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: Tarun Kalla
- 10. Forever by KISS
Michael Bolton's lyrics and Paul Stanley's vocals... WHOA!!
- 9. Winds Of Change by Scorpions
- 8. 2 Steps Behind by Def Leppard
Cheesy, but an awesome rock love ballad...
- 7. Just Like Paradise by David Lee Roth
Go, Diamond Dave, GO!!! This song lifts me high up :)
- 6. Eruption by Van Halen
The song that brought the GUITAR into everyone's homes...
- 5. For The Love Of God by Steve Vai
You ain't forgettin guitar rock, are you?
- 4. Back In Black by AC/DC
- 3. Summer Of '69 by Bryan Adams
Yeah baby... this song rocks :)
- 2. We Are The World by Various Artistes
One of the best songs ever done...
- 1. Jump by Van Halen
You wanna get high? Strap up and listen to this song... arguably the BEST song in teh 80's
These songs ('cept for the 1st one) are obviously not in any paricular order... they all rule... rock rules... rockers RULE!!!
- 10. Love Bites by Deff Leopard
- 9. Jump by Van Halen
- 8. Open Arms by Journey
- 7. The Search is Over by Survivor
- 6. Take on Me by A-ha
- 5. Land of Confusion by Genesis
- 4. The Warrior by Patty Smythe and Others
- 3. 99 Luftballons by Nena
I just love the sound of this song. Can't stand the translated version of it though. The translation just takes something away from the song.
- 2. Electric Blue by Icehouse
- 1. In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
Definitely one of the best love songs of the 80's. I love "Say Anything"
By: Ben Davies
- 10. Final Countdown by Europe
Futuristic start. I was six and I remember the record really well
- 9. Summer Of 69 by Bryan Adams
Good Rockin Record
- 8. Alvin Stardust by Won't Run Away
My second ever single
- 7. Uptown Girl by Billy Joel
My first ever single
- 6. Power of Love by Jennifer Rush
puts a lump in my throat, beautiful record
- 5. Handle With Care by Traveling Wilburys
Means a lot to me this record
- 4. Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Good bass record
- 3. Moonlight Shadow by Mike Oldfield
The beautifl haunting voice of Maggie Reilly (why mike got his name to it i dont know)
- 2. Livin On A Prayer by Bon Jovi
Cant help but sing to this rock classic
- 1. Money for Nothing by Dire Straits
Turn up the vol and play that air guitar
Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits, Take my breath away - berlin, Run Dmc - walk this way,
By: Bobby Sherwood
- 10. Love Bites by Def Leppard
Just can't leave this song out of the top 10. Great album too.
- 9. Summer Of 69 by Bryan Adams
Ranks only 2nd to Mony Mony (Tommy James) for the Greatest Rock And Roll Dance Song Of All Time!
- 8. Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone) by Cinderella
- 7. Love Can Make You Blind by Every Mothers Nightmare
I wore-out 2 of their albums. (Wake Up Screaming) This song is on their other album. If ya don't have it, get it!
- 6. Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny) by Elton John
I'm not a EJ fan, but he did good with this tribute to John Lennon.
- 5. Love Song by Telsa
I put this song in a place. God I love this place.
- 4. I Remember You by Skid Row
The video shows Sabistain Bach putting his heart in this song. Very rare I think.
- 3. With or Without You by U2
This one is for you mom, miss you.
- 2. Imagine by John Lennon
December 8, 1980 we lost the best singer-songwriter of all time. Miss you John.
- 1. House of Pain by Faster Pussycat
Dad left not ever knowing this son!!!! My childhood in a song.
If I had 4 wishes the 4th would be: THE TOP BANDS OF 89-90 TO GET OFF THEIR A**ES AND WRITE SONGS! The best 2 years of music. Thanks for the site. #1,2, and 3 were tough to get through. Tears and Keyboard don't mix!
By: Chad Phillips
- 10. Sometimes by Midnight Oil
This has to be one of the most emotional songs ever. Peter Garrett's screaming vocals come straight from his heart "sometimes your'e taken to the wall ... but you don't give in"
- 9. Paranoid Eyes by Pink Floyd
From the "Final Cut" album. Not one of their biggest, but the whole album, especially the first side, is a dark, intimate look into the soul of Roger Waters. Simply awesome.
- 8. Running on the Rocks by Shriekback
One of my favorite bands of all time, and probably the most overlooked. Why? Beats me! If you have never heard of them, or know just a few songs, all fans of 80's (dare I say New Wave) should check them out. They might even put out a new CD in 2002!
