October 28, 2014


89 Best '80s Songs

Getty Images
Getty Images

When Taylor Swift announced that her next record would be titled 1989—the year she was born—images of a crucifix-hugging Madonna and a Rhythm Nation-pledging Janet Jackson immediately came to mind. The music of the '80s has long been celebrated for its penchant for experimentation and unabashed adoration of all things pop, from the synthed-out bliss of New Wave to the sky-high hair-dos of the Sunset Strip's most notorious metalheads to rappers pushing the boundaries of an ever-changing genre. Approximately nine kajillion compilations of top '80s songs exist, and a visit to your local dive is incomplete unless you spend some quality time with the decade's greatest hits courtesy of an ancient jukebox. People keep hitting replay on these tracks for a reason, and it's because these songs, though they're rooted in the days of DayGlo and The Breakfast Club, are ultimately timeless.

To honor one of the best decades in music and culture, here's a collection of the 89 best '80s songs. Click to the next slide to begin your journey through the decade that gave us Taylor Swift...and so much more. 

By Jeff Benjamin, Hilary Hughes, Maria Sherman, and Samantha Vincenty

#1Devo, "Whip It" (1980)

Devo's live debut of "Whip It" occurred on December 29, 1979: Is there any better way to welcome the arrival of the '80s? With the song's official release in August, the maestros of New Wave popped into national prominence with their geometric hats and digital goodness. "Whip It" wasn't just a futuristic ditty with a surreal video to go with it: The song would become Devo's biggest hit, reaching No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and inspiring covers in later years from the likes of Moby, Powerman 5000 and, of course, Alvin and the Chipmunks.