Updated date:

137 Love Songs From the 1980s

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Turn back time to the 1980s, when the music provided an oasis of awesomeness amidst the Cold War and negative world events.  Celebrate pop, rock, and R&B love songs from the era with a nostalgic playlist.

Turn back time to the 1980s, when the music provided an oasis of awesomeness amidst the Cold War and negative world events. Celebrate pop, rock, and R&B love songs from the era with a nostalgic playlist.

'80s Love Songs: A Decade of Incredible Music

Some Gen Xers were born in the 1980s, while others came of age and fell in love for first time during this decade. In the background, there were looming sky-high inflation rates, recession, and the Cold War. The AIDS epidemic and global warming were newly known, the Ethiopians suffered mass starvation, and there were attempted assassinations on the lives of the President, as well as the Pope. But, the music (ah, the music!) was an oasis of awesomeness in all that negativity.

Music from the 80s was divinely inspired in the form of Prince in his high-heeled boots and the Material Girl Madonna in her bustier. Michael Jackson captivated our attention with his sequined glove and his moonwalk. George Michael wowed us with his good looks. While we were introduced to new musicians such as Whitney Houston and Culture Club, established artists such as Lionel Richie, Phil Collins, and Tina Turner launched solo careers. Disco all but died while MTV was born, and big hair bands like Guns 'N Roses, Def Leppard, and Bon Jovi enjoyed their heyday.

Perhaps the best thing about 1980s was the love songs. They were sentimental, often over-the-top, and plentiful. Take a trip back through time to one of the greatest eras in music by listening to some of the best love songs there are. Celebrate the 1980s with a playlist of pop, rock, and R&B love songs. We have a long list to start you out.

1. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler

As a teen in the 80s, when you loved a song like I did this one, you either waited for it to come on the radio station or you purchased the cassette tape and replayed it until your parents forced you to stop. This 1983 pop tune topped the charts and was an international hit. In my book, it's one of the top love songs ever.

The high drama song describes a longstanding love affair in which the partners cling to one another, afraid of losing what they have together. At the same time, their relationship is toxic and filled with conflict:

I don't know what to do, and I'm always in the dark
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks.

As a result of the on again/off again nature of their romance, the narrator dramatically beckons her partner to turn around. Both feel comforted and made vulnerable by one another. So bittersweet!

2. "Angel" by Aerosmith

Did someone special sing this to you back in the big hair days of the 80s? In this soaring 1988 hard rock song, a lonely man cries for his lover following an argument.

Because he misses her and wants to patch up their relationship, the narrator has put aside his pride, is ready to cave in, and wants to break down the walls that currently divide them. The desperate man begs his sweet angel back to his bed where they can work out their differences:

You're the reason I live
You're the reason I die
You're the reason I give when I break down and cry
Don't need no reason why
Baby, baby, bay-ay-by
You're my angel
Come and save me tonight... .

If you have an angel in your life, make a playlist of songs about angels to let them know how much they mean to you.

3. "Saving All My Love for You" by Whitney Houston

In this 1985 love ballad, Whitney Houston has a way of making being someone's side chick sound like a grand romance. It was her first number one hit on the mainstream charts.

The song features the narrator clinging to desperately stolen moments with someone else's husband and his broken promises that they'll run away together. While friends tell her that she's worthy of a man all her own, she sits home alone, depressed and crying.

While he's with his family, the narrator saves up her love for the next time they can be together. She'll always get seconds when it comes to his time and attention, but she doesn't see it that way. Her perspective labels this "love."

4. "Faithfully" by Journey

In this 1983 power ballad, a touring musician leaves his heart emotionally bare as he proclaims his love for his wife waiting at home. As the narrator travels from one gig to another entertaining fans, he is geographically separated from the woman who makes him whole. He sleeps alone and misses her daily presence, except for long-distance phone calls. (Remember, this was the 80s and we didn't have texting, personal computers, and cell phones yet. Keeping in touch took real effort!)

The narrator is trying to keep his marriage together and expresses his undying commitment:

And being apart ain't easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you
Oh, girl, you stand by me
I'm forever yours, faithfully.

The song was written by Journey's keyboardist, Jonathan Cain, and unfortunately, he was divorced shortly after the song was released.

5. "Shining Star" by The Manhattans

Calling his sweetheart his "shining star," the man in this 1980 R&B tune pledges his eternal love to her. He begs her to never leave because she's all he has ever dreamed of.

6. "More Than I Can Say" by Leo Sayer

The guy in this 1980 love ballad totally misses the girl he loves, that's for sure. Since she went away, the sad sack has been busy crying, feeling sorry for himself, and desperately hoping she'll return.

