40 of the Most Popular Songs from the 80s

40 of the Most Popular Songs from the 80s

Switch up your music playlist today by jamming out to these 40 popular songs from the 80s. We've got something for everyone here - great rock songs, some great songs to dance to, and some great soulful songs all compiled in this list below. How many of these do YOU recognize and which ones are your favourites?

1. "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, truly outdid himself with "Billie Jean". This song isn't just about its catchy beat; it's a storytelling masterpiece that cemented Jackson's place in music history.

Michael Jackson Madame Tussauds LondonAbi Skipp on Wikimedia Commons

2. "Sweet Child o' Mine" by Guns N' Roses

A hard rock ballad with a heart, "Sweet Child o' Mine" showcases Guns N' Roses' softer side. Its unforgettable opening guitar riff is instantly recognizable, making it a timeless hit.

Glasto2023 Guns 'N' Roses (Sans Dave Grohl)Glasto2023 (260 of 468) (53008942181) (cropped).jpg: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

3. "Back in Black" by AC/DC

AC/DC's "Back in Black" is a hard rock anthem that defines the energy and raw power of the '80s music scene. With its iconic guitar riffs and unforgettable vocals, this song not only pays tribute to the band's former lead singer but also stands as a testament to resilience and the enduring spirit of rock. It's a track that energizes and empowers, making it a timeless favorite.

Acca Dacca 017 (51462105840)Wendy Collings from Wellington, New Zealand on Wikimedia Commons

4. "Every Breath You Take" by The Police

With its haunting melody, "Every Breath You Take" by The Police is a song that resonates with listeners even today. It's a fine blend of love and obsession, set to a mesmerizing beat.

Eric-Nopanen-8E0Ehpux3Mo-Unsplash (1)Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

5. "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi

An anthem of hope and perseverance, Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" tells a relatable story of holding on despite the odds. It's a song that unites and uplifts, making it a classic.

Bon Jovi At Madison Square Garden - 33984805486slgckgc on Wikimedia Commons

6. "Beat It" by Michael Jackson

Another Michael Jackson hit, "Beat It" is known for its fierce lyrics and groundbreaking music video. This song is a blend of rock and pop that challenged musical norms of the time.


1024Px-Michael Jackson Dangerous World Tour 1993 CroppedConstru-centro on Wikimedia Commons

7. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" is an anthem of joy and female empowerment. Its upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics make it a go-to party song even today.

1024Px-Cyndi Lauper (14746018827)Travis Wise from Bay Area, California, United States on Wikimedia Commons

8. "With or Without You" by U2

U2's "With or Without You" is a powerful ballad that explores the complexities of love and relationships. Its emotional depth and beautiful melody make it a standout track.

2005-11-21 U2 @ Msg By ZgThe original uploader was Wikipedia brown at English Wikipedia. on Wikimedia Commons

9. "Africa" by Toto

The rhythms and melodies of "Africa" by Toto take listeners on a musical journey. It's a song that combines a sense of adventure with a touch of nostalgia.

1024Px-Toto (114861761)Gianni Guerra, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

10. "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor

Synonymous with determination, "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor is the ultimate motivational track. Its driving beat and inspiring lyrics are perfect for any challenging situation.

Clem-Onojeghuo-Ptezki29Eye-UnsplashPhoto by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

11. "Take on Me" by a-ha

"Take on Me" by a-ha is not only known for its catchy tune but also for its innovative music video. It's a pop song that perfectly encapsulates the creative spirit of the '80s.

1701366266318.pngJamesbond raul on Wikimedia Commons

12. "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey

An uplifting song about holding on to dreams, Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" is a timeless piece that resonates with audiences of all ages.

Journey BandMatt Becker on Wikimedia Commons

13. "Thriller" by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is more than just a song; it's a cultural phenomenon. Its iconic music video and catchy beat make it a Halloween favorite.

«Thriller» Performance In 1992Constru-centro on Wikimedia Commons

14. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!

This Wham! classic is all about upbeat, infectious energy.


"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" is a song that will get anyone dancing.

Wham! Circa 1984-1985 (Editing)Louise Palanker on Wikimedia Commons

15. "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston's powerful vocals in "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" create a feel-good track that's all about love and joy. It's a song that's guaranteed to lift spirits.

Whitney Houston Welcome Home Heroes 1 CroppedPH2 Mark Kettenhofen, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

16. "Purple Rain" by Prince

A song that's both a heart-wrenching ballad and a rock masterpiece, "Purple Rain" showcases Prince's incredible talent. Its blend of guitar riffs and emotional depth makes it a timeless classic.

Prince At Coachellapenner on Wikimedia Commons

17. "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John

"Physical" by Olivia Newton-John wasn't just a song; it was a fitness anthem. Its catchy, upbeat rhythm encouraged a whole generation to get up and move, making exercise fun and fashionable.

Olivia Newton-John Benefit Austin Texas 1988Larry D. Moore on Wikimedia Commons

18. "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club

Colorful and catchy, "Karma Chameleon" from Culture Club is a vibrant blend of pop and new wave sounds. Its cheerful melody and memorable lyrics make it a standout track of the '80s.

1024Px-Karma Chameleon (6198785526)Michael Elleray from England, United Kingdom on Wikimedia Commons

19. "Flashdance... What a Feeling" by Irene Cara

Irene Cara's "Flashdance... What a Feeling" is an electrifying celebration of passion and dreams. This song, synonymous with the iconic movie, is all about the thrill of achieving one's aspirations.

