Best '80s New Wave Songs

Updated on October 29, 2016

The 250 Greatest New Wave / Post-Punk / Alternative Songs

1. "Rock Lobster" by The B-52's. It clocks in at 183bpm, which is just ridiculously fast. It was a surf record made by weirdos from Georgia. It tears up the dance floor, and also it mixes with "Modern Love" by David Bowie and "Tenderness" by General Public. For a new generation, however, this song may also forever be immortalized by Peter Griffin's acoustic performance on Family Guy.

2. "People Are People" by Depeche Mode. Just one of many sad songs from a man named Gore. It was their first commercial hit in the U.S. back in the summer of '85 when it peaked at number 13. More importantly, though, it showed America who would become the most successful band of the genre. The Cure, The Smiths, and New Order all had their moments on top, but overall Depeche Mode (which means fast fashion in French) ruled supreme. Also, while "Personal Jesus" is a better song overall but this one turned the tide for all the doubters. Alternative music was commercially viable and would get more airplay from here on out.

3. "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners. I almost made this number one, but I have trouble giving the title to a one-hit wonder—although it should be noted they had many ska hits in the U.K. The overalls will be etched in our brains forever. One more thing: Is it just me or does this song feel like a prequel to Chumbawamba's 'Tubthumping?" From Ta Loo Ra to Danny Bo.

4. "Once In A Lifetime" by Talking Heads. A surreal foresight into the middle age crisis by the Heads here. Their ability to stretch the boundaries of what a pop song could be is their modus operandi. Where would music be without the immortal phrase, "Same as it ever was?" Also, the hilarious arm-chopping motion by David Byrne made the video an MTV staple.

5. "Sweet Dreams" by Eurythmics. Rhyming the words 'made of this' with the word 'disagree' might be a bad move for 99.9% of the people out there. However, for two pop geniuses like Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox, it's all gravy. Though, it's all about melody. The keyboard pulsing beat heats things up but the 'keep your head up, moving on' line is the icing on the cake.

6. "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. I loved this record as a kid and now as an adult I can see why. It's a kids song! 'Ssss aaaa ffff eeee tttt yyyy Safe-ty Dance and then the keyboard chimes in.' That's the version we all loved. The video, of a European countryside (or was it Bilbo's hobbit hole) is quickly taken over by the cast of The Wizard of Oz. This is so new wave that you can argue its merits for number one, but let's face it—it gets annoying fast.

7. "Cars" by Gary Numan. Some songs get popular in an instant and some, like "Cars" just linger in the underbelly of the psyche until they are repackaged into a TV commercial. Then we go "Oh, yeah. That's a good song by that pale'faced freak who could barely sing. But yeah." For the record, it was a top 10 hit in 1980, but only because it sounded so good blasting in a roller rink. The radio mostly ignored it.

8. "Pop Musik" by M. The song that started it all. During the summer of '79, many people believe that this was the first new wave song ever. It wasn't, but man it shot right to #1 was a global smash and told everyone listening what music would sound like for the next eight years. It even had some staying power, as it stayed on the Hot 100 for six months.

9. "Whip It" by Devo. I don't think I'm at all qualified to judge a song like this. A psych professor maybe? There is so much yet, at the same time, so little going on. Thunderclaps and rockabilly via synthesizers and flower pots? It clocks in at less than 2 minutes and 15 seconds, making it one of the shortest songs of the 1980s. This video is notorious for freaking mothers out as their child watches this new thing called MTV.

10. "99 Red Balloons" by Nena. Urban legend claims that she died on tour, but Gabriele "Nena" Kerner is still alive today (and is living probably back in Berlin where the band first started). Wherever she is, she can always say that she wrote an anti-war song that was a smash hit in pretty much every country in the world. Nena and John Lennon, wow. We first heard and loved it as a German tune called "99 Luftballons". The English version has always been considered lame, but that's the one everyone seems to know, so . . .

11. "Take On Me" by a-ha. Another great video means another great Family Guy parody, another piece of perfect pop. This time it comes from Oslo, Norway. These guys went for the high note like nobody else. Their follow-up song was called what? Anybody remember? "The Sun Always Shines on TV." It made it to the Top 20 on their name alone but as soon as people heard it, a-ha came crashing down and alas the sun never again shined on them, at least not in America.

12. "Video Killed The Radio Star" by The Buggles. This is also mistakenly assumed to be first new wave song ever, which is impossible considering both "Pop Muzik" by M and "My Sharona" by The Knack were both out earlier in '79. However, the consolation prize is that it was the first video ever played on MTV. Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn. The duo both joined the group Yes in '80 and Downes would form Asia in '81. Horn become a prolific producer and is widely credited for the career success of soul singer Seal. Erasure also did a crazy cover a few years ago, make sure you check it out.

13. "How Soon Is Now?" by The Smiths. A lot of Smiths fans out there are in on the joke here. Morrissey would only be happy with the miserably unlucky number 13. "I am human and I need to be lo-uh-oved, just like anybody else does." This is timeless club music too. In fact, you may remember that SoHo sampled it for "Hippychick." Try mixing it with "My Doorbell" by the White Stripes.

14. "Brass In Pocket" by The Pretenders. We now bring you ironic moments in pop music: The one song Chrissie Hynde hates is the one song of hers that every woman loves. So she grits her teeth and plays it. This is also true of her ex-husband Jim Kerr. He hates the most popular song of his career too—"Don't You (Forget About Me)" was a soundtrack song he didn't write or want to record, but it probably extended the life of his band Simple Minds exponentially. Life is funny like that, sometimes.

15. "Situation" by Yaz. Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode in 1982 in search of more creative freedom. He would go on to make the New Wave Classic Album, "Upstairs at Eric's." With hits like "Don't Go" and "Only You," Yazoo, as they were sometimes credited as, was a huge smash. Also, "Situation" was every dance instructor and aerobics teacher's best friend. Everyone had this record. The mannequins on the cover are classic.

16. "Blister In The Sun" by the Violent Femmes. If the name of the band didn't clue you in, then maybe it was the line, 'big hands I know you're the one.' What was great was that no matter how flaming this song was, it also had built-in credibility with everyone. A song universally respected on merit. It was difficult to mix because of the time signature so nobody bothered. Just play the whole song. It's really short, and it has one of music's most memorable intro/outros ever. The whispering is hilarious. I often think James' song "Laid" was a Femmes song that they forgot to write.

17. "Rock The Casbah" by The Clash. This is a funk-hybrid mixed with New Wave as Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, and the gang move even further away from their punk roots. This album, "Combat Rock" killed the band, and everybody knows it. But, damn, it was still worth doing. The sheik and the aardvark in the video were so bizarre and right. (Sigh) I miss Joe.

18. "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" by Joe Jackson. Does Joe want her or him? Who cares? The conversational style of the lyrics is so difficult to pull off without the rhymes sounding forced and corny so props, because he certainly pulls it off. A lot of people seem to think that Elvis Costello sings this song, but no.

19. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. This cover of the Gloria Jones soul classic was originally part of a 12" medley, along with The Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go?" However, it was never done as anything but a 45 single in the U.S. So, we all played the half the 12" and segued out. It is so completely overplayed now that I can't stand it, but if you're doing an 80s set and you want a sure-fire hit with the ladies, play this.

20. "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Now this is an interesting record! When it first dropped, they were a craze. That beat was unrelenting and the lyrics were seemingly about a man trying to delay an orgasm. Chaos ensued. The perfect video with the fans just mauling the band onstage during a performance. "Frankie Say: Relax" t-shirts are still selling on eBay, no doubt. There is a also great line in the movie "The Commitments" about the band as well, but I won't spoil it here.

21. "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" by Dead Or Alive. Was Pete Burns the jealous evil twin of Boy George? Maybe. Was this song better than anything Culture Club ever recorded? Most definitely. The 12" version is a DJ crate necessity because it had the 'I, I, uh-uh-uh-uh, I' part at the beginning. People will still be remixing this song in 50 years.

