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Top 15 1980s Songs

Top 15 1980s Songs – The 1980s was a decade that saw monumental changes in popular music. New wave, synthpop, and dance music rose to prominence, while rock bands innovated with exciting new sounds. MTV brought music videos into the mainstream, making visuals and images just as important as the music itself. Some of the most iconic songs in history were released during the ’80s, many of which still receive regular radio airplay today. Let’s take a look back at 15 of the best and most influential songs of the 1980s.Top 15 1980s Songs

Top 15 1980s Songs Are:

1. “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey (1981)

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“Don’t Stop Believin'” was the biggest hit for rock band Journey, reaching #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981. The anthemic song features Journey’s signature melodic rock sound with a prominent piano and synthesizer. It was written by Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, and Neal Schon and released on the album Escape. The uplifting lyrics about never giving up on your dreams contributed to its enduring popularity over the decades. It gained renewed fame when it was featured in the series finale of The Sopranos in 2007.

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2. “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson (1983)

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Regarded as one of Michael Jackson’s signature songs, “Billie Jean” was the second single released from his massively successful sixth solo album Thriller in 1983. The dance pop and R&B track, produced by Quincy Jones, hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks. The song’s funky baseline, Jackson’s distinctive vocals, and its innovative music video cemented it as a classic of the 1980s. “Billie Jean” also explored darker lyrical themes like obsession and paternity. It earned Grammys for Record of the Year and Best R&B Song.Good morning My Love Message

3. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses (1988)

Top 15 1980s Songs
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As the debut single from Guns N’ Roses’ smash hit 1988 debut album Appetite for Destruction, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” exemplified the band’s blend of hard rock, heavy metal, and blues. The surprise #1 hit in 1988 features Slash’s iconic guitar riff and lead vocalist Axl Rose’s powerful vocals. The lyrics were inspired by Rose’s then-girlfriend Erin Everly. The song’s widespread popularity helped catapult Guns N’ Roses to become one of the most successful rock bands of the decade.Romantic love message

4. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi (1986)

Top 15 1980s Songs
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Bon Jovi broke into the mainstream in a big way with their third studio album Slippery When Wet, led by the unforgettable #1 single “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Released in 1986, the passionate hard rock anthem combined Jon Bon Jovi’s powerful lead vocals with Richie Sambora’s talk box guitar work. The lyrics about Tommy and Gina, a working class couple struggling to get by, struck a chord with many listeners. It spent four weeks at #1 and has remained one of Bon Jovi’s signature songs as well as an iconic 80s track.

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5. “Like a Prayer” by Madonna (1989)

Top 15 1980s Songs
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In 1989, Madonna released her career-defining album Like a Prayer. The provocative title track became her seventh #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Like a Prayer” exemplified Madonna’s edgy blend of pop and dance music and incorporated elements of gospel for a unique spiritual vibe. The song’s video also generated controversy for its Catholic imagery. But Madonna’s vocals and the memorable production from Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray helped make “Like a Prayer” an indelible staple of the late 80s that showcased Madonna as a pop trailblazer.

6. “When Doves Cry” by Prince (1984)

Top 15 1980s Songs
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Prince achieved international stardom with his sixth album, the soundtrack to the film Purple Rain, highlighted by this funky, psychedelic #1 hit single. “When Doves Cry” was noteworthy for its creative use of synths and for featuring no bass guitar. Prince’s famous falsetto vocals and experimental, sexually-charged lyrics added to the song’s innovative appeal. It was named the top single of 1984 in the Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop critics poll and earned Prince a Grammy for Best R&B Song. The revolutionary “When Doves Cry” perfectly encapsulated Prince’s genre-bending style.Information guide Nigeria

7. “Take On Me” by a-ha (1985)

Top 15 1980s Songs
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Norwegian synthpop band a-ha broke through globally with “Take On Me” in 1985, still the only song from Norway to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart to date. The propulsive, melodic song showcased lead singer Morten Harket’s striking vocals. But it was the pioneering pencil sketch-style music video that contributed greatly to its success and longevity. One of the most visually memorable videos of the decade, the innovative “Take On Me” clip won six MTV Video Music Awards and ranks among the most acclaimed of all time.

