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: Martin Johnson
- 10. F * * * the Police by N.W.A.
Like it or not, the music world would never be the same after Eazy-E and Ice Cube made their attitude known with this hit.
- 9. One by Metallica
The song that launched their reign of terror for the next decade.
- 8. Like a Virgin by Madonna
Whoever said you can't change the world with a song?
- 7. Heard it From a Friend by R.E.O. Speedwagon
This was the first tape I ever bought as a kid. Loved it.
- 6. Sowing the Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears
The Seeds of Love album is one of my favorits. The more I listen, the more I like it. It would be one of my "desert discs."
- 5. Redemption Song by Bob Marley & the Wailers
Something a little different, this song was released in 1980. It is a classic sing-a-long song.
- 4. Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2
The live version was best.
- 3. Tom Sawyer by Rush
Yes, this is rock-n-roll, but it's sooo 80s.
- 2. Panama by Van Halen
This is an awesome traveling song.
- 1. Crazy Love Vol II by Paul Simon
One of the best poets of out time, in my opinion. Graceland was a fresh sound in 1986.
So many great songs it's hard to pick, but this list does show some of the variety from the 80s. This list shows the music that faded out in the 80s and gives an indication of what was to come in the 90s.
- 10. Hands to Heaven by Breathe
"So raise your hands to heaven and pray/ that we'll be back together someday..."
- 9. The Flame by Cheap Trick
"Wherever you go, I'll be with you... Whatever you want, I'll give it to you..." This one's particularly special to me.
- 8. Japanese by Incubus
"I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so!"
- 7. Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer
"Closer to the truth to say you can't get enough, you know you're gonna have to face it..." Another one I rather expected to see.
- 6. Land of Confusion by Genesis
"Too many people makin' too many problems, and not much love to go around..."
- 5. Bang the Drum All Day by Todd Rundgren
"I don't wanna work, I wanna bang on the drum all day!"
- 4. Everybody Have Fun Tonight by Wang Chung
"On the edge of oblivion, and all the world is Babylon..."
- 3. Take On Me by a-ha
"Iiiii'll beeeee goooooone, in a day or twoooooo!" I'm surprised no one's listed this one yet...
- 2. Bizarre Love Triangle [Extended Dance Mix] by New Order
If you know what CTY stands for, contact me!
- 1. Forever Young by Alphaville
"Let us die young or let us live forever..." One of my all-time favorites.
I left out the ones that everyone else had mentioned... Others that deserve mention that no one else has mentioned: "Obsession" by Animotion; "Heaven is a Place On Earth" by Belinda Carlisle; "Heaven" by Bryan Adams; "Video Killed the Radio Star" by Buggles; "I'll Stop the World" by the Cure; "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners; "I Want To Know What Love Is" by Foreigner; "In the Air Tonight" by Genesis; "Electric Blue" by Icehouse; "Need You Tonight" by INXS; "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas; "Maniac" by Michael Sembello; "The Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics; "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood; "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman; "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2; and others.
By: Ly Tran
- 10. Nowhere Girl by B-Movie
Very obscure band. I can't find any information abouth them, not even on the internet. I heard this song on a mix tape given to me by an older cousin (I think he stole it from a freind). The song is very haunting, still gives me chills when I hear it. I bought their cd "RAdio Days" which also includes this song but the version was different from what I'm used to hearing on the mix tape.
- 9. Everyday (Is Halloween) by Ministry
When I found out that Ministry sang this song, I couldn't believe it. The music didn't sound like Ministry (from what I heard by them, they were heavy metal to me) but their early stuff were synthpop music. This song was released by the 80s industrial label WaxTrax (they also release the early Front 242 music). One day I was looking through my old brother's records and came by another lp by Ministry called "With Sympathy". The album is filled with early 80s synthpop. Totally blew me away. "Everyday (Is Halloween)" unfortunately is not on there. You can find that song along with the remix on the cd "The 12" Mixes" released by WaxTrax Records.
