The '80s Songs We Just Can't Quit

Photo: SnapStills/Rex/Shutterstock.
We love our Zayn. We love our Rihanna. We even love our Bieber (now). Still, sometimes we need the musical equivalent of a #ThrowbackThursday, and that's where the '80s come in.

Hear us out. We're talking about the decade that gave us New Wave, New Romantics, new respect for rap, and Michael Jackson's King of Pop heyday. We also got Madonna and Cyndi, Siouxsie Sioux and Adam Ant. Men wore makeup, women paired suits with buzz cuts, synthesizers were king, and everyone knew Jenny's phone number. Hell, MTV even played music videos!

We're paying tribute to it all with 32 of our favorite '80s hits. Trust us, that doesn't even scratch the surface, which is why we'll be updating this list monthly. If your favorite Duran Duran or David Bowie hit doesn't show up now, you've gotta have faith (sorry) that it will soon.
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Video: Courtesy of Bobcat Records.
Pet Shop Boys, "West End Girls" (1984)
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe may look bored as hell in the video, but it is actually humanly impossible to not sprint to the dance floor when this pop track comes on.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Kim Carnes, "Bette Davis Eyes" (1981)
This 1981 Grammy-winning Song of the Year is a fabulous ode to a certain classic film star. Show some respect, kiddos.
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Video: Courtesy of London Records.
Bananarama, "Cruel Summer" (1983)
Not to be confused with Kanye West's "Cruel Winter," this seasonal fave didn't become a hit until the year following its U.K. release. It's all thanks to its inclusion on The Karate Kid soundtrack, so let's give Daniel-Son a round of applause, okay?
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Video: Courtesy of Chrysalis.
Ultravox, "Vienna" (1980)
This track's appearance in a season 3 episode of The Americans reminded us just how intoxicating the synth-pop ballad is.
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Visage, "Fade to Grey" (1980)
Just try not to bop your head to that sweet synth beat.
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The Cure, "A Forest" (1980)
There are really too many Cure songs to consider, but this one pretty much nails the British group's goth-rock sensibilities and creative beats.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Robert Palmer, "Johnny and Mary" (1980)
With all due respect to "Addicted to Love," this hummable love song is more likely to turn up on party playlists.
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Video: Courtesy of Sire/Warner Bros.
Tom Tom Club, "Genius of Love" (1981)
Mariah Carey later sampled this for "Fantasy," but its true creators are none other than Talking Heads' husband-and-wife duo, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. Show some respect.
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Video: Courtesy of EMI Music.
The Human League, "Don't You Want Me" (1981)
Yes, yes, we want you. See you at karaoke night.
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Video: Courtesy of 2 Tone.
The Specials, "Ghost Town" (1981)
Gotta show some love for the ska. This hit about urban decay captured the angst of Margaret Thatcher's England.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Michael Jackson, "Billie Jean" (1982)
Picking a favorite M.J. song is like picking a favorite child...but harder. When all is said and done, though, this one always gets us going.
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Video: Courtesy of YouTube.
David Bowie, "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (1982)
The title track from the 1982 film Cat People is probably best known for the cinema scene in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Culture Club, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" (1982)
Culture Club wasn't just coloring outside the lines when it came to Boy George's gender identity. Their style of pop also incorporated elements from reggae and calypso to craft hits that didn't sound like anything else.
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Video: Courtesy of Warner Music Group.
New Order, "Blue Monday" (1983)
The original version of this dance club anthem runs about seven-and-a-half minutes, and not once have we felt the need to skip ahead to the next song.
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Video: Courtesy of YouTube.
Depeche Mode "Everything Counts" (1983)
All hail the poster boys for '80s electronica.
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Video: Courtesy of Sire.
Talking Heads, "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" (1983)
The ultimate hipster love song, as seen in Lars and the Real Girl.
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Video: Courtesy of Rhino.
The Smiths, "This Charming Man" (1983)
Man, we miss the old Morrissey.
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Video: Courtesy of Epic.
The The, "This Is the Day" (1983)
Anyone else listen to this first thing every morning as a motivational mantra? Just us?
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Eurythmics, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" (1983)
Pretty sure this is why synthesizers were invented, right? Also, Annie Lennox is a freaking legend.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Men at Work, "Overkill" (1983)
If "Down Under" is too campy for your tastes, consider this melancholic melody instead. Yes, it always makes us think of that Scrubs episode.
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Video: Courtesy of Sugar Hill Records.
Melle Mel, "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" (1983)
Frequently and erroneously credited to Grandmaster Flash, this popular coke-is-bad anthem is indicative of the decade's growing respect for hip-hop and funk.
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Video: Courtesy of London Records.
Bronski Beat, "Smalltown Boy" (1984)
Beyond being a wicked dance track, this synth-pop hit has an important message about homophobia.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Sade, "Smooth Operator" (1985)
Like a long soak in the bathtub for your ears.
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Video: Courtesy of Sire/Warner Bros.
Madonna, "Into the Groove" (1985)
Again, picking one is impossible, but there's nothing like a little shout-out to Desperately Seeking Susan.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Run-D.M.C., "It's Tricky" (1986)
Though not a huge hit at the time, this robust rap continues to be a crowd-pleaser, popping up in films like Can't Hardly Wait and Road Trip.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Terence Trent D'Arby, "Wishing Well" (1987)
Between this and "Sign Your Name," D'Arby (now known as Sananda Maitreya) had a lock on soulful pop.
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Video: Courtesy of A&M/PolyGram Records.
Suzanne Vega, "Tom's Diner" (1987)
Written by Vega in 1981, this hypnotic tune is the kind that sticks in your brain for days.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Salt-N-Pepa, "Push It" (1987)
Would you believe this rap favorite was originally released as a B-side? Millennials, just nod your head and pretend you know what that means.
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Video: Courtesy of One Little Indian.
The Sugarcubes, "Birthday" (1987)
In which baby Björk not only proved that Icelandic rock was a thing, but that she was one to watch.
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The Church, "Destination" (1988)
"Under the Milky Way" tends to get more love, but this other Starfish track has a hypnotic hook that deserves repeat play.
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Erasure, "A Little Respect" (1988)
The '60s had Aretha. The '80s had Erasure.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
Neneh Cherry, "Buffalo Stance" (1989)
Though more '90s fly girl in spirit, this tune remains one of the best dance hits of the '80s. Love the attitude.
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Video: Courtesy of VEVO.
The Stone Roses, "I Wanna Be Adored" (1989)
Ian Brown (yes, kids, he was in Harry Potter) and his powerful pipes helped usher in indie rock just as the '80s came to a close.

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