Top 10 ’80s throwback songs


Photo by Brianna O'Shaughnessy

photo illustration

1. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

When looking for a song that really relates to personal romance, this is probably the last on the list. How often does a girl get pregnant and claim you’re the father when there’s no way you’ve ever met? Even though next to no one has ever experienced anything close to this, people sing along with the lyrics like it’s an everyday thing – mainly because it’s a Michael Jackson classics, with a nice beat and a great dance vibe. Apparently, though, Billie Jean is not anyone’s lover. Poor Billie Jean.

Michael Jackson


2. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

This one is on the list because of school pride, mainly. And because it’s played at least a million and one times during football season. Actually, all things considered, there’s nothing that just really stands out about this song, but everyone knows it, so that makes it great. Give it (another) listen!



3. Jukebox Hero – Foreigner

There are a few golden tracks that, when listened to, make me think, “I am the best person on this entire planet,” and this is one of them. If you’re not headbanging by the first chorus, listen to it again. If you’re not headbanging hard enough to make your glasses fly across the room, check your attitude. Let your inner rock star control you. Once you’ve reached this level, feel free to try and sing along with the guitar solo. Nothing is more exhilarating.


4. 500 Miles (I’m Gonna Be) – The Proclaimers

This song is equal parts adorable and perfect for roadtripping. If you listen to the lyrics, it’s basically a man declaring that he’d do anything for the person he loves. If you only listen to the chorus and focus on the rhythm, you probably think this is a song about fitness freaks or running out of gas. Either way, it’s an uplifting listen, no matter your age or road trip intention.

The Proclaimers

5. Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi wrote a lot of rock ‘n roll hits through the 80s, and this is probably the most popular of them. It’s almost a story song, but it lacks the full plot of one. That doesn’t lessen the value of the song by any means, though, and even apart from that it’s one of those great air guitar songs. Even if you have no musical ability, you can still play air guitar and scream the high notes like nobody’s business. And, oh, we’re halfway through this week’s list.

Bon Jovi

6. Africa – Toto

This song has plenty of great harmonizing and a really catchy rhythm. It is definitely the first song on the list for when you go on an African safari (says someone who has not been on an African safari). If you don’t sing along after you’ve listened to it at least five times, you’re doing something wrong.


7. The Lion Sleeps Tonight – Tight Fit

There are some songs that are clearly from movies, shows, or are constantly heard on the radio – and this isn’t one of them. It’s honestly a song that’s just known, not a huge part of culture. That being said, it’s still fun to dance to (if you aren’t more focused on your acapella part) and kind of fits in with the unspoken theme of popular 80s songs involving the Eastern Hemisphere. And remember, once you know the lyrics, the urge to sing this song is just a whim away…a whim away, a whim away, a whim away…

Tight Fit

8. Footloose – Kenny Loggins

This song serves as the theme for arguably one of the best movies made in the 80s (and don’t start on the remake, because it’s nowhere near as good), and it lives up to the expectations that should be set. There’s a line dance of some sort, but the fast tempo of the song makes it a little difficult to learn. That’s okay, though. All you need is a developed fondness for slightly cheesy old movies and Kevin Bacon, and then you’ll truly love this song.

Kenny Loggins

9. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!

The earliest and fondest memories of this song for teenagers now are probably of dancing to it on Just Dance 2. If you were unfortunate enough to miss out on this experience, then you’ve never been introduced to Wham! (with the exclamation mark and all). George Michael and Andrew Ridgely form a pop duo, whose most popular songs are usually the epitome of fun times, ‘everyone wears leg warmers’ 1980s. It’s a great song to get you up-and-at-’em in the morning.


10. Take My Breath Away – Berlin

Most notably remembered for being featured in the Tom Cruise hit movie Top Gun, Take My Breath Away speaks for the classic cheesy love songs so popular during this decade. This song is a somewhat slow ballad that brings back the memories of your most steamy romance. It’s one of those songs that can be sung in your car at night or while it’s raining, and you can yell the lyrics at the top of your lungs. Coincidentally, that takes your breath away, too.