22. "Don't You Want Me" by The Human League. This song should be higher up, in terms of quality of songwriting and execution of vision. However, people in the U.S. just never took to the HL like they did with other similar bands (ABC, Thompson Twins, Tears For Fears, and so forth.) This also mixes great with "True Faith" by New Order, "The Promise" by When In Rome, "Right On Track" by The Breakfast Club, and HL's other big hit, "(Keep Feeling) Fascination."

23. "Town Called Malice" by The Jam. This is a great song! The problem is, not a lot of people know it. This song will probably make a comeback as part of a movie. It's got a cinematic feel to it, too. Sounds like a cooler version of 'Walking On Sunshine' which is in every movie so they'll get to it. Mark my word. Soundtrack Rebirth Candidate #1.

24. "Our House" by Madness. Like "Safety Dance," this is really a kid's song. Ska-Rock pioneers Madness have four great songs, as far as I know. While is the worst of the four, it was their only hit in America and, boy, is it fun. For a little while, at least. Since I brought it up, the other songs are "One Step Beyond," "It Must Be Love," and "House of Fun."

25. "Just Got Lucky" by JoBoxers. This song struck soundtrack gold during the closing credits of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," and good for those guys, because they must be broke. In a genre built around one-hit wonders, this was atypical but still a pretty little ditty nonetheless.

26. "Down Under" by Men At Work. This song is as easygoing as they come. It was not just a calling card for this band, but for an entire country as well. The "Born in the U.S.A." of Australia took the filthy taste of Crocodile Dundee and baby-eating dingos out of our mouths. Although those movies weren't out yet, so maybe it was the taste of a vegemite sandwich.

A great sense of humor can go a long way toward endearing yourself to the world. Their videos for "It's a Mistake," "Be Good Johnny," "Overkill," and "Who Can it Be Now?" were always on MTV in the early days. They recorded their own death sentence with that sense of humor though. It's called "Dr. Hekyll & Mr. Jive." I'm serious. You can look it up.

27. "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel. What a song, wow. That line "Grab your things! I've come to take you home" gets you every time, doesn't it? The beautiful guitar work, mmm mmm. Points off on this list however because it isn't very 'Wavy'. It is a standard on classic rock station playlists coast-to-coast since its re-release. Let me explain.:

After leaving Genesis in '75, Gabriel released this song originally in April of 1977. It was not a smash, but he knew he had a hit on his hands so he waited until 1983, when he rereleased it as a live recording for a follow-up/piggyback to his first Top 40 hit in the States, "Shock The Monkey."

Billy Idol did the same thing in '87, with his live cover of "Mony Mony" and it went to #1 even though none of the stations were playing the live version. They were all playing his original 12" from back in '81. It worked so well that Billy tried it again three months later with "Hot in the City," but it failed to crack the Top 40. Stayed tuned for more of Billy's antics in reissues.

28. "Mexican Radio" by Wall of Voodoo. Also known as: "I Wish I was in Tijuana eating barbecued iguana." How original can a song be? The crescendo at the beginning deposits you right in the middle of a bad dream for our south-of-the-border disc jockey/narrator. Nod to I.R.S. Records for finding guys like this all the time. 1983 wouldn't have been the same without them. Word of mouth can take a song very far indeed.

29. "The Promise" by When In Rome. By 1988, New Wave music was starting to become mainstream and was wearing a bit thin, as well. This was the rare integrity track in your DJ set because all the girls loved it! It went all the way to #11 on the charts, but their follow-up track was? Anybody? It was "Heaven Knows" and it peaked at Number 95, and another one-hit-wonder was born. It is now known to a whole new generation as the tether-ball song from the end of the film "Napoleon Dynamite."

30. "Turning Japanese" by The Vapors. Here's The Great Debate: Is this song about masturbation or not? The band says no, but the lyrics say yes. Like "spanking the monkey," and "turning 'Japanese,'"—both being slang terms for wanking. Also, lines like, "I got your picture and I look at it all by myself," and "I often kiss when there's no one else around" only add fuel to the fire. Leave me a comment and you decide.

31. "Puttin' On The Ritz" by Taco. Aw jeez, this song just broke my New Wav-O-Meter. Written in 1929 by Irving Berlin, it was a #1 song for Harry Richman in 1930. 25 years later, Taco Ockerse (his real name) was born to Dutch parents in Jaharta, Indonesia. Raised in Germany, he dreamed of pop stardom. He signed with RCA in '83, and this single was soon certified gold.

32. "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol. Billy can repackage an old hit like nobody else. This song was originally recorded by the London punk band Generation X which led by Billy Idol. Weird fact: His new version is a classic, well-known punk-wave dancefloor screamer, but it never entered the Hot 100 Billboard charts. The video of vampish zombie-babes climbing the walls was on MTV every hour in 1983. It never was among the 100 most popular songs? Baffling. He clearly fashioned himself as a blond Sid Vicious and his "sweat, sweat, sweat-sweat-sweat AAAaaWWWWWW," was pretty mean.

33. "West End Girls" by Pet Shop Boys. Neil Tennant was a writer for the British fanzine Smash Hits, hwhere he must have figured out the secret formula for street smart pop hooks. The guy rapped with a monotone British accent about suicide and fashion, and people were incredulous to explain why they loved it. They had five Top Ten hits from '86-'88, but this was their debut single and their only Number 1 in the U.S. I guess for some people, "Sometimes, you're better off dead, the gun's in your hand..."

34. "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears For Fears. If you listen to the lyrics, you'll understand why Dennis Miller chose it as the theme song for his political-comedy show. There's a whole lot more going on here than in your average #1 pop song. I absolutely love the bridge part, "There's a room where the light wont find you. Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down." I always like the bridge the best though. "I can't stand this indecision married with a lack of vision" is Bush-worthy to say the least. This is a freakin' song right here!

35. "Close To Me" by The Cure. To be honest, I don't have a preference between the 1985 album cut and the remix from 1990. They are very different, but both really good in their own way. The beat, of course, always gets better with newer versions but you really should get both versions. Ditto with "Safety Dance," "19," and "Rock Me Amadeus." You have to get both versions. DJ's note: the one from '90 mixes great with "Live is Life" by Opus and "Seattle" by PiL.

36. "Hold Me Now" by Thompson Twins. Some songs thrive simply because they slip so well into the background that you don't ever realize that you know all the words to them. Lyric question? Does xylophonist / backup singer Alannah Currie say "Oh, my cold Italian heart" toward the outro? It is not listed in the official lyrics and I know outros usually aren't because it's just skatting by the vocalist, but I'm so curious? FYI, Ms. Currie is from New Zealand which makes the quote that much weirder.

37. "Always Something There To Remind Me" by Naked Eyes. Catchy, catchy, catchy as hell. This song is a guilty pleasure that I can't resist. Do I hate his voice or do I love it? This song has an intro that is very mixable. Some suggestions, "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division, "Grey Cell Green" by Ned's Atomic Dustbin, and "We Got The Beat" by The Go-Go's.

38. "In a Big Country" by Big Country. Who doesn't love this song? I mean, at least the first minute or so anyway. I even love the way it annoys me with bagpipe overkill. These dudes from Scotland were that group I wanted to root for, but didn't. I hear the album is great, but I never got around to picking it up. That's what I'll end up doing after I post this. Trying to find a Greatest Hits for Big Country. Wow, my whole life just passed before my eyes.

39. "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. I'm completely biased and I admit this straight up. Most Police songs are some form of ragga. This brooding, aching, creep you out and break your heart song is not. They simplified the arrangements and stripped it down to a baseline that sounds like a stalker's footsteps. It became the biggest song of the year. It spent 8 weeks at Number 1 in the summer of '83. From July 9th to September 2nd, which is like the whole summer.