With so much time on his hands, he has found himself questioning not only her intent in leaving ("Do you mean to make me cry?") but also what he means to her ("Am I just another guy?"). I've always imagined that she has just gone to the grocery store, but that's just a creative interpretation.

Regardless, many people can relate to being separated from someone they love and not knowing where they stand in a relationship. The catchy soft rock love ditty was an international hit.

7. "Crazy for You" by Madonna

Remember when Madonna first burst on the music scene with her punk-inspired look? She had those bangle bracelets, crucifix jewelry, fishnet clothing, and bustiers-as-outerwear. Young Madge dabbled in movies, too, at the time. This 1985 love ballad appeared in the soundtrack for Vision Quest, the first major motion picture in which Madonna appeared.

The globally popular song became a #1 in the US. It describes a magnetic attraction between two people who meet at a nightclub. Their eyes lock across the dance floor and their connection is instant. As they begin to sway to the music, the narrator confesses that she is crazy for him. Madonna recorded the sensuous song in one magical take.

8. "Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes

Anyone who has seen the film An Officer and a Gentleman can recall the iconic closing scene. Richard Gere's character, a naval pilot in training, picks up his girlfriend and carries her out of the factory where she works while her friends cheer and applaud. This 1982 love ballad then plays as the movie credits roll.

The gospel-inspired tune describes how life can be an uphill battle and place obstacles in our way. Love, however, can lift us to a higher place. Tomorrow is uncertain, and all we have is today. The song was an international hit and reached the top spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

9. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell

You know your love affair is shallow, one-sided, and tainted when you've lost your inner light and you're running from your lover instead of to them. So says this synth-pop number from 1981.

The narrator loves the one who hurts him. He feels emotionally spent from having given all he can. In packing his bags, however, he feels torn. He knows he's got to flee from the woman whose love is poison to him, but he's also inexplicably drawn to her.

If you can identify with loving someone who is all wrong for you, make a playlist of songs about toxic love relationships.

10. "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon

If you've ever had a friend who started to stare at you through goo-goo eyes, then you understand what's happening to the lovesick fella in this 1985 soft rock song. He has developed a crush on his friend, and he's struggling for the words and way to tell her.

I can't fight this feeling any longer
And yet I'm still afraid to let it flow
What started out as friendship has grown stronger
I only wish I had the strength to let it show.

Have you been here?

11. "Is This Love" by Whitesnake

Missing your significant other can make you feel desperate and needy. That's the way the guy in this 1987 rock tune feels as he pines away for his darling. He waits for her call but can't take much more. The lovesick guy has been searching for someone like her for so long and now that he's found her, he wonders if this is a dream or love itself.

12. "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago

I imagine this guy cheated, but we really don't know the nature of this man's transgression. Whatever he did, the woman he loves wants a time out from their relationship, and he promises to make it up to her if she'll just stay.

The 1982 soft rock song reached the top spot and was also a hit internationally.

13. "Endless Love" by Lionel Richie & Diana Ross

In 2015, Billboard named this 1981 R&B song as the top duet of all time. When the song was released, Lionel Richie was just embarking on his solo career after being the lead singer of The Commodores. At the same time, Diana Ross' career was winding down following her successful career with both The Supremes and as a solo artist.

The sentimental tune features declarations of forever love between two young partners who are just beginning their lives together. They are each other's first love and as they hold each other close, they assume they'll be each other's last.

14. "Heaven" by Bryan Adams

Holding his wife of many years in his arms, this tender-hearted man recounts their younger years together. They were once young, wild, and free, but then the couple hit a rocky patch in their relationship.

Having endured such struggles together, the narrator assures his sweetheart that she's all he needs. The narrator in this rock song from 1985 is blissing out on love as he portrays their love to be pure heaven.

15. "Alone" by Heart

In this 1987 power ballad, the narrator had always been satisfied with being single until she met her current love interest. Now she can't stop thinking about holding him tight and touching his lips. The problem, however, is how does she tell him she secretly loves him? As she lies in bed at night, she wonders, "How do I get you alone?"

16. "The Lady in Red" by Chris de Burgh

The stunning red dress worn by the woman in this 1986 love ballad mesmerizes her lover. He tells her how captivating she looked tonight, lighting up the room and garnering every man's attention while she was on his arm. Humbled by her beauty, the narrator feels complete and utter love. That's gotta be some dress!

17. "(There's) No Gettin' Over Me" by Ronnie Milsap

This 1981 love song was full of country swagger and crossed over to the pop charts as well. It spotlights an arguing couple, with a man who challenges his partner to go ahead and leave him. He assures her that she will regret the move:

So you can walk out on me tonight
If you think that it ain't feeling right
But darling, there's ain't no getting over me.

