Great 80s Songs

by nickupton

A collection of sixty great songs from the 1980s with accompanying videos.

The 1980s was a decade which featured a very wide variety of music. The charts in the 80s featured disco, soft rock, heavy rock, new romantics, manufactured pop, punk, rap and much more. The 1980s was also when creating music videos to accompany the song became normal, and many of these were very flamboyant as bands tried to outdo each other.

Here I present some of the great 80s songs that made a lasting impression on me. I have featured six music videos from each year of the 1980s for you to watch and created links to the albums these songs are from so that you can listen to some of your old favourites.

Hooray For The 80s!

As you will see as you progress through this page, the 1980s was a great decade for music. I have featured music videos that cover a wide variety of music genres and there were so many more that I wanted to add but had to keep tabs on the length of this page; I haven't found room for any music from Duran Duran, Wham, Tears for Fears, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and many other memorable 80s acts.

Some of the world's most successful music acts were at their height in the 80s; Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson all released their best music in this decade and bands such as AC/DC, The Rolling Stones and ABBA were still recording hits.

In Britain, Stock, Aitken & Waterman produced a string of manufactured hits with acts such as Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley and many others.

Perhaps the low point of the 80s was the large number of novelty songs such as "The Chicken Song", "Agadoo", "Star Trekkin'" and suchlike; music fans will be pleased to find that they are absent from this page.

 

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1980

Baggy Trousers - Madness

Baggy Trousers, by Madness, made an instant impression on me when I first heard it as a child; I guess the theme about school appealed to me and the lyrics about eating dirt and being hit on the head with a plastic cup made me laugh, but most of all it is a catchy tune.

The video for Baggy Trousers is pretty good too and the image of the guy flying around playing the saxophone is one that imbedded itself in many people's minds and is enduring image from 80s music.

Baggy Trousers is a song which still sounds good today; listen to it yourself and see how you think it stands the test of time.

Fun Lyrics from Baggy Trousers

"All the teachers in the pub, passing round the ready rub. Trying not to think of when, the lunchtime bell will ring again."

Lip Up Fatty - Bad Manners

 

I used to love Buster Blood Vessel, of Bad Manners, performing the Can-can but was not really aware of any other bad Manners songs. For some reason my mother bought me a cassette by Bad Manners to listen to on my walkman and Lip Up fatty became my favourite song from it. I have funny memories of my younger sister and I dancing around and singing to this when on a family holiday.

I still have the cassette although I also have this tune on my MP3 player these days!

Super Trouper - ABBA

Includes hits Super Trouper, Lay All You Love & The Winner Takes It All.

Only $0.40
Blondie - Greatest Hits

All the most famous songs from Blondie.

Only $3.94
Back in Black - AC/DC

Featuring Back in Black & You Shook me All Night Long.

Only $5.80
More Great 80s Songs

Four more great songs from 1980 I have selected are;

1. Super Trouper by ABBA

2. Call Me by Blondie

3. Don't Stand So Close by The Police

4. You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC

1981

Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads

I only vaguely remember this song, by Talking Heads, from 1981; I seem to remember the video on a children's Saturday morning show. However, as an adult I heard it a lot on the radio and on TV shows reviewing the 80s and grew to love it.

The lyrics, I guess, make more sense to adults than kids, so maybe that is why I have grown to like the song as I got older, but it is the video which has me mesmerized these days. The performance, by David Byrne, is one of the most bizarre you will ever see with him twitching around and becoming covered in sweat. If you have never seen it take a look and you will see what I mean.

Stand And Deliver - Adam & The Ants

 

Adam Ant was a big deal when I was at school and I can remember singing this one in the playground as part of some sort of highwayman game! Of course we changed the words to "Stand in your dinner". Witty hey?

This song still has a catchy tune, although it does sound pretty dated, but it has one of the most imaginative music videos of the time, telling a story. I loved the song and video when it was first released and I still like it now. See what you think.