Coincidentally, the second biggest song of the year was also of the stalker variety. It spent seven weeks at #1 through March and most of April. Can you name it?? While I give you time to think about it, check this out. In 1983, 27 weeks of the year were conquered by only four Number One Songs. If "Billie Jean" is your answer, then you are correct, sir! (Michael Scott Rules! Sorry.)

A lot of people believe that the intro to "Billie Jean" in all it's moonwalkin' glory is best piece of pop music ever. Seriously. I'd compared it to both, the riff and whisper from "Satisfaction" and the vocals from Aretha's version of "Respect." But "Every Breath..." was just a little better. Here's why I think that is:

A personal note: I actually believe that the bridge of "Every Breath You Take" is the greatest piece of recorded music ever. Just pure honesty and soul bearing going on right there. I sing it at the top of my lungs every time. Wanna try it? Cool. Okay, ready, (boom boom boom) "SINCE YOU'VE GONE, I'VE BEEN LOST WITHOUT A TRACE! I DREAM AT NIGHT..."

40. "Shoot You Down" by apb. If you don't know this song, you need to go wherever you go and get it right now. Download it while you finish reading my list. This funky-ass, rock the dancefloor, new wave jam is also a best bet to be reborn a la the soundtrack. The album was finally released on CD at the behest of thousands of fans and one of them; Matt Pinfield does the amazing liner notes. The album is called Something to Believe In and you'll love almost every track. Soundtrack Rebirth Candidate #2 . Long Live apb!

41. "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M. It was 1991, but it was New Wave-Folk and it was downright moving in a way we don't always understand. Michael Stipe claims to be mystified by it still to this day. Every once in a while everything just falls into place perfectly. "Life . . . is bigger."

42. "Ca Plane Pour Moi" by Plastic Bertrand. The little Belgian song that could. This international super duper Punk Smash is one of our favorites because it's overtly friendly and doesn't overstay its welcome. I often thought that Lindsey Buckingham got the idea for "Holiday Road" (aka the theme to National Lampoon's "Vacation" ) right here.

43. "Save A Prayer" by Duran Duran. Why is this so high? Because every single hot new wave chick in the world loved it, that's why. This was after all the girls' medium. All the men of New Wave are androgenous and wimpy, and all the girls are powerful and venomous. Guys like me who were into Rush & Van Halen made it a point to learn about Depeche Mode and Yaz because we wanted to know about those girls. Those really cool, gothy, punk, "grrl power" babes, with their hair flopped over their eyes. Ahhh, memories. "Save 'em til the morning after."

44. "Need You Tonight" by INXS. Whether or not Michael Hutchence was doing a Jim Morrison impression is not relevant. All INXS songs have the same formula, almost. Here they just found the secret ingredient. This was the peak for an Australian band that would end up going from so underrated to way overrated in just three years. Mostly because they were never able to overcome their own masterpiece. Everything after that sounded so lame by comparison. Same story as the Eagles and "Hotel California."

45. "I Got You" by Split Enz. Before there was a Crowded House, there was Split Enz. Two brothers from New Zealand who could really write a hook. They broke up, and one brother Neil Finn would go on, perhaps naming his new band as a way of explaining why the old one couldn't go on. This song is most commonly searched for on Limewire as "Frightened" by Crowded House, but it isn't. Now let's all gleefully sing, "I DON"T KNOW WHY SOMETIMES I GET FRIGHTENED, YOU CAN SEE MY EYES..."

46. "One Way Or Another" by Blondie.

47. "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club

48. "Celebrate" by An Emotional Fish

49. "Heartbreak Beat" by The Psychedelic Furs

50. "Don't Change" by INXS

Vinyl 45 Singles -- My Collection

51. "Holding Back The Years" by Simply Red

52. "Kiss Me" by Stephen ‘tin tin' Duffy

53. "True Faith" by New Order

54. "Alex Chilton" by The Replacements

55. "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" by U2

56. "Perfect Way" by Scritti Politti

57. "Spirit In The Sky" by Dr. & The Medics

58. "Don't Stand So Close To Me" by The Police

59. "Love & Pride" by King

60. "Life In A Northern Town" by The Dream Academy

61. "Love Plus One" by Haircut 100

62. "My Sharona" by The Knack

63. "Up The Junction" by Squeeze

64. "New Song" by Howard Jones

65. "Ever Fallen In Love" by The Buzzcocks

66. "Where The Streets Have No Name" by U2

67. "Dear God" by XTC

68. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police

69. "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats

70. "What's So Funny Bout (Peace Love & Understanding)" Elvis Costello

71. "Alive & Kicking" by Simple Minds

72. "White Wedding" by Billy Idol

73. "Our Lips Are Sealed" by The Go-Go's

74. "Burning Down The House" Talking Heads

75. "Ship Of Fools (Save Me From Tomorrow)" by World Party

76. "Live Is Life" by Opus

77. "Train In Vain" by The Clash

78. "Modern Love" by David Bowie

79. "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" by Icicle Works

80. "Genius Of Love" by Tom Tom Club

81. "Oh Yeah" by Yello

82. "Cry" by Godley & Crème

83. "Din Daa Daa (Trommeltanz)" by George Kranz

84. "Rush" by B.A.D. II

85. "Lips Like Sugar" by Echo & The Bunnymen

86. "Someday, Someway" by Marshall Crenshaw

87. "Why Can't I Be You?" by The Cure

88. "Antmusic" by Adam & The Ants

89. "Shout" by Tears For Fears

90. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for" by U2

91. "The Look Of Love" by ABC

92. "Red Skies" by The Fixx

93. "I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow

94. "This Woman's Work" by Kate Bush

95. "Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)" by INXS

96. "Desire (Come And Get It)" by Gene Loves Jezebel

97. "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" by The Clash

98. "The Honeytheif" by Hipsway

99. "Oh L'amour" by Erasure

100. "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure

More from My 45 Collection

101. "Tempted" by Squeeze

102. "I Melt With You" by Modern English

103. "Blue Monday" by New Order

104. "Everyday Is Halloween" by Ministry

105. "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel

106. "Boys Don't Cry" by The Cure

107. "One Step Beyond" by Madness

108. "There She Goes" by The La's

109. "Watching The Detectives" by Elvis Costello

110. "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads

111. "Misfit" by Curiosity Killed The Cat

112. "With Or Without You" by U2

113. "Sunday Papers" by Joe Jackson

114. "The Mayor of Simpleton" by XTC

115. "She Sells Sanctuary" by The Cult

116. "Major Tom (Coming Home)" by Peter Schilling

117. "Ana Ng" by They Might Be Giants

118. "Here's Where The Story Ends" by The Sundays

119. "Tears Of A Clown" by The English Beat

120. "Add It Up" by the Violent Femmes

121. "Destination Unknown" by Missing Persons

122. "The One Thing" by INXS

123. "China Girl" by David Bowie

124. "Lost In The Supermarket" by The Clash

125. "Rudi Can't Fail" by The Clash

126. "Tenderness" by General Public

127. "So Lonely" by The Police

128. "If You Were Here" by Thompson Twins

129. "Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil

130. "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode

131. "Here Comes The Rain Again" by Eurythmics

132. "Moving In Stereo" by The Cars

133. "Radio Free Europe" by R.E.M.

134. "I Ran (So Far Away)" by A Flock of Seagulls

135. "Don't Go" by Yaz

136. "Beat's So Lonely" by Charlie Sexton

137. "Pulling Mussels (From A Shell)" by Squeeze

138. "Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order

139. "Grey Cell Green" by Ned's Atomic Dustbin

140. "Dance Hall Days" by Wang Chung

141. "Circle" by Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians

142. "What You Need" by INXS

143. "Life During Wartime (This Ain't No Party)" by Talking Heads

144. "Satisfaction (I Can't Get Me No)" by Devo

145. "Words" by Missing Persons

146. "Dreaming" by Blondie

147. "Enjoy The Silence" by Depeche Mode

148. "It Must Be Love" by Madness

149. "Let The Day Begin" by The Call

150. "It's The End of the World As We Know It" by R.E.M.

