Monday, November 06, 2006

Top 100 Songs of the 80s (a.k.a. The Post That Fully Reveals Just How Lame I Am and Causes My Readers to Abandon Me)
VH1 recently ran their 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s, and yes, I sat through all 5 hours of it. The list was voted on by their viewers, which probably explains why it's such a train wreck (it's also very surprising for a VH1 countdown like this to be missing big names like Peter Gabriel, Tina Turner, Huey Lewis, and Paul Simon. There's quite an emphasis on one-hit wonders). Therefore, I had to come up with my own list.
A couple of notes about my list that will hopefully explain my choices:
a) These are all songs that made a singles chart either here in the U.S. or in the U.K. Obviously it would be a much different list if I included album tracks and obscure songs, but that's usually how these things are done.
b) No cover songs.
c) This list isn't the Top 100 80s Songs of the 80s, but it does focus on 80s music, which has a very distinct sound. Therefore I don't necessarily think these are the best songs in terms of quality, but my favorites of this type of music (with some exceptions of songs that I truly think are great no matter what decade)
d) I've only written comments for select songs. No real reason, except that I didn't want to make this post too bulky.
e) Arranging the order was terribly tedious and imprecise. There are many songs that could've swapped places with one another. But you get the general gist of it. And I'll stick with the top 5.

