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VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '80s

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What were the best '80s songs? Read on to uncover VH1's 100 greatest songs of the '80s!

What were the best '80s songs? Read on to uncover VH1's 100 greatest songs of the '80s!

The '80s was a time of big hair, big fashion, and even bigger music! The Sony Walkman first became available in the early '80s, allowing music lovers to listen to music on the go. Rap music began to rise in the mainstream, and new wave, soft rock, punk, and electronic music paved the way for the new and edgier sound that emerged from the end of the '70s.

MTV launched in the early '80s and created a revolution in how fans consumed music—thus arose the dawn of the music video. The show The Greatest on MTV's sister channel, VH1, is often considered an important cultural source of the best music and artists in existence. Read on to discover the most popular and best '80s songs on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '80s list!

VH1's Top 10 Greatest '80s Songs

  1. "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi (1986)
  2. "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard (1987)
  3. "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran (1982)
  4. "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson (1982)
  5. "When Doves Cry" by Prince (1984)
  6. "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" by Hall & Oates (1981)
  7. "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses (1987)
  8. "Like a Virgin" by Madonna (1984)
  9. "Walk This Way" by Run DMC (1986)
  10. "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC (1980)

1. "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi (1986)

"Livin' on a Prayer" is undeniably Bon Jovi's all-time greatest hit and a decade-defining rock classic. It's a karaoke favorite that has been featured in several video games, and Bon Jovi performed an acoustic version in New York as tribute after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

2. "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard (1987)

"Pour Some Sugar on Me" was a chart-topping success from the English new wave heavy metal band Def Leppard. It's the band's signature song, and two different music videos were released.

3. "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran (1982)

"Hungry Like the Wolf" is British new wave band Duran Duran's defining song. Although it didn't achieve commercial success in the U.S. when it was first released, MTV heavily circulated the music video, and it eventually picked up steam and became one of the top smash hits of the '80s.

4. "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson (1982)

"Billie Jean," from the all-time bestselling album Thriller, won two Grammy Awards and is often considered one of the greatest songs ever written. The music video is legendary and was the introduction to Jackson's famous moonwalking; it also helped cement MTV's cultural significance throughout the following decades.

5. "When Doves Cry" by Prince (1984)

"When Doves Cry" was the top-selling single of 1984, and the music video, directed by Prince himself, was controversial due to its sexual nature. The song rose in popularity again after Prince's death in 2016 and remains one of his signature songs and a defining smash hit of the '80s.

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6. "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" by Hall & Oates (1981)

"I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" by American pop duo Hall & Oates was a major hit of the '80s; Michael Jackson even admitted to Daryl Hall that he had lifted the bass line from the song for his own smash hit, "Billie Jean" (#4 on this list). The song achieved commercial success on pop music charts as well as R&B charts and has been sampled numerous times.

7. "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses (1987)

"Sweet Child O' Mine" has one of the greatest opening guitar riffs of all time and also features a top-ranked guitar solo. It's American hard rock band Guns N' Roses' only number 1 US single, and the original music video features all of the band members' girlfriends at the time.

8. "Like a Virgin" by Madonna (1984)

"Like a Virgin" was Madonna's first number-one hit in numerous countries and went on to become one of her defining songs that elevated her to the level of pop culture icon. The song is known for its open-ended lyrics, filled with innuendos and open to various interpretations. It has been covered countless times and featured in numerous films and television shows.

9. "Walk This Way" by Run-D.M.C. (1986)

"Walk This Way" was originally written by American rock band Aerosmith and was one of the band's major hits in the 1970s. Run-D.M.C.'s 1986 cover, done in collaboration with Aerosmith, elevated the song to a new level and helped create the new musical subgenre of rap rock.

10. "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC (1980)

"You Shook Me All Night Long" was a smash hit of Australian rock band AC/DC and became a staple in the band's repertoire following its release in 1980 on the album Back in Black. The song was a huge success internationally and is considered to be one of AC/DC's greatest songs of all time.

#11–20

11. "Don't Stop Believing"

Journey

1981

12. "How Will I Know"

Whitney Houston

1985

13. "With or Without You"

U2

1987

14. "Walk Like an Egyptian"

The Bangles

1986

15. "Jump"

Van Halen

1984

16. "Need You Tonight"

INXS

1987

17. "Here I Go Again"

Whitesnake

1982

18. "Come on Eileen"

Dexy's Midnight Runners

1982

19. "Time After Time"

Cyndi Lauper

1984

20. "Jessie's Girl"

Rick Springfield

1981

#21–30

21. "Beat It"

Michael Jackson

1982

22. "Just Like Heaven"

The Cure

1987

23. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"

Cyndi Lauper

1984

24. "Take on Me"

A-Ha

1985

25. "Our Lips Are Sealed"

The Go-Go's

1981

26. "Welcome to the Jungle"

Guns N' Roses

1987

27. "Too Shy"

Kajagoogoo

1984

28. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"

Wham!

