Infinite Shuffle

January 5, 2011

Best of the ’80s

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 6:01 am

As I drove home from a recent night out, I was enjoying a local radio station’s weekly ’80s Weekend playlist. And in the span of a few songs, I heard my two most favorite ’80s songs.

It made me think of a conversation I had with my brother a few days earlier regarding this very matter — what would be on your list of favorite ’80s songs?

So, I decided I should actually compile said list. I figured I would come up with my top 10 tracks of the decade. But I quickly breezed past that and was already into the mid-30s when I decided I should just limit myself to 25. Needless to say, there were some great songs that didn’t make the cut.

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While thinking of all the various songs I wanted to include, I couldn’t help but also picture many of the corresponding videos. Back then, songs and videos were so linked, it’s hard to separate them in your mind.

So, in addition to putting together an audio playlist, I thought it would be cool to post a video playlist.


  1. Belinda Carlisle – “Heaven Is a Place On Earth” … I have no idea why I love this so much. I just do. I love her voice, and when I play this, I think back to listening to it all the time on my older sister’s cassette player.
  2. Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon” … If my brother had his way, this would be No. 1. Growing up in the same household with someone who used — and still does — idolize Boy George, it’s no wonder this song is so ingrained in my head.
  3. Big Country – “In a Big Country” … I love everything about this song — the opening guitar riff, instrumental breakdown in the middle, the whiny Scottish vocals. I’ve had this as a ringtone on multiple phones.
  4. USA For Africa – “We Are the World” … When you put that many amazing singers in one room together, you can’t help but make magic. And hearing the dreadful 25th anniversary cover for Haiti relief just shows how great the original was.
  5. Go-Go’s – “Vacation” … Again, I can’t get enough of Belinda Carlisle’s vocals. I especially love the chorus when she’s backed by her bandmates.
  6. Pat Benatar – “Shadows of the Night” … She’s got a lot of great songs, but this is the one I’ve always loved the most. Perhaps it’s that powerful, authoritative chorus.
  7. Queen and David Bowie – “Under Pressure” … Two legendary voices combining to make pure gold. And nowadays, thanks to the movie Grosse Point Blank, whenever I hear this song, I can’t help but think of the scene where John Cusack is holding the baby at the reunion.
  8. A Flock of Seagulls – “I Ran (So Far Away)” … This song just reeks of the ’80s and early MTV. Lead singer Mike Score has yet to be topped in the annals of awesome hairstyles, and, as for the song itself, those killer synth riffs are hard to beat.
  9. A-ha – “Take On Me” … Go ahead, listen to this song and try not to picture the video. … See, you couldn’t, could ya? By the way, the Family Guy parody was amazing.
  10. Cyndi Lauper – “Time After Time” … This isn’t necessarily the first song that people think about when her name comes up, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for ballads.
  11. Nena – “99 Luftballoons” … Has their ever been a catchier song about the Cold War and Mutually Assured Destruction? The best part is that both the German and English versions mention Captain Kirk, but in totally different spots.
  12. The Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star” … If this hadn’t been the very first video played on MTV, do you think anyone would remember it? I guess we’ll never know. But it’s so awesome that it doesn’t really matter.
  13. Alphaville – “Forever Young” … I doubt many people realize this song is about a nuclear holocaust — especially the car company that used it in a commercial a few years ago. But hey, if you want to slow-dance to this song, I won’t judge you. It’s a great tune.
  14. The Bangles – “Walk Like an Egyptian” … I know I’m not the only one who, when this song reaches its apex, stops everything and tries to whistle along in perfect sync Susanna Hoffs and the gals.
  15. The Cure – “Pictures of You” … It seems almost dirty, but the first time I remember hearing this song was on a photo printer commercial or something like that. It quickly became my favorite song in a truly hefty catalog by these goth forefathers.
  16. U2 – “Pride (In the Name of Love)” … Speaking of a band with an endless supply of amazing songs, it’s hard to narrow my top five faves, let alone one. But this song has always revved me up whenever I hear it, and the fact that it’s all about Martin Luther King just adds to its mystique.
  17. Madonna – “Like a Prayer” … The video’s probably a bit over the top, but I have to give her props for losing a Pepsi endorsement deal because of it. Looking back, this song probably doesn’t really sound like many, if any, of the other songs in her vast arsenal. Maybe that’s why I like it so much.
  18. Berlin – “Take My Breath Away” … Seriously, how can you not love this song? It’s the ballads to top all ballads. Also, I’m pretty sure it was my homecoming or prom song during my junior or senior year — which just goes to show how unoriginal my peers were.
  19. Real Life – “Send Me An Angel” … I first heard this song in the ultimate BMX movie, RAD, and I was instantly hooked. I can’t help but hear this song and picture Cru Jones doing the bicycle boogie with Christian Hollings.
  20. Madonna – “Crazy For You” … It’s from the movie Vision Quest, but I’ve never actually seen it. I’ve only heard the song, and, let’s just put it this way: If I ever actually get married, this song will be played at my wedding.
  21. Outfield – “Your Love” … I was only a toddler in the mid-’80s, so I have no idea if this is true, but whenever I hear this song, I just assume that’s the whole vibe that permeated the years 1984-87.
  22. Scandal – “The Warrior” … If I paid attention to the lyrics, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to take this song seriously. Thankfully, I never have. Whenever I hear this tune, I’m reminded of my junior high days when I used to help out my older sister with her newspaper route and we had this song blaring from a compilation disc.
  23. Huey Lewis & The News – “Power of Love” … Michael J. Fox, riding his skateboard and getting pulled behind a moving Jeep … ’nuff said.
  24. Talking Heads – “Road To Nowhere” … I absolutely love the intro to this song and I probably let it overcompensate for a tune that is otherwise simply above average. Also, I can’t hear this song and not think about the final scene from the classic Fred Savage movie, Little Monsters.
  25. Michael Jackson – “Man in the Mirror” … I figured I had to include at least one song of his on this list, considering he was the biggest star of the decade. While this wasn’t among his biggest hits, it’s the one I’ve always enjoyed the most.

By the way, I included a bonus video at the end of the playlist. The song is technically from the ’60s, but it re-entered the charts a couple of decades later. It just so happens to be my favorite song and movie of all-time.



  1. Todd, this list, while having some awesome songs, leaves much to be desired. So, in the spirit of cold war competition, i’m making my own top 25 80s playlist. And its going to blow yours away. You’re the Soviet Union to my America. It’s on.

    Comment by carly — January 6, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

  2. […] hearing of my friend’s interest in ’80s music, I sent him a link to an old post on some of my favorite songs from the era. I was taken aback when he said he’d never heard of […]

    Pingback by Way-back Wednesdays I « Infinite Shuffle — November 21, 2012 @ 12:02 am

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