Are you Ready to Travel Back in Time and Party to the Best music of the 80s? We Have the Ultimate Playlist of the Decade's Best 30 Songs that will make You want to Dance

Updated on June 15, 2024

Which song will top our list? Find out below!

1. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston

In 1987, the world was introduced to "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," a pulsating dance-pop tune by Whitney Houston. 

The catchy synthesizers and lively percussion create an irresistible groove that will make you want to dance.

This song makes you feel happy and have fun with other people.

A popular Twitter page claims that, even today, this song is still breaking records and being remembered.

It remains a beloved and enduring classic that continues to be played at clubs, parties, and any celebration.

2. “Take On Me” by A-ha

In 1984, “Take On Me” became an instant hit around the world, launching A-ha into international stardom.

The song mixes catchy pop hooks with dramatic verses, creating a dynamic and unforgettable musical experience.

Its lyrics evoke a feeling of hope and positivity, resonating with people on a broader level.

The music video for the song was very innovative and won many awards.

“Take On Me” is still played on the radio today, and it is a popular choice for karaoke and 80s-themed parties.

3. “Modern Love” by David Bowie

“Modern Love” came out in 1983 as a song from David Bowie's album "Let's Dance." 

Bowie wrote the song, and Nile Rodgers produced it, blending rock, pop, and soul elements.

The lyrics are about the complex aspects of love in our modern world.

Its lively and cheerful melody evokes the spirit of 80s pop-rock, inviting listeners to join in and move to the beat.

“Modern Love” continues to inspire music enthusiasts of all ages.

4. “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads

“Once in a Lifetime” marked a change in the band's sound.

It adds elements of funk, music from around the world, and experiments with electronic music.

The song's unusual arrangement and layering of sounds create a sense of mystery and keep the listener engaged.

The song's famous chorus, “And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife,” has become a well-known part of popular culture. 

It reflects the common desire to find meaning and happiness in life

5. “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson

“Smooth Criminal” is a catchy and groovy song released in 1988 by Michael Jackson. 

It appears on his popular album "Bad." Jackson wrote and composed the song himself, while the renowned Quincy Jones produced it. 

It tells a captivating story of mystery, suspense, and crime.

The song blends pop, rock, and R&B, infused with touches of funk and electronic music.

“Smooth Criminal” remains a cornerstone of Jackson's musical legacy.

It is also a staple of 80s playlists, perfectly suited for dance floors and parties.

6. “Purple Rain” by Prince

“Purple Rain,” released in 1984, is the title song from Prince's famous album and movie of the same name. 

The song starts slowly and builds to a powerful climax, making it an unforgettable listening experience.

The lyrics involve themes like love, sadness, and believing in something.

This song's impact went beyond music, affecting fashion and popular culture.

7. “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy

In 1989, the hip-hop group Public Enemy released the song "Fight the Power." 

The song was featured in Spike Lee's film "Do the Right Thing" and became an anthem for social justice. 

The music is based on a sample of the popular funk song "Funky Drummer," which creates a strong and rhythmic background for the song. 

Its lyrics tell people to be brave and fight for what they think is right.

This track is highly regarded as one of the most impactful protest songs ever created.

8. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

“Thriller” transformed the music industry, making Michael Jackson an international icon.

The song's cinematic effect and haunting sounds make for a thrilling musical journey.

It tells a scary story about a person who turns into a werewolf. 

Even after decades this song continues to enter the most important charts.

“Thriller” left a lasting mark on popular culture, going beyond music to become a Halloween tradition.

9. “Red Red Wine” by UB40

UB40's cover of “Red Red Wine” became a massive hit worldwide, topping charts in many countries. 

It brought reggae music to a wider audience and sparked a resurgence in the genre's popularity. 

The song's lively melody and words resonated with people, making it a popular choice on the radio and at parties. 

“Red Red Wine” is a perfect choice for parties, beach gatherings, and any occasion where a relaxed and upbeat mood is desired

10. “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins

“Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins has a somber tone and was about homelessness. 

The song has a sad melody with piano, strings, and a smooth drumbeat. 

The lyrics talk about how people often don't care about social problems like poverty. 

This combines a pop sound with a serious message. 

It is catchy and radio-friendly, but the lyrics give it more meaning. 

This heartfelt piano ballad would be a good choice for a quiet reflection. 

11. “Upside Down” by Diana Ross

This groovy dance song by the legendary Motown singer Diana Ross perfectly captures the upbeat spirit of early 80s disco-pop. 