1984

29. "Burning Down the House"

Talkign Heads

1983

30. "Love Is a Battlefield"

Pat Benatar

1983

#31–40

31. "Under Pressure"

Queen and David Bowie

(1981)

32. "Sister Christian"

Night Ranger

(1983)

33. "Tainted Love"

Soft Cell

1981

34. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"

Poison

(1988)

35. "In the Air Tonight"

Phil Collins

(1981)

36. "867-5309/Jenny"

Tommy Tutone

1981

37. "Janie's Got a Gun"

Aerosmith

1989

38. "Pride (In the Name of Love"

U2

1984

39. "I Melt With You"

Modern English

1982

40. "Love Shack"

The B-52's

1989

#41–50

41. "Dr. Feelgood"

Mötley Crüe

1989

42. "London Calling"

The Clash

1982

43. "Look of Love

ABC

1982

44. "Cruel Summer"

Bananarama

1984

45. "Nasty"

Janet Jackson

1986

46. "Every Breath You Take"

The Police

1983

47. "We're Not Gonna Take It"

Twisted Sister

1984

48. "Born in the U.S.A."

Bruce Springsteen

1984

49. "Fight for Your Right"

Beastie Boys

1986

50. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"

Eurythmics

1983

#51–60

51. "Round and Round"

Ratt

1984

52. "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)"

Dead or Alive

1985

53. "White Wedding"

Billy Idol

1988

54. "Push It"

Salt-N-Pepa

1986

55. "I Ran (So Far Away)"

A Flock of Seagulls

1982

56. "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

Bonnie Tyler

1983

57. "Mickey"

Toni Basil

1981

58. "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me"

Culture Club

1982

59. "Jack & Diane"

John Mellencamp

1982

60. "Bust a Move"

Young M.C.

1989

#61–70

61. "Mr. Roboto"

Styx

1983

62. "Take My Breath Away"

Berlin

1986

63. "Whip It"

Devo

1980

64. "Straight Up"

Paula Abdul

1988

65. "I Want to Know What Love Is"

Foreigner

1984

66. "Just Can't Get Enough"

Depeche Mode

1981

67. "Keep on Loving You"

REO Speedwagon

1980

68. "Fight the Power"

Public Enemy

1988

69. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

R.E.M.

1980

70. "I Love Rock N' Roll"

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

1981

#71–80

71. "Super Freak"

Rick James

1981

72. "One Thing Leads to Another"

The Fixx

1983

73. "99 Luftballoons"

Nena

1983

74. "Faith"

George Michael

1987

75. "Little Red Corvette"

Prince

1983

76. "She Blinded Me With Science"

Thomas Dolby

1982

77. "Candy Girl"

New Edition

1983

78. "Call Me"

Blondie

1980

79. "Don't You Want Me?"

Human League

1981

80. "It Takes Two"

Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock

1986

#81–90

81. "Word Up!"

Cameo

1986

82. "Tempted"

Squeeze

1981

83. "Kiss"

Prince

1986

84. "All Night Long (All Night)

Lionel Richie

1983

85. "Addicted to Love"

Robert Palmer

1985

86. "I Want Candy"

Bow Wow Wow

1982

87. "Rock Me Amadeus"

Falco

1986

88. "Ain't Nobody"

Chaka Khan

1989

89. "Brass in Pocket"

The Pretenders

1980

90. "Wild Thing"

Tone-Loc

1989

#91–100

91. "Walking on Sunshine"

Katrina and the Waves

1983

92. "You Got It (The Right Stuff"

The New Kids on the Blcok

1988

93. "Cars"

Gary Numan

1980

94. "Start Me Up"

The Rolling Stones

1981

95. "Only in My Dreams"

Debbie Gibson

1987

96. "Down Under"

Men at Work

1982

97. "What I Like About You"

The Romantics

1980

98. "My Prerogative"

Bobby Brown

1988

99. "Everybody Have Fun Tonight"

Wang Chung

1986

100. "Working for the Weekend"

Loverboy

1981

Comments

Bryoney on December 30, 2019:

To Ruby and stve mumy and louke louse and shomas Wey mey

Christopher Nowak on November 23, 2019:

HALLELUJAH is also one of my favourites.

It was written in 1984 by Leonard Cohen so I assume that it was still played in the 1980s.

The best version is played by the late JEFF BUCKLEY.

Christopher Nowak on November 23, 2019:

AFRICA (TOTO)

DO YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE? (HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS)

DREAM COME TRUE (FROZEN GHOST).

johannes staaf on August 22, 2019:

ARTISTS SONG ALBUM

TOP 36

01. BROS - WHEN WILL I BE FAMUS 1988 80S

02. DNA & FEATURING SUZANNE VEGA - TOM'S DINERS 1991 90S

03. U2 - STILL HAVEN'T FOUND WHAT I'M LOCKINGS FOR 1987 80S

04. BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS - ONE LOVE 1977 70S

05. BACKSTREET BOY – IF I DON’T HAVE YOU 1997 90S

06. DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS - GENO 1980

07. MEAT LEAF - BAT OUT OF HELL 1979

08. MADONNA - BORDERLINE 1984 80S

09. MOTT THE HOOPLE - AL THE YOUNG DUDES 1972 70S

10. BERLIN - TAKE MY BREATH AWAYS 1986

11. T. REX – 20TH CENYURY BOYS 1997

12. KOOL & THE GANG - CELEBRATION 1980

13. KIM WILDE - KIDS IN AMERICA 1981

14. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - BORN IN THE USA 1984

15. THE KINKS - COME DACING 1983

16. SISTER SLEDGE - FRANKIE 1986

17. FLEETWOOD MAC - BIG LOVE 1987

18. THE CARS - DRIVE 1984

19. NINE SIMONE - MY BABY JUST CARES For ME 1987

20. EXTREME – MORE THAN WORDS 1990 90S

21. THE BOOMTOWN RATS I DON´T LIKE THE MONDAY

22. BOB SINGLAR - LOVE GENERATION 2006 2000S

23. DR BOMBAY - SOS 1998

24. MARIA MCKEE SHOW ME HEAVEN 1990 90S

25. LADY VIOLET - INSIDE TO OUTSIDE 1999 90S

26. IRON MAIDEN - GANGLAND 1982 80S REMASTERED VERSION

27. KYLIE MINOGUE - LOCOMOTION VERSION 80S KYLIE TWO

28. KYLIE MINOGUE - LOCOMOTION - AUSTRALIE VERSION REMASTERED 1987 80S

29. WHITNEY HOUSTON - I LEARNED FROM THE BEST 1998 90S

30. METALLICA ENTER SANDMAN 1991 90S

31. DELTA GOODREAM - LOS WITHBOUT YOU 2003 2000S

32. THE HUMANS LEAGUE - TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS 1984 80S

33. SPICE GIRLS MAMA 90S

34. STEPHEN BISHOP LET YOUR HEART REMEMBER 90S

35. BEACH BOYS FUN FUN FUN 1964 REMASTERED 60S

36. MACY GRAY I TRY 90S

FROM INTERNET YOUTUBE

TO

TOP 36

01. BROS - WHEN WILL I BE FAMUS 1988 80S

02. DNA & FEATURING SUZANNE VEGA - TOM'S DINERS 1991 90S

03. U2 - STILL HAVEN'T FOUND WHAT I'M LOCKINGS FOR 1987 80S

04. BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS - ONE LOVE 1977 70S

05. BACKSTREET BOY – IF I DON’T HAVE YOU 1997 90S

06. DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS - GENO 1980

07. MEAT LEAF - BAT OUT OF HELL 1979

08. MADONNA - BORDERLINE 1984 80S

09. MOTT THE HOOPLE - AL THE YOUNG DUDES 1972 70S

10. BERLIN - TAKE MY BREATH AWAYS 1986

11. T. REX – 20TH CENYURY BOYS 1997

12. KOOL & THE GANG - CELEBRATION 1980

13. KIM WILDE - KIDS IN AMERICA 1981

14. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - BORN IN THE USA 1984

15. THE KINKS - COME DACING 1983

16. SISTER SLEDGE - FRANKIE 1986

17. FLEETWOOD MAC - BIG LOVE 1987

18. THE CARS - DRIVE 1984

19. NINE SIMONE - MY BABY JUST CARES For ME 1987

20. EXTREME – MORE THAN WORDS 1990 90S

21. THE BOOMTOWN RATS I DON´T LIKE THE MONDAY

22. BOB SINGLAR - LOVE GENERATION 2006 2000S

23. DR BOMBAY - SOS 1998

24. MARIA MCKEE SHOW ME HEAVEN 1990 90S

25. LADY VIOLET - INSIDE TO OUTSIDE 1999 90S

26. IRON MAIDEN - GANGLAND 1982 80S REMASTERED VERSION

27. KYLIE MINOGUE - LOCOMOTION VERSION 80S KYLIE TWO

28. KYLIE MINOGUE - LOCOMOTION - AUSTRALIE VERSION REMASTERED 1987 80S

29. WHITNEY HOUSTON - I LEARNED FROM THE BEST 1998 90S

30. METALLICA ENTER SANDMAN 1991 90S

31. DELTA GOODREAM - LOS WITHBOUT YOU 2003 2000S

32. THE HUMANS LEAGUE - TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS 1984 80S

33. SPICE GIRLS MAMA 90S

34. STEPHEN BISHOP LET YOUR HEART REMEMBER 90S

35. BEACH BOYS FUN FUN FUN 1964 REMASTERED 60S

36. MACY GRAY I TRY 90S

FROM INTERNET YOUTUBE

TO TOP 35

01 Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. ...

02 “Imagine” by John Lennon. ...

03 “Stayin' Alive” by The Bee Gees. ...

04 “You're So Vain” by Carly Simon. ...

05 “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. ...

06 “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John. ...

07 “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. ...

08 “Dancing Queen” by ABBA.

09 AC/DC ROCK & ROLL DAMNATION

10 Al Green Let’s stay together

11 Alicia Bridges I love the nightlife

12 Angels (the) Am I ever gonna see your face again

13 B52s Rock Lobster