- 8. True Faith by New Order
A band/song I discovered from another older brother. I first saw the video in the early 90s when MTV aired it's weekend special dedicated to the alternative music show 120 minutes. Only a few of the bands on their were synthpop, New Order being one of them. When I first saw it, I thought the video and music was great. My brother mentioned that he had the 12 inch. I looked for it but couldn't find it. It was hard because all that was on the cover was a leaf. No names. But when I did find it, I listened to it several times. The 9 minute version rocks (pardon the expression). "Blue Monday" is another favorite by them.
- 7. Russian Radion by Red Flag
The American kings of synthpop? Another band that sounds very simialr Depeche Mode. I heard this song on a great mix tape from my older brother. Red Flag was actually on a Depeche Mode bootleg, I don't remember the song but I think the bootleggers listed the song as an unreleased DM track or demo track. If I didn't know who Red Flag was, I'd probably thought it was Depeche mOde.
- 6. The Art Of Fashion / Brave New World by Moskwa TV
Talla2XLC rules. He is half of MOskwa TV. He is a great dj and producer. I didn't discover this band until the mid 90s when I connected to the internet. I don't think they were popular in the States other than on the dance floors (as with some of my other choices on this list). Their cds are also hard to come by. The 2 songs I listed by them can be found on the ultra rare album "BLue Planet". If you want to find one of their cds, "Dynamics + Discipline" shoud be the easiest to find since it was re-released by Boy Records. It includes another excellent synthpop track called "Generator 7/8", which sounds like an Information Society track to me.
- 5. Kiss Me by Stephen Tin Tin Duffy
Don't know much about this artist other than that he was a member of Duran Duran. Never heard any other songs by him, except this one. I remember recording "Kiss Me" from a radio station that was broadcasting live from a club called The Rage in Sacramento. They used to play this song every week.
- 4. The Great Commandment by Camouflage
The German kings of synthpop? Some considered them the best Depeche MOde souding band. This song was huge in the 80s. They are still around making excellent synthpop musik. The Extended Mix and Dance Mix of the song are both great. The Justin Strauss Mix is also good.
- 3. Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money) by Pet Shop Boys
Their best albums for me would have to be their first 2 - "Please" and "Actually", but their best song would me my choice for #3. They just released all their albums up to Billingual, remastered and a 2nd disc to each album with rare mixes, unreleased songs and b-sides. Great collector's items for PSB fans.
- 2. Have In Mind / Situations by Cetu Javu
Synthpop classics. I really love this band. They are German but sing in English and Spanish. Their cds, espeicially cd singles are hard to find. You can probably get "Southern Lands", their first album at CDNOw. The album includes the 2 songs I put for choice #2.
- 1. Enjoy The Silence by Depeche Mode
Really, anything by Depeche MOde of the 80s is good including ETS (I believe this song was from '89). Thye are the kings of synthpop. I love the Black Celebration and Violator albums. Saw them live for the fist time in '98 during their singles tour. Awesome show! Too bad they didn't play any of my favorites from the early to mid 80s.
I *love* synthpop and what better decade to showcase this kind of music than the 80s. It was hard to choose my list but I did it all in 10 minutes, but if I have some more time to think about it, the list might be different. I was born in '78 but didn't start listening and buying my own music until I was in high school(early 90s). So I didn't discover my favorites in the 80s. I found out about these bands from 1)old mix tapes and records from relatives, 2)alternative radio stations that would play 80s flashbacks or broadcast live from clubs, 3)MTV (they used to have an excellent show called "Classic MTV" that would play music from the 80s and "120 Miuntes" - love the cult classics videos) and of course, 4)the world wide web. If you wanna get in touch with me to discuss synthpop music from the 80s and 90s(yes, this kind of music is still being made from all over the world), contact me at email@example.com
By: Dan S.
- 10. How Soon is Now? by The Smiths
This song just has a great riff that goes perfectly with Morrisey's always depressing lyrics.
- 9. Rain in the Summertime by The Alarm
If you haven't heard this song, check it out.
