The 80s was an era that forever altered music forever. It saw the birth of rap, dance, electro and many other genres we now take for granted.
There are so many classic hits that we will always cherish, from Olivia Newton-John’s role in Grease to Queen and Michael Jackson’s performance. Here are some of the best.
1. Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics
The 1980s marked a golden era of music creation. With MTV and pop and rock icons ascending, many songs were released during this decade.
In the 1980s, people began experimenting with various musical styles and genres. Some songs managed to stand the test of time and become timeless classics.
This song from British new wave band Eurythmics, formed in 1980 by Scottish singer Annie Lennox and musician David Stewart, is a timeless classic that’s renowned for its gender-bending imagery. It became their first hit single and reached the top of charts around the world.
2. Hungry Like The Wolf by Rick James
Wolves are iconic symbols that symbolize strength, loneliness, lust and wilderness. As such, they’ve become a popular theme in music with many artists drawing inspiration from these majestic animals.
Duran Duran’s 1982 single Hungry Like The Wolf is an example of this. Not only is it catchy and danceable, but it also perfectly captures the vicious nature of the beast in an evocative way.
The music video for this hit song was shot in Sri Lanka and quickly went viral, reaching number 3 on the US Hot 100 chart.
No matter the controversy surrounding its sampling by MC Hammer, this classic song still gives me chills every time I hear it – making it no surprise that it makes this list of 200 top 80s songs.
3. Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer
MC Hammer was a flashy dancer who made himself popular with his baggy pants and catchy hooks. His songs had the perfect combination of rapping style and pop music.
He had several hits in the early 1990s, such as his cover of Chi-Lites’ “Have You Seen Her?” and funky tune “Pray.”
His debut album Feel My Power was a major hit and earned him an international record deal. Additionally, he appeared on a reality show and served as a spokesperson for Mattel dolls.
His breakthrough album Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em was the number one seller for 21 weeks, selling in excess of 10 million copies. It also featured Hammer’s iconic song, “U Can’t Touch This,” which became a worldwide anthem and became the first hip-hop track to sell 10 million records – still popular today.
4. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper’s 1984 hit single, “Time After Time”, was one of the greatest songs to come out of the 80s and it quickly rose to number one on Billboard charts. This was her second single from her debut album She’s So Unusual.
This timeless ballad continues to resonate today. It expresses one’s devotion for their loved one and features a rich piano accompaniment that underscores its gentle arpeggiations and parallel harmonies.
Lauper has had an illustrious career, encompassing various styles from rock to pop and country. She was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards throughout her career and sold more than 50 million records worldwide – making her an icon of the 80s that’s definitely worth checking out.
5. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston is one of music’s most beloved singers. Her songs, particularly her ballads, have become timeless classics.
Houston was remarkable for her power of expression through voice alone. Her powerful and distinctive style set her apart from other pop singers of that era.
Her most renowned song is “I Will Always Love You,” recorded for the 1992 film The Bodyguard. This hit single spent 14 weeks at the top of Billboard Hot 100 and earned her two Grammy awards.
Her third film, The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack featured another gospel number called “Step By Step.” This powerful hymn to faith and taking life one day at a time is perfect for anyone needing reminder that there’s always something better out there.
6. Dancing With A Loved One by The Spice Girls
Recent research by a team of researchers revealed that The Spice Girls’ debut single ‘Wannabe’ is the catchiest song ever. This beat out Lou Bega’s 1999 UK No. 1 ‘Mambo No. 5’ and Survivor’s 1982 rock chart-topper ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ for this title.
This song isn’t particularly fast paced, but it still manages to stay upbeat and infectious! Plus, its catchy lyrics will surely bring a smile your way!
This one’s a no-brainer, but it’s an adorable song for couples who started dating as teenagers. It talks about how falling in love is like living a teenage dream – making it perfect to dance to! Though its lyrics may be repetitive, they add an endearing touch.
7. Love Is In The Air by John Lennon & Yoko Ono
John Lennon and Yoko Ono have had a lasting influence on music, with their work being some of the most iconic and beloved songs from the 1980s. Their debut single Love Is In The Air became an instant classic in the UK and remains beloved to this day.
This song has a catchy melody, making it an ideal inclusion on this list. It is especially suitable for women as it focuses on how they feel and their relationship with their significant other.
Paul McCartney wrote this song after his friend Lennon passed away, as a tribute to the man who had profoundly affected him. It remains one of his most popular tracks today.
8. Can You Feel The Love Tonight by Duran Duran
This classic love song is perfect for adding to any romantic playlist. The singer expresses how much they care for each other and would do anything for them. This romantic anthem can be especially beneficial to those who cherish their boyfriends and want them to feel appreciated for all that they do.
Duran Duran are a legendary rock and roll band that has been around for four decades and continues to be hugely successful. They have achieved numerous hits throughout their career and toured with David Bowie, earning them induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
9. Get Out Of Your Own Way by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson is one of the greatest pop stars ever. With a career spanning over four decades, his music has left an indelible mark on our culture.
His debut album, Off The Wall, was an astonishing success, showcasing his vocal and composing talent while breaking barriers in pop music. Featuring hit songs such as “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Thriller,” it became the first US album ever to sell over 1 million copies.
Jackson’s follow-up album to Off The Wall, Thriller, sold over 30 million copies worldwide and was co-produced by Quincy Jones. Its hit singles “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Human Nature” propelled the album to the top of the charts and became a cultural phenomenon.
10. Welcome To The Jungle by Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses were one of the most beloved bands during the 1980s. Their hard rock sounds revolutionized the music industry at that time.
Their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, was a major success and reached number 20 on the US charts. Their singles “Welcome To The Jungle,” “Paradise City,” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine” became hits as well.
In 1985, Axl Rose formed the band in Los Angeles with guitarists Tracii Guns and Izzy Stradlin. Soon after, bassist Ole Beich joined forces with drummer Rob Gardner for their live shows.