- 7. Night Club by The Specials
During my night club days (or nights, that is) this fun song was an anthem for me & my friends. The ska revival was good, but nothing touches the original masters!
- 6. Remind Me to Smile by Gary Numan
Gary's first four releases (starting with the Tubeway Army's 'First Album") were classics. Choosing a song to stand for so many greats was tough, but this song is one of my favorites.
- 5. Flying North by Thomas Dolby
Again, so many great songs by a single artist. The combination of vocals, lyrics, and Dolby's keyboard is haunting. "Screen Kiss" is worth mentioning.
- 4. Equality by Howard Jones
The whole "Human's Lib" album is great - one of my top 3 80's albums. This is a very "optimistic" song, from a guy with a good outlook on things. Oh, yea, he did this whole album by himself!
- 3. Subdivisions by Rush
How can you mention great 80's bands without RUSH! While a far cry from the Motels or Human League, Rush crafted many greats during the 80's. Subdivisions is one of the few songs that I can say changed my life.
- 2. Broken/Head Over Heels/Broken (live) by Tears for Fears
You can not listen to one w/o the others - even on the radio. Yes, even US radio could not pass this one up. From a band that wrote many painful songs, this (these) is no exception. It sounds so happy, but have you ever really listened to the lyrics?
- 1. Revolt into Style by Bill Nelson
From the Sound-on-Sound album. Never heard of Bill? You need to get out more. Although he is still putting out good music, his late 70's, early 80's stuff was peerless. A friend let me borrow this album in 1982, and my musical standards were heightened forever. Revolt into Style is the best of the best. I think they re-released the CD last year.
Like most of these people who have a list, this list changes depending on the mood I'm in. Overall, I believe that most of the best songs by any given artist are not those "catchy" radio songs, as reflected in my list. There are sooooooo many songs that I could exchange with these, but you get the jist. Although not on this list for a specific song, Elvis Costello is the greatest songwrighter of the 80's, par none.
- 10. Kyrie by Mr. Mister
Used to be one of my all time favorites when I was young.
- 9. Something About You by Level 42
Brings me back--big time.
- 8. In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
Great song written by a great songwriter.
- 7. Human Nature by Micheal Jackson
What an eighties song is supposed to sound like.
- 6. Boys of Summer by Don Henly
Used to be my Dad's favorite song----still is. Reminds me of growing up under my father.
- 5. Head Over Heals by Tears For Fears
Another song that puts me back into my childhood.
- 4. Manic Monday by Bangles
How can you not like this song??
- 3. Call Me Al by Paul Simon
Reminds me of when I was a kid growing up in the eighties.
- 2. All I Ever Wanted by Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode was the eighties.
- 1. West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys!!! Need I say more.
Eighties will never be topped. Not on originality, freedom, and plain out great music.
- 10. I Got You by Split Enz
- 9. U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer
- 8. Just What I needed by The Cars
predated Green Days Basket Case by years
- 7. Atomic by Blondie
- 6. Good Thing by Fine Young Cannibals
- 5. Blue Monday by New Order
- 4. Town Called Malice by The Jam
- 3. Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners
- 2. Senses Working Overtime by XTC
- 1. Mirror In The Bathroom by The (English) Beat
Fantastic ska/dance tune, 3 mins of brilliance. "..every saturday you see me window shopping, find no interest in the racks and shelves, just a million reflections of my own sweet self, ...."
- 10. All Through the Night by Cyndi Lauper
One of Cyndi's best songs, hands down.
- 9. Shout by Tears for Fears
Who doesn't love this song?
- 8. Like a Prayer by Madonna
I don't know what it was, but this song seemed less 'pop' to me than Madonna's other material... maybe it's the subject matter. Great video.
- 7. True by Spandau Ballet
So great... I listened to it over and over on tape, and was glad to see it come back into the spotlight in movies and tv recently.
- 6. With or Without You by U2
I really like the slower, serious and deeper melodies, as evidenced by this choice.
- 5. The Promise by When In Rome
A favorite song for personal reasons.
- 4. Waiting For the Night by Depeche Mode
Great vocals on this song.
- 3. Don't Dream It's Over by Crowded House
Another haunting song.
- 2. Take On Me by A-Ha
I always thought the video for this song was the coolest.
- 1. Sara by Starship
My absolute favorite song ever, from any decade. It's so haunting and beautiful.
