Music Nostalgia Alert: 20 Iconic 80s Songs Voted as the Ultimate Favorites by Die-Hard Fans | Wealth of Geeks

The positive nostalgia attached to most iconic 80s songs makes you want to bust a move and belt along with the best of them. Even the sad songs are powerful, upbeat, and optimistic.

As one 80s lover cleverly claimed, music from this glorious decade is reminiscent of “warm sunshine and summer days.” And I couldn’t agree more. Turn the car radio up and roll the windows down. Let’s take a trip down memory lane with these 1980s masterpieces.

1 – “Take On Me” by A-ha

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Countless 80s fans chose this 1985 classic as the most iconic song of the decade. One superfan’s “brain didn’t even question it,” while a second claimed the song played in their head immediately upon reading the question, and a third boldly stated, “It’s the 80s-est of the 80s that can 80s.”

A top choice for sure, a final fan declared, “Put a fork in this thread – it’s done.”

2 – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds

Simple Minds Don't You (Forget About Me)
Image Credit: Virgin Records and A&M Records.

This 1985 hit appeared in The Breakfast Club, one of many iconic 80s movies. Did the movie make the song famous? Or perhaps the song made the movie famous? Either way, this song rocks, and as one person stated, “The song is very 80s… but the message of the song is timeless.”

3 – “Careless Whisper” by George Michael

George Michael Careless Whisper
Image Credit: Epic Records, Columbia Records, and Sony Music Entertainment.

From the first moment the saxophone sounds, I’m immediately transported to the 80s. Released on the Wham! album in 1984, this song is instantly recognizable. One user suggests the “saxophone is the most 80s instrument ever.” And they might just be right.

4 – “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake

Whitesnake Here I Go Again
Image Credit: Geffen Records.

One user cleverly suggested “Here I Go Again,” and I have to say, this one’s my personal favorite. Fun fact: Whitesnake first released “Here I Go Again” in 1992, but then amped up and re-released it in their 1987 Whitesnake album.

5 – “It’s The Final Countdown” by Europe

Europe The Final Countdown
Image Credit: Epic Records.

The Swedish Rock band released this gem in 1986. Whether you love or hate it, “the tune just screams 80s,” as one fan suggested, while another fan added, “That tune starts playing, and it transports you.” “It’s the Final Countdown” is also one of those songs that have stood the test of time, with several users sharing that their kids also love this song.

6 – “Jump” by Van Halen

Van Halen Jump
Image Credit: Warner Records Inc.

6. The perfect song when you need a lift—”Jump,” released in 1983, is Van Halen’s most successful single. While one user used it for a skydiving video (perfect lyrics, right?), the song’s popularity is mainly down to a fantastic guitar and a simple synth riff. One user agrees, stating, “this and a thousand more times this!

7 – “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis and the News The Power of Love
Image Credit: Chrysalis Records.

Back to the Future, “the most 80s movie ever made,” as one fan claimed, features “The Power of Love,” which is one of the most iconic 80s songs ever made. Released in 1985, “The Power of Love” is the epitome of cool.

Remember Marty McFly in his denim jacket skateboarding to school? There’s no way this song wasn’t making the list.

“It just has too many of the elements of 80s in it,” as one fan states. 

8 – “Total Eclipse of The Heart” by Bonnie Tyler

Total Eclipse of The Heart
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

This beautiful and powerful ballad played on repeat on many boomboxes throughout the 80s. It’s hard to hear “Turn around, bright eyes” and not sing along. One user goes so far as to say even though the music video comes across as creepy with the dark setting, the song doesn’t “evoke fear, but rather invites you to join in.” Don’t mind if I do!

9 – “Obsession” by Animotion

Obsession – Animotion
Image Credit: Mercury Records.

“It has so many ’80s-defining elements,” one fan commented. “There’s a whole synth-based suite of instruments — electronic drums, an eerie little synth riff, and synthesized bass bubbling along in the verses, but we also get a regular slap bass line and a massive guitar hook for the chorus.” Several users agreed. The one-hit wonder is synonymous with the 80s.

10 – “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls

I Ran A Flock of Seagulls
Image Credit: Jive Records.

While many users picked songs by A Flock of Seagulls, the most popular choice is “I Ran.” One user commented, “A Flock of Seagulls, no contest,” and added that “I Ran” “popped into my head immediately.” The 1982 hit by the English new wave band, with its sweet synthesizer sounds and Mike Score’s unique voice, is certainly catchy.

