by Mötley Crüe
    It's a good metal song, that I can sing to
  • 7. Radio Ga-Ga by Queen
    I love queen, I want to marry them and bare their children, especially Roger Taylors! (the drummer).
  • 6. Summer Of '69 by Bryan Adams
    What a grouse song, that's all
  • 5. Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper
    I'm liking heavy metal at the moment
  • 4. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
    It's my motto!
  • 3. Dr. Feelgood by Mötley Crüe
    Nikki and Tommy (bassist and drummer) are hot. and its a great song
  • 2. I Want It All by Queen
    What a powerful anthem!!! wooo!
  • 1. I Was Made For Loving You Baby by KISS
    Okay, these arent in order, just whatever comes to my ead first!
These were NOT IN ANY ORDER. I just wrote them down, I'm a big fan of Mötley Crüe, and an even bigger fan of Queen, so you're lucky I didn't fill it with them. (Editor: Go ahead)

Previous List or Next List

We also have pages on this topic devoted to the 70s and 90s

Do You Have a List to Share?

Please check out the Top Ten Music Songs submission page.