Fun Lyrics from Stand and Deliver

"I'm the dandy highwayman, whom you're too scared to mention.
I spend my cash on looking flash and grabbing your attention.
The devil take your stereo and your record collection.
The way you look, you'll qualify for next year's old age pension!"

Remain in Light - Talking Heads

Includes the hit "Once in a Lifetime".

Only $1.67
Prince Charming - Adam & The Ants

Prince Charming + Stand & Deliver.

Only $0.40
Tattoo You - The Rolling Stones

Start Me Up is the highlight.

Only $5.58
More Great 80s Songs

Four more great songs from 1981 I have selected are;

1. Rabbit by Chas 'n' Dave

2. Start me Up by The Rolling Stones

3. Happy Birthday by Altered Images

4. Don't You Want Me by Human League

1982

Hey Mickey - Toni Basil

Hey Mickey, by Toni Basil, is one of those songs that the 80s was famous for. Simple pop music and a cheesy music video, but this song has remained popular through the decades and is frequently used in movies and TV shows.

When this song was released I loved it. I had no idea what it was about but just loved the simple, jolly tune and dancing. I even learned the dance with other kids and we did it together at school discos! I care for it less these days (I certainly don't do the dance any more) but it remains a very memorable 80s song.

Hey Mickey Lyrics

"Oh Mickey, what a pity, you don't understand.
You take me by the heart, when you take me by the hand."

House Of Fun - Madness

 

I can't say I ever considered myself a Madness fan but this is another of their songs which stands the test of time very well. As a kid I loved the tune and the mad video full of crazy guys prancing around - it looks fun!

What I particularly like about "House of Fun" is the change of tempo between the verses and chorus; the song becomes quite surreal and the images in the video match that quite well. As a child I had no idea that the song was about buying condoms!

The Best of Toni Basil

Hey Mickey and other songs.

Only $0.55
Madness

House of Fun, Our House, It Must be Love and others.

Only $0.40
Very Best of Hot Chocolate

You Sexy Thing, Brother Louis, Disco Queen, So You Win Again & more.

Only $4.57
Iko Iko - Natasha

Download Iko Iko now.

Too-Rye-Ay - Dexys Midnight Runners

Includes 'Come On Eileen'.

Only $0.40
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor

Eye of the Tiger.

Only $0.55
More Great 80s Songs

Four more great songs from 1982 to remember are;

1. It Started With A Kiss by Hot Chocolate

2. Iko Iko by Natasha

3. Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners

4. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

More Great Songs From 1982

1983

Karma Chameleon - Culture Club

Karma Chameleon, by Culture Club, is still one of my favourite songs of all time. When he first appeared, Boy George caused a real storm with his make-up and girlish looks. I can remember many older people saying that he should have to serve in the army and get a proper hair cut. These days he would hardly get a second glance and as a youngster all I noticed was the catchy tune and easy to remember lyrics which I still sing along to when I hear this song playing.

Join in the Chorus of Karma Chameleon

"Karma karma karma karma, karma chameleon. You come and go, you come and go.
Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream. Red gold and green, red gold and green."

 

Temptation, by Heaven 17, is a song that a close friend of mine was particularly keen on and I began to like it due to the amount of exposure I got to it from him singing it. My memories of this song are of a high tempo and exciting song, which it is, but I do not remember it being as dark as it seems now. The video to this song seems like there is an underlying sinister side to the song.

It is still an entertaining and powerful song which gets used on TV and movies frequently.

Temptation - Heaven 17
More Great 80s Songs

Four more great songs from 1982 to remember are;

1. Cacharpaya by Incantation

2. Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant

3. Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics

4. Moonlight Shadow by Mike Oldfield

Colour By Numbers - Culture Club

With Karma Chameleon etc.

Only $3.30
Luxury Gap - Heaven 17

Includes "Temptation" and others.

Only $28.99
Cacharpaya - Incantation

Download Cacharpaya now.

Only $0.99
Killer on the Rampage - Eddie Grant

With "Electric Avenue".