100. “Opposites Attract” – Paula Abdul: Only because of the MC Skat Cat section
99. “Wipe Out” –Fat Boys f/ Beach Boys: I say it's not technically a cover, because the original didn't have lyrics. Has there ever been a more bizarre collaboration?
98. “No Myth” – Michael Penn
97. “True Faith” – New Order
96. “Johnny Are You Queer?” – Josie Cotton
95. “Pop Goes the World” – Men Without Hats:
Yes, I like this better than "Safety Dance."
94. “Biko” – Peter Gabriel
93. “You’re the Inspiration” – Chicago
92. “Break My Stride” – Matthew Wilder
91. “Kyrie” – Mr. Mister
90. “Somebody” – Bryan Adams
89. “Self Control” – Laura Branigan
88. “Walking on Sunshine” – Katrina & the Waves
87. “Wouldn’t It Be Good” – Nik Kershaw
86. “When We Was Fab” – George Harrison
85. “When I’m With You” – Sheriff:
I'm a sucker for power ballads.
84. “Oh Sherrie” – Steve Perry: Remember the woman from the video with the saggy breasts and no bra? It's 20 years later... they're probably drooping all the way to the ground by now.
83. “A Little Respect” – Erasure
82. “Open Arms” – Journey
81. “Overkill” – Men at Work:
The acoustic version used on Scrubs is even better than the original, but it doesn't qualify for this list.
80. “Everything She Wants” – Wham!
79. “Your Love” – Outfield:
How does he hit those high notes?
78. “Toy Soldiers” – Martika
77. “The Killing Moon” – Echo & the Bunnymen
76. “And We Danced" – Hooters:
Representing my alma mater, UPenn.
75. “Goodnight Saigon” – Billy Joel
74. “I Can’t Hold Back” – Survivor
73. “Here Comes Your Man” – Pixies
72. “Centerfold” – J. Geils Band
71. “Don’t Shed a Tear” – Paul Carrack
70. “Forever Young” – Alphaville:
The ultimate 80s prom song.
69. “Land of Confusion” – Genesis: The fact that I love this video probably caused this to land much higher than it should have.
68. “Angel Eyes” – Jeff Healey Band: a.k.a. the blind guy who sang in the bar band in Roadhouse.
67. “I Want to Break Free” – Queen
66. “Kickstart My Heart” – Motley Crue
65. “I Wanna Rock” – Twisted Sister
64. “Everything Counts” – Depeche Mode
63. “The Way You Make Me Feel” – Michael Jackson
62. “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” – Elton John
61. “In a Big Country” – Big Country:
Extra points for using your band's name in the song, a popular 80s trend (Wham, Wang Chung).
60. “Danger Zone” – Kenny Loggins
59. “Ashes to Ashes” – David Bowie:
Following the rule that sequels are never as good as the original ("Space Oddity" in this case, which I'm sure you already know), but still a fine tune.
58. “At This Moment” – Billy Vera: Who's having Family Ties flashbacks right now? I am!
57. “Bad” – U2: It was hard to find a chart that this had appeared on. Thank you, Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks!
56. “Brass in Pocket” – Pretenders
55. “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” – The Smiths
54. “If You Leave” – Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark
53. “It’s a Sin” – Pet Shop Boys
52. “Hysteria” – Def Leppard
51. “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” – Dead or Alive:
Ultragrrrl may think this is the "most gayest song" ever recorded, but so what?
50. “Material Girl” – Madonna
49. “Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)” – Icicle Works
48. “Fairytale of New York” – Pogues:
It must be so much fun when this song comes on in a pub in Ireland at like 1:30 in the morning.
47. “In the Air Tonight” – Phil Collins
46. “Punk Rock Girl” – Dead Milkmen
45. “She-Bop” – Cyndi Lauper
44. “We Belong” – Pat Benatar
43. “Fortress Around Your Heart” – Sting
42. “Simply Irresistible” – Robert Palmer:
My favorite of his Big 3 Songs (as in they had videos with the clueless but hot female musicians).
41. “Hey Ladies” – Beastie Boys
40. “It’s Tricky” – Run D.M.C.:
"Walk This Way" was ineligible due to rule b), but I like this better anyway. Great guitar riff.
39. “Boys of Summer” – Don Henley
38. “Head Over Heels” –Go-Go’s:
The ultimate in bubble-gum pop.
37. “New Sensation” – INXS
36. “Everyday Is Like Sunday” – Morrissey
35. “You Give Love a Bad Name” – Bon Jovi:
I'll take this over "Livin' On a Prayer" anyday. When the instruments drop out during the chorus at the end and everyone starts chanting, you can't resist pumping your fist in the air (especially if you're surrounded by Jersey trash).
34. “Paradise City” – Guns N Roses
33. “Running Down a Dream” – Tom Petty
32. “Rosanna” – Toto:
Somehow the ugliest band in rock history landed 2 songs in the top 1/3 of this list. Go figure.
31. “Come Dancing” – Kinks: Ray Davies showed he could still write incredibly clever lyrics 20 years into his career.
30. “U Got the Look” – Prince f/ Sheena Easton: Human League's "Don't You Want Me" is not the best battle-of-the-sexes song of the 80s. This is.
29. “Against All Odds” – Phil Collins
28. “Only You” – Yazoo:
Or is it Yaz?
27. “Alone” – Heart
26. “Never Tear Us Apart” – INXS
25. “Perfect Way” – Scritti Politti:
I'm going to see him in concert on Friday. And he apparently refuses to play this song live. Dang!
24. “Wild Boys” – Duran Duran: The words make no sense, and neither does the video, but that doesn't matter when you have percussion like this.
23. “La Isla Bonita – Madonna
22. “And She Was” – Talking Heads
21. “When Doves Cry” – Prince
20. “Brilliant Disguise” – Bruce Springsteen
19. “Hot for Teacher” – Van Halen:
The rumors of a summer 2007 reunion tour with Diamond Dave are heating up. Sweet!
18. “Heart & Soul” – T’pau
17. “Bad Reputation” – Joan Jett:
Probably helped by the fact that it was the theme song to Freaks and Geeks.
16. “Head Over Heels” – Tears for Fears
15. “Africa” – Toto
14. “Manic Monday” – Bangles
13. “Take on Me” – A-ha:
How does he hit those high notes?
12. “Things Can Only Get Better” – Howard Jones: Sadly they didn't for him... but he had a good run.
11. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” – Def Leppard: One-armed drumming never sounded so good.
10. “Every Breath You Take” – Police

9. “Something About You” – Level 42
8. “Drive” – Cars
7. “Voices Carry” – til Tuesday
6. “The Final Countdown” – Europe: How did this not make VH1's list?
5. “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper: Heartbreaking song. But in a good way.
4. “Candy Girl” – New Edition: Has there been a catchier song recorded ever in the history of the world? I defy you to find one.
3. “Obsession” – Animotion: The prototypical 80s song. Huge bass line, huge synths, it builds towards the final chorus and then everything collides at the end. Love it!
2. “Love Song” – Cure: I like my love songs simple. This song is simple. And beautiful.
1. “Sweet Child of Mine” – Guns N Roses: If you didn't see this coming, you don't know me at all.