11 – “We Built This City” by Starship

Starship We Built This City
Image Credit: Grunt Records and RCA Records.

Chosen by many 80s music lovers as the most iconic song of the 80s, it’s one of those songs that music fans either loved or hated. As one user put it, the 1985 hit We Built This City “might be cheesy, but it’s such a catchy, unapologetically 80s earworm that always makes me yearn for an era which is now long bygone.”

12 – “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi You Give Love a Bad Name
Image Credit: Mercury Records.

One of the most iconic rock gods of the 80s, it would be hard to make a list of the best 80s songs that didn’t include New Jersey native Jon Bon Jovi. One user asked us to picture it in our minds: it’s Friday night, four teenagers in a convertible, and “80’s hair streaming in the wind and this song blasting, all four of them sing passionately loud and from the heart.” It’s a pretty familiar picture, right?

13 -“Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley
Image Credit: RCA.

While one Rick Astley fan was surprised this 1987 hit wasn’t the top choice, it was a top contender. And the video—those dance moves and that powerful croon. You can rickroll me anytime! 

*Rickroll: an internet prank where users on popular bulletin boards (like Reddit) post a link that surprisingly directs you to the Rick Astley music video. Hence: rickrolling. 

14 – “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey

Journey Don't Stop Believin
Image Credit: IMDB.

A popular pick amongst many contributors, one piped up and said, “No one can not sing that when it comes on.” While some Reddit users begged to differ, nobody argued with Journey fans when they called the song “quintessential 80s” or memorably commented on “The hair, the power ballad, the solo.” A cool classic, for sure.

15 – “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears for Fears

Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Image Credit: Mercury Records.

Released in 1985 by a British pop band, this song, as one individual accurately stated, “will last forever,” and I couldn’t agree more. The individual continued by describing the song: “Their format is near perfect, and arrangement is stunning.”

16 – “Our House” by Madness

Madness: Our House
Image Credit: Stiff and Geffen.

17 – “I Melt With You” by Modern English

Modern English: I Melt with You
Image Credit: 4AD and Sire Records.

From the British new wave band came, “I Melt With You,” which was a staple of the early 1980’s. 

“OMG same. It ruins a good song,” added another.

Someone else, who may or may not think of an ex when listening to this song added, “I was hoping to find this closer to the top.”

18 – “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler

Total Eclipse of The Heart
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

This iconic 1983 ballad had a lot of people thinking back on the song. One user said, “One of the best-written songs of all time. There is a YouTube video where this breaks down the whole song. It’s pretty mind-blowing and you’ll never think of it the same way again.”

Someone else added, “I love Bonnie Tyler’s voice, it’s a bit raspy and raw, but so, so sensuous; she delivers Total Eclipse Of The Heart as a power ballad. She’s always in control from the soft breathy lows to the soul-rending climax like Disturbed singing Sound Of Silence.”

The same user continued, “When she finishes ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ I feel like she needs some aftercare, to just be held until the rage and passion subsides.”

19 – “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics

Eurythmics Sweet Dreams
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The iconic anthem is set in our history, but when the song came out in 1983, everything about it was brand new. “I remember being a teenager hanging out with friends, with the music channel in the background,” said one user. “The Sweet Dreams video came on, we’d never heard the song or seen the video before. All activity in the room stopped until the end of the video. Then we were all like ‘I have no idea what I just watched, but I really really want to watch it again!’”

Another user responded, adding their own story, “That sounds awesome and I’d probably have a similar reaction, wish I was around to experience things like this when they were new and fresh. I can’t imagine how strange it must’ve been experiencing the music video when it first came out and without realizing how iconic it will be (but then again, I doubt anyone during the 80s could comprehend the impacts that decade will have for the future). It must’ve been so different to everything that came before it. I remember when I first saw the music video on TV in the early 2000s, it drew my attention and since then, I’ve been a fan of 80s music and style.”

20 – “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats

Men Without Hats: The Safety Dance
Image Credit: GMC and Virgin Records

When one user suggested the 1982 dance hit, “The Safety Dance,” another user responded, “See this is the best answer. The other songs are too good to be “the most 80s”, 80s songs were mostly cheesy and kinda crappy but fun. This song has all of those in spades. And the vocals are so representative.”

One user even joked, “You know, that dance wasn’t as safe as they said it was.”

A third person also chimed in, “This is the answer.”

Source: Reddit.

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