Get ready to travel back in time with our countdown of the best 80s pop songs ever recorded. These classics will have you singing along and reminiscing bout the good old days.
1. Beat It – Michael Jackson (1982)
“Beat It,” the classic Michael Jackson song, is one of the most iconic songs of the ’80s pop era.
With its catchy beat and empowering message about standing up for yourself, it’s easy to see why it was such a big hit.
The song talks about how violence isn’t the answer, encouraging people to work out their differences with words instead.
It also serves as an anthem against peer pressure and bullying, something that’s still very relevant today.
Though it may have been released in 1983, there’s no doubt that “Beat It” will remain a defining tune of the ’80s for decades to come.
2. Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield (1981)
Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” is an iconic pop song from the ’80s that has remained timeless throughout the decades.
The song details a young man who loves Jessie’s girl, but he’s just a friend and doesn’t have a chance.
Through clever lyrics, Springfield conveys his jealousy of the romantic relationship between Jessie and his love interest.
This top 80s pop song captures the angst of unrequited love while keeping listeners grooving with its infectious rhythm.
3. Take On Me by A-ha (1985)
“Take On Me” by A-ha is one of the most iconic and beloved 80s pop songs ever.
It features a catchy synth-pop hook, a soaring chorus, and perhaps one of history’s most memorable music videos.
The song is about a young man’s heartfelt plea to win over his beloved, as he offers her his heart, soul, and attention if she’ll “take on me.”
With its cleverly crafted lyrics, irresistible beat, and captivating music video that captures the wonder and nostalgia of ’80s culture, it’s no wonder why “Take On Me” is still considered one of the greatest pop songs ever.
4. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson (1982)
“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson is an iconic 80s pop song that will never go out of style.
It’s an instantly recognizable tune with clever lyrics and catchy melodies, the perfect recipe for a timeless classic.
With a funky beat and powerful vocals, it’s no surprise this song became one of the most successful singles ever released.
Not to mention the famous moonwalk dance routine. Who can forget that?
Whether you’ve heard it on the radio or danced with it on TV, “Billie Jean” will bring back fond memories of the good old days!
5. Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper (1983)
“Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper is a classic 80s pop song that celebrates the power of love over time.
The track is musically and lyrically resonant, reflecting on how life can be unpredictable, but true love withstands everything.
With her signature vocal style, Lauper gives us a timeless melody to remember, complete with infectious pop beats and playful synth sounds, all backed up by her meaningful lyrics.
6. Another One Bites the Dust – Queen (1980)
“Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen is a classic 80s pop anthem still recognizable today.
The song, released in 1980, was written and recorded by the band for their album “The Game.”
It quickly became a global hit, reaching number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and staying there for three weeks.
With its catchy beat and memorable chorus line, “Another One Bites the Dust” has become an iconic pop song of its era.
7. Pump Up the Jam – Technotronic (1989)
“Pump Up the Jam” by Technotronic was first released in 1989 and quickly gained traction as an iconic 80s pop anthem.
The song describes an open invitation to a dance party, using catchy synth rhythms and vocal hooks to rally the listener onto the dancefloor.
It is highlighted by lead singer Ya Kid K’s positively charged vocals, which narrate a rousing story of self-empowerment with lyrics like “Music’s got me feeling so free.”
Accompanied by energetic beats and samples from clubs worldwide, Pump Up the Jam has become an enduring symbol of carefree partying.
8. I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow (1982)
“I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow is an 80s classic pop song. The catchy lyrics talk about the youthful and unbridled enthusiasm of a young person’s first crush.
Lead singer Annabella Lwin’s vocal delivery is full of energy, perfect for conveying the contagious thrill of finding someone new to love.
She sings, “I want candy… just like I used to when I was a little girl,” bringing back memories of innocent times gone by and providing a message that no matter how old you get, it’s okay to still feel young at heart.
9. Believe It Or Not – Joey Scarbury (1981)
“Believe It or Not” by Joey Scarbury is a classic 80s pop song that has been an anthem of hope and joy for many.
The song talks about never giving up, no matter how hard things seem, and how believing in yourself is the only way to make it through.
The catchy chorus and upbeat tempo will stay with you long after it ends.
10. Call Me – Blondie (1980)
“Call Me” by Blondie is one of the most iconic and beloved songs of the 1980s.
The song, with its catchy synth-pop hooks and Debbie Harry’s signature sultry vocals, was a global hit in 1980.
It stands as one of Blondie’s most famous tracks even today, and its music video is widely credited for helping bring MTV into mainstream popularity when it premiered in early 1981.