- 8. Alex Chilton by The Replacements
Quite possibly the most under-appreciated band of the 80s. This is the best in a long line of great songs from this band.
- 7. The Mayor of Simpleton by XTC
Had to put an XTC song in here. This group always has catchy melodies and great lyrics.
- 6. I Don't Mind at All by Bourgeois Tagg
I doubt anybody but me has heard this one. Still, it's a great accoustic song.
- 5. Holiday Road by Lindsey Buckingham
From National Lampoon's Vacation. Just a great fun song.
- 4. Wonderland by Big Country
Trying to put some lesser noticed songs on this list. Better than their hit "In a Big Country"
- 3. Let My Love Open the Door by Pete Townshend
From the opening synth line you can tell this is from the great Who guitarist.
- 2. Your Love by The Outfield
"Josie's on a vacation far away..." How could you not like this one?
- 1. Heat of the Moment by Asia
Recently "featured" on South Park, this remains the best arena rock song of the decade.
To hell with "Take on Me", "I Love Rock and Roll", and "Mickey". If you want to listen to some of the best (and overlooked) songs of the decade check out this list.
By: Jason Reese
- 10. Cherry Pie by Warrant
although this song came out in 1990, it definatly would have rocked just as hard as if it had came out in the 80's
- 9. Rock You Like A Hurricane by Scorpions
the name says it all
- 8. Cum On, Feel The Noize by Quiet Riot
i never get tired of this song
- 7. 18 And Life by Skid Row
this was their first and best video
- 6. Talk Dirty To Me by Poison
C.C, pick up that guitair and...TALK TO ME
- 5. Livin On A Prayer by Bon Jovi
this was one of my favorite songs when i was a kid and still is today
- 4. We're Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister
"Who are you? Where do you come from? Are you listening to me? What do you wanna do with your life?".......I WANNA ROCK
- 3. Welcome To The Jungle by Guns N Roses
need i say more
- 2. Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard
awesome song and video, the drummer has only one arm
- 1. Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue
those guys were rockin all through the 80's and 90's and now 2000
this is just a list of all the glam rock songs i listened to when i was a kid and still listen to today. The next list will be all punk songs. OI
- 10. Karma Camelion by Culture Club
Boy George rocks!! :)
- 9. Mad About You by Belinda Carlise
Her solo stuff is almost better then the Go-Gos! I like it cuz it's about being truly madly deeply in love with someone.
- 8. Lets Dance by David Bowie
Although David Bowie will *always* be the Goblin King to me, his music kicks ass too! And this is probably one of my favourite Bowie songs.
- 7. The Tide is High by Blondie
Come on, pretty much anything by Blondie rocks!
- 6. I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
- 5. Shattered Dreams by Johnny Hates Jazz
I've just always loved this song.
- 4. Safety Dance by Men Without Hats
It's just catchy and poppy. One of the songs that epitimizes (sp?) the 80s.
- 3. Too Shy by Kajagoogoo
This song is way bouncy and it makes me get up and dance everytime I hear it! And my love for this song has NOTHING to do with the fact that Nick Rhodes produced it...really...
- 2. Don't Dream it's Over by Crowded House
Awesome song! I heard it was about nuclear war, but it's still just a love song to me.
- 1. Save A Prayer by Duran Duran
This is the most beautiful song ever! Simon's lyrics are amazing. Of course, I'm a total Duranie :) and I could turn this list into the top 10 Duran songs....
I left out Arcadia, Power Station, every other Duran song, The Cure, Billy Idol, and soooooo many others!!!