Only $0.40
Sweet Dreams Are Made of This - Eurythmics

Includes the hit "Sweet Dreams".

Only $0.40
Crises - Mike Oldifeld

"Crisis" & "Moonlight Shadow" featured.

Only $64.62

1984

I Want To Break Free - Queen

At some time or another everybody has probably thought - "I Want to Break Free". This song by Queen was one of their biggest hits of he 80s and features Freddy Mercury at his best. Over time this song has become a Karaoke favourite in pubs.

The video for this song is extremely memorable too and got quite a lot of attention at the time with the members of Queen dressed up as women. Watch the video and sing along.

Lyrics from I Want To Break Free

"I want to break free, I want to break free.
I want to break free from your lies, you're so self satisfied I don't need you. I've got to break free.
God knows, God knows I want to break free."

It's Raining Men - The Weather Girls

 

It's Raining Men by The Weather Girls is pure fun and the way it is belted out by The Weather Girls makes it a very memorable 80s song indeed. I remember my father being particularly amused by a performance of this on TV and it is a song that always brings a smile to my face.

This has to be one of the gayest songs ever produced and I got some funny looks once when caught singing it in public - never mind, I couldn't care less what they thought!

Works - Queen

I Want to Break Free, Radio Gaga, A Hard Life etc.

Only $0.40
Hallelujah! It's Raining Men - Weather Girls

Greatest hits.

Only $0.40
Dream Into Action - Howard Jones

Includes, "Like to Get to Know You Well".

Only $7.99
In the Studio - Special AKA

Features "Free Nelson Mandela".

Only $0.40
Breaking Hearts - Elton John

Includes "Passengers".

Only $0.55
The Lexicon Of Love - ABC

"The Look of Love" is included.

Only $1.75

Four more great songs from 1984 I have selected;

1. Like To Get To Know You Well by Howard Jones

2. Free Nelson Madela by Special AKA

3. Passengers by Elton John

4. The Look of Love by ABC

1985

You Spin Me Round - Dead Or Alive

You Spin Me Round, by Dead Or Alive, has to be one of the most enduring pop songs from the 80s, regularly being re-released, covered, sampled and used on television shows. I even heard it a few days ago playing in a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand!

What is not to like about this song? Catchy tune, memorable chorus, camp as can be and sung by one of the freakiest singers around. When this song first came out I loved it and it has stuck in my head so much that I regularly find myself singing it to myself.

This song is pure fun! Listen to it.

Sing Along To You Spin Me Round

All I know is that to me. You look like you're lots of fun. Open up your lovin' arms. Watch out, here I come.

You spin me right round, baby, right round like a record, baby. Right round round round.
You spin me right round, baby, right round like a record, baby. Right round round round."

One Vision - Queen

 

Great into, great lyrics, great guitar solos, great vocal and a weird ending. One Vison is one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite bands: Queen. This video of Queen at Wembley in 1986 shows why they were one of the best live bands around.

My mother used to listen to Queen a lot but by the time One Vision was released, I was a fan in my own right and used to listen to this constantly. This is one of Queen's songs with the widest appeal.

Youthquake - Dead Or Alive

Features the extended mix "You Spin Me Round".

Only $0.40
Kind of Magic - Queen

Features One Vision & A Kind of Magic.

Only $9.54
Like a Virgin - Madonna

Material Girl, Like a Virgin etc.

Only $2.19
Billy Idol

Including Hot in the City & White Wedding.

Only $0.45
Feargal Sharkey

Featuring "A Good Heart".

Only $0.40
Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen

Many of Springsteen's hits featured.

Only $3.91
More Great 80s Songs

Four more great songs from 1985 I have chosen are;

1. Material Girl by Madonna

2. White Wedding by Billy Idol

3. A Good Heart by Feargal Sharkey

4. Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen

1986

Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles

Everyone liked Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles. In my grandparents front room my sister and I were walking like Egyptians on a Saturday morning  and even my grandfather was joining in! Amazing for a man who thought all pop stars should be forced into national service :)

This is another catchy 80s song with some fun lyrics and a video that got everyone involved. The song was catchy and the dance was too. Listen now and join in walking like an Egyptian!!!!