Ally said... really have entirely too much time on your hands. With that said, after reading the whole thing, it's not a bad list.

Jen said...

Glad there are other people out there with no life as well. 5 hours of my life was wasted while I waited for some of my favorites that didn't make the list. How bout Urgent?

Tommy Himself said...

Have you ever heard of Sinead O'Connor?

"Life in a Northern Town," "Fight For Your Right To Party," "I Wanna Be Adored," "Away," "Madonna of the Wasps," "Jane Says," "Blues From A Gun," "See A Little Light," "Never Understand," "Here Comes Your Man," "Monkey Gone To Heaven," "I'm An Adult Now," "Turn You Inside Out," "I'll Be You," "Under The God," "Fisherman's Blues," "Manic Monday," "Rapture," "Train In Vain," "Buffalo Stance," "Love on the Rocks," "Another Brick in the Wall Pt2," "Comfortably Numb," "Emotional Rescue," "Don't Do Me Like That," "Let My Love Open The Door," "Master Blaster (Jammin')," "Don't Stand So Close To Me," "Keep On Lovin' You," "Always On My Mind" [W. Nelson], "Centerfold," "Eye in the Sky," "Rock This Town," Sexy & 17," "Tainted Love," "99 Luftballons," "Come On Eileen," "Electric Avenue," "Our House," "Pass The Dutchie," "Sexual Healing," "Blue Jean," "Stray Cat Strut," "Purple Rain," "Cruel Summer," "Relax," "Voices Carry," "No One's Ever To Blame," "I Hate Myself For Loving You," "Bottom Line," "E=MC2," "Achin' To Be," "Doot Doot," "I Knew The Bride," "High School Nights," "Silvio," "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," "Fight The Power," "Bring The Noise," "Don't Believe the Hype," "Night of the Living Baseheads"...

brotherjimmy said...

First of all congrats on 3 years. I can't beleive you've remained interesting for this long either.

Great top 100, just some quick over sights (in my opinion)....

Jump, Van Halen
Eye of the Tiger, Survivor
Billie Jean, Michael Jackson
I Love Rock ‘N Roll, Joan Jett
Walk Like an Egyptian, The Bengles
Sexual Healing, Marvin Gaye
Fight for your Right, Beastie Boys
Journey, Don’t Stop Beleiving
Rapper's Delight, SugarHill Gang

(I think these are all 80's)

Brian said...

I'm glad people are listing songs I missed... keep 'em coming. Believe me, there are tons more that I would've put in there. Tommy, like 4 songs that you listed ARE in my list ("Voices Carry," "Here Comes Your Man," "Centerfold," and "Manic Monday")... did you even read it? And as for the songs off "The Wall," the album came out in 1979... I should've said that my cut-off was albums released in the 80s... I know that those singles were released in the 80s, but the album was out in 1979. Therefore, ineligible.
Here are some honorable mentions:
"Veronica" - Elvis Costello
"Only in My Dreams" - Debbie Gibson
"Hungry Like the Wolf" - Duran Duran
"Rockit" - Herbie Hancock
"Life in a Northern Town" - Dream Academy
"Jacobs Ladder" - Huey Lewis & the News
"St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion) - John Parr
"With or Without You" - U2
"Just Like Honey" - Jesus & Mary Chain
"Goody Two Shoes" - Adam & the Ants
This could go on forever, so I'll stop now.

brotherjimmy said...

I just realized I masterbated to roughly 24-29 of those videos.

Brian said...

Joel, I hope you don't mean that you masturbated to #24-#29. Nancy Wilson's pretty hot, but Ann had gotten big by that point... and sure, Duran Duran were pretty, but I didn't think they were your taste.