The timeless lyrics speak of an estranged love that Debbie sings passionately about begging her lover to call her whenever he feels lonely or needs someone to talk to.
11. “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey /1981
“Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey is one of the most popular 80s pop songs, encouraging listeners to never give up on their dreams and hopes.
The lyrics talk about a small-town girl living in a lonely world, with an inspirational chorus for anyone struggling not to lose faith: “Don’t stop believin’/Hold on to that feeling.”
Despite being released almost 40 years ago, this uplifting anthem is still loved by many and won’t stop anytime soon!
12. “How Will I Know” – Whitney Houston /1985
“How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston is a famous 80s pop song that explores the feelings of insecurity and desire for affirmation in a romantic relationship.
Through her words, Houston conveys how it can feel to be uncertain if someone loves them back, with lines such as “Will he think of me? Will he realize I’m in love?”
The buoyant chorus lifts the listener up as Houston expresses her hope that signs will appear to guide her: “Somehow I will show, oh yeah, I will know/Just look in my heart; I’ll be sure we’re never apart.”
With its upbeat tempo and catchy hook, “How Will I Know” captures the joy and anxiety of young love.
13. “With or Without You” – U2 /1987
“With or Without You” by U2 is a famous 80s pop song about a tumultuous relationship.
The song shows the feelings of uncertainty, fear for the future, and the need to cling to one another for stability in an ever-changing world.
It’s raw emotion and simple yet powerful lyrics make it a timeless classic that still resonates with audiences today.
“With or Without You” is an emotional yet uplifting anthem that strikes at the heart of relationships and speaks volumes about what it means to be human.
14. “Walk Like an Egyptian” – The Bangles / 1986
“Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles is a famous 80s pop song encouraging people to be bold, independent, and self-confident.
The song talks about how people can find strength through “walking like an Egyptian,” meaning embracing pride in their heritage and genuinely believing in themselves.
It’s a solid reminder to stay true to one’s beliefs and never give up on one’s dreams, no matter what others say.
15. “Jump” – Van Halen / 1984
“Jump” by Van Halen is a famous 80s pop song that retains its catchy vibes today.
The track opens with an unmistakable synthesizer riff. It has ever-changing rhythms, like the transitions between the searing guitar solos and the upbeat chorus.
This classic hit is best experienced loud with its fast tempo, layered synths, and funk-influenced basslines promising an exciting listen every time.
16. “Need You Tonight” – INXS / 1987
“Need You Tonight” by INXS is an instantly recognizable 80s pop song.
With a catchy, synth-pop beat and iconic guitar riff, the song’s lyrics are about a passionate physical longing. As lead singer Michael Hutchence croons out, “All you got is this moment,” it’s no wonder it has become a timeless classic.
Combining rock and new wave music elements with passionate vocals spoken from the depths of one’s soul, this track demonstrates why INXS was at the forefront of the music industry in the ’80s.
17. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake / 1982
“Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake is a classic 80s pop song about starting anew. It tells the story of someone confronting their fears and learning to move on from a past relationship.
The lyrics are filled with optimism and strength, emphasizing that regardless of the pain you may have gone through, there’s always hope for something better.
The iconic chorus becomes an empowering mantra: “Here I go again on my own/goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known”.
18. “Come on Eileen” – Dexy’s Midnight Runners / 1982
“Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners is a classic 80s pop song that became an international hit.
It tells the story of unrequited love, with the protagonist pining for a girl named Eileen, hoping she’ll realize his affection and “come on.”
The song features jangly guitars, soulful vocals, and a hooky saxophone solo to create a nostalgia-filled, upbeat sound.
Although it was written almost 40 years ago, the song remains popular today and has been covered by various artists.
19. “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper / 1984
“Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper is a classic 80s pop song about someone who has been let down by love and the hope of finding it again.
The lyrics remind us that true love is worth waiting for, even when it feels like we have been looking forever.
Musically, the song beautifully combines Lauper’s melodious voice with a catchy electro-pop beat that helps bring out the emotion in her words.
20. “Jessie’s Girl” – Rick Springfield / 1981
“Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield is a famous 80s pop song about a man in love with his best friend, Jessie’s girl.
The man is deeply conflicted as he realizes he can never have her and wishes he dared to tell her how he feels.
The catchy melody and heart-wrenching lyrics paint an evocative picture of unrequited love and longing for something just out of reach.
It’s this moment of emotional intensity that makes “Jessie’s Girl” a timeless hit for many fans around the world.
21. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi (1986)
“Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi is an iconic 80s pop song about the struggles of everyday life.
The song follows Tommy and Gina, two young lovers trying to make ends meet despite their meager jobs and struggling relationship.
Despite their situation, they remain hopeful that, eventually, things will work out for them as long as they stick together.
The upbeat tempo and sing-along chorus evoke optimism, courage, and determination in the face of adversity – inspiring millions since its release in 1986.
With its empowering message, it’s no wonder why this song still resonates with people today.
22. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard (1987)
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard is a famous 80s pop song about the intensity and passion of a relationship.
The track conveys an undeniable thrill that comes with wanting something, as the singer encourages his lover to pour sugar over him to increase their relationship’s sweetness level.
The metaphor of adding sugar suggests that these two people have something already special occurring between them. Still, they are looking for more to make it even better.
This classic rock anthem is one of Def Leppard’s most recognizable hits. It will always be remembered as an iconic love song from the 80s.
23. “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran (1982)
“Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran is one of the most iconic hits of the 1980s.
The song explores themes of desire and obsession, with its pulsing beat and memorable guitar riffs capturing the essence of ’80s pop-rock in perfect harmony.
Lyrically, frontman Simon Le Bon vividly depicts a man on the prowl for his love interest, chasing her down “like a wolf [who] cries out for mercy.”
The imagery proves that love can make us all feel like wild animals sometimes, harkening back to primal feelings deep within us all.
24. “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC (1980)
“You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC is a classic 80s pop song that captures the powerful energy of love and lust.
The lyrics express an intense sexual admiration, with singer Brian Johnson singing about a woman who entranced him all night and left him wanting more.
With its energetic guitar riffs and driving drums, the song creates a thrilling atmosphere perfect for getting up and dancing – or just shaking your hips to the beat!
It was one of AC/DC’s biggest hits, topping the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980, and continues to be a favorite at parties today.
25. “When Doves Cry” by Prince (1984)
“When Doves Cry” by Prince is one of the most iconic 80s pop songs.
The song tells the story of someone in a tumultuous relationship, with lyrics that express hurt and confusion.
The catchy beat and vivid imagery, like “digging in deep to relieve some pain,” help bring this powerful narrative to life.
Prince’s unmatched vocal performance further elevates the track. His cries of “baby” and falsetto emphasize the emotional despair at the song’s heart.
Over thirty years after its release, it remains one of the most beloved songs from that era.
26. “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” by Hall & Oates (1981)
“I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” by Hall & Oates is one of the most iconic 1980s pop songs, and its easy-going vibe still resonates today.
The song’s catchy melody and simple lyrics remind us that we can’t always control everything in life, and sometimes we must say “no.”
27. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses (1987)
“Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses is one of the most iconic and popular songs of the 80s, thanks to its endearing lyrics that celebrate sweet and innocent love.
Written by Axl Rose, the song is a heartfelt ballad that speaks of how much he cares for his beloved.
The guitar solo by Slash and Izzy Stradlin’s signature riffs make this song stand out.
It has become an anthem for unconditional love and remains one of the band’s greatest hits and one of the top 80s pop songs!
28. “Like a Virgin” by Madonna (1984)
“Like a Virgin” by Madonna is one of the most iconic and beloved 80s pop songs ever.
It was released in 1984 and reached number one on the charts, becoming Madonna’s first Billboard Hot 100 number-one single.
The song talks about a woman finding new-found love after being hurt in the past and her excitement to explore it with innocence like a “first time.”
Her incredible vocal performance and Nile Rodgers’ funky guitar production earned the track numerous awards and it has since become an anthem for strength and resilience after heartache.
29. “Walk This Way” by Run DMC (1986)
“Walk This Way” by Run DMC is one of the top 80s pop songs with a very iconic sound.
The song, which samples Aerosmith’s 1975 hit “Walk This Way,” is a story of two kids in the hood being tempted to follow a wrong path but eventually choosing to do what’s right.
The lyrics are positive and inspiring, with lines like “Don’t you want to be somebody else? Get up! Get out! Walk this way!” encouraging people to make the right choices in life.
30. Soft Cell – Tainted Love / 1981
Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” is one of the most iconic 80s pop songs. It speaks to the challenges and complications of modern love, exploring how even pure and devoted relationships can be tainted by outside influences.
The narrator finds his partner’s love being corrupted by another person, as seen in lyrics like, “Sometimes I feel I’ve got to run away / I’ve got to get away / From the pain you drive into the heart of me.”