- 10. Touch of grey by Grateful Dead
- 9. Learning To Fly by Pink Floyd
- 8. Borderline by Madonna
- 7. Echoing Green by Cause And Effect
- 6. Faith by Cure
- 5. Take On Me by A-ha
- 4. Obsession by Animotion
- 3. Spirit In The Sky by Doctor And The Medics
- 2. Captain Of Her Heart by Double
- 1. This Wasn't Supposed To Happen by Sugarcubes
By: Salena Rembert
- 10. Mickey by Tony Basil
This song has really grown on me since I first heard. Now I will pull over the car and dance on the side of the road if it comes on the radio
- 9. Working for the Weekend by Loverboy
This song rocks! That's all there is to say
- 8. Making Love out of Nothing at all by Air Supply
This song is powerful. You can't help but sing it at the top of you lungs
- 7. If You Leave by Thompson Twins
From that last scene in 'Sixteen Candles'- it gets me every time
- 6. Shelter by Taylor Dayne
She was meant to be a soul singer- you can really hear it in this song
- 5. Loverboy by Billy Ocean
I know it's Billy Ocean, but this song really is tough.
- 4. Wishing Well by Terrence Trent D'Arby
I love it when he screams on this song. It makes me happy.
- 3. Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield
This man is a genius. This is definately his best- a good rock song and sad love song
- 2. I Need a Hero by Bonnie Tyler
Once again, that passion. It's what makes a truly good 80's song. The best song on the Footloose soundtrack
- 1. Gloria by Laura Branigan
Super fun dance song! You can hear the passion in her voice
By: Misti Velvet Rainwater Lake
- 10. You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates
had the '45 when I was nine
- 9. In the Flesh by Blondie
One of her lesser known songs. Dream karaoke song.
- 8. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
- 7. Kiss Me Deadly by Lita Ford
ultimate pre-party song
- 6. Come on Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners
nonsense never sounded better, baby
- 5. Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield
- 4. Just Like Heaven by The Cure
eBuLLieNce defined, dude...
- 3. Don't Dream it's Over by Crowded House
- 2. When Doves Cry by Prince and the Revolution
Hot music, awesome lyrics!
- 1. 99 Luft Balloons by Nena
Duh. It rocks!
- 10. Voices Carry by Til Tuesday
- 9. Never Let Me Down Again (Aggro Mix) by Depeche Mode
From the Music for the Masses album. Other DM greats are Strange Love, Behind The Wheel, Nothing, A Question of Time, and New Dress.
- 8. Mexican Radio by Wall Of Voodoo
Hmmm.. Another song that is not on anyone's list. Maybe I'm just too strange. :)
- 7. I Wanna Be A Cowboy by Boys Don't Cry
Great beat and I'm very surprised that this song is not on anyone's list yet.
- 6. West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys
It seems like this song is on many top ten 80's list. It should be too.
- 5. Head Over Heels - Broken (live) by Tears for Fears
Other TFF greats include Pale Shelter, Change, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Mothers Talk, I Believe, The Working Hour, Listen, and Shout. Whew!
- 4. Talk Talk by Talk Talk
Another new wave tune
- 3. Oh Yeah by Yello
From the Ferris Buellers movie
- 2. Girls on Film by Duran Duran
So many greats from DD: Hungry Like The Wolf, The Reflex, Rio, etc..
- 1. Fine Time by New Order
Other New Order greats include Vanishing, Mr. Disco, Round & Round, Blue Monday, True Faith, Kiss of Death, Thieves Like Us, Bizarre Love Triangle, Perfect Kiss, and The Beach.
As you can see, I'm was big into Depeche Mode, New Order and Tears for Fears in the 80's. Other mentionables are: Turning Japanese, Der Kommissar, Pure Energy, Tainted Love, The Look of Love, Cars, I Know What Boys Like, Da Da Da, You Spin Me Right Round, Love Plus One, and Poison Arrow.
By: Quentin Young
- 10. Eyes Without a Face by Billy Idol
It would have benn #4 but I think that the Big Country song was better.
- 9. Every Step you Take by The Police
This song also has to go on the countdown.
- 8. Thriller by Michael Jackson
C'mon you have to put this song on the coundown.
- 7. Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac
This help show the world that they were still alive and kicking.
- 6. Rockin by Herbie Hancock
One of many reasons why Moby and Daft Punk and Fatboy silm are so popular.
- 5. When Doves Cry by Prince
What a great song.