The bassline is irresistibly catchy, and Ross's vocals float effortlessly over the funky instrumentation. 

The song's infectious energy made it a favorite among DJs and skaters. 

Twitter users often relate this song to memories or moods.

“Upside Down” is a bubbly song guaranteed to get people dancing and feeling carefree all night long.

12. “Livin' on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi's song “Livin' on a Prayer” was a huge hit that captured the spirit of the decade. 

The relatable lyrics about overcoming challenges and the power of friendship made it a favorite among fans. 

The song's catchy chorus and powerful vocals also helped to make it a classic rock anthem. 

Bon Jovi's music remains popular and enduring, with the song “Livin' on a Prayer” being a staple on any 80s playlist.

13. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard

Def Leppard used many different tracks of guitars, drums, and vocals to create a smooth and polished sound that combined pop music elements with heavy rock.

The song “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is a good example of this style. 

It has energetic drumming that became associated with the wild and carefree lifestyle of the late 80s.

The song is both aggressive and melodic, with a driving tempo that pairs power chords with harmonized vocals. 

It captured the essence of self-discovery and youthful indulgence of many 80s coming-of-age films, making it a staple of any soundtrack of that era.

14. “Sweet Child O' Mine” by Guns N' Roses

“Sweet Child O' Mine” is a timeless classic that belongs on every 80s playlist. 

This song played a key role in the rise of the glam rock movement in Los Angeles.

It also captured the rebellious spirit of youth that resonated with people all over the world.

With its blend of punk energy, heavy metal riffs, and melodic pop songwriting, the song topped rock radio charts in 1988. 

According to popular belief, lead singer Axl Rose penned the song as a spontaneous love letter to his then-girlfriend Erin Everly. 

Even if you're not a diehard fan of 80s music, the song's unforgettable opening chords are sure to evoke a sense of nostalgia.

15. “Like a Virgin” by Madonna

“Like a Virgin” made Madonna known as America's most daring new pop star. 

The pulsating funky synth-pop production was created by the famous producer Nile Rodgers. 

This track changed the way people talked about sexuality and image. 

Any 80s playlist that is worth its salt must include "Like a Virgin" because it is one of the most iconic songs of the era.

16. “When I Think of You” by Janet Jackson

In 1986, Janet Jackson released “When I Think of You” as the third single from her groundbreaking album, "Control." 

The melody is characterized by a prominent bassline and catchy synthesizers.

Its lively rhythm makes it an ideal choice for dancing and boosting spirits.

The song's relatable lyrics make it a joyful tune that connects with listeners

This song reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her a pop star sensation. 

17. “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC

“You Shook Me All Night Long” was released in 1980 as a single from AC/DC's groundbreaking album "Back in Black.”

It has a strong guitar riff, loud drums, and Brian Johnson's rough singing. 

The song's catchy rhythm and easy-to-remember parts make it a regular at rock concerts and parties.

A Twitter user comments “When they play You Shook Me All Night Long, you crank the stereo. There is no other choice”

This demonstrates that its rebellious style made it a hit with listeners, and it became a symbol of the 80s rock scene.

18. “Don't Stop Believin'” by Journey

Despite not making a big splash right away, “Don't Stop Believin'” grew in popularity over time and became a timeless anthem.

It mixes rock and pop elements smoothly, creating a timeless sound that appeals to a broad audience.

The lyrics resonate with people of all backgrounds, encouraging them to never abandon their aspirations.

It has evolved into an enduring anthem for overcoming adversity and pursuing one's aspirations.

19. “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson

“Billie Jean” skillfully blends pop, funk, and disco elements, creating a sound that's both innovative and appealing to a wide audience. 

It talks about “Billie Jean,” a woman who claims that Michael Jackson is the father of her child. 

The song delves into themes of fame, identity, and the challenges faced by celebrities

“Billie Jean” was an incredibly popular song that reached the top of the music charts and became one of Michael Jackson's most famous songs. 

20. “Every Breath You Take” by The Police

Sting, the band's lead singer and bass player, wrote the song, drawing inspiration from his own life and relationships..

“Every Breath You Take” has a haunting and atmospheric melody.

It talks about love, being too attached to someone, and keeping an eye on them. 

This song reached the top of the charts in many countries and won numerous awards, including the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. 

21. “Hard to Say I'm Sorry” by Chicago

This heartfelt tune revived the band Chicago's popularity, showcasing their jazz-flavored soft rock style. 

