The Top 80s Songs List

Power ballads, enormous hair and New Romantics. The '80s wasn't the prettiest of decades but it gave us some great songs!

Culture Club

80s music was all about power ballads, enormous hair and the arrival of those New Romantics. OK, it wasn't necessarily the prettiest of decades but it did give us some amazing songs!

We've chosen a host of the best songs from the 1980s - take a look, have a listen and then let us know which one gets your vote!

Graceland - Paul Simon (1986)

The song features vocals by The Everly Brothers and the song’s lyrics deal with Paul Simon’s thoughts during a road trip to Graceland after the failure of his marriage to actress Carrie Fisher.

The song won the 1988 Grammy Award for Record of the Year. It has been

covered by artists such as Hot Chip and Grizzly Bear a cover version by Willie Nelson peaked at number 70 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 1993.

Atomic  - Blondie (1980)


Atomic was produced as a mixture of new wave, rock and disco which had proven to be so successful in Blondie’s number one hit "Heart of Glass".

The song became the band's third number one in the UK Singles Chart, where it held the top spot for two weeks. It reached the Top 40 in the US in Spring 1980.

Like A Prayer – Madonna (1989)


In America, "Like a Prayer" debuted at number 38 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the top of the chart on the issue dated April 22, 1989. It was number one for three weeks. In Canada, the song reached the top of the RPM Singles Chart in its ninth week. It was present on the chart for 16 weeks and was the top-selling Canadian single for 1989.

Tainted Love - Soft Cell (1981) 



Tainted Love reached number one on the UK singles chart and went on to become the best-selling single in the UK for 1981.

The song took 19 weeks to crack the US Top 40. The song reached number eight and spent a then record-breaking 43 weeks on the Hot 100.

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson (1982)


One of Jackson’s most popular songs. The song reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, where it remained for seven weeks. "Billie Jean" topped the R&B chart within three weeks, and became Jackson's fastest rising number one single since "ABC", "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There" in 1970. It was also number one in the UK Singles Chart. "Billie Jean" and Thriller topped both the singles and album charts in the same week. This occurred on both sides of the Atlantic simultaneously, a feat very few acts have ever achieved. The song was the third best selling single of 1983 in the US and ninth in the UK.

Don't You Forget About Me - Simple Minds (1985)

The song caught Simple Minds at their commercial peak and, propelled by the success of film The Breakfast Club, became a number-one hit in the U.S. and around the world. It is the band's only number-one hit on the U.S. Top Rock Tracks chart, staying atop for three weeks. While only reaching number seven in the UK, it stayed on the charts from 1985 to 1987, one of the longest time spans for any single in the history of the chart.

Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now - Starship (1987)


‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ is a duet featuring Starship vocalists Mickey Thomas and Grace Slick. Featured as the theme to the romantic comedy film Mannequin, it hit number one in the Billboard Hot 100 on April 4, 1987 and reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart for four weeks the following month and became the UK's 2nd biggest selling single of 1987.

The song also received an Oscar nomination for "Best Original Song" at the 60th Academy Awards. In addition to appearing on the Mannequin soundtrack, the song was also released on Starship's album No Protection in 1987.

Teardrops - Womack and Womack (1988)


"Teardrops" is a song from Womack & Womack's fourth studio album, Conscience (1988). Released as the album's lead single in 1988, it charted highly around the world, reaching number one in Australia and the Netherlands, number two in Germany and Switzerland, and number three in the UK.

Karma Chameleon – Culture Club (1981)

The song spent three weeks at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1984, becoming the group's biggest hit and only US number-one single among their many Top 10 hits. ‘Karma Chameleon’ was also a huge global hit, reaching number one in 16 countries worldwide, and the Top 10 in several more.

In the UK, it became the second Culture Club single to reach the top of the UK Singles Chart (after "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me"), where it stayed for six weeks in September and October 1983, and became the UK's biggest-selling single of the year 1983.

Spandau Ballet - True (1983)

‘True’ was a huge worldwide hit, peaking at number one in the UK Singles Chart on 30 April 1983 for four weeks, becoming the sixth biggest selling single of the year, and charting highly in 20 other countries. It remains is Spandau Ballet's biggest hit.

Thriller - Michael Jackson (1983)


‘Thriller’ debuted on the UK Singles Chart on November 19, 1983 at number 24, and the following week charted at number ten, where it peaked; the song appeared on the chart for 25 weeks.

Elton John - I'm Still Standing (1983)


"I'm Still Standing" became a big hit for John on both sides of the Atlantic, peaking at number one in Canada and Switzerland, number four in the UK and number 12 in the U.S.

George Michael - Careless Whisper (1984)


Careless Whisper was released as a single and became a huge commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic. It reached number one in nearly 25 countries, selling about six million copies worldwide.

Spandau Ballet – Gold (1983)

‘Gold’ reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart (being held off the top by KC and the Sunshine Band's "Give It Up"), and number 29 on the U.S Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody (1987)

This song won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 30th Grammy Awards. The single was a commercial success, topping the charts in 13 countries including Australia, Germany and the UK. In the US, it became Whitney Houston’s fourth consecutive number one single and sold over one million copies, making it her biggest hit in that country at the time. It was eventually surpassed by her version of ‘I Will Always Love You.’

Diana Ross - Chain Reaction (1986)


This single became Diana Ross’s second number one hit in the UK Singles Chart and passed gold status for sales in excess of 500,000 copies. The song also reached number one in Australia and was the top selling single of the year (1986) in that country. In New Zealand, it peaked at No. 3. In 1993 the song broke the UK top 20 again.

Salt-N-Pepa - Push It (1987)


It was released as the B-side of the "Tramp" single in 1987, and as its own single in 1988. It peaked at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1988 and, after initially peaking at number 41 in the UK, it re-entered the charts after the group performed the track at Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday concert, eventually peaking at number 2 that summer. 

Lionel Richie - Hello (1984)


Taken as the third single from Richie's multi-platinum album Can't Slow Down, the song was released in 1984 and reached number one on three Billboard music charts: the pop chart (for two weeks), the R&B chart (for three weeks) and the adult contemporary chart (for six weeks). The song also went to number one in the UK Singles Chart.

The song is memorable for the line "Hello, is it me you're looking for?". 

George Michael - Faith (1987)


‘Faith’ reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and number two on the UK Singles Chart.

Queen - Radio GaGa (1984)

‘Radio Gaga’ was a worldwide success for Queen, reaching number one in 19 countries, number 2 in the UK Singles Chart, and number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.

The band performed the song at every concert from 1984 to their last with lead vocalist Freddie Mercury in 1986, with their most notable performance at Live Aid in 1985.

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