My favorite songs of the 1980s

Posted: December 22, 2016 in Rankings

I gathered up all the songs I rated “awesome” in a decade – this time from the 80s. And while the individual years weren’t ranked in numerical order, this decade summary is. Once again, this order is based on how I feel right now. Today. Sitting at a computer. Whereas my preference while driving around town would probably result in a different order…and sitting on the deck in the sun with a beer would generate yet another order.

The 80s started off very weak according to my tastes. I hated the fake drums – that may have been the worst part of 80s music. And 1981 had just 44 songs rated “not bad” or better, 1985 and 1986 each had just two songs rated “awesome”. But as I put each year’s list together I was astonished to realize how many songs I love. In the mid-80s there were a lot of great slow songs. And in the late 80s some rock’n roll greats emerged. And without having yet looked at the 90s, I wondered if 1989 was my favorite year for music.

In forcing myself to give a ‘hard’ ranking of these songs – I found it to be a real struggle once I got to the final 40. These 40 songs I truly love and they differ to widely in style and rhythm. Now I remember why I don’t give ‘hard’ rankings in the year-by-year lists! Oh man, by the time I got into the Top 20 I may as well have thrown darts. Elite, elite tunes of several genres.

Here are all of the songs from the 1980s that I consider “awesome”:

1 New Orleans Is Sinking – The Tragically Hip
2 Patience  – Guns N’ Roses
3 Blow at High Dough – The Tragically Hip
4 Let Love Rule  – Lenny Kravitz
5 Boots or Hearts – The Tragically Hip
6 You’re the Inspiration  – Chicago
7 Sweet Child O’ Mine  – Guns N’ Roses
8 Every Rose Has Its Thorn  – Poison
9 Oh Sherrie  – Steve Perry
10 When Doves Cry  – Prince
11 Beds Are Burning  – Midnight Oil
12 Rosemary – Lenny Kravitz
13 Paradise City  – Guns N’ Roses
14 Girl I’m Gonna Miss You – Milli Vanilli
15 Love Bites  – Def Leppard
16 Hey, Hey, What Can I Do – Led Zeppelin
17 Pour Some Sugar On Me  – Def Leppard
18 Does Anybody Out There Even Care – Lenny Kravitz
19 Glory Of Love  – Peter Cetera
20 What It Takes  – Aerosmith
21 Keep On Loving You  – REO Speedwagon
22 Here I Go Again  – Whitesnake
23 Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)  – Phil Collins
24 You Shook Me All Night Long  – AC/DC
25 Buffalo Soldier  – Bob Marley & the Wailers
26 I Love Rock And Roll – Joan Jett
27 Wanted Dead Or Alive  – Bon Jovi
28 Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
29 Redemption Song  – Bob Marley
30 Billie Jean –  Michael Jackson
31 Red Red Wine  – UB40
32 Sister Christian  – Night Ranger
33 Total Eclipse Of The Heart  – Bonnie Tyler
34 Money For Nothing  – Dire Straits
35 Epic  – Faith No More
36 Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield
37 Start Me Up – The Rolling Stones
38 Hurts So Good – John Mellencamp
39 Rock N’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution  – AC/DC
40 Wild Flower  – The Cult
41 Gimme All Your Lovin’  – ZZ Top
42 Every Breath You Take  – The Police
43 With Or Without You  – U2
44 One More Night  – Phil Collins
45 Straight Outta Compton  – N.W.A
46 What I Am  – Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
47 Born In The U.S.A.  – Bruce Springsteen
48 In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins
49 Back In Black  – AC/DC
50 Traveling Riverside Blues –  Led Zeppelin
51 Just Like Paradise  – David Lee Roth
52 Eternal Flame  – Bangles
53 Coming Home  – Cinderella
54 Hard Habit To Break  – Chicago
55 Super Trouper  – ABBA
56 Stand  – R.E.M.
57 Last American Exit – The Tragically Hip
58 Alone  – Heart
59 Hysteria  – Def Leppard
60 Islands in the Stream  – Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
61 Sharp Dressed Man  – ZZ Top
62 They Don’t Know  – Tracey Ullman
63 All Through The Night  – Cyndi Lauper
64 Another One Bites The Dust  – Queen
65 The Tide Is High  – Blondie
66 Touch Of Grey  – Grateful Dead
67 The Way You Make Me Feel  – Michael Jackson
68 Father Figure  – George Michael
69 Brilliant Disguise  – Bruce Springsteen
70 Rag Doll  – Aerosmith
71 Angel  – Aerosmith
72 Slow and Low – Beastie Boys
73 Jack & Diane –  John Mellencamp
74 Blister In The Sun –  Violent Femmes
75 Legs  – ZZ Top
76 Push It  – Salt N Pepa
77 Need You Tonight  – INXS

1980  1981  1982  1983  1984  1985  1986  1987  1988  1989

1960s          1970s          1980s          1990s

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