The nostalgia attached to most 80s songs makes you want to sing along and bust a move. One 80s music lover said the tunes from this decade are reminiscent of “warm sunshine and summer days.” Let's take a trip down memory lane with these 1980s masterpieces.
1. “Take On Me” by A-ha
Countless 80s fans chose this 1985 classic as the most iconic song of the decade. Many people agree this tune plays in their head immediately when asked for the most 80s song ever made.
2. “Don't You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds
This 1985 hit appeared in The Breakfast Club, one of many iconic 80s movies. Did the movie make the song famous? Or perhaps the song made the movie famous? Either way, this song rocks, and as one person stated, “The song is very 80s… but the message of the song is timeless.”
3. “Careless Whisper” by George Michael
From the first moment the saxophone sounds, I'm immediately transported to the 80s, released on the Wham! album in 1984, this song is instantly recognizable. One fan noted the “saxophone is the most 80s instrument ever.” And they might just be right.
4. “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake
“Here I Go Again” is a top pick; I have to say, this one's my favorite. Fun fact: Whitesnake first released “Here I Go Again” in 1992, but then amped up and re-released it on their 1987 Whitesnake album.
5. “The Final Countdown” by Europe
The Swedish Rock band released this gem in 1986. Whether you love or hate it, the song just screams 80s. “The Final Countdown” is also one of those songs that has stood the test of time, with new generations discovering it all the time.
6. “Jump” by Van Halen
The perfect song when you need a lift — “Jump,” released in 1983, is Van Halen's most successful single. The song's popularity is partly due to an impressive guitar and a simple synth riff.
7. “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis
Back to the Future is the most 80s movie ever made,, and “The Power of Love” is one of the most iconic 80s songs ever. Released in 1985, “The Power of Love” is the epitome of cool. Remember Marty McFly in his denim jacket skateboarding to school? There's no way this song wasn't making the list.
8. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
This beautiful and powerful ballad played on repeat on many boomboxes throughout the 80s. It's hard to hear “Turn around, bright eyes” and not sing along. Even though the music video comes across as creepy with the dark setting, the song invites you in.
9. “Obsession” by Animotion
There are a lot of 80s elements in this song with the synth-based suite of instruments — electronic drums, an eerie synth riff, and synthesized bass. There's also a regular slap bass line and a guitar hook for the chorus. The one-hit wonder is synonymous with the 80s.
10. “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls
Fans agree that the most popular song of the 80s by A Flock of Seagulls is “I Ran.” The 1982 hit by the English new wave band, with its sweet synthesizer sounds and Mike Score's unique voice, is certainly catchy.
11. “We Built This City” by Starship
Chosen by many 80s music lovers as the most iconic song of the decade, it's one of those songs that music fans either loved or hated. One person noted it “might be cheesy, but it's such a catchy, unapologetically 80s earworm that always makes me yearn for an era which is now long bygone.”
12. “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi
One of the most iconic rock gods of the 80s, it would be hard to list the best 80s songs that didn't include New Jersey native Jon Bon Jovi. One music fan pictured the song as part of the soundtrack of the time — blasting the tune in the car with friends and singing along loudly.
13. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley
This 1987 hit wasn't the top choice. It was a top contender. And the video — those dance moves and that powerful croon. You can rickroll me anytime!
*Rickroll: an internet prank where users on popular bulletin boards (like Reddit) post a link that surprisingly directs you to the Rick Astley music video. Hence, rickrolling.
14. “Don't Stop Believin'” by Journey
“Don't Stop Believin'” is one of the decade's most popular songs, and everyone loves to sing along when it comes on. It's definitely “quintessential 80s” and a cool classic.
15. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears
Released in 1985 by British pop band Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” has staying power. One fan of the tune said, “Their format is near perfect, and the arrangement is stunning.”
16. “Our House” by Madness
Fans agree that this song is nostalgia overload, as many 80s music fans recalled singing along back in the day. Hearing it now brings back fond memories and transports people to a simpler time.
17. “I Melt With You” by Modern English
From the British new wave band Modern English, “I Melt With You” was a staple of the early 1980's. Many fans thought it would come up higher in the list of iconic 80s tunes.
18. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics
The iconic anthem is set in our history, but when the song came out in 1983, everything about it was brand new. Fans recalled hearing it for the first time when they saw the music video. It definitely grabbed everyone's attention and became an instant hit.
19. “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats
Some music fans agree that “The Safety Dance” is one of the most 80s songs ever made. It's a little bit cheesy, a lot of fun, and also a little bit confusing, all at the same time.
Nicole is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. As a former professional athlete, she gravitates toward active vacations, but also loves a great luxury hotel (The Palace Hotel in San Francisco is her favorite). In addition to travel writing, Nicole has published pieces about sports, parenting, entertainment, art, technology, and law. When she's not writing, she can be found reading a good book, hiking around the Bay Area with her son, trying to train their 70 lb. puppy, or watching reruns of I Love Lucy.