Growing up in the 80s, I took my music very. seriously. I spent HOURS sitting in front of my boom box recording my favorite songs off the radio onto my cassette tapes. So when Mike told me the readers of Rolling Stone made a list of The Ten Worst Songs of The 80s, I was curious… and then appalled, because these are awesome songs! Someone has to defend their honor, and that someone is moi!
10. Rick Astley- Never Gonna Give You Up
First of all, without this song there would be no Rick Roll, and that alone makes it worthwhile. But what really makes it great is the fact that it is sung by a 99-pound ginger weakling who sounds like Barry White first thing in the morning. So great!
9. Taco -Puttin’ On The Ritz
How can people hate this song? At some point someone somewhere said, “Hey, we should cover that Irving Berlin song from The Roarin’ Twenties, but do it with crazy techno beats!” And someone somewhere replied, “What a totally awesome idea! Let’s do it!” That is something that could ONLY have happened in the 80s.
8. Toni Basil- Mickey
If I had been a cheerleader I bet I would really love this song. As it is, whenever I hear it on the radio now I feel an uncontrollable urge to have spirit fingers.
7. Bobby McFerrin- Don’t Worry Be Happy
I totally owned this cassette SINGLE. Yep. Bobby McFerrin performed the entire song, even “singing” the musical instrument sounds. I, uh…definitely didn’t spend time in my room trying to do the same thing. Nope.
6. Falco- Rock Me Amadeus
This is a synth-pop song about Mozart. With German lyrics. By a guy named “Falco.” So OF COURSE it went straight to number one. I love any song that teaches me German. Er war Superstar! Er war populär!
5. Men Without Hats- The Safety Dance
OK. I kind of hate this song, so I can’t defend it too much. Yet, every time I hear it, I sing along. Damn ear worm!
4. Wham!- Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
I cannot imagine the 80s without Wham! George Michael IS the 80s. I copied his short-shorts and yellow gloves, and I rocked ’em.
3. Chris DeBurgh- Lady In Red
No one is allowed to hate this song! It was playing when I had my first slow dance… cheek to cheek… with a boy. Thank you, Brian Nelson!
2. Europe- The Final Countdown
This is the theme song to Gob Bluth’s magic show in Arrested Development. It is impossible to hate anything related to Will Arnet. Also, the keyboard part. Doo-doo-d00-d00ooooooo! Doo-doo-d00-d00-d0ooooooo0!
1. Starship- We Built This City
Mike will kill me for saying this, but I never got Jefferson Airplane. “White Rabbit” is not for me… I change the station every time. But when the band got poppy and changed its name 87 times, I started to dig it. When “We Built This City” comes on the radio now, I’m like YEAH TURN THAT CRAP UP!
I’m off to dig out my old cassettes (because of course I still have them) and have a listening party with Annie!
80’s music was the worst – our only saving grace was MTV so now we could watch bad music. But I have to admit, I RAN to turn up the volume to Lady in Red. So pathetic!
I loved ‘the final countdown’ and many other songs from that area.
Europe was one of my fav groups!
I love everything about this post. Especially the part about Rick Astley, DREAM BOAT. Have you seen the picture on Pinterest that shows, “Things Rick Astley Wouldn’t Do”? I would embed it here but I am technologically….impaired and I don’t think I can. But in any case if you haven’t, you should Google it. Also, I am surprised and relieved no New Kids songs were in the Top Ten worst. I still want to marry Joey.
Once week from today I am going to be reliving my teens at a Duran Duran concert in NYC! I tweeted about it right before I read this (it’s an 80’s connection!).
Related – I am not appreciative of the Don’t Worry Be Happy earworm running thru my head, I never did like that one
I LOVE my 80’s music. My Sirius radio almost never leaves the 80’s station. When it does, it is usually to flip over to Hair Nation. Should be called Hair Nation – The Heavier side of the 80’s. I remember when Culture Club first came out no one was sure whether Boy George was a girl or guy. I just knew I wanted his hair style and awesome make-up. LOL
WHAT?! I LOVE THOSE SONGS!
If those are the worst songs from the 80s then what on earth do they think are the best songs from the 80s?
I think they meant to label it the BEST songs from the 80s……goes to show what they know….nada!
Amy K says:
Seriously, right?! Okay, I admit that Don’t Worry, Be Happy never did it for me, but the rest of that list is welcome on my iPod any day.
I agree with you mostly… I hate Puttin’ on the Ritz. Change the station. Every. Single. Time. My vote for the all time worst 80’s song? Electric Avenue. Hands down.
I had Safety Dance on a EP! I loved all these songs except Puttin’ on the Ritz. I am a total 80’s child!
I was a teen in the ’80’s, you can’t tell me those songs aren’t awesome!
cagey (Kelli Oliver George) says:
Whoever made this list was probably some punk who wasn’t even alive in the 80s. Damned kids, get off my lawn!
Brandy K says:
Best part, hands down: “YEAH TURN THAT CRAP UP!” Thanks for making me laugh on an up-with-toddler-every-hour morning after!
