The colorful, haze-filled days of the 80s may not have been something we all witnessed, but these 80s top songs surely live in our hearts rent-free.
1980-1989 came and went but left with us remnants of a neon-lit, youth-driven, iconographic, fever dream. It gifted the world with a big technological and economical shift that we’re not entirely sure we’re thankful for. But more than that, the 80s left us with the kind of nostalgia which will inevitably make you wish you were born then.
The tracks in this 80s top song list definitely played a huge part in millennials wishing they were part of this absolutely fabulous decade of neon spandex, big hair, and the *shudder* shoulder pads.
Let’s break this decade down year by year because, surely, a chronological rewind of the 80s top songs will be much-appreciated by our more aged readers who bore witness to this iconic decade.
Super Trouper by ABBA | Another One Bites the Dust by Queen
What an outstanding entrance to the decade! 1980 was blessed with iconic releases of the most iconic quartets, Abba and Queen. The disco finger-buster Super Trouper and the hip-shaking Another One Bites the Dust stood at the top of charts everywhere during this year.
Let’s Groove – Earth, Wind & Fire | Should I Stay or Should I go? by the Clash | Fire & Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
Let’s Groove was a disco staple during this period, just rightfully so for an Earth, Wind, & Fire song. The Clash was an edgy teenager’s go-to. A testament to its importance can be seen no further than 2019’s release of Stranger Things where Jonathan, a proverbial “emo” child introduced his brother to the song which eventually became the young Byer’s anthem while in the very edgy upside-down. Of course, no 80s list would be complete without a Journey song and what better song to represent the Journey’s classic appeal than Don’t Stop Believin’.
Even the Nights are Better by Air Supply | Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
Even the Nights are Better by Air Supply is an unforgettable song to all, not only because it seems to be at the very top of every UV express driver’s playlist but also because it’s just that perfect classic to chill out or belt out to. Eye of the Tiger was a no-brainer for this 80s top song list, mostly because it cemented itself into the workout playlist hall-of-fame being the main theme for an iconic cultural centerpiece of the same year, Rocky III.
True by Spandau Ballet | Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler
These two magnum opuses of the decade with exceptionally iconic intros are unmissable for an 80s song list. True by Spandau Ballet has stood the test of time as a retro chill-out classic while Total Eclipse of the Heart is better known for its powerful tones and emotions.
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham! | Jump by Van Halen
Although this year is better marked by the releases of iconic films like Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, The Karate Kid, Footloose, and much much more, 80s top song hits like Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham! and Jump by Van Halen are what dominated the airwaves at this time.
Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears | Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds
Everybody Wants to Rule the World hits hard at probably any point during an average human’s life at any point in the earth’s existence. It’s a solid classic and that’s that on that. Periodt. Don’t You, on the other hand is a classic that must be accompanied by it’s cult-classic counterpart, The Breakfast Club and shall forever be marked with a fist pump at the beginning.
Kiss by Prince | Walk Like an Egyptian by the Bangles
I bet youngsters wouldn’t know the dancefloor hit Kiss by name but “You don’t have to be beautiful to turn me on” is definitely more than enough to ring a few bells. Yes, it’s by Prince. Walk Like an Egyptian is a lesser-known hit but at that time, dominated airwaves far and wide. Today, this song is probably better known as an iconic OBB song to one of the top anime, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures (Stardust Crusaders).
I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston
You’d think that this song was the theme for Dirty Dancing but that goes to the following year’s featured songs. I Wanna Dance with Somebody is simply a Whitney Houston dance hit, as it remains to this day, accompanied by some voguing and a little bit of sensual rolling, this 80s top song will definitely have you up on your feet wanting to dance with somebody.
Thriller by Michael Jackson | Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
1988 is not only iconic for its period Korean drama with the same year in the title, it’s actually the year of probably the best-known 80s song of all-time, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson’s Thriller. No explanations needed. One of 80s top songs indeed. Tracy Chapman’s more subdued hit, Fast Car, has a reputation as an acoustic set staple for indie musicians far and wide.
Lovesong by The Cure | Express Yourself by Madonna
The dreary lovesong that is Lovesong by the Cure is one of every emo kid’s mixtape picks. The Cure’s vocalist, Robert Smith, was arguably the pioneer for his own style of singing which led to 90s rocker culture leaders, following suit. Express Yourself by the one and only OG pop star, Madonna, was a perfect voguing track even a year before the song Vogue itself hence its rightful place in the 80s top songs list.
What’s your personal 80s top song?
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