18. "Almost Paradise" by Mike Reno & Ann Wilson

This 1984 soft rock tune was the love theme from the movie, Footloose. It describes that tingly feeling of meeting someone who seems like they were made especially for you. After searching for so long, all the narrator's dreams have finally come true. Yes, this song is chock full of clichés, but it's pure 80s cheese that totally works.

19. "All Out of Love" by Air Supply

We've all been at this anguished point in a failing relationship when it looks like there's no turning back. (Okay, so maybe you won't admit it.) Some people call this 1980 love ballad "sappy," but it's a heartfelt breakup song that appeals to people of many ages.

The narrator has made a mistake of some kind and his sweetheart has told him to shove off. He's already terribly sorry about whatever he has done and he's on the phone apologizing to her, explaining how lost he is without her. He hopes that it he grovels enough he can save their relationship before she's gone for good.

20. "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.

The smooth-talker in this danceable pop song from 1987 makes exactly the type of assurances every girl wants to hear. After just once transformative kiss and one dance, the guy swears that he completely is devoted. Now that girl has some superpower of attraction!

Even More Love Songs from the 1980s

If you have a favorite popular love song from the 1980s that we missed, make a suggestion in the Comments Section below!

SongArtistYear Released

21. I Want to Know What Love Is



22. Tonight I Celebrate My Love

Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson


23. Woman in Love

Barbara Streisand


24. Cherish

Kool & the Gang


25. Lady (You Bring Me Up)

The Commodores


26. Straight Up

Paula Abdul


27. Stuck On You

Lionel Richie


28. Making Love Out of Nothing at All

Air Supply


29. One Hundred Ways

James Ingram (featuring Quincy Jones)


30. Space Age Love Song

A Flock of Seagulls


31. Same Old Lang Syne

Dan Fogelberg


32. Hungry Eyes

Eric Carmen


33. Lovesong

The Cure


34. Islands in the Stream

Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton


35. Glory of Love

Peter Cetera


36. You Are

Lionel Richie


37. Missing You

John Waite


38. Waiting for a Girl Like You



39. How Will I Know

Whitney Houston


40. When I See You Smile

Bad English


41. Addicted to Love

Robert Palmer


42. Have I Told You Lately

Van Morrison


43. My Love

Lionel Richie


44. Baby, Come to Me

Patti Austin & James Ingram


45. Just the Two of Us

Grover Washington Jr.


46. We've Got Tonight

Kenny Rogers & Sheena Easton


47. Feels So Right



48. Open Arms



49. Hello

Lionel Richie


50. Careless Whisper

George Michael


51. Take My Breath Away



52. Woman in Love

Barbara Streisand


53. Time After Time

Cyndi Lauper


54. Sweet Love

Anita Baker


55. What About Love



56. Somewhere Out There

Jeffrey Osborne (featuring Linda Ronstadt)


57. Right Here Waiting

Richard Marx


58. A Groovy Kind of Love

Phil Collins


59. I'll Be Over You



60. Penny Lover

Lionel Richie


61. If You Don't Know Me By Now

Simply Red


62. I Knew You Were Waiting for Me

George Michael & Aretha Franklin


63. The Flame

Cheap Trick


64. Every Woman in the World

Air Supply


65. You're the Inspiration



66. Say You, Say Me

Lionel Richie


67. Secret Lovers

Atlantic Starr


68. Never Knew Love Like This Before

Stephanie Mills


69. True

Spandau Ballet


70. Against All Odds

Phil Collins


71. Crazy Little Thing Called Love



72. With or Without You



73. Even the Nights Are Better

Air Supply


74. Deep River Woman

Lionel Richie (featuring Alabama)