So basically it’s a list of the most nostalgia-inducing songs of the 80s? I didn’t particularly listen to this genre, but they almost all get me dancing. And really? There are far worse 80s songs.
I put “We Built This City” on a random mix CD several years ago and I’m happy to say that my 10 year old nephew knows all the words and loves it. One of my most favorite things is being in the car with him singing along to that song.
Becca Masters says:
I have to disagree. I positively DESPISE Lady In Red. Let me tell you why.
There was a guy at school, his name was Andrew Hussy. He was tall, skinny, covered in acne and he had great hair and bad dandruff. He also played the bassoon.
He once asked me (in fact he asked me out loads of time, but this particular one really highlight his creepiness) so he asked me out and I said no. He then turned to my friend who was standing next to me and said “what about you?”
At his 18th birthday party (I was 16) we all went because it was free alcohol. He asked me to dance and All his family were watching so I couldn’t say no. The song? Lady In Red. Ugh.
He then asked me on a date in front of the whole family so I couldn’t say no and it was the worst date ever!
Every time I hear Lady In Red it makes me cringe!
WHAT?!?!? Every single song on this list is awesometastic! I am appalled.
I am, once again, super disappointed in Rolling Stone. These are my JAMS. I know all of the words to all of them.
So either I am a giant nerd (entirely possible) or Rolling Stone is pretentious, crabby and full of fail.
We built this city. I think they mis-labeled that list.
I even had the DONT WORRY BE HAPPY t-shirt… it was black and the words were NEON… and I had the socks to match… whats wrong w/ these people?!?! Those are, for the most part, great songs! Long live the 80s!
I LOVE 80’s music. Rick Astley totally reminds me of a trip my BFF and I took to Puerto Vallarta in the mid-80’s. They played Rick ad nausem at Carlos O’Brien’s and we LOVED it. What a great trip, what a great friend, what a great tune!!
I LOVE 80s music. Like a LOT. And most of those songs up there? Love them.
I hope your listening party turned into an all out dance party!
These songs are AWESOME!! I was never a cheerleader either but I kind of want to be one when I hear Mickey. The Final Countdown ROCKS and We Built This City reminds me of when I would go to Skate City for the afternoon and roller skate my butt off. They always played that song and it always takes me back to the smell of rented roller skates. Those were the days. Do kids even go to the roller rink anymore?
I wondered the same thing, but then my daughter was invited to a skating party a few weeks ago. Awesome.
True Story. This city WAS built on rock and roll. Well, not this city, but somewhere, some city was. I’m sure.
Eff you Rolling Stone.
Jen R. says:
This made me smile.
Cath @ 7 Million Wonders says:
The stupid name that we have for our daughter is “Bicky”–I don’t know how I would interact with her if you took the Toni Basil song out of the rock lexicon. In my house, it’s most frequently the diaper song. “Oh, Bicky, you’re so shitty, you can’t understand…HEY BICKY!”
I the 80s. I was totally in love with Michael Jackson! I even had his tshirt I wore every day. Also every time I hear Mickey I suddenly think I am a cheerleader and can do cartwheels..I can't lol. SO I changed the words to Nicky and sing it to my son. He gets really embarrassed now that he is a 'tween' but he used to love it when he was tiny.
Clearly, whoever came up with this list did not grow up in the 80s. I did and I LOVE these songs. Well, except the Lady in Red — that one always kinda annoyed me — something about the guy’s voice.
I pretty much love all 80s music. Wake me up before you go-go … classic!!!
Turn that crap up!! HA! love it
Did you watch DWTS last night? It was their 80’s night. Very good!
We Built This City is one of the best workout songs ever. And you’re right, you can’t have the 80’s without Wham and George Michael. Love 80’s music!
Still sing along to just about all these songs when I hear them. Loved Rick Astley and Bobby McFerrin. These were all classics as far as I’m concerned!
I’m surprised 99 Red Balloons wasn’t on that list, or any by Air Supply. The 80s was totally about fun music, not necessarily GOOD music, but that’s okay too!
i love 80’s music and always will! i still have quite a few cassettes myself!
What kind of crazy fascist list is this? I call bullshit. And I’m mad! Those are the some of the greatest songs of all time! I’ll admit that I was bopping along to “I’m Sexy and I Know It” in the car this morning, but even my 10 year old criticized the words for being really stupid. I have a really awesome Rick Astley graphic that I have to send you…. here it is http://thefw.com/things-rick-astley-will-never-do-checklist/
I don’t get it! These are the BEST songs.
Amen to everything you said in this post. I LIVED on MTV as a kid, so not only do I remember vividly the music, but also the accompanying videos. And your line ” a 99-pound ginger weakling who sounds like Barry White first thing in the morning” made me laugh so hard. Thanks for that!
Apparently Rolling Stone’s readers can’t distinguish between bad songs and bad videos? Because this list is 80% absurd.
…That said, Rick Astley and Lady in Red suck pretty bad.
I love those songs too. Whenever I am in a car with xmradio I always turn up the 80’s station. I heart Human League, Rick Springfield (who recently came out with a lullabye CD) Asia, Journey (& pretty much all 80’s music). Take care.
