It’s an 80s celebration!
Everyone loves reminiscing about the 80s these days! If that includes you, you’ll, no doubt, enjoy this feature. We’ve asked a few of our contributors to choose their top five favorite songs from the 80s, including five more honorable mentions.
If you like what you see, let us know in the comments. And if you don’t see any of your favorites, post a video of your own !
Genevieve Snow‘s Picks
Truthfully there were so many great songs in the 80s, depending on my mood. Any of these listed below could be in my top 5 at any time.
5. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” — John Parr
4. “True Colors” — Cyndi Lauper
In remembrance of Johnny Snelson. He lived across the street from me and was like my brother. He took his own life in the fall of 1986 just before I entered recovery.
3. “Club Nouveau” — Lean On Me
The original version of this song was played at the New Year 1986-1987 PDAP (Palmer Drug Abuse Program) Round Robin. I had never felt more loved and connected. I had been lying about my sobriety, and I came clean. I changed my sobriety date to 1/1/1987. (It remained so for 2 1/2 years). When they said 30 days sober, I took that literal. On the morning of January 30, 1987, I heard this version of the song for the first time. I thought it was a blessing because it was my 30 days. Later that day my sister and her husband came to my college campus to pick me up. My grandfather had died, and they were taking me home for the funeral. I feel that was the Universe letting me know that I would be alright. I was not alone.
2. “The Power of Love” — Laura Branigan
No one sings it with more passion and omg, that voice.
1. “Find Me” — Laura Branigan
I always wanted someone to find and love me.
The honorable mentions:
1. “Hungry Like The Wolf — Duran Duran
2. “Take My Breath Away” — Berlin
3. “Take On Me” — A-Ha (Who doesn’t freaking love this song?!)
4. “I Want to Know What Love Is” — Foreigner
5. “Silent Night” — Bon Jovi
David Antrobus‘ Picks
5. “Thieves Like Us” — New Order
It’s impossible to put into words how much I love this song. Again, I could have chosen scores of other New Order songs from a band with arguably the greatest run of albums in the eighties and perhaps ever, but what I love about this is its apparently sincere and awkwardly gauche lyrics about the insidious nature of love, how it raises then ruins us (seriously, listen to those words, lol), Hooky’s bass playing as if he’s strangling a troll, and the band’s inimitable blend of dorkiness and accidental Manchester cool. God, I loved this band. This song should accompany every doomed-romance fugitive-lovers movie ever.
4. “The Figurehead” — The Cure
How do you choose a “best” Cure song from the eighties, arguably their most intense and creative decade? The simple answer is: you don’t. But I had to, so here is my choice for today, “The Figurehead” from 1982’s Pornography. This is probably as dark as they ever got, with lines like:
“A scream tears my clothes as the figurines tighten
With spiders inside them
And dust on the lips of a vision of hell
I laughed in the mirror for the first time in a year”
And possibly the most chilling finale of all:
“I touched her eyes
Pressed my stained face
I will never be clean again”
The clip is poor quality, but this is the Cure as I first recall seeing them. Watch, listen, then go listen to a better quality version.
3. “Teardrops” — Womack & Womack
After you watch this, you’ll either thank me or curse me for the ear worm I just introduced you to. I find this song impossible to resist, and I do have to admit that I chose this clip partly because Linda Womack here is probably the coolest human being on the planet. Okay, scratch “probably.” I just watched it again, and it’s no mean feat looking cool in the nineteen eighties. Cecil would have agreed. And did I mention that it’s maddeningly irresistible?
2. “I Believe in You” — Talk Talk
Spanning the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties are two of the greatest albums ever made, and both—1988’s Spirit of Eden and 1991’s Laughing Stock—are by the same band, Talk Talk. I chose this song from the former not because it’s the best. In fact, both albums really have to be listened to in their entirety to be fully appreciated, and extracting only one track is kind of like killing a beautiful butterfly just to show a detail on its wing. Also, actual footage of the band back then is quite rare. But this song is a fine taster for the moody, often fragile post-rock sound they created, one that incorporates elements of rock, jazz, ambient, blues, classical, and dub. To me, this sounds like the silent breath of an evening after a storm has passed, all things shimmering.
1. “Moyo Wangu” — Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited
No hyperbole, but this is the best song of all time. Taken from Mapfumo’s 1989 album Corruption, it translates as “My Heart.” It perfectly melds the joy and the sorrow of Mapfumo’s groundbreaking and unique Chimurenga style, a rhythmic and melodic masterpiece in which all sound and all human movement is enfolded by the twin urge for love and revolution. I wish the clip were better quality, but it’s worth watching for the incredible dance moves of the backing singers and for Ashton Chiweshe’s aching guitar work. Once you’ve watched it, go seek out a better quality version and you’ll thank me for introducing you to this song and indeed this artist.
The honorable mentions:
1. “Give Me Tonight” — Shannon
2. “My Dreams” — The Gun Club
3. “Song to the Siren” — This Mortal Coil
4. “Never Understand” — The Jesus and Mary Chain
5. “The Ghost Never Smiles” — Cindytalk
Michael Sullivan‘s Picks
5. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” — Bonnie Tyler
4. “Every Breath You Take” — Sting
3. “What’s Love Got to Do With It” — Tina Turner
2. “My Hometown — Bruce Springsteen”This Little Girl”
1. “This Little Girl” — Gary US Bonds
The honorable mentions:
“Jack and Diane” John Mellencamp
“Brilliant Disguise” Bruce Springsteen
Kyrian Lyndon’s Picks:
For the most part, I’m a sentimental sap. I considered songs by Lionel Richie, REO Speedwagon, The Pointer Sisters, Pat Benatar, Air Supply, Peter Cetera, Genesis, Rod Stewart, John Mellencamp, Joan Jett, John Waite, and many, many more. Here are my final results.
5. “Miss You Like Crazy” — Natalie Cole
This reminds me of my husband who passed away at only 35 years old. 💔
4. “That’s What Friends Are For” — Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John
3. “Greatest Love of All — Whitney Houston
2. “USA for Africa – We are the World” — Various Artists
- Didn’t We Almost Have It All” — Whitney Houston
This was our song, Jimmy’s and mine. RIP. ❤
The honorable mentions:
“Oh, Sherrie” — Steve Perry
“In My Defense” — Freddy Mercury/Queen
“Key Largo” — Bertie Higgins (An old favorite that one of my exes would sing to me)
“Keep on Loving You” — REO Speedwagon
Tie between “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World” – Ronnie Milsap and “La Bamba” -Los Lobos