Love and Rockets do the Temptations. Brilliant!

7 Inches of Madness

And the Beat Goes On . . .

151. "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" by XTC

152. "Space Age Love Song" by A Flock of Seagulls

153. "Fly On The Windscreen" by Depeche Mode

154. "Back To Ohio" by The Pretenders

155. "Shoplifters of the World Unite" by The Smiths

156. "Joey" by Concrete Blonde

157. "See A Little Light" by Bob Mould

158. "I Go Crazy" by Flesh For Lulu

159. "Obsession" by Animotion

160. "Wouldn't It Be Good" by Nik Kershaw and Danny Hutton Hitters

161. "Overkill" by Men At Work

162. "Ball of Confusion" by Love & Rockets

163. “What Is Love?” by Howard Jones

164. “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby

165. “Don't Dream It's Over” by Crowded House

166. “In Your Room” by The Bangles

167. “And She Was” by Talking Heads

168. “Radio Radio” by Elvis Costello

169. “Would I Lie To You?” by Eurythmics

170. “Girls On Film” by Duran Duran

171. “Synchronicity II” by The Police

172. “Strip” by Adam Ant

173. “Poison Arrow” by ABC

174. “Head Over Heels” by The Go-Go's

175. “Sunday Girl” by Blondie

176. “Just Can't Get Enough” by Depeche Mode

177. “The Politics of Dancing” by Re-Flex

178. “Message Of Love” by The Pretenders

179. "Sanctify Yourself” by Simple Minds

180. "Left Of Center” by Suzanne Vega

181."Mirror In The Bathroom” by The English Beat

182. "Like the Weather” by 10,000 Maniacs

183. "Here Comes Your Man” by The Pixies

184. "19” by Paul Hardcastle

185. "Blue Jean” by David Bowie

186. "One Thing Leads To Another” by The Fixx

187. "We Close Our Eyes” by Go West

188. "This Is Not A Love Song” by Public Image Ltd.

189. "What Do All The People Know” by The Monroes

190. "The Motion of Love" by Gene Loves Jezebel

191. "Der Kommissar" by After The Fire

192. "Living in a Box" by Living in a Box

193. "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel

194. "Black Coffee In Bed" by Squeeze

195. "No New Tale To Tell" by Love & Rockets

196. "This Time" by INXS

197. "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" by The Colour Field

198. "Together in Electric Dreams" by Georgio Moroder & Philip Oakey

199. "Don't Let's Start" by They Might Be Giants

200. "If I Had A Rocket Launcher” by Bruce Cockburn

1990's Post-Punk Alternative

90s New Wave?

The new wave movement went into the 90s, and the following 50 reflect that period:

201. “Groovy Train” by The Farm

202. “Policy of Truth” by Depeche Mode

203. “Unbelievable” by EMF

204. “So Alive” by Love & Rockets

205. “Divine Thing” by The Soup Dragons

206. “Connected” by Stereo MC's

207. “Right Here, Right Now” by Jesus Jones

208. “Digging in the Dirt” by Peter Gabriel

209. “The Beat of Love” by Voice of the Beehive

210. “Room At The Top” by Adam Ant

211. “There's No Other Way” by Blur

212. “Tom's Diner” by DNA w/ Suzanne Vega

213. “Dogs of Lust” by the The

214. “Friday I'm in Love” by The Cure

215. “Regret” by New Order

216. “Break it Down Again” by Tears for Fears

217. “Birdhouse in Your Soul” by They Might Be Giants

218. “Jesus On The Payroll” by Thrashing Doves

219. “Valerie Loves Me” by Material Issue

220. “Laid” by James

211. “Jealous” by Gene Loves Jezebel

212. “Show Me Your Soul” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

213. “Like A Drug” by They EatTheirOwn

214. “Your Woman” by White Town

215. “Love U More” by Sunscreem

216. “Summertime” by The Sundays

217. “All Together Now” by The Farm

218. “Baby's Coming Back” by Jellyfish

219. “I'm Free” by The Soup Dragons

220. “Real RealReal” by Jesus Jones

221. “More” by The Sisters of Mercy

222. “This Is Ponderous” by 2nu

223. “Growing Old” by The Origin

224. “Step On” by Happy Mondays

225. “Blood Makes Noise” by Suzanne Vega

226. “See The Lights” by Simple Minds

227. “Pure” by The Lightning Seeds

228. “People Are Still Having Sex” by LaTour

229. “Bizarre Love Triangle” by Frente

230. “Pets” by Porno for Pyros

231. “Happy” by Ned's Atomic Dustbin

232. “Loaded” by Primal Scream

233. “The Dead Heart” by Midnight Oil

234. “Beautiful Imbalance” by Thrashing Doves

235. “Caroline” by Concrete Blonde

236. “International Bright Young Thing” by Jesus Jones

237. “3 Strange Days” by School of Fish

238. “Particle Man” by They Might Be Giants

239. “Woman in Chains” by Tears for Fears

240. “Labour of Love” by Frente

241. “Hippychick” by Soho

242.”Movin' On Up” by Primal Scream

243. “Dreaming” by O.M.D

244. “Mandinka” by Sinead O'Connor

245. “Chains of Love” by Erasure

246. “Blue Sky Mine” by Midnight Oil

247. “King of Wishful Thinking” by Go West

248. “What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)” by Information Society

249. “Lies” by EMF

250. “Pop Goes The World” by Men Without Hats

Questions & Answers

    Something to listen and chuckle to while you leave me a comment.

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      • Jennifersenn profile image


        4 hours ago

        Looking for the name of a song (or the group who did it) that is from the mid to late '80's that I used to hear in clubs. It sounds like a punk/new wave song and this guy goes "Burn! Burn! Death! (or "Die!") and then does this primal scream like "AAAHHHH!". It had a great beat and used to pack the dance floor.

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        4 weeks ago

        Great list, along with the lists in the comments! Just added about 50 songs to my iTunes library that I did not have. Thank you!!!

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        Stan: long shot but how about she sells sanctuary by the Cult

      • profile image


        4 months ago

        I listened to a song on a waiting line and reminded me of my childhood. It is something like "get away" but the quality was poor so it might be "anywhere anywhere".

        I remember it was played for advertisement of ariplanes and it was the chorus of the song. It is quiet symphonic. ANy suggestions?

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        8 months ago

        Think I maybe missed a couple-Anything Anything by Dramarama and Pepper by Butthole Surfers. Romeo Void was so good but more obscure (Might Like you Better if we Slept Together) and who was it...Lena Lovich?? New Toy?

        A great list! Love ya from one of those hot evil kinda goth kinda flock of seagulls looking girls of the 80s!

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        8 months ago

        23. "Town Called Malice" by The Jam... This song will probably make a comeback as part of a movie... Mark my word. Soundtrack Rebirth Candidate #1.

        Sing Street - I'd never heard of it until I saw this Sundance film. Any 80s music fan will probably love this film.

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        15 months ago

        for Wicked, The song is Whirlpool Heart by The Wild Swans.

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        17 months ago

        Thank you for the list. Love it. btw Depeche Mode's literal translation is "depressed mood"

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        Dave B 

        17 months ago

        Yup, like Joseph Addams, I don't necessarily agree with the other, but there are a lot of great songs on this list. Of course, New Wave is the best music, like ever, so naturally there'll be a lot of great songs here. :-)

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        17 months ago

        Great list! Just built a play list!

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        18 months ago

        what about Go! by Tones on Tail? or Express Kundalini by Love and Rockets? Huge in Detroit.

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        Voodoo,religion,witchcraft and war. 

        21 months ago

        Nice list...No XTC? Or Adrian Borlands band The Sound... Or did I miss em.

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        22 months ago

        Good tunes but a few were out of date.. I was very surprised by seeing that you had The English Beat in there a couple of times, but you didn't have Save it For Later on that list!? Talk about the best song EVER to sum up dealing with changing from a teenager to a young adult! All the same enjoyed the song list.

