【20 Greatest Songs from the 80s】

in Music

1. Blondie
Rapture(1981)

This song comes from Blondie’s album Autoamerican, released on January 12 1981. ‘Rapture’ combines the elements of disco, funk, hip hop and rap, the first rap song ever in the history of American music to reach the top in US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and stayed there for more than two weeks.

2. Foreigner
Waiting For a Girl Like You (1981)

The song from British and American rock band Foreigner’s 1981 album 4. The soft rock ‘Waiting For a Girl Like You’, became the most famous track of the band in the mind of global fans. The song once reached second in US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and topped Billboard’s Rock Tracks.

3. Depeche Mode
Just Can’t Get Enough (1981)

The ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ produced by the British electronic band Depeche Mode was included in their 1981 album Speak & Spell, which falls into the synthpop and new wave genre. Recorded in Blackwing Studios in the summer of 1981, it is the first single by Depeche Mode released in the United States.

4. Sixto Rodriguez
Street boy (1981)

‘Street Boy’ from the album Alive was a country song produced and released in 1981 by folk musician Sixto Rodriguez from the Detroit, Michigan, United States. His unique voice and distinctive style can be described as insurmountable. Although Rodriguez’s early albums sold poorly in the United States, his music was rather popular in on the other side of the world, South Africa.

5. The Human League
Don’t You Want Me (1981)

The song was included in the album Dare in 1981, by the British Synthpop band Human League. As the band’s most well-known and the most successful song from a commercial point of view, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts for up to three weeks.

6. Michael Jackson
Billie Jean (1983)

Do I need to say more? Who would not know Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’? It is the song that represents the 80s. Included in the 1983 Thriller album, it is one of his most outstanding works. The most recognised part is certainly the intro of the song.

7. Ryuichi Sakamoto & David Sylvian
Forbidden Colours(1983)

It was the title song created by Ryuichi Sakamoto in 1983 for the movie Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. The electronic, new-age song’s lyrics were written by David Sylvian. In addition, there is an instrumental version performed by Ryuichi Sakamoto’s, as well as the orchestral version with David Sylvian lead singing included in the 1999 album Cinemage.

8. Eurythmics
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1983)

As the title song of the album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), released in 1983 by British New Wave music band Eurythmics. It represents Eurythmics’ major breakthrough in music, beginning their fame in the international music scene.

9. David Bowie
Let’s Dance (1983)

As one of the most classic songs of David Bowie, it is included in 1983 album with the same title Let’s Dance. With Nile Rodgers as the producer, it became one of the top selling songs in the world.

10. Roman Tam
The Laser Beam (1983)

Included in Roman Tam’s 1986 album Under the Lion Rock, it is written by Richard Lam Chun-Keung and composed by Mahmood Rumjahn. This song was the avant-garde Guangdong Cantopop in the 80’s, rather energetic in both arrangement, lyrics and interpretation.

11. Culture Club
Karma Chameleon (1983)

As a single from the album Colour by Numbers by British band Culture Club in 1983, this song once topped the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in earlier 1984, it was the most popular song of the band.

12. Madonna
Material Girl (1984)

As the song issued by Europe and America pop diva Madonna in November 1984, it is her second featured song in her second studio album Like A Virgin. Combining new wave and electronic synthesis music, it is a dance song with lively rhythm and musical melody. The song’s MV took the world by storm, which also laid the status of Madonna as pop idol.

13. The Jesus and Mary Chain
Just Like Honey (1985)

Included in the first album Psychocandy of Scotland alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain in 1985, it was best known as the song playing during the closing scene of the 2003 movie Lost In Translation.

14. Dead or Alive
You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) (1985)

A single from the album Youthquake produced in 1985 by the British band Dead or Alive, it has the synthpop and new wave vibe, and topped England singles chart in 1985.

15. A-ha
Take on Me (1985)

Norway synthpop band a-ha’s popular single ‘Take on Me’ comes from their album Hunting High and Low launched in 1984. ‘Take on me’ has been covered by many singers. Its pencil painting MV is listed as one of the most outstanding classical MV along with Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.

16. Bon Jovi
You Give Love a Bad Name (1986)

‘You Give Love a Bad Name’, from Bon Jovi’s album Slippery When Wet was released in 1986 and ranked first in US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on November 29 1986, which also marked the rise of Bon Jovi’s popularity.

17. New Order
Bizarre Love Triangle (1986)

As a single in the album Brotherhood by British rock band New Order in 1986, the song entered the top 5 in U.S. Hot Dance Music/Singles chart. In 2004, the song ranked 201st in “the 500 greatest songs in music history” organized by the famous music magazine Rolling Stone.

18. Guns n’ Roses
Sweet Child O’Mine (1987)

‘Sweet Child O’Mine’ was included in the album Appetite for Destruction, produced by American rock band Guns n’ Roses in 1987. With the extremely classic guitar prelude, the song can be said to lead Guns n’ Roses to fame. It is the band’s first single that reaches the top in Us Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

19. Pet Shop Boys
It’s a Sin (1987)

‘It’s a Sin’ in 1987 is indispensible when talking about the British synthpop band Pet Shop Boys, which once stayed at the top of the UK Singles Chart for up to three weeks in 1987. It was included in their album Actually.

20. The Cure
Lovesong (1989)

Included in the 1989 album Disintegration by British alternative rock band The Cure, this single is their only song that got into the top ten of US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, which has since covered by many hit singers. For instance, Adele included this classic song in the 2011 album 21.


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