Word Up - Cameo

 

Word Up by Cameo is one of the daftest songs to come out of the 80s. However, with its catchy tune and easy-to-remember lyrics (I could sing the whole thing at one point) this is also one of my favourite songs from the 80s. I just love the singer's strange voice and the red codpiece in the video is an image that is both bizarre and something that makes me always remember the video.

Word up has been much covered by others music acts; Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Fun Lyrics from Word Up

"If there’s music we can use it, we need to dance. 
We don’t have that time for psychological romance."

More Great 80s Songs

Four more songs from 1986 worth remembering are;

1. Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel

2. The Final Countdown by Europe

3. Rock me Amadeus by Falco

4. Walk of Life by Dire Straits

Different Light - The Bangles

Includes 'Manic Monday' & 'Walk Like An Egyptian'.

Only $8.26
Word Up - Cameo

Featuring the hit, "Word Up".

Only $1.59
So - Peter Gabriel

Includes the hit, "Sledgehammer".

Only $4.64
Final Countdown - Europe

With 2 versions of The Final Countdown.

Only $14.94
Falco 3

Rock me Amadeus and more.

Only $79.98
Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits

Walk of Life & Money for Nothing.

Only $1.99

1987

Love In The First Degree - Bananarama

Love in the First Degree was one of Bananarama's biggest hits and one which they performed very memorably at the Brits awards at the Royal Albert Hall. This is another up tempo song that is fun to sing along to and one that makes you want to dance; this is another one that gave rise to an impromptu dance show by my younger sister.

The video is quite fun too.

Chorus from Love in the First Degree

"Only you can set me free, 'cause I'm guilty, guilty as a girl can be.
Come on baby can't you see, I stand accused of love in the first degree.
Guilty, of love in the first degree."

Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley

 

Never Gonna Give You Up, by Rick Astley, is a typical 80s manufactured pop song which is widely lambasted for its cheesiness, but at the same time seems to have acquired some sort of cult status; presumably it is the perfect example of trashy 80s pop.

Having said all that, this song brings back good memories of the time and is still extremely popular with people trying to relive their younger days! The dreadful dancing in the video is wonderful to watch and emulate too.

Wow - Bananarama

Includes "Love in the Fist Degree" & "I Want You Back".

Only $4.95
Whenever You Need Somebody - Rick Astley

"Never Gonna Give You Up"

Only $2.95
Actually - Pet Shop Boys

Includes "It's a Sin".

Only $2.49
Flm - Mel & Kim

Features "Respectable" & "Showing Out".

Only $0.40
This Is the Story - The Proclaimers

"Letter from America" & more.

Only $0.40
Bad - Michael Jackson

"Bad", "Dirty Diana", "Smooth Criminal".

Only $8.20
More Great 80s Songs

Some more great songs from 1987;

1. It's A Sin by Pet Shop Boys

2. Respectable by Mel & Kim

3. Letter From America by The Proclaimers

4. Bad by Michael Jackson

1988

Gimme Hope Joanna - Eddie Grant

Gimme Hope Joanna, by Eddie Grant, is a very upbeat and catchy song about a serious political issue and when it was released I was aware that it was about Apartheid in South Africa, but it was just the jolly tune and memorable chorus that hooked me.

I can remember my younger sister dancing around in my bedroom to this song when she was about 8 years old; her enthusiasm got me to join her!

Lyrics from Gimme Hope Joanna

"She's got a system they call apartheid, it keeps a brother in a subjection.
But maybe pressure can make Jo'anna see how everybody could a live as one."

The Only Way Is Up - Yazz

 

In the early 90s I followed my local football club, Dartford FC, up and down the country. They were going through hard times, fighting relegation, falling attendances, struggling to put out a team and eventually losing their ground and going bankrupt. At every home game "The Only Way Is Up", by Yazz, used to play before the action started. Every time I hear this song I remember those times, which were great, despite the problems.