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        david loos 

        22 months ago

        decent list, but not very accurate. just at a glance: "sunday girl" by blondie came out in in 1978, while the ned's atomic dustbin song came out in 1990 (plus, it sucks)

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        22 months ago

        Wonderful List but,...

        What's this I see,... No Love for Hazel O'Connor!

        Hazel O'Connor - Eight Day

        Hazel O'Connor - Will You


        The Associates - Party Fears Two

        Visage - The Damned Don't Cry

        John Foxx - Underpass

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        24 months ago

        I love this list and I love the fact that this thread is still.going 8 years later

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        2 years ago

        I remember a song that had the following lyrics, "Time is a word that no one can see." I was thinking it was Robert Palmer (early 80's stuff like, "Looking for Clues"), but after many searches nothing seems to match.

        Any ideas?

        Thanks in advance!

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        2 years ago

        danny wilson...marys prayer

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        2 years ago

        @Tom...YES....and Don't Throw Stones

        Plus..The motors...Love and Loneliness

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        2 years ago

        Robert Hazard...Escalator of Life and Chain Reaction..

        Oingo Boingo....Just Another Day

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        2 years ago

        So no more blurbs ever got added? :(

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        3 years ago

        FYI on the base line of "Every Breath You Take" It's simply doubling up the notes of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me". Not an outright steal of music, just a subtle lift from another song. But I agree, it's a great track.

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        3 years ago

        I need help figuring out the name of an artist and song.

        It must be extremely obscure.

        It came out 79-80.

        It's extremely new wave and the singer has a quirky voice, like David Byrne's.

        It's midtempo and the singer says something like "having a party" many times.

        You can hear party noises in the background.

        It's not Southside Johnny or someone like that. It's totally new wave.

        I heard a number of times on WWWW in Detroit in 79-80.

        Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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        3 years ago

        Scanning the authors list then through the comments and most of the list are just freakin great there seems to be one strangely absent

        She Sells Sanctuary ~ The Cult

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        Mark Scotti 

        3 years ago

        GREAT LIST!

        I would add:

        Be Bop Deluxe - Panic In My World

        The Sinceros - Take Me To Your leader

        The Jags - Back Of My Hand

        The Motors - Airport

        Adam Ant (another great one) - Don't Be There, Be square

        Flock Of Seagulls - Telecomunicaton

        Julian Cope - Trampoline and Beautiful Love

        Generation X - Ready, Steady, Go

        The Plimsouls - Million Miles Away

        The headboys -Shape Of Things To Come

        The Motels - Mission Of Mercy (Their MOST Rocking song)

        The Hoodoo Gurus - What's My Scene?

        Camper Van Beethoven - Pictures Of Matchstick Men

        Flesh For Lulu - Postcards From Paradise

        Fischer Z - So Long

        The Shirts - I'm Not One Of Those

        Just sooo many great songs out there from what I consider of of the Greatest music periods EVER!!!!

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        Yas- The Situation

        Berlin-(any song)

        Kajagoogoo-Too Shy

        Kraftwork-(any song)

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        Rick Hamster 

        3 years ago

        How do you compose this list and miss SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES and GANG OF FOUR??????????????????????

        were you even there?

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        3 years ago

        you miss something man...... a song called "ASIA"

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        3 years ago

        Sweet dreams are made of THESE, who am I to disagree.

        I travel the world and the seven SEAS. Everybody's looking for something.

      • BinauralBeatsNow profile image


        3 years ago

        Wow, what an amazing list. I'll be bookmarking this for later reference. I'm a big fan of 80's music, and there were even a few entries on here that I didn't recognize.

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        4 years ago

        Anyone remember "Don't throw stones" by the sports. I loved that band.

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        4 years ago

        stop arguing guys, you cant compile or rank new wave, punk wave, rock wave or punk rock, synth rock and even rock n roll coz' they merge in the 70s 80s and up to d 90s. even Elvis Presley and Beatles sound can be considered new wave, take the case of "suspicious mind" and "money", the vocals of OMD, Depeche, Sisters of mercy etc, they imitate the voice modulation of Elvis and the beat of Beatles, so I'm so lucky or we r lucky that we r teens during the 80s, kids of d 70s and young adult during d 90s'. my wife and i love the song "i melt wih u" by d Modern english. my favorite band is the Cure and my favorite song is "wonderlife" by Black, even i don't know which is my no.1 coz i love them all. somes dislikes like tarzan boy and modern talking songs. and I currently have more than 3000 song to compile if i were to rank them it would be a major headache.

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        4 years ago

        Can't believe The Smithereens didn't make the cut. Blood and Roses and Behind the Wall of Sleep are such great songs!!! Don't count them out. They are so good.

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        4 years ago

        Anyone know one that goes something like: "I wanna, I wanna be the one/alone/etc."? It's sung by a guy and has the music reminiscent of The Mighty Lemon Drops/The Church/Flesh for Lulu. During what was deemed "Alternative" in the mid-80s or so. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks folks. :)

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        4 years ago

        I'm looking for a song that has the lyrics Hay yeah and it's not the dang outcast song it's a lady singing it

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        4 years ago

        Hold Me Now ~~ Thompson Twins ******* "Lyric question? Does xylophonist / backup singer Alannah Currie say 'Oh my cold Italian heart' toward the outro?"

        She says "Warm my cold and tired heart" (the answer for the line "Oh, warm my heart").

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        David Linsley 

        4 years ago

        The Book Of Love did "I Touch Roses" but what band did "The Story Of Love" ???

      • profile image

        David Linsley 

        4 years ago

        who does "The Story Of Love" ? What a cool 80's tune ????? Please help

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        4 years ago

        Love that you remembered Scritti Politti.

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        80s rock... 

        4 years ago

        Great list. Surprised to see some songs I really like that I never hear anymore. Pop Goes the World and Groovy Train to name 2.

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        5 years ago

        It's a bad list! How can you forget Visage, OMD, Blancmange, Heaven 17, Ultravox, Alphaville, Talk Talk, Sparks, Fun Boy Three, China Crisis, B-Movie, Boytronic, Icehouse, Kajagoogoo, Siouxsie & the Banshees and many others?

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        5 years ago

        The Hardest Part - Blondie

        Sometimes a Fantasy - Billy Joel

        These 2 songs I remember well they are as fresh today as they were back then

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        Not bad. 

        5 years ago

        My top 20 would be like this (regardless of including rock sound, reggae song etc. If a song is new wave, it is):

        1. Heart of Glass - Blondie (1978)

        2. Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran (1982)

        3. I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock of Seagulls (1982)

        4. Down Under - Men at Work (1981)

        5. Karma Chameleon - Culture Club (1983)

        6. Shout - Tears for Fears (1984)

        7. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Eurhythmics (1983)

        8. Just Like Heaven - The Cure (1987)

        9. Call Me - Blondie (1980)

        10. Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper (1983)

        11. Take on Me - a-ha (1985)

        12. Don't You Want Me - Human League (1981)

        13. Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners (1982)

        14. Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1983)

        15. Tainted Love - Soft Cell (1981)

        16. Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go-Go's (1981)

        17. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears (1985)

        18. You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) - Dead or Alive (1984)

        19. Burning Down the House - Talking Heads (1983)

        20. One Way or Another - Blondie (1978)

        21. I Melt With You - Modern English (1982)

        22. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me - Culture Club (1982)

        23. Genius of Love - Tom Tom Club (1981)

        24. Whip It - Devo (1980)

        25. Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles (1979)

      • profile image


        5 years ago

        Sorry dude your list definitely sucks. Heart of glass, the pioneer song of the New Wave songs, should've been here.

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        5 years ago

        great list; couple of other suggestions (heavily influenced by CFNY)

        Parachute Club -- Rise Up

        Pukka Orchestra -- Listen to the Radio, Cherry Beach Express

        Rough Trade -- High School Confidential

        btw, a contributor to has posted 60 separate files, each containing 20-30 songs, all of the lesser known new wave variety.