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

Top 15 1980s Songs
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The male-female duo Eurythmics, comprised of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, released this dark, rhythmic new wave track in 1983 as a single from their second album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). Lennox’s powerful, soulful vocals paired perfectly with the hypnotic synthesizer riff that pulses throughout the song. “Sweet Dreams” was a massive success, hitting #1 in multiple countries including the U.S. Its popularity established the Eurythmics as stars and demonstrated how the 1980s saw electronic music moving into the mainstream.

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9. “Every Breath You Take” by The Police (1983)

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This ominous #1 hit single from English rock band The Police was released in 1983 from their album Synchronicity. With its distinctive guitar riff and Sting’s haunting vocals, “Every Breath You Take” sounds simultaneously foreboding and romantic. While allegedly written as a love song, the lyrics have been interpreted as possessing a darker subtext about control and obsession. Regardless, the evocative song was a major success and earned The Police Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group. It remains their best known and most iconic song.NYSC Portal

10. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston (1987)

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On her second studio album, pop diva Whitney Houston began moving into a more dance-oriented sound exemplified by this upbeat smash hit single from 1987. With its high energy and anthemic chorus, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” embodied the fun, positive vibe of 1980s dance-pop. Houston’s incredible voice coupled with the catchy melody resulted in a song that still fills any dance floor. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” spent two weeks at #1, won Houston a Grammy, and ranks among her most recognizable songs.

11. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds (1985)

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This new wave anthem was written and recorded by Scottish band Simple Minds for the soundtrack to the iconic 1985 teen drama film The Breakfast Club. With its synth guitar riff and arena rock choruses, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” perfectly evoked the angst and emotions of youth. Despite being initially reluctant to record it, Simple Minds scored their only US #1 hit with the breakthrough single, which endures as one of the decade’s signature tracks thanks in part to its association with the beloved film.

12. “Walk Like An Egyptian” by The Bangles (1986)

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All-female rock band The Bangles were at the peak of their popularity when they released this quirky, danceable tune in 1986. Produced by David Kahne, “Walk Like An Egyptian” incorporated Middle Eastern rhythms and percussion with jangly guitars and harmonized vocals from the band’s members. The song spent four weeks at #1 while its music video received heavy rotation on MTV. Blending new wave rock with exotic flavors, “Walk Like An Egyptian” exemplified the playful, experimental nature of much 1980s pop.JAMB portal

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13. “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell (1982)

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British synthpop duo Soft Cell brought this 1964 song by Gloria Jones roaring into the ’80s with their smash electronic cover version. Released in 1982, the dramatic update of “Tainted Love” went to #1 in over a dozen countries. Its slick, synthetic production and soulful vocals made it one of the earliest examples of electronic dance music crossing over into the mainstream. Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” spent a then-record 43 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and has since inspired countless remixes and covers, cementing its status as a true classic.

14. “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC (1980)


Australian hard rock

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ers AC/DC unleashed one of their most popular anthems with the single “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Released in 1980 off their seminal album Back in Black, this guitar-driven song showcased the unmistakable lead vocals of Brian Johnson along with the unparalleled twin guitar attack of Angus Young and Malcolm Young. Its sexual lyrics and energetic performance made it a rock and roll staple. The catchy, hard-hitting tune ranks among AC/DC’s signature tracks and one of the most memorable rock songs of the decade.

15. “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner (1984)

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After leaving her abusive husband Ike Turner, Tina Turner made an incredible solo comeback in the ’80s, led by this gritty R&B pop smash. “What’s Love Got To Do With It” was a #1 single in 1984 and earned Turner multiple Grammy Awards. Her bold, dynamic vocals drive the song as she belts out themes of emotional independence and overcoming hurt. Produced by Terry Britten, the song’s mix of rock and soul elements perfectly complements Turner’s commanding performance. It remains Tina Turner’s most iconic solo recording and one of the strongest tracks of the 1980s.

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The 1980s produced some of the most distinct and memorable songs in pop music history that still resonate with listeners today. New wave, dance, rock, R&B, and hip hop artists made their mark with catchy melodies, innovative production, and iconic music videos. The songs on this list represent the diversity of sounds and styles that connected with music fans during the unforgettable musical decade that was the 1980s. These are anthems that continue to shape our nostalgia and remind us just how creative mainstream music could be during an unparalleled era.

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