SparkNotes Blog

80 Songs from the 80s Everyone Should Know

While artists like Taylor Swift and Maroon 5 make amazing music, kids our age shouldn’t tune out everything that isn’t currently at the top of the charts. In an effort to expand my generation’s knowledge of pop music, I’ve compiled a playlist of songs from the 1980s that we should all know, love, and jam to in our PJs when no one else is home. So whether you’re cuddled up on the couch watching Brat Pack films, or searching for some fresh tunes for a decade-themed dance, look no further! For the days when your DeLorean or your phone booth just aren’t working, let the following songs be your time machine to the 1980s:

  1. “Straight Up,” by Paula Abdul
  2. “Back in Black,” by AC/DC
  3. “Summer of 69,” by Bryan Adams
  4. “Walk This Way,” by Aerosmith & Run D.M.C.
  5. “Take on Me,” by A-ha
  6. “Never Gonna Give You Up,” by Rick Astley
  7. “Walk Like an Egyptian,” by The Bangles
  8. “Getcha Back,” by The Beach Boys
  9. “Love is a Battlefield,” by Pat Benatar
  10. “Take My Breath Away,” by Berlin
  11. “Call Me,” by Blondie
  12. “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” by The Blues Brothers
  13. “Livin’ On A Prayer,” by Bon Jovi
  14. “Somebody’s Baby,” by Jackson Browne
  15. “Flashdance…What a Feeling,” by Irene Cara
  16. “Hungry Eyes,” by Eric Carmen
  17. “Fast Car,” by Tracy Chapman
  18. “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” by The Clash
  19. “Nightshift,” by Commodores
  20. “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” by Def Leppard
  21. “Walk of Life,” by Dire Straits
  22. “Hungry Like the Wolf,” by Duran Duran
  23. “The Final Countdown,” by Europe
  24. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” by The Eurythmics
  25. “Invisible Touch,” by Genesis
  26. “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” by Guns N’ Roses
  27. “The Boys of Summer,” by Don Henley
  28. “Do You Believe In Love,” by Huey Lewis And The News
  29. “White Wedding,” by Billy Idol
  30. “What Have You Done For Me Lately,” by Janet Jackson
  31. “Billie Jean,” by Michael Jackson
  32. “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  33. “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” by Billy Joel
  34. “Faithfully,” by Journey
  35. “Walking on Sunshine,” by Katrina and the Waves
  36. “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” by Cyndi Lauper
  37. “Cult of Personality,” by Living Colour
  38. “Footloose,” by Kenny Loggins
  39. “Working for the Weekend,” by Loverboy
  40. “Material Girl,” by Madonna
  41. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” by Bobby McFerrin
  42. “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
  43. “Jack & Diane,” by John Mellencamp
  44. “Down Under,” by Men at Work
  45. “Faith,” by George Michael
  46. “Locomotion,” by Kylie Minogue
  47. “Kickstart My Heart,” by Mötley Crüe
  48. “Candy Girl,” by New Edition
  49. “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” by New Kids on the Block
  50. “Physical,” by Olivia Newton-John
  51. “Ghostbusters,” by Ray Parker, Jr.
  52. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion),” by John Parr
  53. “Free Fallin’,” by Tom Petty
  54. “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn,” by Poison
  55. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” by The Police
  56. “When Doves Cry,” by Prince
  57. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” by The Proclaimers
  58. “Bring the Noise,” by Public Enemy
  59. “Another One Bites the Dust,” by Queen
  60. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” by R.E.M.
  61. “All Night Long (All Night),” by Lionel Richie
  62. “What I Like About You,” by The Romantics
  63. “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” by Simple Minds
  64. “Tainted Love,” by Soft Cell
  65. “Jessie’s Girl,” by Rick Springfield
  66. “Born in the U.S.A.,” by Bruce Springsteen
  67. “Apache (Jump On It),” by The Sugarhill Gang
  68. “She Works Hard for the Money,” by Donna Summer
  69. “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor
  70. “I Think We’re Alone Now,” by Tiffany
  71. “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” by Tina Turner
  72. “867-5309/Jenny,” by Tommy Tutone
  73. “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” by Bonnie Tyler
  74. “With or Without You,” by U2
  75. “We Are the World,” by USA for Africa
  76. “Jump,” by Van Halen
  77. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” by Wham!
  78. “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” by Deniece Williams
  79. “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” by Stevie Wonder
  80. “Sharp Dressed Man,” by ZZ Top