        On the website, do a search for "rare hits of the 80's" or "rare hits of the 80s".

      • DJ Funktual profile imageAUTHOR

        DJ Funktual 

        5 years ago from One Nation Under a Groove

        Wow great additions Paul. I hope some of these are on the list or they are just oversights. :)

      • profile image

        Paul Berweiler 

        5 years ago

        This is an outstanding list. As a former disc jockey, I got my start in the mid-80s at a college station and remember playing a lot of the songs on this list. I hadn't thought of Ministry's "Everyday is Halloween" in a long time...great tune! If you don't's a few of my favorites that I didn't see on your list but could have missed. Check 'em'd probably enjoy them as much as I do.

        Altered Images - Happy Birthday

        The Boomtown Rats - Diamond Smiles

        Bow Wow Wow - C30,C60,C90, Go

        Martin Briley - The Salt In My Tears

        The Burning Sensations - The Belly Of A Whale

        China Crisis - King In A Catholic Style (Wake Up)

        The Church - Metropolis

        Combo Audio - Romanticide

        Depeche Mode - Somebody (The live version is great!)

        Duran Duran - Come Undone

        Face To Face - 10-9-8

        Haysi Fantayzee - Shiny, Shiny

        Grayson Hugh - Talk It Over (In Bed)

        Billy Idol - The Dead Next Door

        Intaferon - Get Out Of London

        The Motels - Shock

        The Nails - 88 Lines About 44 Women

        Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Enola Gay

        Our Daughter's Wedding - Lawn Chairs

        The Plimsouls - A Million Miles Away

        The Polecats - Make A Circuit With Me

        Real Life - Send Me An Angel (The 1989 re-release is better)

        Romeo Void - A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing)

        Rubber Rodeo - Souvenir

        Scarlett & Black - You Don't Know

        Sigue Sigue Sputnik - Love Missile F-111

        The Stranglers - (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)

        Strawberry Switchblade - Since Yesterday

        Talk Talk - Talk Talk

        Ali Thomson - Take A Little Rhythm

        Tones On Tail - Go!

        Violent Femmes - Add It Up

        Yazoo - Nobody's Diary

        10,000 Maniacs - Like The Weather

        Again, not a strike against your list at's great. These are just some of my favorites that I would add. Thanks for the time you spent putting this together and for a trip down memory lane for this 47-year old. Have a great day!

      • profile image

        anthony vario 

        5 years ago

        Where is Laurie Anderson? Anything that woman touches is gold.

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        5 years ago

        Thanks for the great list. I'm a child-to-teen of the 80s, and found a few more songs on this list, that I had forgotten for some reason. I had no idea that Plastic Bertrand's "Ca Plane Pour Moi" existed--I had only known it as Elton Motello's "Jetboy Jetgirl." Also thanks to the posts by "bowloftoast." In the 80s I LIVED for CFNY--I knew it was good, but I had no idea that it was considered "one of the 5 definitive alt. radio stations" in the world. Also, grew up in Niagara--so I had the opportunity to go to Gord's. Thanks for reminding me of some great music!

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        5 years ago

        Just to let you know..."Pop Goes The World" by Men Without Hats wasn't in the 90's. It was released in 1987.

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        5 years ago

        If your list has this, which is does:

        102. ---I Melt With You ~~ Modern English

        103. ---Blue Monday ~~ New Order

        104. ---Everyday Is Halloween ~~ Ministry

        Then you are clueless. Move those up 80 notches for sure.

      • Weinz Belardo profile image

        Weinz Belardo 

        5 years ago from Marikina City,Philippines

        For All the New Wave fans out there. Theres an open Facebook group dedicated to the 80′s music. It’s “80s New-Wave, Post Punk, Synthpop, Goth Rock” .The group is presently have 16,132 members and still growing.

        Everyone can join. Feel free to share and post at least two music videos/pics/announcements/events to it’s page for every 24 hours. The limit is to avoid the clutter on the page for active members to enjoy sharing, listening and watching 80′s best and memorable songs.Long live Wavers :)

      • Weinz Belardo profile image

        Weinz Belardo 

        5 years ago from Marikina City,Philippines

        To all the New Wave fans out there, heres more of hard to find (rarely heard in FM stations nowadays) New Wave songs that were played before in Power 105 and NU 107 FM stations in Manila, Philippines during 80′s and early 90′s :

        The Damned – Alone Again Or

        The Alarm – Presence Of Love

        Smash Palace – Living On The Borderline

        Cutting Crew – Sahara

        Expression – Total Eclipse

        The Chameleons UK – Second Skin

        Peter Murphy – Cuts You Up

        Peter Murphy – Indigo Eyes

        The Fixx – Save By Zero

        The Fixx – Secret Separation

        The Wildswans – Immaculate

        Desireless – Voyage Voyage

        Identity Crisis – My Sanctuary

        Ocean Blue – Between Something And Nothing

        Gene Loves Jezebel – Kiss Of Life

        OMD – Then You Turn Away

        Erasure – When I Need You

        Erasure – Ship Of Fools

        Inspiral Carpets – This Is How It Feels

        Depeche Mode – Route 66

        The Mission – Like A Hurricane

        Neon Judgement – Chinese Black

        Red Box – Chenko ( Pow-Wow Press)

        A-House – I’ll Always Be Grateful

        House Of Love – Christine

        The Pale Fountains – Jane’s Not Happening

        Deacon Blue – Real Gone Kid

        Camouflage – Love Is A Shield

        Orange Juice – Lean Period

        Alison Moyet – Is This Love

        Microdisney – Birthday Girl

        Frazier Chorus – Dream Kitchen

        Colourfield – From Dawn To Distraction

        Fra Lippo Lippi – Mother’s Little Soldier

        Secession – Touch

        Motorcycle Boy – Will You Still Love Me Tommorow

        The Church – Reptile

        Virgin Dance – Are You Ready For That Feeling

        Colourfield – Castle In The Air

        Cactus World News – Worlds Apart

        The Smiths – Suedhead

        Martin Gore – In A Manner Of Speaking

        Two Minds Crack – The Hunger And The Greed

        The Smiths – Well I Wonder

        Coteau Twins – Guinea

        Depeche Mode – But Not Tonight

        Fra Lippo Lippi – Coming Home

        The Velvet Underground – Femme Fatale

        Lover’s Speak – Never To Forget You

      • Weinz Belardo profile image

        Weinz Belardo 

        5 years ago from Marikina City,Philippines

        Yes !!! amazing, flashes of intuition/recovering information from the Akashic records….I’ve found what I am looking for . It’s the “Translator – I Love You”

      • Weinz Belardo profile image

        Weinz Belardo 

        5 years ago from Marikina City,Philippines

        By the way, anybody (who knows more songs than me :) ) out there who know the particular rare New Wave song I am looking for? I will really appreciate it :)

        The New Wave love song is quite melancholic/sad/gloomy kind of tune by a male vocalist. I don’t remember the singer/band and the song’s title.The song were played sometimes by the Power 105 FM station (Manila,Philippines) during the 80′s.