Despite its upbeat melody, it’s a sad song filled with loss and confusion.
What was the biggest hit of the 1980s?
The 1980s were an iconic decade filled with unforgettable hits still enjoyed today.
Most notably, “Every Breath You Take” by The Police was the biggest hit of the ’80s, topping the charts for eight consecutive weeks in 1983.
Today, it remains one of the most beloved songs of the decade, continuing to be featured in movies, television shows, and commercials.
What pop music was popular in the 80s?
The 1980s was a great decade for pop music.
Michael Jackson was undoubtedly the King of Pop, and his albums Thriller and Bad were some of the most successful albums of all time, producing timeless hits like “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “Thriller,” and “Bad.”
Other famous artists from the 80s included Madonna, Prince, Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston, George Michael, and more.
The genre rose to prominence with the founding of MTV in 1981. It became an international success story with its accompanying music videos.
Synth-pop bands like Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and New Order found immense popularity in Europe as well as the U.S.,
Other genres like country-pop (Kenny Rogers’ hit single “Islands In The Stream”) and soft rock (Phil Collins’s “In The Air Tonight”) also made waves at radio stations across the world.
What is 80s pop culture?
80s pop culture is remembered for its colorful fashion, vibrant music, and fantastic movies.
Popular 80s trends included bright clothing such as neon colors, leggings, leg warmers, oversized jewelry, and shoulder pads.
Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince heavily influenced music from the decade.
MTV rose to popularity during this time, when many videos from popular bands like Duran Duran and A-ha dominated the airwaves.
80s movies like The Breakfast Club and Top Gun also impacted popular culture at the time.
With all these iconic figures, styles, and influences, it’s easy to understand why people fondly remember the 80s as one of the best decades ever!
What is the 80s most famous for?
The 80s featured big hair, neon colors, and bold fashion statements.
It was the era of excess and innovation in music, film, and television, as well as an incredible entrepreneurial spirit that brought new technologies into everyday life.
The 80s are also remembered for their significant political and social movements that sought to create global equity.
Iconic personalities such as Madonna and Michael Jackson provided plenty of entertainment.
At the same time, the Hot New Wave trend introduced us to bands like Duran Duran, The Cure, and Talking Heads.
Overall, the 80s were a unique period that gave us unforgettable music, trends, and culture we still remember today.
What was the #1 song in 1980?
The #1 song in 1980 was “Call Me” by Blondie.
It topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks, becoming one of the most successful songs released that year and a classic worldwide hit.
Why are 80s songs so popular?
The 80s were an iconic decade for music. From synth-pop and new wave to classic rock, metal, and hip-hop, the eighties gave us some of history’s most memorable musical moments.
Even today, 80s songs remain popular due to their upbeat energy and classic melodies that make them timeless.
Many artists from this era have achieved legendary status due to their influence on pop culture, and their distinctive sounds still keep fans worldwide grooving along.
Why is 80s music so iconic?
80s music is considered iconic for a variety of reasons.
It was the decade of memorable fashion trends, massive technological and scientific advancements, and, most importantly, some of the greatest musical hits ever.
The 80s was a decade that blended numerous genres, such as pop, rock, hip-hop, soul, and funk, together to create an unforgettable soundscape.
Its upbeat rhythms and catchy lyrics made it easy for people to escape from their everyday lives into this fantasy world filled with rich musical heritage.
What influenced 80s pop?
The 80s pop scene was heavily influenced by the rise of synthesizers and sequencers that made it easier to create complex electronic music, as well as the increasing popularity of disco, funk, and post-disco.
New Wave, a subgenre of rock music, significantly influenced 80s pop with synthesizers and strong melodies.
Additionally, the birth of MTV in 1981 helped spread popular music worldwide like never before.
Music videos became essential marketing tools for artists and helped make stars out of singers like Madonna and Michael Jackson.
This era also saw some groundbreaking styles, such as hip hop and jungle/drum-and-bass, breakthrough into mainstream consciousness thanks to iconic acts like Run DMC and The Prodigy.
Who was the biggest band in the 80s?
The biggest band of the 80s was arguably Duran Duran.
The British new wave/pop rock group, consisting of vocalist Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bass guitarist John Taylor, and drummer Roger Taylor, burst onto the scene in 1981 with their debut album”Duran Duran.”
It went platinum within weeks and spawned several hit singles, including “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “Save A Prayer.”
From there, they achieved massive global success with further albums such as “Rio” (1982) and “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” (1983), making them one of the world’s biggest acts of the decade, selling over 70 million records worldwide.