- 10. Candy Love by Lilli & Sussie
- 9. American Love by Rose Laurens
- 8. Can't Forget You by Sonia
- 7. I Promise You (get Ready) by Samantha Fox
- 6. If It Makes You Feel Good by Princess
- 5. Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams
- 4. Try by Blue Rodeo
- 3. Keep on Movin' by Soul II Soul
- 2. Eyes Without A Face by Billy Idol
- 1. Love Action by Human League
- 10. USA for Africa by We Are The World
- 9. Rick James by Give It To Me Baby
- 8. Prince & The Revolution by 1999
- 7. Prince & The Revolution by When Doves Cry
- 6. Quiet Riot by Cum On Feel The Noize
- 5. Foolish Heart by Steve Perry
- 4. The System by Don't Disturb This Groove
- 3. Michael Jackson by Billy Jean
- 2. Don't Stop Believin' by Journey
- 1. Human by Human League
By: Mr. Media
- 10. If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free by Sting
his declaration of independence from the Police, it's free of hefty lyrics that made a nightmare out of his "dream of the blue turtles". The video also sold me on this song, as it's the only one I've seen that uses trippy editing techniques. Besides, I believe in the saying "free your a** and the rest will follow"
- 9. A Pleasure by The Railway Children
Very suavely romantic. the ultimate kiss-and-make-up song.
- 8. Murder by Numbers by The Police
Finally, a song where the trio aren't scowling at each other. Extremely edgey black humor about murder and that fun meltdown at the end keep it timeless. But why is it that the best songs on Police albums are always the last ones?
- 7. A Different Drum by Peter Gabriel w/ Youssou N'Dour
The proto-world music song. I like it just for the fact that it beats the pants off of Sting's "Desert Rose", and proves that no one in the 1980's could touch Gabriel or Kate Bush.
- 6. (A Deal with God) Running up That Hill by Kate Bush
Just another Euro dance song until you hear that wailing, balalaikas and the lyrics that express every single sexual frustration on the planet.
- 5. America is Waiting by David Byrne/ Brian Eno
From the album "MY Life in the Bush of Ghosts", which introduced the world to modern sampling techniques, it's surreal to hear the politician and listener duke it out over the airwaves. Refreshing to hear the first do it best and also to actually spend money on synthesizers. (Kate Bush and others would look to this album for inspirational sampling techniques.)
- 4. The Boy in the Bubble by Paul Simon
A truly grown-up song from a grown-up songwriter. In the wake of all the amazing, terrifying changes in technology and the world, Paul takes us aside and sits us down to remind us that we have nothing to fear from progress. He compares h-bombs to car bombs and the dreamtime, and says "it's a turnaround jumpshot, it's everybody's jump start... medicine is magical and magical is art"
- 3. No More ' I love you's' by The Lover Speaks
Annie Lennox couldn't have sung it with this much venom, if she performed it with a cobra chorus. Not only that, it's a great counterpoint to every frilly power ballad ever released during the 80's. And that voice gives me chills whenever I think about it.
- 2. Guyana Punch by The Judy's
Another bouncy college rock song, except that they talk about Jonestown in a really squeaky falsetto. Has a kind of "chantilly lace" appeal to it.
- 1. Blond Redhead by DNA
From their eponymously titled swan song "A Taste of DNA", this song has a kind of spastic, funky quality that reminds me of David Byrne. It's also short, sweet, and complete at only 2:00 long.
By: Chris P.
- 10. Madonna by Like A Virgin
I remember Maddie rolling around on the ground performing this one at the very first MTV Awards show. I was rather aroused as a young teen. :)
- 9. We're Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister
A brilliant anthem that symbolized rock and rebellion in the great 80's.
- 8. When Doves Cry by Prince
- 7. Thriller by Michael Jackson
No explanation needed!
- 6. Jump by Van Halen
God, I remember how HUGE this song was. Hopefully, history will repeat itself, and Diamond Dave will return to VH, where he belongs!
- 5. Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue
An incredible ballad, by a band that represented what the "me" decade was really about. Sex, drugs, and rock & roll!!!
- 4. Still Of The Night by Whitesnake
A true masterpiece. Led Zeppelin on steroids here.
- 3. Back In Black by AC/DC
One of the greatest rock anthems ever written. This was to signal that Bon Scott was gone, but not forgotten. That, and the fact that Brian Johnson was more than capable filling Bon's shoes.
- 2. Nothin' But A Good Time by Poison
This is what the 80's was all about, right?
- 1. Welcome To The Jungle by Guns N' Roses
What an asskicking song, from an asskicking band!
The 80's were a GREAT and MEMORABLE decade for MANY reasons. The MUSIC being one of them!! Things were so different then. I miss those days. Give me back my 1988!!!