Dartford FC are doing better these days :)

Very Best of Eddy Grant

Gimme Hope Joanna, Electric Avenue etc.

Only $0.40
Wanted - Yazz

Includes, "The Only Way is Up".

Only $19.43
Kylie

I Should be so Lucky, The Locomotion & more.

Only $12.90
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son - Iron Maiden

Features, "Can I Play With Madness".

Only $0.55
Sunshine on Leith - The Proclaimers

Featuring "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)".

Only $1.45
Reloaded: Greatest Hits - Tom Jones

All Tom Jones's greatest hits.

Only $7.00
More Great 80s Songs

Four more great songs from 1988;

1. I Should Be So Lucky by Kylie Minogue

2. Can I Play With Madness by Iron Maiden

3. I'm Gonna Be, 500 Miles by The Proclaimers

4. Kiss by Tom Jones & The Art of Noise

1989

Love Shack - B52s

Love Shack by the B52s remains one of the most loved songs of the 80s for large numbers of people. What I always loved about this song was the upbeat tempo, the ridiculous lyrics and the unusual voice of the singer. Essentially this is a happy song, and as you may have guessed from my musical selection, I love happy music; I don't need to listen to slow, dismal tunes, slowness and dismalness are far too common in life anyway.

The video to Love Shack is bright, happy and visually compelling and complements the song well. If you haven't seen it in years watch it now - I am sure it will bring a smile to your face.

Fun Lyrics from Love Shack

"Funky little shack. Funk-y little shack."

Too Many Broken Hearts - Jason Donovan

  

My younger sister was in love with Jason Donovan and this song played so much on TV, the radio and in our house that it became permanently engraved in my brain; I can still sing the whole thing now! 

When Too Many Broken Hearts was in the charts in UK I was doing my exams at school and when I sat down to do one chemistry exam (a subject I far from excelled at) all I could think of for 30 minutes was, "You give me one good reason to leave me, I'll give you ten good reasons to stay. You're the only one I believe in,I'll be hurt; I'll be hurt, if you walked away".

More Great 80s Songs

Four more great songs from 1989 I still listen to are;

1. Cuddly Toy by Roachford

2. She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals

3. Baby I Don't Care by Transvision Vamp

4. Poison by Alice Cooper

Cosmic Thing - B52s

Includes the hit, "Love Shack".

Only $1.48
Ten Good Reasons - Jason Donovan

Too Many Broken Hearts & more.

Only $79.09
Roachford

Featuring "Cuddly Toy".

Only $4.29
Raw & The Cooked - Fine Young Cannibals

She Drives Me Crazy, Good Thing etc.

Only $1.48
Velveteen - Transvision Vamp

Baby I Don't Care & Velveteen.

Only $16.66
Trash - Alice Cooper

Includes Poison, House of Fire & Why Trust You.

Only $0.40

Hope You Enjoyed These 80s Songs

I hope that you enjoyed watching these old 80s music videos and found that some of your favourites were here; you may have even found something good that you were previously unaware of. 

One of the things that I hope you enjoyed here is the wide variety of musical styles - I find that subsequent decades have not had this variety and lean very heavily on a few styles of popular music.

There are so many other great songs that I could have featured so if you want more it is worth trawling through Youtube to see what else you can find - just about anything that was popular in the 80s can be found there. Creating this page has made me appreciate Youtube hugely; without it most of these videos would have been distant memories and I would not have been able to relive the 1980s over the last few days!

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Boney M songs are some of the most enduring of the late 1970s disco period. Songs by Boney M are fun, jolly and still popular today.
Updated: 04/23/2013, nickupton
 
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Please Comment On ThIs Collection Of Great 80s Songs


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TerriRexson on 04/02/2012

Oh wow that takes me back. I remember almost all of these songs, even from the early 80s when I was very young. My Mum had the radio on all the time.

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