Top List

Top Best '80s Songs

1. Purple Rain, 2. Beat It, 3. I Wanna Dance with Somebody, 4. Straight Outta Compton, 5. Fight the Power, 6. Express Yourself, 7. Modern Love, 8. The Message, 9. Close to Me. You can almost always find the same cycle of kitsch, and retro pop on an '80s playlist: synthy goth tracks, light hip-hop, the occasional punk infusion, and a ton of hair metal. Beyond the sum of its idiosyncrasies, the 1980s sound was so much more. This list will introduce to you some best '80s songs.

  1. Purple Rain
  2. Beat It
  3. I Wanna Dance with Somebody
  4. Straight Outta Compton
  5. Fight the Power
  6. Express Yourself
  7. Modern Love
  8. The Message
  9. Close to Me

Purple Rain

American musician Prince and his supporting band the Revolution are the authors of the song Purple Rain. It was released as the third single from the album and serves as the title tune for the same-titled 1984 soundtrack album, which in turn serves as the soundtrack album for the same-titled 1984 film starring Prince. A power ballad, the song incorporates elements of rock, R&B, gospel, and orchestral music. This song now is one of the best ’80s songs of all time.

When “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham! dethroned Purple Rain from the top spot, “Purple Rain” rose to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for two weeks. In Belgium and the Netherlands, it peaked at No. 1. It is regarded as one of Prince’s hallmark songs and has received a Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). “Purple Rain” climbed to No. 1 on the US and UK iTunes Charts after Prince’s passing in April 2016, which allowed it to re-enter the Billboard Hot 100 where it peaked at No. 4. Additionally, it reentered the UK Singles Chart at No. 6, moving up two spots from its previous peak of No. 8. Around a week after Prince’s passing, “Purple Rain” rose to No. 1 in France, where it first peaked at No.12.

Artists: Prince and the Revolution

Released: September 26, 1984

Genre: Rock, gospel, soul

top best '80s songs

Beat It

American musician Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album, Thriller, contains the song Beat It (1982). Jackson and Quincy Jones both produced it in addition to writing it. Jackson received encouragement from Jones to include a rock song to the record. In a later interview, Jackson stated: “I wanted to write a song that I would purchase if I were to purchase a rock song and I wanted the kids to really like it-the school kids as well as the college kids.” Eddie Van Halen plays a guitar solo in it.

The third single from the Thriller album, Beat It, was made available on February 14, 1983, following the commercial successes “The Girl Is Mine” and “Billie Jean”. It spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it reached its pinnacle. It peaked at the top of the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart as well. The song was reached No. 5 by Billboard in 1983. The Recording Industry Association of America has granted it a 5-platinum certification (RIAA). It is among the top-selling singles of all time, with over 7 million copies sold globally. Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands all ranked number one for “Beat It,” which was a top hit throughout Europe.

Artist: Michael Jackson

Released: February 14, 1983

Genre: Hard rock, dance-rock

top best '80s songs

I Wanna Dance with Somebody

Whitney Houston of the United States recorded the song I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) for her second studio album, Whitney (1987). On May 2, 1987, Arista Records issued it as the album’s lead single. Boy Meets Girl members George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, who had previously worked with Houston on “How Will I Know,” produced it and wrote the song.

Music critics gave I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) mixed reviews, praising Houston’s vocal performance but criticizing the song’s musical arrangement and comparing it to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “How Will I Know”. Despite the conflicting reviews, the song was a global hit, reaching the top of the charts in 18 nations, including Australia, Italy, Germany, and the UK. With sales of more than 6 million copies, it was certified 6 platinum in the US and became Houston’s fourth straight chart-topper. I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 30th Annual Grammy Awards, making Whitney Houston the second winner in this category.

Artist: Whitney Houston

Released: May 2, 1987

Genre: Dance-pop, R&B

top best '80s songs

Straight Outta Compton

Rap group N.W.A, led by Eazy-E, formed in the Los Angeles County neighborhood of Compton in early 1987. Their debut studio album is titled Straight Outta Compton. The N.W.A’s Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, and Arabian Prince produced the album, which was released by his label, Ruthless Records, on August 8, 1988. Ice Cube, MC Ren, and The D.O.C., a rapper for Ruthless, wrote the lyrics. [3] The songs constantly make threats to start it by attacking friends and even cops, going beyond merely describing the street violence in Compton. N.W.A called themselves “the world’s most dangerous group,” and the song “Fuck tha Police” prompted an FBI agent to issue a warning letter, which contributed to their reputation.

Straight Outta Compton gained gangsta rap’s first platinum certification in July 1989 despite receiving little radio play outside of the Los Angeles region; by that point, one million copies had been sold. The album reached its highest point that year at #9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart by Billboard and at #37 on the Billboard 200 ranking of best-selling albums. N.W.A’s example, which attracted media attention, sparked the rap genre’s transition to hardcore, gangsta rap. As the 1980s came to an end, rap, R&B, and popular music had been altered, impacting popular culture, in large part due to N.W.A’s own dissolution, which gave rise to lucrative solo music careers and franchises for Ice Cube and Dr. Dre.

Artist: N.W.A.