I was an 80s child too and LOVE 80s music! One of my (current) favourite CDs ever is my New Wave/New Romantics one…
The only song on that list I actually loathe is Lady in Red but only because of the memory of the class bully slow-dancing to it at our school dance (the equivalent of a prom, I guess) with her horrid boyfriend’s tongue down her throat. Put me off it for life.
My personal faves from the 80s were Adam and the Ants, Howard Jones and The Cure…
Confession time – I started singing each and every one of those songs in my head as I read your post. And smiled… like TOTALLY!
Same here, Josee!
I can point to a very specific memory for each of those songs ( I met and started dating my husband when Don’t Worry Be Happy was big), so for that reason alone I can’t hate any of them. I agree with the person who said they should have been labelled the best songs of the 80’s. I mean, was there even ONE bad song made in the 80’s? Obviously. No.
I am a total 80’s chick, like for sure. But lady in red makes me want to stab pencils in my ears. Yeah…I always hated that song. *ducks to avoid boom boxes being hurled*
This made my day. I have the same opinion on all of them. I love 80’s music.
I think maybe the readers of that magazine read it wrong and voted for the top best songs of the 80’s! I loved all those songs when I was a kid and I still do now. Except.. sorry, don’t hate me.. The Final Countdown. I can’t stand that song, maybe it was overplayed by my father (quite possibly), but what ever it is I am not a fan. But put on the rest of the songs on loop and I will listen to it forever.
Adventures In Babywearing says:
I LOVED Bobby McFerrin and totally saw him in concert (long after Don’t Worry Be Happy – not sure if that makes me more or less of a dork ) But, I got to meet him and hang out afterwards and he was totally awesome and talented. I also wouldn’t want to know a childhood without Mickey and that video on MTV.
While I loved (and still love) much of the music from tbe 80’s….watching my mother dance around the house in one of her favorite coolottes and halter top to Wake me up before you go go was frightening. She claimed she was “cleaning house”, we were waiting for Alan Funt and his Candid Camera crew to pop out of a closet or something..
Absolutely! Sang to, listened to, drove to, danced to…. ALL these songs and I loved me my 80’s music…. Thanks for the memory lane trip!
Hey heather, watching the Anderson show about favorites among parents & parents strongly, openly declaring favorites. Would love your & mike’s thoughts on this. This show’s making me so angry!
whoa! that is crazy. I have to find it online!!!
Obvs, no one who made up this list grew up in the 80’s! These are some of the best 80’s ‘top 40’ stuff!
These songs are the song list of my HS years! The only song I agree is this side of, well, not good, is “We Built This City”. Except for that, every single song, in my opinion, speaks to my teen years. Songs full of techno pop, angst, emotion. God, it was the 80s!!!!!!
Kimm W. says:
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go is hands down the happiest song EVER. Seriously, the next time that you are bummed out play it. You will be dancing around like Carlton in no time. Rolling Stone can suck it.
I’m sorry Heather, but for once I really have to disagree with you – the 80’s, music included, s-u-c-k-e-d! BIG time!
There is seriously not one redeeming thing about the 80’s to me. Actually, there is – the fact that it’s over! Phew! (;
Yes yes yes!! I agree completely! The big hair, the side ponytails and slouchie socks and leg warmers, ughhhhhh. You couldn’t pay me enough to live through it again. At lunch on the local radio station they do an 80’s rewind for an hour. I scramble to change the station. every. single. time.
kris (lower case) says:
love these songs…
Wish I was a teen of the eighties, instead I was a baby in the late eighties (1987). My mom loves, “Lady in Red” so she’d disagree on that as well. =P
I love these songs! I had major flashbacks as I was going down the list. We built this city became my favourite song for a long time as I heard it played at the first disco I went to as a kid. I’m still a major 80’s tragic when it comes to music but I also love love love music from now as well. Thanks Heather, you made my day!!
katrina @ They All Call Me Mom says:
I’m a chick from the 80’s and these songs are awesome! My least favorite of the bunch is Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus, though. Never could get in to that one. But they all totally remind me of my youth and will always bring me back to a very fun time in my life
Average Jane says:
I had 45s of both Rock Me Amadeus and Puttin’ on the Ritz and I played them until they practically wore out. I can’t hate on any of the songs on the list.
I entered my wedding reception to The Final Countdown, that’s how much my husband and I love the song (and Gob Bluth’s magic show)!
My husband and I love The Final Countdown, too! We sing the doo-doo-doo-doo part and do this little marching thing. Yeah…we’re stupid, but we have a lot of fun! And we were just talking about the Gob connection yesterday, haha!
Are you sure they didn’t mean the BEST songs from the 80s?! I’m with you, those songs all rocked!
Love all of those songs!!! Love your responses to them!!
I must have been majorly uncool in the 80’s because I freaking love all those songs!!!
You will be happy to hear that I had a cheerleading routine to “wake me up before you go go”. I was the cool kid (for about 5 minutes in 7th grade but still!)
J. P Martin says:
Sussudio by Phil Collins it not on the list and Rady in Red is???? What’s wrong with this picture????