Top 80 of the 80s

See the Top 80 Songs from Every Year 1980-1989

Everything was bigger in the 1980s: the hair, the shoulderpads on turquoise linen blazers, your cool uncle’s bad-ass Buick GNX. As time marches steadily forward, that massive and oversized decade looks even more glorious in the rearview.
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Top 80 Songs of 1989

How do we know the ‘80s ruled? Bands like the Cure were at their creative peak, releasing seminal albums on a consistent basis. Depeche Mode was getting dangerously close to the sun. Tears for Fears pulled out their parents’ old Beatles records. The scent of change was getting stronger, and no one...
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Top 80 Songs of 1988

This was the year Depeche Mode ruled the world. They packed the Rose Bowl and made a movie about it. Siouxsie and the Banshees had evolved into hit-making machine. The good guys were winning, and winning big. Morrissey had flown the Smiths coop and already flying high as a solo sensation. 10,000...
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Robert Smith of The Cure performs on stage at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2016

Top 80 Songs of 1987

Greatest song of the ‘80s? A case can be made for The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” Let’s start there. Legends like Echo and the Bunnymen, R.E.M., New Order and Depeche Mode were doing some of their finest and most timeless work. There were still a couple of years left, the ‘90s were looming. You...
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Top 80 Songs of 1986

Thrills, pill and $100 bills. New year, new attitude, best exemplified by legends Depeche Mode and the Smiths becoming icons. Duran Duran found new life with Notorious career-reviver Nile Rodgers, and Iggy Pop continued to be one real wild child. From Fine Young Cannibals and the Blow Monkeys...
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Top 80 Songs of 1985

Too big to fail? By ‘85, even quirky introspective bedroom new wavers like Tears for Fears had become international rock stars. Simple Minds was right there doing the same. Dead or Alive turned that LGBTQ frown upside down and stormed dance floors, and Johnny Rotten united with Afrika Bambaataa to...
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Top 80 Songs of 1984

Frankie Says Relax! The UK was coming on strong with Frankie Goes to Hollywood at the head of the pack. Ireland’s U2 was flying the flag of peace across America, and the Smiths were feeling the blush of their earliest smash hits. Bronski Beat served as the voice for a generation of LGBTQ kids of...
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Top 80 Songs of 1983

You can dance if you want to! The hits got bigger, and so did the bands. Duran Duran had gone full Game of Thrones with monster hits and cinematic music videos, the Police turned into chart-topping stalkers, and David Bowie turned everything up to 11 and danced the blues with Nile Rodgers into the...
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Top 80 Songs of 1982

It was all about that crazy Casbah sound when the Clash crashed America with Combat Rock. Rolling through the stadiums with the Who, it would be the band’s glorious moment in the sun. The new wave was cresting bigger than ever, with giants like Soft Cell, Human League and Modern English delivering...
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Top 80 Songs of 1981

Why can't you be like this why can't you be like that? I don't know where I am or where or where I'm at. That was the vibe when 1981 came to town. L.A.’s own Missing Persons ruled the party with high-tech new wave, Adam Ant was the pin-up poster boy with pop appeal and look out! The Clash crashed...
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