- 4. In a Big Country by Big Country
I think that this band is responsibile for U2's success.
- 3. Material Girl by Maddona
This video introduced us to the fashion age.
- 2. Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2
Six worlds: The Best Band In The World.
- 1. Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel
Not only was this the best song of the 80's, this is also the best video for a song ever made.
- 10. Arrested By You by Rupert Hine
Remeber this song on "Better Off Dead" well I fell in love with it....and I declare it part of my top 10
- 9. Beth by Kiss
I normally don't like alot of kiss songs....but Beth is so mello and almost sad.....Beth I know your lonely, but I can't come home right now, me and the boys are playing and we just can't find the sound...just a few more hours and I'll be right home to do...I think I hear them calling oh beth what can I do?
- 8. anything on there 82-89 best hits album by Chicago
I can't pick out a favorite by them because they all kick ass!
- 7. Poison by Alice Cooper
great song! You lips so hot your will untaught....your skin so wet.....black lace on sweattttt..I wanna love you but I better not touch, I wanna hold you but my senses tell me to stop......I wanna hurt you just to hear you screaming my name....ect ect....
- 6. Love Of A Lifetime by Firehouse
who can forget this ...I finally found a lovvvvve of a lifetime. A love to last my whole life though........
- 5. Take My Breath Away by Berlin
Who can forget that song on Top Gun..........ohhh now I want to have Tom Cruises Children again......take my breath awayyyyyyyyy.
- 4. More Then a Feeling by Boston
More then a feeling, till I see my mary ann walking away.
- 3. Open Arms & Faithfully by Journey
Journey just has always had this beat about them.....I can listen to all there songs over and over again.........hell I do!
- 2. Living On a Prayer by Bon Jovi
ohhhh awwwwwwww John Bonjovi, need I say more? If I ever saw him in public I would crap my pants and fall over.
- 1. Out On The Edge by John Fiore
If anyone has seen the movie "The Heavenly Kid" you know what this song is.........I had to find that old movie, look at the credits and finally found out who sang it......took me a long time to find but one day on Limewire someone actually had it.
I basically just love everything made in the 80s.....there was actually words you could understand , the beat was awesome, guitars were actually used, ect. And the hair......oh godddd the hair
- 10. Save A Prayer by Duran Duran
There are a lot of other songs that I would put before this one, but I had to put one Duran Duran one here as a representative for all of their songs. I spent the entire 7th grade in love with them. Those were the days...
- 9. Rock The Casbah by The Clash
Or Der Komissar by After the Fire (a group with Falco...oooh, Rock me Amadeus!) These were both such great songs. The 45's looked the same too, I can remember playing one thinking it would be the other.
- 8. Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order
This was the ultimate dance song at the raves in the late 80's. Another one that puts a smile on my face when I hear it now.
- 7. Jane Says by Jane's Addiction
I always wondered if there was a real Jane, and if she ever really was done with Sergio.
- 6. Tainted Love by Soft Cell
Heartbreak at its best.
- 5. Our House by Madness
Another fun song to sing and dance to. And so simple. Our house, in the middle of our street.
- 4. Come On Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners
Such a fun song. I love hearing this one when I am out, even now.
- 3. Always Something There To Remind Me by Naked Eyes
Another desperate love song.
- 2. Just Like Heaven by Cure
A song about desperate love. It was a toss-up between this one for my number one song. This song got so much play too that it opened up a whole new world of alternative music.
- 1. In A Big Country by Big Country
I never took the smile away from anybody's face...This song just makes you feel like you are standing on top of a huge mountain. For a one-hit wonder, this was an amazing song.
By: Rob Hart
- 10. In Between Days by The Cure
Just like Depeche Mode with Music for the masses, this song and CD saw the cure hit their stride for three or four excellent albums. Robert Smith found his groove here and created great work.
- 9. Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order
excellent alternative dance sone. the band is great and unique. Get their "best of"
- 8. Strangelove by Depeche Mode
Forget Just can't get enough, this is the best track from their breakthrough album. prior to this they were hit and miss great. this CD and the next saw them hit their stride. great dance song.
