My favorite songs of 1985

The year 1985 was the prototypical 80s year for me. An abundance of songs that I liked, but very few songs that I loved. In fact, that three songs given an ‘Awesome’ rating here I think I was being generous with the definition given the songs in prior years that hold that rating.

In 1985 we saw the supergroup USA for Africa come together for charity,. Later, in July, another charity event happens called Live Aid. And in September we had Farm Aid. Yes, superconcerts and superbands were trending in ’85…

David Bowie became the first major artist to have his entire catalog available on CDs. Whitney Houston debuts, David Lee Roth leaves Van Halen, and Michael Jackson destroys his relationship with Paul McCartney by outbidding McCartney for the Beatles publishing rights ($47 million).

Unlike most rankings, I haven’t been simply tossing these up in a numerical order. Because I know better than anybody that on some days, some songs kick more ass than other songs. A song that is ranked 14th today could very well rank 1st tomorrow, if it suddenly comes on the radio during the perfect moment and I start singing along. You understand. So I group them, instead of present a hard-and-fast order:

Awesome
Great
Solid
Not Bad

…with inter-group splitting.

18 Solid Songs from 1985

Never – Heart

Would I Lie to You?  – Eurythmics

We Don’t Need Another Hero  – Tina Turner

We Built This City  – Starship

We Are The World  – USA for Africa

The Power Of Love  – Jennifer Rush

The Boys of Summer  – Don Henley

R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.  – John Mellencamp

No One Is to Blame  – Howard Jones

Never Surrender  – Corey Hart

Lay Your Hands On Me  – Thompson Twins

Kyrie  – Mr. Mister

King For A Day  – Thompson Twins

Just A Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody  – David Lee Roth

Don’t You (Forget About Me)  – Simple Minds

Crazy For You  – Madonna

Can’t Get There From Here  – R.E.M.

13 Great Songs from 1985

Nightshift  – Commodores

California Girls – David Lee Roth

Home Sweet Home  – Mötley Crüe

What About Love? – Heart

So Far Away – Dire Straits

Small Town  – John Mellencamp

Rain  – The Cult

Alive and Kicking  – Simple Minds

Walk Of Life  – Dire Straits

Lonely Ol’ Night  – John Mellencamp

Driver 8  – R.E.M.

Centerfield  – John Fogerty

Raspberry Beret  – Prince

3 Truly Awesome Songs

She Sells Sanctuary  – The Cult

One More Night  – Phil Collins

Money For Nothing  – Dire Straits

I put these songs on a YouTube playlist that you can enjoy here.

Follow all of my playlists on Spotify

Here is the full list of the best songs released and/or popularized in 1985:

Awesome – 1Money For Nothing Dire Straits
Awesome – 1One More Night Phil Collins
Awesome – 3She Sells Sanctuary The Cult
Great – 4Raspberry Beret Prince
Great – 4Centerfield John Fogerty
Great – 4Driver 8 R.E.M.
Great – 4Lonely Ol’ Night John Mellencamp
Great – 4Walk Of Life Dire Straits
Great – 9Alive and Kicking Simple Minds
Great – 9Rain The Cult
Great – 9Small Town John Mellencamp
Great – 9So Far Away Dire Straits
Great – 9What About Love?Heart
Great – 9Home Sweet Home Mötley Crüe
Great – 9California GirlsDavid Lee Roth
Great – 9Nightshift Commodores
Solid – 17Can’t Get There From Here R.E.M.
Solid – 17Crazy For You Madonna
Solid – 17Don’t You (Forget About Me) Simple Minds
Solid – 17Just A Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody David Lee Roth
Solid – 17King For A Day Thompson Twins
Solid – 17Kyrie Mr. Mister
Solid – 17Lay Your Hands On Me Thompson Twins
Solid – 17Never Surrender Corey Hart
Solid – 17No One Is to Blame Howard Jones
Solid – 17R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. John Mellencamp
Solid – 17The Boys of Summer Don Henley
Solid – 17The Power Of Love Jennifer Rush
Solid – 17We Are The World USA for Africa
Solid – 17We Built This City Starship
Solid – 17We Don’t Need Another Hero Tina Turner
Solid – 17Would I Lie to You? Eurythmics
Solid – 17NeverHeart
Solid – 34I’m Your ManWham!
Solid – 34One Night Love AffairBryan Adams
Solid – 34A Criminal MindGowan
Solid – 34A View To A Kill Duran Duran
Solid – 34Addicted To Love Robert Palmer
Solid – 34Don’t Come Around Here No More Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Solid – 34Head Over Heels Tears for Fears
Solid – 34Everybody Wants To Rule The World Tears for Fears
Solid – 34Stay in the LightHoneymoon Suite
Not Bad – 43LoverboyBilly Ocean
Not Bad – 43In Between DaysThe Cure
Not Bad – 43Say You, Say MeLionel Richie
Not Bad – 43You’re a Strange AnimalGowan
Not Bad – 43Situation CriticalPlatinum Blonde
Not Bad – 43Tears Are Not EnoughNorthern Lights
Not Bad – 43Broken Wings Mr. Mister
Not Bad – 43Close To Me The Cure
Not Bad – 43Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money) Pet Shop Boys
Not Bad – 43Part-Time LoverStevie Wonder
Not Bad – 43Rhythm Of The Night DeBarge
Not Bad – 43Take Me Home Phil Collins
Not Bad – 43These Dreams Heart
Not Bad – 43Walking On Sunshine Katrina & the Waves
Not Bad – 43West End Girls Pet Shop Boys
Not Bad – 43What You Need INXS
Not Bad – 43Behind the Waterfall David Lanz and Paul Speer
Not Bad – 43Cherish Kool & the Gang
Not Bad – 43Conga Miami Sound Machine
Not Bad – 43Holding Back The Years Simply Red
Not Bad – 43Let’s Go All The Way Sly Fox
Not Bad – 43Nikita Elton John
Not Bad – 43Some Like It Hot The Power Station
Not Bad – 43St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion) John Parr
Not Bad – 43Take On Me a-ha
Not Bad – 43The Greatest Love Of All Whitney Houston
Not Bad – 43The Power of Love Huey Lewis & the News
Not Bad – 43Things Can Only Get Better Howard Jones
Not Bad – 43Who’s Holding Donna Now DeBarge
Not Bad – 71Lovin’ Every Minute of ItLoverboy
Not Bad – 71Black CarsGino Vannelli
Not Bad – 71Crying Over YouPlatinum Blonde
Not Bad – 71A Good Heart Feargal Sharkey
Not Bad – 71All I Need Is A Miracle Mike + the Mechanics
Not Bad – 71All She Wants to Do Is Dance Don Henley
Not Bad – 71And She Was Talking Heads
Not Bad – 71Be Near Me ABC
Not Bad – 71Brand New Lover Dead or Alive
Not Bad – 71Dancing in the Street David Bowie and Mick Jagger
Not Bad – 71Everytime You Go Away Paul Young
Not Bad – 71Goonies R Good Enough Cyndi Lauper
Not Bad – 71How Will I Know Whitney Houston
Not Bad – 71Into The Groove Madonna
Not Bad – 71Life In A Northern Town The Dream Academy
Not Bad – 71Real American Rick Derringer
Not Bad – 71Rough Boy ZZ Top
Not Bad – 71Something About You Level 42
Not Bad – 71Sussudio Phil Collins
Not Bad – 71That’s What Friends Are For Dionne & Friends
Not Bad – 71The Old Man Down The Road John Fogerty
Not Bad – 71The Whole Of The Moon The Waterboys
Not Bad – 71You Belong To The City Glenn Frey
Not Bad – 71You’re Only Human (Second Wind) Billy Joel
Not Bad – 71Your Love The Outfield
Not Bad – 71Rock Myself To SleepApril Wine
Not Bad – 71Forever ManEric Clapton
Not Bad – 71Silent RunningMike + the Mechanics
Not Bad – 71There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)Eurythmics
Not Bad – 71Don’t Lose My NumberPhil Collins
Not Bad – 71Oh SheilaReady For The World
Not Bad – 71Sanctify YourselfSimple Minds
Not Bad – 71TrappedBruce Springsteen
Not Bad – 71Sunset GrillDon Henley
Not Bad – 71All You ZombiesThe Hooters
Not Bad – 71Saving All My Love For YouWhitney Houston
Not Bad – 71No More Lonely NightsPaul McCartney
Not Bad – 71Voices CarryTil Tuesday
Not Bad – 71Oh YeahYello
Not Bad – 71CryGodley & Creme 

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