75. Eternal Flame

The Bangles


76. The Power of Love

Jennifer Rush


77. I'm So Excited

The Pointer Sisters


78. Shower Me with Your Love



79. Heaven



80. Just Like Starting Over

John Lennon


81. I Just Called to Say I Love You

Stevie Wonder


82. I'll Always Love You

Taylor Dayne


83. Suddenly

Billy Ocean


84. All This Love



85. On the Wings of Love

Jeffrey Osborne


86. Never Tear Us Apart



87. Keep on Lovin' You

REO Speedwagon


88. I'll Be There for You

Bon Jovi


89. Love Bites

Def Leppard


90. The One That You Love

Air Supply


91. Every Time You Go Away

Paul Young


92. Lost in Your Eyes

Debbie Gibson


93. The Search Is Over



94. Always on My Mind

Willie Nelson


95. I'll Be Loving You (Forever)

New Kids on the Block


96. Let My Love Open the Door

Pete Townsend


97. Drive

The Cars


98. How Am I Supposed to Live Without You

Michael Boston


99. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

The Police


100. (I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight

Cutting Crew


101. The Way You Make Me Feel

Michael Jackson


102. Your Love Is King



103. I Melt with You

Modern English


104. Sweet Child o' Mine

Guns n' Roses


105. Ain't Nobody

Rufus & Chaka Khan


106. Sexual Healing

Marvin Gaye


107. Lady`

Kenny Rogers


108. I Would Die 4 You



109. Will You Still Love Me



110. I Can't Tell You Why



111. Straight from the Heart

Bryan Adams


112. Theme from The Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)

Joey Scarbury


113. Foolish Heart

Steve Perry


114. The Longest Time

Billy Joel


115. All I Need Is a Miracle

Mike + The Mechanics


116. How Will I Know

Whitney Houston


117. Wind Beneath My Wings

Bette Midler


118. You Give Good Love

Whitney Houston


119. One More Try

George Michael


120. The Sweetest Taboo



121. I Miss You



122. Cuts Like a Knife

Brian Adams


123. One More Try

George Michael


124. If Ever You're In My Arms Again

Peabo Bryson


125. Didn't We Almost Have It All

Whitney Houston


126. Truly

Lionel Richie


127. Just Once

James Ingram (featuring Quincy Jones)


128. Friends and Lovers

Gloria Loring & Carl Anderson


129. What Are We Doing In Love

Dottie West & Kenny Rogers


130. Caught Up in You

38 Special


131. You Got It All

The Jets


132. Steal Away.

Robbie Dupree


133. If Tomorrow Never Comes

Garth Brooks


134. They Don't Know

Tracy Ullman


135. Talk It Over In Bed

Grayson Hugh


136. All Time High

Rita Coolidge


137. Everlasting Love

Rex Smith (featuring Rachel Sweet)


Questions & Answers

Question: What is the song from the 1980s with the lyrics ..."oriental city"?

Answer: Although there is no song that includes those lyrics, you might be thinking of "One Night in Bangok" by Murray Head (1984) with lyrics that are close. The lyrics include "Oriental setting / but the city ..." and I include the stanza below:

The American

Bangkok, Oriental Setting

But the city don't know what the city is getting

The crème de la crème of the chess world

In a show with everything but Yul Brynner.

Here's the YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnqj31VPNoE

Question: What is the 1980s R&B song with the lyrics, "...'cause I want you in my life, I want you to be my wife..."?

Answer: There is a 1980 R&B song with lyrics that are close. It's called "Together" by Tierra, and the lyrics in question are as follows:

(Together) wanta live wanta live wanta live my life with you (together baby)

‘Cause I want you to be to be my wife you see (together)

Here is the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHXVg16MTUE

© 2019 FlourishAnyway


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 26, 2020:

Peggy - I'm glad you're loving the old school songs! Thanks for stopping by!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2020:

There were many good songs on this list, and the same could be said about the singers. It would be hard to choose just one favorite. Right now, I am listening to "Endless Love" and am enjoying it.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 23, 2019:

Tamara - Thanks for taking the quiz! Glad you did so well. Have a great weekend.

Tamara Yancosky from Uninhabited Regions on February 22, 2019:

I got 80% right on the test! That was fun.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 08, 2019:

Audrey - That's so nice of you! Give my best to them both!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on February 07, 2019:

Many of my favorite recording stars were the big hits of the '80s. And along with these super hits come favorite memories I enjoy your series so much. I share most of your hubs with my sister and brother. They may not leave comments, but they sure appreciate each hub.

Take care, my friend.


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 03, 2019:

Genna - Hope your weekend is filled with love. Stay warm!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on February 02, 2019:

One of my favorite themes in song. Loved this list. My fav has to be Joe and Jennifer. "....where the eagles cry on a mountain high..." Beautifully done! Thank you for a lovely beginning to a Saturday evening.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 01, 2019:

Linda - So glad you enjoyed this. It was a wonderful decade, although I like now, too. Glad it brought back memories! Hope you have had a great time visiting Tigger and friends at Disney! Boing, boing.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 01, 2019:

Doris - You really need to share that!

Linda Lum on February 01, 2019:

Flourish, you found my decade. I know every one of these and would be hard pressed to pick a favorite although my local girls (Heart) have a piece of my heart. Ann Wilson's voice is amazing and Nancy is one of the best guitarists.

I got married in the 80's and had my babies in the 80's, so I'll not argue with your title for this article.