        Theres some lines of the lyrics sung by the male vocalist repeatedly “I love you…yes I do…I love you…yes I do/will”

      • Weinz Belardo profile image

        Weinz Belardo 

        5 years ago from Marikina City,Philippines

        Heres "some" my favorite hard to find New Wave songs from the 80's . You can share too your rare hard to find favorite New Wave songs. Sharing is pretty good :)

        Red Flag - Rain

        The Sun and the Moon - A Picture of England

        James - Stripmining

        Depeche Mode - It Doesn't Matter

        Howard Jones - Last Supper

        Primal Scream - Love You

        Grace Pool - Stay

        Tanita Tikaram - Twist of Sobriety

        A-ha - Living a Boy's Adventure Tale

        Tim Finn - Hyacinth

        The Railway Children - In The Meantime

        The Railway Children - Careful

        The Colour Field - Sorry

        U2 - Night and Day

        Blue Nile - Headlights On The Parade

        Til' Tuesday - What About Love

        Stray Cats - I Won't Stand In Your Way

        The Go- Betweens - Love Goes On

        Identity Crisis - Will I Ever Know

        Introvoys - Lullabye

        Classic Nouveaux - Never Never Comes

        Llyod Cole and the Commotion - Call Me

        Killing Joke - A Southern Sky

        Lulu Kiss Me Dead - Spades

        Low Life - Ramified

        New Order - Leave Me Alone

        Ocean Blue - Slide

        The Pale Fountains - Unless

        Scarlett and Black - You Don't Know

        Telex - Tell Me It's A Dream

        The Creatures - Japan

        The Glove - Mouth to Mouth

        The Essence - The Cat

        The Cure - Pictures Of You

        The Sound - One Thousand Reasons

        The Sound - Total Recall

        The Dream Academy - The Love Parade

        The Weather Prophets - Why Does The Rain

        Voice Of America - I Will Tell

        Prefab Sprout - Bonny

        The Farmer's Boys - For You

        The Field Mice - If You Need Someone

        The Call - I Still Believe

        Iggy Pop & Kate Pierson - Candy

        Fra Lippo Lippi - Thief In Paradise

        H2O - Who'll Stop The Rain

        Blue Invention - Still in my Heart

        Clan Of Xymox- Imagination

        Easterhouse - Waiting For The Redbird

        Dear Enemy - Bit Of Your Heart

        Fiat Lux - Secrets

        Black - Everything Is Coming Up Roses

        Blancmange - Why Don't They Leave Things Alone

        Depeche Mode - Any Second Now

        Desert Wolves - Passion In The Afternoon

        Bazooka Joe - Smallville

        Depeche Mode - If You Want

        EBTG - Alfie

        Friends Again - State Of Art

        Howard Devoto - Rainy Season

        Ice House - The Kingdom

        James - What For

        Low Life - Hollow Gut

        March Almond - Say Hello,Wave Goodbye

        Play - Red Movies

        Private Blue - She's Love

        Red Flag - Give me your hand

        Rumblefish - Don't Leave Me

        Siouxsie and the Banshees - Kiss Them For Me

        The Icicle Works - Melanie Still Hurts

        Steve Allen - Message of love

        Talk Talk - Such A Shame

        The Beloved - Please Understand

        The Bernhardts - I Hear You Calling

        The Mission UK - Severina

        The Chameleons - Pleasure and Pain

        The Sisters Of Mercy - Under the Gun

        The Wake - Plastic Flowers

        Treebound Story - Forever Green

        Twilight - Just Me Alone

        Visage - Fade to Gray

        Riverside - Waterfall

        The Room - New Dreams For Old

        Matthew Wilder - Hey Little Girl

        Figures On A Beach - No Stars

        Alphaville - Return to Paradise

        Chris Issac - Blue Spanish Sky

        Electronic - Disappointed

        Friends - Far And Away

        Robyn Hitchcock - Madonna Of The Wasps

        Until December - Heaven

        The Passmore Sisters - Every Child In Heaven

        Billy Bragg - Greetings To The New Brunette

        The Silencers - I Want You

        The Silencers - I Can't Cry

        Tuesday Blue - Love Me Simple

        Stephen Duffy - I Love You

        Broken English - Do You Want Me Back

        Vitamin Z - Everytime That I See You

        And many many more....the list goes on and on :)

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        5 years ago

        Go! by Tones on Tail

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        5 years ago

        Great List- not much to debate on the order, the fact that the songs are there is cool enough. You sound like you really know your stuff.

        Question; been searching for a song, new wave..,could have been classified as raw punk at the time, early 80's almost disintegrated from my memory banks. Do remember that we called it "Go!"; had a long series of 'yea' (nine of them). Any ideas?

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        5 years ago

        all good except gary Numan. Ever heard the Skin Mechanic? Great live record.

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        5 years ago

        hello again the cars

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        5 years ago

        Alternative? Most of this list looks like a pop music who's who from MTV? Redundant, boring. Don't get me wrong, there is some great stuff on here but, Joe Jackson, A-ha, Peter Gabriel ... ? Alternative? Not at all. Dig deeper.

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        6 years ago

        There's a mistake there are actually 260 songs on this list coz after no. 220 it goes back to 211, so if u keep counting as normal (221 and so on) it's 260 in total!

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        6 years ago

        Incredible! Your list brought back memories! Hard to believe that it's been that long ago! I too listened to WLIR/WDRE and check out their Screamers/Shreek of the week list, WOW! (It covers the 80'-90's so called "New wave period?!) Those haters out there, Please make your own list! Good List!

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        6 years ago

        you forgot to mention these gems: flaming mussolinis,floy joy,eight seconds,the sun and the moon, the ocean blue,zerra one,plimsouls,the pursuit of happiness icicle works,book of love,house of love,comsat angels...and on and on...a waver from philippines.

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        6 years ago

        Also to mention Gruppo Sportivo, Patti Smith, The Jam, De Brassers, Siglo XX, The Scabs, Nacht Und Nebel, Jo Lemaire and Flouze, Lavvi Ebel, Red Zebra, Luna Twist, Allez Allez, Marine, The Machines, Toy

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        Robert Nix 

        6 years ago

        A genre that continues to this day with Canada's 'Men Without Hats' releasing a new album in 2012 and Toronto's Robert Nix releasing his new album 'Walk Down The Street',the titletrack video on youtube.

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        6 years ago

        Just found an answer to my own question. The song is actually called "Switchin' to Glide" by "The Kings." Took me 3 days of searching for the song with alternate titles.

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        6 years ago

        Great List. But can anyone help me find song with chorus that goes "searchin' tonight . . . searchin' too-oo-night" (or might even be "switching tonight"). It has a kind of a Split Enz meets the Hooters vibe to it in terms of energy and synthesizer sound. I suspect it came out in '80-81.

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        6 years ago

        Was looking for some new songs to listen to in one of my favourite genres and you had some choice pics.

        Down here in New Zealand we had Split Enz but also some other great new wave bands if you have the time, or the inclination check out some of these (all found on youtube):

        The Swingers: 'Counting the Beat'

        Mi-Sex: 'Computer Games'

        The Screaming Meemees: 'See Me Go'

        Pop Mechanix: 'Jumping Out A Window'

        Danse Macabre: 'Between the Lines

        Toy Love: 'Bride of Frankenstein'

        If you like the more post punk sound I would recommend some of the Flying Nun bands:

        The Chills: 'Kaleidoscope World'

        The Clean: 'Tally Ho'

        The Verlaines: 'Death and the Maiden'

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        6 years ago

        Alannah Currie says "My cold and tired heart" in Hold Me Now, to answer your question.

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        Ian Madsen 

        6 years ago

        You omitted Japan and Bauhaus. There also should be a lot more Echo and the Bunnymen, and Psychedelic Furs.

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        6 years ago

        The Fixx - Stand or Fall

        A Flock of Seagulls - Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)

        The Cars - Drive

        Talking Heads - Wild Wild Life

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        6 years ago

        I'm glad it mentioned Gary Numan's Cars but I thnik everyone seems to forget his breakthough hit, Are 'Friends' Electric. It I feel was very influential on many English bands at that time.

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        6 years ago

        I've posted before but no Oingo Boingo? For anyone growing up in the 80's and in So. Cal they were a must. And Divine Thing by Soup Dragons came out in '92. Please remove them and add in some Boingo...

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        6 years ago

        Wow !!! Great list that has kept people commenting for years !!! 250 is a decent start and gave me enough to grow from. Plus some of the others here have contributed

        so it's the best forum i've found as a reference.

        Thanks to all with the positive feedback and I too have to add that the B-52's WERE the 80's, not wanna be's.

