In this blog, we tend to differentiate music by decades from year to year, precisely because over the years many artists and bands have started their projects, often breaking with what was previously known. The law of musical pendulum seems much better if it goes little by little. And as it was also with the best 80s songs, we will revisit it. That’s why, logically, we start with 1980 but you can listen all the 1980s music on our Spotify playlist.
Let’s not forget that public recognition in this decade also gave rise to other forms of subsequent consumption and new never-explored paths to understand the society of the time. Vinyls are still in high demand, but the fall is beginning, for example.
We will say more: through the music of the 80s we can understand today that various singles have great popularity and great success even today, even when they are a joke (sorry and with respect). Let’s not forget that it is from the 80s that nostalgia becomes mainstream and is offered to the most excessive consumerism by the strength of the children of the time and Star Wars.
But let’s talk about music. Because the international songs of the 80s have always stood out for the enormous variety of musical genres offered, new melodies and mixes, which stood out for breaking more than ever with the music of the 70s, taking the opportunity to return in some way to the 50s and more classic pop.
The best 1980s music with a Spotify playlist
On this occasion, we highlight the best 80s songs mainly for its symbolic role in the 20th and 21st centuries. As such, it built a large part of the pop culture we consume today or simply know. And that is power. Anglo-Saxon culture definitively entered our homes, the best of 80s music internationally and nationally began to look more and more alike, and both sensations and rhythms mixed regardless of the origin of the groups, their nationality, or language.
For many people, in fact, this decade is the most original, as it proposed hundreds of new sounds. The Manchester music that emerged at the end of the 70s and gave rise to post-punk, but also the rock in the 80s changed, so 1980s music is associated also to Europop such as Voyage Voyage or The Neverending Story, dance or big hair hard rock with perms and huge shoulder pads were the order of the day, along with great romantic songs of the 80s. But well, the truth is that at the same time it broke with the classic, there were also groups and singers who triumphed in the past. In any case, they were also affected by the evolution of various genres and the development and mixing of new ones, offering a great richness of musical combinations.
In the end, what remains of this decade has a lot to do with all the time that has passed since then. The 80s songs are a great memory for most people today, mainly those who are around 40, 50, and 60 years old, as they were present in much of their life experiences when music was an obligation at social gatherings, leisure moments, and routine life.
Iron Maiden – Running Free (1980)
But let’s go with a radical twist and one more great song far from the typical pop of the 80s. In 1975, the most famous Heavy Metal band, Iron Maiden triumphed with many songs, but in the 80s more than ever. Remembering that there was a song like Running Free is especially necessary before starting to talk about the decade that most longings generate in adult men today.
Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)
Although the 80s are full of guilty pleasures, in Anglo-Saxon culture Don’t Stop Believin’, along with Any Way You Want It, is one of the greatest that the 1980s music gave us. Classic rock composed by ex-members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch, almost nothing.
Billy Idol – White Wedding (Part 1) (1982)
Billy Idol was, in fact, a mass idol during the heyday of the musical subgenre New Wave, where Blondie and its singer Deborah Harry stood out as a face to emulate both in the way of dressing and behaving. In Idol’s case, who had moderate success within the band Generation X, he had a much longer solo career, with highlights for hits like White Wedding, Rebel Yell or, of course, Eyes Without A Face, which were successful overseas.
Rod Stewart – Baby Jane (1983)
Rod Stewart, an improvised sex symbol of the 80s, had been triumphant in music all over the world for several years. First in the world of rock, as a member of emblematic bands like Faces, then as a successful disco music singer in the 70s.
Rod Stewart, an improvised sex symbol of the ’80s, had been triumphing in music all over the world for several years. First in the world of rock, as a member of emblematic bands like Faces, then as a successful disco music singer in the ’70s, to develop a career closer to pop in this decade. Not everyone is capable of adapting their style to what’s in fashion at all times, nor becoming the best at it. The song Baby Jane shows, yet another year, that Stewart was one of the few who had this gift.
Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want To Have Fun (1984)
Though remembered as a short-lived singer, the truth is that Cyndi Lauper has many more memorable songs than many would believe. The most obvious, surely, is Girls Just Want To Have Fun, a pop anthem to freedom and joy that today, in the face of what is seen in the world, would be punished by the regressive dictatorship that governs the internet and much of public life, where fascism seems to prevail in the media where money is more important than truth. Therefore, on this blog, we invite you to listen to much more Cyndi Lauper, to be happy, and so that nobody prevents others from being happy.
Dire Straits – Walk Of Life (1985)
The British rock band formed in 1977 by Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley, and Pick Withers has several international hits to their credit. One of the most remembered, along with Sultans Of Swing, is Walk Of Life. In both, the electric guitar and its particular sound stood out above all else. Sometimes we wonder why so few current bands also use this in their musical tracks, considering that distortion captures all listeners. Who knows, right?
Metallica – Master Of Puppets (1986)
It is possible that with Metallica’s presence on the list of the best songs of the ’80s we stand for the first time before a Heavy Metal subgenre that would not stop sounding in this decade for a time. We are talking about Thrash and Speed Metal, which you will also hear in our Spotify playlist from other groups like Motörhead or Judas Priest.
Originally released on March 3, 1986, it was the last album with bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident in Sweden during the promotional tour of the album. Master Of Puppets is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential thrash metal albums of all time, and it also received much critical acclaim, praising its music and political lyrics.
Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal (1987)
It’s surprising to learn that Smooth Criminal underwent two changes on the album. It was remixed to make the kick drum heavier and the bass synthesizer fatter. The quick sequenced synclavier behind the bass was also rendered in mono. The first version of this mix left the breathing intact but was removed after some time. And now, after so much time, we are sure that it is a perfect song. So much for thinking that music production has no value beyond making everything sound good and not hurting our ears.
N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton (1988)
Going through the 80s songs and not mentioning any rap would be a sin that we cannot allow. Therefore, here is a good example that could do justice to what really meant a genre that was so new that the industry took about 15 years to learn from it to be able to swallow it as just another pop genre.
N.W.A’s debut album, Straight Outta Compton, is now most remembered as the pioneering record of gangsta rap; with its ever-present profanity and violent lyrics, it helped give birth to this then-new subgenre of hip hop. It was considered innovative by music writers and had a massive impact on the evolution of West Coast hip hop. Straight Outta Compton redefined the direction of hip hop, which resulted in lyrics about the gangsta lifestyle becoming the driving force in sales numbers. It also helped shift power to the West Coast from the East Coast, which had enjoyed a period of prominence in international hip hop for most of the 1980s.
Lisa Stansfield – All Around The World (1989)
British vocalist Lisa Stansfield presented on her debut album Affection major pop, house, and club hits like All Around The World and People Hold On, which many people still remember today. Of course, as the astonishing All Around the World is one of the greatest singles of all time, a masterpiece of the highest order. Once the anxious and sincere opening line is heard, it will be indelibly etched in your consciousness forever.
(Madrid, 1987) Novelist by vocation, SEO specialist by profession. Music lover, cinephile and reading lover, but in “amateur” mode.