- 7. The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Relax is also timeless and classic, but this has incredibly moving lyrics. Sadly another great promise that only turned out one great album.
- 6. Everything She Wants - remix by Wham!
This was one of the best songs from a great talent that needs to make more music and less headlines.
- 5. Borderline by Madonna
A great early song from Madonna. Sexy and playful, youthful and fun. Her early stuff is the best.
- 4. Don't You (forget about me) by Simple Minds
This sony really annoys the band, being the only hit they didn't compose. It's a great song, captures the time perfectly. Also check out the Alive and Kicking CD. This is the best work from a band that were once peers of U2.
- 3. Mother's Talk by Tears for Fears
Shout may have been bigger. But this song ROCKED and pointed TFF in a new great direction. Sadly they couldn't keep it up.
- 2. Don't Dream It's Over by Crowded House
A young Neil Finn steps out after New-wave Split Enz and makes an incredible, moving album.
- 1. The Look of Love by ABC
This song and the great Lexicon of Love album, released in 1982 ushered in the new brit-pop movement. Get the whole remastered CD for sure.
So many other great bands, Duran, Thompson Twins, Scritti Politti, Paul Young, INXS, The Smiths, FYC, etc, etc.
- 10. She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals
Roland Gift moves from silky falsetto to wailing on the chorus so effortlessly that for a while, I really thought that there were two different people singing this song.
- 9. If She Knew What She Wants by The Bangles
It's too bad Jules Shear's masterful songs don't get more exposure. Perhaps if groups like the Bangles sang more of them they would.
- 8. Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy rose like a phoenix, and Randy Rhoads pretty much showed that he was the best guitar player anywhere.
- 7. Romeo And Juliet by Dire Straits
Doesn't have the mind-blowing guitar playing that is in other Dire stuff, but it's one of the prettiest melodies and best lyrics of any song by anyone.
- 6. Blame It On The Rain by Milli Vanilli
I don't care who sang it (or who didn't), it's perfect pop music.
- 5. Sweet Child O Mine by Guns'N'Roses
A classic. Even though Slash supposedly hates this song, it's not apparent when he tears out one of his best solos.
- 4. Take On Me by a-ha
Intense synth and vocals to die for. There's nothing wrong at all here.
- 3. What Do All The People Know? by The Monroes
Awesome. Tons of energy, very British with some really clever lyrics.
- 2. Graceland by Paul Simon
Our finest songwriter at his witty best, set to a very attractive melody.
- 1. Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears
This is everything that was right with 80s music.
I didn't realize how great 80s music was until the late 90s. Now I can't get enough of the songs I listened to during my youth. These are my personal favourites. As I type this response, I'm listening to "Missing You" (#2 on my list).
- 10. How Soon Is Now by Smiths
My cousin(age 36 in 2001) once locked himself in his room with the instrumental version on full blast with him singing(crying) cause he got dumped by his first love....dork
- 9. Just Can't Get Enough by Depeche Mode
another "ok" band with a couple hits from the 80's, or 90's, or 00's. Age less!!!!!!
- 8. Boys Don't Cry by Cure
pretty good band....
- 7. The Promise by When in Rome
If you want to impress a chick, put this one on when you pick her up. Dont sing to it though.
- 6. Chamber of Hellos by Wiretrain
Sing the song in spanish and you got "ok-n-espanol".
- 5. Go by Tones on tail
80's Houseparties staple
- 4. Nowhere Girl by B-movie
Pretty damn good from start to finish. Great club song.Never gets old....
- 3. Anything by Dramarama
Usually the no.1 song on any flashback countdown. overplayed in every decade since the 80's. for good reason?
- 2. Valerie Loves Me by Material Issue
No 80's compliation should be without this one. Put it on when your about to leave to Baja with your friends on a Friday afternoon(drunk)
- 1. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division
listen to the lyrics....oh and a pretty cool beat
"INTRO TO 80'S 101" was the theme for this comp.
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