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Top 10 80s Songs You Forgot Were Awesome

VO: Matt Campbell

Script written by Matthew Manouli

Sure, the '80s gave us giant shoulder pads, but it also gave us some great tunes. Welcome to, and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 '80s Songs You Forgot Were Awesome.

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Special thanks to our user Bobby McGuire for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/search/80s%20songs


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Top 10 80s Songs You Forgot Were Awesome

Sure, the '80s gave us giant shoulder pads, but it also gave us some great tunes. Welcome to, and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 '80s Songs You Forgot Were Awesome.
For this list, we'll be looking at songs that were either released or charted in the 1980s and were popular at the time, but have been mostly forgotten. They may even be unrecognizable to a lot of younger listeners– but they were awesome nonetheless.

#10: “Out of Touch” (1984)
Hall & Oates

Believe it or not, Daryl Hall and John Oates probably had the most acceptable sense of fashion from their decade, and the same goes for their music. A lot of Hall & Oates songs are still played and remembered today, such as “Maneater” and “I Can't Go for That,” but this dance-rock song hasn't quite stood the test of time. It was quite the barnburner back in the day, though, topping the Billboard Hot 100 in the US for two weeks. And who didn’t love this music video that featured grown men beating on gigantic drums with huge sticks?

#9: “Dead Man's Party” (1986)
Oingo Boingo

Before Danny Elfman teamed up with Tim Burton to produce the dark scores for his movies, Elfman was the frontman of this American band. The title track from Oingo Boingo's 1985 album Dead Man's Party is in part an homage to the Mexican festival Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. With its upbeat ska vibe yet dark lyrics, the song does well to encompass the contrasting emotions of the festival. The band appeared in the 1986 film “Back to School” to play this song live, giving it more recognition at the time. But over the years, this song has had to share the spotlight with their other hit, “Weird Science,” leaving less room for us to remember this great track.

#8: “In a Big Country” (1983)
Big Country

While originating in Scotland, this Celtic rock song became quite popular across the pond in America, reaching number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. They can thank MTV for this, as their music video got heavy playtime on the channel. In a video that has clearly surpassed the limit for most plaid shirts seen per second, AND has men dropping like flies to an alluring femme fatale, the song itself conjures up images of lush pastures… which is exactly what the video shows. The bagpipe sound during the chorus gives this song context and sets it apart from other rock songs of the time– even though you may have forgotten about it until now.

#7: “The Perfect Kiss” (1985)
New Order

This band has been ahead of its time in many respects, and this synthpop song is no exception. With the full version of the song at 8 minutes and 46 seconds, this one was definitely a standout. And if that didn't catch your attention, the song uses both frog croaks and synthesized sheep sounds at the end of the track… and a cowbell, too! The song's popularity sadly waned in the early 90s, when they were unable to perform this song live due to the animal sounds and other programmed effects being too difficult to convert to the new synthesizer. Luckily, they started playing the song live again in 2006, so we can now once again appreciate how wonderful this song was.

#6: “I Got You” (1979)
Split Enz

Although this pop-rock song from Kiwi band Split Enz was released in late 1979, it first charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980. This song is remarkable for putting you in a weird mood, while vocalist Neil Finn describes his unrequited love, but instead of feeling pity, the synth leaves us unsure of whether or not this love borders on obsession. The uneasy feeling gets buried when the cheerful chorus takes over, the effects of which can be easily seen in the video. With Finn offering up enough facial expressions to make David Tennant smile, contrasted by the expressionless dancing only Sheldon Cooper could love, this forgotten but beloved track is great at depicting the uncomfortable nature of love.

#5: “The Promise” (1988)
When in Rome

Arguably British band When in Rome's biggest hit, this new wave track reached number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This song tells of a promise to always be there for their significant other. With its simple yet powerful lyrics, this song is great for couples who just want to hold each other tight, or middle aged men who are trying to pick up ladies at karaoke night. Since the band broke up in 1990, they haven’t had the chance to produce more music, although member Michael Floreale has since joined forces with singer John Ceravolo, and re-formed the group in 2006. Well, at least we can remember them altogether with this song.

#4: “Head over Heels” (1985)
Tears for Fears

This love song by British band Tears For Fears is often overshadowed by the band's other successful songs, such as “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” However, “Head over Heels” was almost as successful, peaking at number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was part of the Second British Invasion, which saw a lot of British new wave bands like Tears For Fears make it into the mainstream music circuit in the United States. We especially love the melodic piano and harmony at the end of this song, which gives it a gentle and soothing feeling. Don't ask us about this music video, though.

#3: “The Stroke” (1981)
Billy Squier

This early 80's anthemic rock song might at first seem like some kind of sexual innuendo, but the lyrics are actually a thinly veiled commentary on the music industry. Squier felt that singers sign away their souls and are used for their talents in order to make money, and are left with nothing when their company has no more use for them. It is a powerful message, and you most likely overlooked it when you first heard it, since you were too busy clapping your hands and stomping your feet… while hoping that song title didn’t mean what you thought it did. VH1 ranked it as the 59th best hard rock song of all time, so at least not EVERYONE’s forgotten how awesome thing song is.

#2: “Urgent” (1981)

You've been waitiiiing, for a song like this. No, this isn't Foreigner's hit song “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” Reaching number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, this hit by the famous rock band was released before their more popular song, “I Want to Know What Love Is”. In fact, it was such a success that it reached number 1 on the Billboard Rock charts, and stayed there for four weeks. Motown's Junior Walker can be heard playing sax throughout, and his great solo really gives the song a classic, edgy 80s vibe. We’ll be sure to not let ourselves forget this one again!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
“Self Control” (1984)
Laura Branigan
“If This Is It” (1984)
Huey Lewis and the News

“Send Me an Angel” (1983)
Real Life

“Vienna” (1981)
“The Killing Moon” (1984)
Echo & the Bunnymen

#1: “Never Tear Us Apart” (1988)

We just HAD to have this powerful ballad top our list! Originally composed to have a bluesy piano style, the song was later arranged in synth, altering the song's vibe completely. While it still does sound bluesy, the synth gives the song a more somber feel, and the dramatic pauses make it chilling. The music video's grim Prague skies add to this, before a haunting saxophone solo begins. It had been relatively forgotten about, but was used at vocalist Michael Hutchence's funeral in 1997, and has since been used to celebrate Hutchence. The song did chart again in 2014 after a documentary of INXS called “Never Tear Us Apart” was released, but we still think this forgotten gem needs a lot more attention.

Do you agree with our list? What’s the greatest 80s song that you think people have forgotten? For more musical top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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