Released: August 8, 1988

Genre: West Coast hip hop, gangsta rap, hardcore hip hop

top best '80s songs

Fight the Power

Public Enemy, an American hip hop group, released “Fight the Power” as a single in the summer of 1989 through Motown Records. It was created at Spike Lee’s request, who was looking for a musical theme for his 1989 movie Do the Right Thing. A different version of the song, which debuted on the 1989 soundtrack for the movie, was included on Public Enemy’s 1990 studio album Fear of a Black Planet.

African-American culture is referenced and sampled throughout Fight the Power, including civil rights speeches, black church services, and James Brown songs. Fight the Power peaked at number one on the Hot Rap Singles and number 20 on the Hot R&B Singles charts as a single. In its Pazz & Jop critics’ poll, The Village Voice rated it the year’s top single. Critics and newspapers have praised it as one of the greatest songs of all time, and it has grown to be Public Enemy’s most well-known song. In the “Songs of the Century” list issued by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts in 2001, the song came in at number 288. The song came in at number two on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2021. Keep reading to discover more best ’80s songs.

Artist: Public Enemy

Released: July 4, 1989

Genre: Political hip hop

top best '80s songs

Express Yourself

American singer-songwriter Madonna’s fourth studio album, Like a Prayer, contains the song “Express Yourself” (1989). On May 9, 1989, Sire Records issued it as the album’s second single. The song was included in the greatest hits compilation albums Celebration and The Immaculate Collection (1990). (2009). The first song Madonna and producer Stephen Bray worked together on for Like a Prayer was “Express Yourself.” The song was an homage to the American funk and soul group Sly and the Family Stone and was written and produced by them. The song’s primary source of inspiration is female empowerment, which exhorts women to constantly express their true thoughts and to never settle for less than their best.

Express Yourself is a bouncy dance-pop and deep funk song with accompaniment from handclaps, percussion, and drum beats. The chorus is backed by the sound of a horn section. Throughout the song, subtexts are used to discuss rejecting worldly pleasures and only accepting the finest for oneself. Critics gave Express Yourself favorable reviews, praising it for its hymn to freedom and support of women and all oppressed minorities as well as for its message of gender equality. The song achieved its highest commercial peak at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to become Madonna’s ninth number-one hit on the European Hot 100 Singles chart.

Artist: Madonna

Released: May 9, 1989

Genre: Dance-pop, deep funk

top best '80s songs

Modern Love

English singer-songwriter David Bowie is the author of the song “Modern Love”. It was first made available as the first track on his 1983 album Let’s Dance, then later that year it was made available as the third single. The song, a rock tune with new wave undertones, was co-produced by Bowie and Nile Rodgers of the American band Chic. It was one of the first tracks for the album to be recorded, taking place in Manhattan’s Power Station. Bowie played it on the Serious Moonlight Tour, frequently as the show’s closing number.

Since its debut, “Modern Love” has won plaudits from critics who lauded Bowie’s songwriting, production, and its impact as the album’s opening track. It has been referred to as one of Bowie’s greatest songs and is usually regarded as one of the best tracks on Let’s Dance, along with “China Girl” and the album’s title track. A commercial triumph, the record reached its peak at number two on the UK Singles Chart and number fourteen on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Artist: David Bowie
Released: 12 September 1983
Genre: Rock, new wave, soul

top best '80s songs

The Message

The Message is considered to be one of the best ’80s songs. This song is performed by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. On July 1, 1982, Sugar Hill Records released it as a single. It was eventually included on the band’s first studio album, also titled “Sugar Hill Records.” The first well-known hip-hop song to offer social commentary was “The Message”. The tension of inner-city poverty is described in the song’s lyrics. In the closing stanza, it is explained how a ghetto-born child without a sense of perspective gets drawn into crime and imprisoned until he kills himself in his cell. A quick sketch in which the band members are detained without explanation concludes the song.

In response to the 1980 New York City transit strike, which is featured in the song’s lyrics, Duke Bootee and Melle Mel initially wrote the song in 1980. From the early Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five track “Superrappin'” from 1979 on the Enjoy label, the line “A child is born with no state of mind, blind to the ways of mankind” was lifted.

Artist: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

Released: July 1, 1982

Genre: Old-school hip hop, conscious hip hop, electro, progressive rap

top best '80s songs

Close to Me

Close to Me is a song by English rock band the Cure, released in September 1985 as the second and final single from their sixth album, The Head on the Door. The original album version, the 7″ single mix version, and the 12″ extended mix version of “Close to Me” were all released in 1985. The brass section segment, which is present on all of the other versions and was performed by the horn section Rent Party for the single mix, was not included in the album version. It was based on a classic New Orleans funeral march theme.

The music video for the song, directed by Tim Pope, portrays the band imprisoned in a wardrobe sliding off a cliff into the English Channel. The music video also features a long door shutting creaking sound at the beginning of the 7″ version.

The song achieved its highest point at number four in Ireland and also peaked at number seven in Australia and twenty-four on the UK Singles Chart. For their remix album Mixed Up, it was remixed in 1990. The remix was released as a single and peaked at number 13 on the UK Singles Chart and number 97 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1991.

Artist: The Cure

Released 17 September 1985

Genre: Alternative/Indie, Pop, Rock, Blues

top best '80s songs