The amount of research you do on these is mind-blowing.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 01, 2019:

Linda - Thank you. I prefer it to the "slinky" prom dresses that are available now, but times change. They'll be back eventually. Thanks for reading. Stay warm in this cold weather!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 01, 2019:

Dora - It's certainly one of the longer ones. I have one playlist, Songs that Tell a Story, that has in excess of 150. Readers have made lots of suggestions to it, and it has grown. I appreciate your readership. Have a great week.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 01, 2019:

Liz - Thank you for taking a look at the playlist. Have a great week!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on January 31, 2019:

Flourish, I sure did get to meet a whole bunch. My favorite was getting to interview Conway Twitty on the parking lot after a concert while Loretta Lynn scowled at us through the windshield of her tour bus. Don't know what her problem was. LOL

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 30, 2019:

I love your prom dress, Flourish. I think that's a dress style that needs to return. Thanks for sharing another interesting list of songs.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 30, 2019:

Tim, Thank you for letting me know I had that listed twice. I must have been really loving it. I often listen to songs as I go along so maybe it had me transfixed. Hope you are doing well! It's always great to hear from you.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 30, 2019:

Heidi - It sounds like that Transformers soundtrack is awesome. I'll have to check that out! I was surprised to learn that the Bad English squeaked through in 1990 so I added it to an upcoming playlist but added their song, "When I See You Smile" from 1989 to the current playlist. I hope those temperatures break in Chicago soon so you can thaw out!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 30, 2019:

Pamela - Thanks for the kind kudos. Have a wonderful week ahead!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 30, 2019:

Doris - I'm so jealous of you being in country radio back then! I bet you got to meet some great artists back in the day. Thank you for the kind sentiments!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 30, 2019:

Is this your longest list so far? By the 80s, I had exited this kind of music It's good music though), but I do learn from your list. Thanks.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 30, 2019:

So many familiar and well-liked songs here. You have got a great list together. The 1980s is one of my favourite music eras.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on January 30, 2019:

Hi Flourish,

I will always comment on your articles because you are a kind and respectable writer with useful information and leaves your readers smiling.

O.K., but I suspect you had "Baby, Come to Me," on your mind because you wrote it twice on your list. Thinking about your children at that time when you prepared the list, dear friend? I can relate.

But I wonder about the Philipino family, The Jets, and their love song:

You Got It AllThe Jets · 1985

Did I miss that one?

I remember so many of these tunes, Flourish. Love was young and my eyes apparently didn't know I needed to sleep.

Great list that brings back fond memories with great music.

Always a superb job, Flourish.

Much respect and admiration,


Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on January 30, 2019:

Oh my, you had me at "80s Love Songs." And maybe you somehow stumbled on my record, oops, CD collection. :) Heck, you even rick-rolled the list with Rick Astley.

Wow, I'm sure I'd find something to add. But this list is pretty comprehensive. Maybe add Bad English "Price of Love."

BTW, don't know if saw the latest Transformers movie "Bumblebee." It's a whole 80s soundtrack.

Hope you're having a good week. We're in a super subzero deep freeze. Cheers!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 30, 2019:

This s a great list of love songs and I don't think I can even choose the best one because I like several of the artists. This long list is fantastic.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on January 30, 2019:

I just don't see how you do it. Your research is meticulous. I was still in radio in the early 80s (up through 1983) and remember many of the songs you listed. I think my favorites on the list were the first two, and when I was in country radio in the late 70s, Ronnie Millsap was one of my favorite artists. I loved Fogelberg and Queen, too.

Gosh you were beautiful all decked out in your prom dress. I remember how we tried to wear the Farah Fawcett wings in our hair. So many memories.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 30, 2019:

Bill - It's unbelievable that that much time could have slipped by. I'm waiting for big hair and glam metal to come back. I could leave some of the rest. It was a good time, kinda. Glad to be living in the here and now, however. Have a great week!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 30, 2019:

Bill - Glad you enjoyed this. Some of the songs are pure poetry if you read the lyrics, which I know you have.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on January 30, 2019:

Hi Flourish. Has it really been 30 to 40 years since these songs first aired? Oh my am I getting old. But, many of these tunes certainly bring back some good memories. Great job as always.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 30, 2019:

Since Fogelberg is one of my all-time favorite musicians, I'll go with him from this list. Richie was a busy man in that decade, for sure,but I'll go with Dan!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 30, 2019:

Leland - Thank you for your kind words. I hope you are doing well I was an 87 high school grad.

Leland Johnson from Midland MI on January 30, 2019:

Flourish- impressive list that really took me back. I’d forgotten all about Leo Sayre and “More than I can Say.” That was a really nice song. I graduated in 86 so this was right up my alley. Great job my friend.

Related Articles