The melancholy melody features an expressive guitar solo and rich production. 

The song is about feeling sorry for things you did wrong in a relationship.

It topped the charts and received Grammy nominations. 

The sudden changes in volume and musical chords make this song unforgettable. 

“Hard to Say I'm Sorry” showcases their exceptional musical talent and singing abilities.”

22. “We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister

This catchy song has a rebellious spirit that embodies the essence of 80s hard rock.

Dee Snider's powerful vocals and the strong chorus of backing vocals made it a popular song of teenage rebellion.

The guitar riff is uncomplicated yet sticks in your head.

This classic 80s anthem is sure to get everyone on the dance floor and pump up the energy levels at any party. 

23. “Call Me” by Blondie

“Call Me” is an iconic new wave song by the band Blondie. 

It was featured in the movie American Gigolo and is one of the most recognizable songs of the 1980s. 

The song's seductive vocals, catchy melody, and futuristic sound made it a huge hit, and it helped to propel Blondie to commercial success. 

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Many people on Reddit really enjoy this. They say it is like a great song that makes them feel energized.

“Call Me” is a classic song that has been popular for many years and is always sure to get people up and dancing.

24. “Got My Mind Set on You” by George Harrison

George Harrison, a former member of the Beatles, released this cheerful song as his final solo single to reach number one. 

The song blends pop, rock, and touches of vintage rhythm and blues. 

Harrison's passionate vocals and prominent horns give the catchy melody its energy.

The lyrics express romantic obsession in a lighthearted manner. 

This song would be perfect for a feel-good road trip playlist. 

“Got My Mind Set on You” signaled Harrison's long-awaited comeback to the charts in the late 80s.

25. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics

If you're looking for a powerful and uplifting song to get your heart pumping, look no further than “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”

It was a huge hit, reaching #1 in multiple countries and becoming one of the most iconic songs of all time.

The catchy synth melody and Annie Lennox's powerful voice make this new wave song a true classic of Eurythmics' electronic pop sound.

Its lyrics explore the contrast between dreams and reality in a unique way. 

This iconic synth-pop anthem is a must-have for any 80s playlist.

26. “That's What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight 

In 1985, four music legends came together to sing the song “That's What Friends Are For.” 

Their rendition became a global hit, raising millions of dollars for the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

It has a heartfelt melody, combining the unique singing styles of Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Dionne Warwick. 

The song's lyrics highlight the value of friendship during challenging times.

The song climbed to the top of the charts and received numerous honors, including the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. 

Its success helped to foster a sense of belonging and empathy during a difficult period.

27. “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” by Air Supply

“Making Love Out of Nothing at All” is a timeless classic that captured the hearts of music lovers worldwide in the 80s. 

The melody is sweeping and filled with emotion. 

It features Russell Hitchcock's powerful vocals and a soaring instrumental backdrop. 

The song epitomizes Air Supply's trademark sound, characterized by heartfelt lyrics and rich harmonies.

Its enduring popularity continues to this day, evoking fond memories of the era.

28. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson 

“Beat It” was part of Jackson's highly praised album "Thriller," which is still the best-selling album of all time.

The song has an instantly catchy melody with a memorable synthesizer riff and a strong rhythm section. 

It combines elements of pop, rock, and R&B, demonstrating Michael Jackson's versatility as an artist. 

Eddie Van Halen's guitar solo adds a rock element to the song, making it popular in both pop and rock circles.

“Beat It” also played an important role in breaking down racial barriers in the music industry, as it was popular on both pop and rock radio stations. 

29. “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money

In 1986, the American rock musician Eddie Money released the song "Take Me Home Tonight." 

It was a commercial success, reaching the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The song's lively instrumentation contributes to its infectious energy, making it impossible to sit still.

This track continues to be a popular choice at parties, weddings, and retro-themed events, ensuring its lasting appeal.

30. “Sacrifice” by Elton John

“Sacrifice” became one of John's biggest hits of the 1980s, reaching high chart positions worldwide.

It has a beautiful melody, and Elton's singing is full of emotion. 

The overall feeling of the song is sad and longing.

Its lyrics explore the complexities of love and the willingness to make sacrifices for it. 

This song resonates with those who have experienced the challenges and sacrifices of maintaining a lasting relationship.

In conclusion, the 80s was a remarkable period for music, and these 30 songs capture the essence of the decade's best offerings. They demonstrate the era's diversity, creativity, and pure enjoyment, and they continue to delight and inspire us today.