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        6 years ago

        The list was cool. A lot of hits and misses. Nik Kershaw, Level 42,Heaven 17......... But your gonna miss some on a list. I dont consider all the songs on here new wave. I feel new wave ended with Violator.

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        6 years ago

        no classix nouveaux the album night people has several tracks what would make it...cabaret voltaire aswell...and killing joke......

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        6 years ago

        This has actin of info and is wonderful but I still can't find the song I'm looking for and who sings it Im going crazy! I swear it is call miss x or little miss x or something to that effect and it's not little miss can't be wrong and the cover of the cassette tape I had in the early ninetys late eightys had stick figures I think on it if you have any ideas I would appreciate it if u could email me at thank u so much I remembered and saw Aton of groups I had forgotten about

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        Z Brock 

        6 years ago

        Thanks a bunch for the list of songs! Not actually a child of the 80's, but my dad set me right, so it's great to be able to recognize a whole swath of these.

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        D Anderson 

        6 years ago

        Nice list. A lot of people are suggesting songs to add that I've never heard of. But one song that definitely should be on the list is "Kids In America" by Kim Wilde, 1982.

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        6 years ago

        Great list, though some of your selections were released in the 70s not the 80s. But so what - they're great songs.

        Love the debate about what is and isn't "new wave" as if there's some great arbiter of the true classification scheme. I always thought of "new wave" as something some record company marketing folks thought up because punk sounded too threatening. As well as a reference to the French "new wave" of cinema many years earlier.

      • KevinTO profile image


        6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

        Great comprehensive list Funktual. As a Toronto boy gonna rep some local talent from back in the eighties - the Spoons. May not be familiar to those south of the border (although they did get a cult following in the UK). Here is classic new wave track from them, enjoy.

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        Lee N. 

        6 years ago

        The Internet is a big place.

        Without a doubt, this is the greatest New Wave list on there.

        It is sad that anyone who has the balls to do a 'Greatest' list is inevitably going to be shot down in flames by haters and generally ignorant people who have not got the skills or the balls to do one themselves.

        DJ Funktual, and every other music lover knows that music is intensly personal, and everybody's 'greatest' list would be different, but Hey! this is a fantastic compilation, and the vast majority are in my 'Greatest' list, which incidentally contains 721 songs :-)

        Keep up the awesome work.

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        Robert Taylor 

        6 years ago

        Love the blurbs. I think I might have read a few of these a few years ago and then just stumbled across it again.

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        6 years ago

        I love the list, I love the replies. It is quite scary - I own nearly every one of the top 250 on 7" vinyl! I think Information Society should be much higher (What's on your mind), and their single 'Running' should definitely be in there. Oh and so many others. I think that the best new wave bands overall were The B-52's. And pretty much everything they have done has been fantastic. Keep this blog going - can't wait to read the updates!

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        mowhaks,trench coats & safety pins 

        6 years ago

        This is a wonderful list it covers most of the bases!Others may balk at the order and a few missing favorites but it brings back some great memories!!! Thank you, cheers!

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        6 years ago

        better if the selections are by genre.

        gggggggoooooodddddd selection but much better if the selections are by it........

      • DJ Funktual profile imageAUTHOR

        DJ Funktual 

        6 years ago from One Nation Under a Groove

        lol, what a jackass. when it was 1st released makes no difference whatsoever, the song was a staple of the 80's.

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        6 years ago

        I'm sorry, you're #1 song, Rock Lobster, is ineligible since it was released in '79. Thanks for playing. Here are some lovely parting gifts.

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        6 years ago

        Maybe you'll know...Do you remember a 80's song Luxury/or the chorus had luxury in it or even rhymed with luxury. It was a male artist with phrases in the song such as:"such a waste", "smile on your face" "you can come as you are". It's a long shot but it's driving me mad. Lol. Thanks for your time.

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        6 years ago

        Cool list. Many of my fave '80s hits were in there. Call me crazy, but I think "Mexican Radio" by Wall of Voodoo should have been number one, or at least gotten a higher spot. No other band had that Southwestern flavor to it like WoV did. Plus, the "BBQ'd iguana" lyric never fails to make me smile. They also did a cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and added their own sound to it. Some people like it, others think it's "a disgrace to Cash's original," but either way, WoV didn't just copy the song, they made it their own.

        Also, have you heard the original German version of Peter Schilling's "Major Tom"? It's great, and even though I don't speak or understand much of that language, I like it a lot more than the English version. You should give it a shot. The title in German is "Voellig Losgeloest."

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        6 years ago

        great list....i am looking for songs to play at my 40th birthday party...i wouldn't have remembered a lot of these if it wasn't for this blog! thank you, it brings back tons of memories!! :)

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        6 years ago

        Love the list, hate the order. "Come on Eileen" at # 3 and "Chains of Love" in the 200s?

        But lots of great songs that a lot of people who "weren't there" (or just didn't care care) have never heard of. I could spend hours re-ordering the list and probably making a few additions and deletions, but all and all a pretty good compilation.

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        6 years ago

        No, it wasn't ACDC...I want to say that it was either The Damned or Ministry, but have not been able to confirm...the song and video are somewhat Spanish influenced, guitars

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        Dennis Teel 

        6 years ago

        to John--was the video "who made who" -the maximum overdrive version,by AC/DC--

        this is a good list.i recently ordered a 12 cd set of 80's music videos(31 per dvd)=372 and it's totally awesome.Most all the songs fro this list and more are in the collection.i watched MTV all through the 80's and early 90's(until rap and hip hop were the predominant content) as opposed to listening to the radio/.i feel so fortunate to have been in my 30's in the 80's as i was able ,as an adult to enjoy the music and tv programs and yet still hang out with the 20 somethings of that era.while most younge people were either in school or working ,i had a sleep disability(delayed sleep phase syndrome--google it) and didn't have the obligation of having to go to work wasa glorious decade.the music was happy,people were happy and they smiled so often and it wasa decade of bright colors.billboards,the malls,record covers,etc..even tv commercials were in brilliant happy color.the fashions were bright colors and nobody cared if your hair was short or long,blue,gray or purple or much was acceptable and common back then/.then rap and hip hop became the predominant style on MTV and radio --at this point everything was chenging toward a negative force in society and in people's attitudes.if people remember clearly,it's at that time that music became jungle sounding as opposed to containing any melody/the direction of the music was 1. lewd 2.gansta 3.repetitive 4.everything sucky--i miss the 80's because it was a happy decade,stuck between the sad 70's and the horrible 90's.the 21st century came along and nothing got better,except for the fact that many 80's bands got back together for a while..then disbanded again.the only really good bands being created had female vocalists--nightwish,evanescence,flyleaf,lacuna coil to name a few.other than that..recently blondie releasd a fine cd called panic of sounds like their old stuff and i highly recommend it.the cars have a new cd out."move like this"./the music sounds more like their old stuff than their old stuff did//it's awesome//there's some good stuff out there..just not very much//i miss the 80's.for those of you who weren't there or too young to remember clearly, if you could go back i time,you'd be in awe at how happy and colorful the decade was.of course there was drugs just like today..people still got drunk and partied..but people didn't have the negative unhappy attitude that exists so commonly today .

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        6 years ago

        Shot in the dark here, but does anyone remember the name of the song and the group that had a video shot in the desert, lead singer and with a semi-truck? Been racking my noggin - if I remember correctly, it had almost a

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        6 years ago

        Thanks for The List!! Good Job!

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        6 years ago

        Good list


        WLIR on Facebook

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        6 years ago

        Nice list. However, Frente only covered Bizarre Love Triangle. That version was NOT New Wave. The New Wave Version of that song was done by the band that wrote it~New Order.

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        6 years ago

        Enjoyed the list and comments. College radio stations in early 80's was where I was introduced to "new music" (as they called it in my area at the time). My own personal list would have to include Aztek Camera, Prefab Sprout and Lloyd Cole & the Commotions.


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