My Top Ten Songs of the 1980s
April 15, 2019
The next installment of My Top Ten Songs is the 1980s. This is the decade in which my mother was born, and the only thing she likes from this era is the movies. She has definitely passed her love for “The Breakfast Club” down to me. And “Pretty in Pink” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” In addition to the many classic teen coming of age films, this decade gave us many still relevant songs that teenagers have through the years have related to and turned into memes.
10. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” was released in 1984 by Wham! on their album “Make It Big.” The idea for the chorus had come to writer George Michael when he had received a note from Andrew Ridgeley, another member of the band. The note said, “Don’t forget to wake me up before you go go, George” and the “go go” was simply a typo.
I chose this song because I think it’s a fun song to listen to and there was one day in middle school, I can’t remember if it was summer or if I was sick, but I listened to this song on repeat for most of the day and dance around my house. That was a great day.
Listen to “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” here.
9. “Don’t Try Suicide” by Queen
“Don’t Try Suicide” was released in 1980 on their album “The Game.” It was written by Freddie Mercury and no one knows the story behind it. This song wasn’t performed much by the band. However, it is on the B side of “Another Bites the Dust.”
I chose this song because it is a lesser known Queen song but it is definitely a great one. It takes a lighthearted approach to a serious subject, and if it was released in today’s society, Queen would probably receive some pretty harsh backlash. It’s still awesome.
Listen to “Don’t Try Suicide” here.
8. “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
“Eye of the Tiger” was released in 1982 on the album “Eye of the Tiger.” It was written by Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan and is Survivor’s best known song. It was written about overcoming hardships and is featured in “Rocky III” as a training montage song. It serves the montage well.
I chose this song because it is still extremely well known today. The pep band sometimes plays it at basketball games, and it is a very popular song at other sporting events as well. When I listen to it, I get pumped up and it’s just an all around great song to listen to.
Listen to “Eye of the Tiger” here.
7. “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” by Billy Joel
“It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” was released in 1980 on the album “Glass Houses.” It was written to make fun of the music that most teenagers were listening to (punk [heck yeah], funk, and new wave [gross]). In the music video, he makes fun of these genres by mocking what the artists do in their music videos. It’s kind of like what Queen did with “Radio Ga-Ga” except the music video for “Radio Ga-Ga” was just weird (but still fun).
I chose this song because it’s a good song to listen to and I enjoy a good song that makes fun of other music. I don’t know why. I also chose this song because I know a lot of people who still enjoy and listen to this song a lot.
Listen to “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” here.
6. “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen
“Another One Bites the Dust” was released in 1980 on the album “The Game.” It was actually written by Queen’s bass player John Deacon. This song was instantly a hit in 17 different countries, including the U.S.
I chose this song because it is one of the most well known songs by Queen. It is still played a ton on the radio and kids still rock out to it. It also has an extremely unforgettable bass line.
Listen to “Another One Bites the Dust” here.
5. “Under Pressure” by Queen ft. David Bowie
“Under Pressure” was released in 1982 on the album “Hot Space.” This song was written by David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon. The members of Queen were jamming one night, playing other people’s songs, when Bowie came in and was like ‘let’s write our own.’ Out popped “Under Pressure.” Vanilla Ice’s song “Ice Ice Baby” sampled the bassline from “Under Pressure” and all he did was change one note, and tried to pass it as a completely different composition. Queen and Bowie sued (and won).
I chose this song because I like how Bowie and Mercury sound together. I don’t know what it is about it, but it’s a great song to listen to. Maybe it’s because I love both artists with all of my heart, or maybe it’s because I have a wonky taste in music. Who knows? Anyway, I definitely think this song deserves a spot on this list.
Listen to “Under Pressure” here.
4. “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
“I Love Rock N’ Roll” was released in 1982 on the album “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. It was written by Jake Hooker and Alan Merrill and has been covered by many artists, including Britney Spears. This song is a cover of “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by the Arrows.
I chose this song because I hear it on the radio all the time. It’s also a really good song, and I even have this album on vinyl. (I also have “London Calling” by The Clash, and “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” by David Bowie [which is transcendent to listen to on vinyl]). I just really like listening to Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and literally anything on vinyl.
Listen to “I Love Rock N’ Roll” here.
3. “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.
“Ghostbusters” was released in 1984 for the original motion picture “Ghostbusters.” The band Huey Lewis and the News was originally approached to do this song but declined and did music for “Back to the Future” instead. The music video for this song was directed by the same guy who directed the movie.
I chose this song because it’s extremely cheesy (a lot like the movie) but it’s still really good (so is the movie). I usually only listen to this song when I’m watching the movie but it’s still good.
Listen to “Ghostbusters” here.
2. “Africa” by Toto
“Africa” was released in 1982 on Toto’s album “Toto IV.” This song was written by Jeff Porcaro and David Paich, and according to David Paich this song is about a love for a place, rather than a love for another person. This song is the most popular Toto song.
I chose this song because it is a huge meme. We also played this song for a marching band show my freshman year. It was nowhere near as good or fun as the Queen show we also did that year but it was still fun.
Listen to “Africa” here.
Before I give you my number 1, here are some
1. “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” by The Clash
“Should I Stay Or Should I Go” was released in 1982 on the album “Combat Rock.” This song was the band’s only number 1 single in 1992, a decade after it was released. It was written by all four members of the Clash and features Mick Jones and Joe Ely on vocals.
I chose this song because it’s a great song to listen to. It may not be my favorite Clash song (that title belongs to “North and South” from “Cut the Crap”) but I still enjoy listening to it. And every other Clash song.
Listen to “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” here.
Can you think of another song I missed on this list? Let me know in the comments!