By: Jamie (UK)
- 10. Tell It To My Heart by Taylor Dayne
Everyone seems to think that Anastacia is the only white girl with soul in her lungs. So not true. I love the way Taylor's voice just rips through the dance beats on this one. Amazing!
- 9. Respectable by Mel and Kim
Every few years there's a rebelious anthem like this and 'Respectable is my favourite of the lot. Another SAW production and the duo's biggest hit.
- 8. Modern Girl by Sheena Easton
A great pop song from one of my all time favourites. "I don't build my world around no single man". Much better than her first big hit '9 to 5'.
- 7. Rush Hour by Jane Wheildin
Such a cute song.
- 6. If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher
Cher on a huge ship surrounded by sailors wearing something she really shouldn't and thats just the video. This still remains one of her finest songs and not a vocoder in sight.
- 5. Rapture by Blondie
I don't know whether to thank Blondie or not for this one. This was the song that really brought rap music into the mainstream. Pop enough to make it accessable but weird enough to be different. Debbie's vocals are like magic. Not too sure about her rapping though.
- 4. Divine by You Think Your A Man
This song just cracks me up. The first ever SAW hit and one of the best.
- 3. This Time I Know It's For Real by Donna Summer
When the queen of disco met Stock, Aitken and Waterman.... Very much along the lines of Kylie's 'I Should Be So Lucky' but different enough to make a classic. You can't get much better than Donna Summer vocally. She actually co-wrote this with them which is quite an achivement considering it took Kylie 3 years to get any input at all.
- 2. U Got The Look by Prince and Sheena Easton
They worked so well together it's a pitty they don't still collaborate. Prince is a genius and Sheena is a goddess. "I've never seen such a pretty girl look so tough. Baby! You got that look.
- 1. I Should Be So Lucky by Kylie Minogue
Every person on the planet can identify with this song. It's perfection in every way. Stock, Aitken and Waterman never bettered it. "In my mind a celebration there is no hesitation i think about you all of the time." Love it.
Am I by any chance a Stock/Aitken/Waterman fan? Other great 80's songs in my oppinion are...'Straight Up' by Paula Abdul, 'In Love With Love' by Debbie Harry, 'Like A Virgin' by Madonna, 'I Want To Be Free' by the one and only Toyah and 'Robert Di Niro's Waiting' by Bananarama!
By: Chris J
- 10. What I Like About You by Romantics
1981. Catchy rock song. The singer's accent helped make this song a classic.
- 9. Walk This Way by RunDMC/Aerosmith
1986. The song that started the convergence between rap and rock.
- 8. Walk Like an Egyptian by Bangles
1986. Another catchy tune. Still a great party song to this day, I think.
- 7. Super Mario Bros. theme by Koji Kondo (composer)
1985. This is probably the most memorable videogame theme of all time.
- 6. Part of Your World by Ariel(Little Mermaid)
1989. Guilty pleasure, I guess. Memorable, catchy ballad. Gets remade by Faith Hill in 96!
- 5. Fight For Your Right to Party by Beastie Boys
1987. This song rocks. Nuff said.
- 4. Heaven Is a Place on Earth by Belinda Carlysle
1987. Not a song to be avoided at -any- cost!
- 3. Straight Up by Paula Abdul
1989. One of the last great 80s songs that still sounded like the 80s without turning 90s-ish.
- 2. Beat It by Michael Jackson
1982. This helped to skyrocket MJ's career into superstardom.
- 1. Take on Me by A-ha
1986. Great song with classic quality, and great video of motion picture quality to go with it!
Only 10? There are a lot of songs that aren't mentioned here of multiple genres, so don't get discouraged that your fave isn't on here. This follows the same rule as my 90s list, where the songs aren't in any particular order, just randomized.
By: Lindsay Kate
- 10. Eye In The Sky by Allan Parsons Project
dad played this a lot. LUV it!!!!
- 9. Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant
have you seen the album cover?!?! ha ha ha
- 8. Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes
i've always loved this one
- 7. White Wedding by Billy Idol
- 6. Pop Goes The World by Men Without Hats
great dancing song
- 5. One Night In Bankok by Murray Head
just plain awesome
- 4. Safety Dance by Men Without Hats
just an unltime fave of mine, makes me dance!
- 3. Rock Me Amadeus by Falco
great mixing and beat
- 2. Maneater by Hall & Oats
H&O need I saw more???
- 1. Down Under by Men at Work
this site rocks!!!!
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