Daniele-Sansone-Jxvwhmd0Ioo-UnsplashPhoto by Daniele Sansone on Unsplash

20. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell

"Tainted Love" by Soft Cell redefined the synth-pop genre with its unique sound. Its catchy beat and relatable lyrics about troubled love struck a chord with audiences worldwide.

Soft Cell 1983Distributed by Sire Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

21. "Call Me" by Blondie

A fusion of rock and disco, "Call Me" by Blondie is both edgy and danceable. It's a song that captures the essence of the '80s music scene.


Blondie1977Private Stock Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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

With its dramatic melody and powerful vocals, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler is a ballad that truly resonates. It's a song about love and longing that still captivates listeners.

Bonnie Tyler Live Ingolstadt 2March2013Bonnietylersave on Wikimedia Commons

23. "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie

A collaboration between two of the greatest artists of all time, "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie is a profound and moving piece. Its message about the pressures of life is as relevant today as it was then.

1024Px-Queen & David Bowie - Under PressureDiscogs [1] on Wikimedia Commons

24. "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes

Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes" is a tribute to the iconic actress's captivating allure. This song's distinctive sound and catchy chorus made it a chart-topping hit.

Kim Carnes 1981 Press PhotoEMI, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

25. "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang

"Celebration" by Kool & The Gang is the ultimate party song. Its infectious rhythm and joyful lyrics are perfect for any celebration, making it a timeless dance track.

Kool & The Gang - Leverkusener Jazztage 2017-1963 (Cropped)Foto: Andreas Lawen, Fotandi, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

26. "Red Red Wine" by UB40

UB40's "Red Red Wine" brings a reggae twist to the '80s music scene. Its smooth rhythm and feel-good vibes make it a perfect chill-out track.

1024Px-Ub40In2010Egghead06 on Wikimedia Commons

27. "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins

Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" is synonymous with the famous dance movie of the same name. This song is all about freedom, dance, and joy, capturing the spirited essence of the '80s.

Kenny Loggins (5113182254)John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel  Maryland, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

28. "Funky Town" by Lipps Inc.

"Funky Town" by Lipps Inc. is a disco classic that invites everyone to the dance floor. Its funky beat and catchy lyrics have made it an enduring favorite.


Natalie-Cardona-W8Brzouthna-UnsplashPhoto by Natalie Cardona on Unsplash

29. "Careless Whisper" by George Michael

Featuring George Michael's soulful voice and a haunting saxophone riff, "Careless Whisper" is a song about love and regret. It's a smooth, sultry track that still captivates audiences.

George MichaelUniversity of Houston Digital Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

30. "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran

Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" is an energetic and adventurous song. Its combination of pop and rock elements, along with captivating lyrics, make it an '80s favorite.

George MichaelUniversity of Houston Digital Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

31. "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen

Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" is a masterpiece of rhythm and attitude. Its iconic bass line and catchy chorus made it a favorite in both rock and dance circles, proving Queen's genre-crossing appeal.

Queen A Night At The Opera (1975 Elektra Publicity Photo 02)Distributed by Elektra Records. Photographer unknown., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

32. "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" is a profound reflection on self-improvement and social change. With its inspiring lyrics and soulful melody, this song goes beyond entertainment to deliver a powerful message about personal and global transformation. It's a timeless piece that encourages listeners to look inward and be the change they wish to see in the world. 

1024Px-Michael Jackson (21211088815)Daniele Dalledonne from Trento, Italy on Wikimedia Commons

33. "Let's Dance" by David Bowie

"Let's Dance" by David Bowie isn't just a song; it's an invitation to groove. Bowie's blend of rock and dance-pop in this track created a unique sound that resonated with fans across the globe.

David Bowie - 1983 Let's Dance Promo 004Distributed by EMI America. Photographer is unknown., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

34. "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" is an anthem for the working class. Its upbeat tempo and relatable lyrics about the daily grind made it a hit not just in country circles but in pop culture as well.


Young-Dolly-PartonRCA Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

35. "Jump" by Van Halen

"Jump" by Van Halen is a high-energy track that combines hard rock with synthesizer-driven pop. This song, with its iconic keyboard riff and soaring guitar solo, is a staple of '80s music.

Van Halen In Concert (20241474465)digboston on Wikimedia Commons

36. "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel

Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" is a delightful pop classic. Its catchy tune and sweet lyrics, inspired by the 1960s girl groups, made it a favorite for music lovers of all ages.

Billy Joel - Perth 7 November 2006Deedar70 at English Wikipedia on Wikimedia Commons

37. "Super Trouper" by ABBA

ABBA's "Super Trouper" shines bright with its catchy melody and emotive lyrics. This song is a perfect blend of pop and disco, showcasing ABBA's signature harmonies and upbeat style.

Zweedse Popgroep Abba In Nederland V.l.n.r. Benny, Anni-Frid, Agnetha En Bjorn , Bestanddeelnr 928-8962Bert Verhoeff for Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

38. "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls

An absolute disco hit, "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls is as iconic as it is empowering. This song's high-energy beat and fun lyrics make it a dance-floor favorite even today.

Daniel-Schludi-Mbgxz7Pt0Jm-UnsplashPhoto by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

39. "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits

Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" is known for its groundbreaking music video and distinctive guitar riff. This song offered a satirical take on the music industry, making it a standout track of the era.

Dire Straits 22101985 23 800Helge Øverås on Wikimedia Commons

40. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by Eurythmics

The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" is a synth-pop powerhouse. Its hypnotic rhythm and Annie Lennox's haunting vocals create a mesmerizing and timeless sound.

1024Px-Eurythmics Rock Am Ring 1987Elmar J. Lordemann on Wikimedia Commons