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The Best '80s Breakup Songs

Updated July 13, 2020 5.7k votes 444 voters 21.6k views45 items

From "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" by Poison to "Separate Ways" by Journey, there are many good '80s breakup songs that are perfect to listen to when you're going through a split of your own. Let's rank the best breakup songs from the '80s with the help of votes, and determine which lovesick tracks deserve to be called the greatest.

"Missing You" by John Waite is a fantastic '80s breakup songs that describes what it's like to be in denial about missing someone after being dumped. "Love Is a Battlefield" is a Pat Benatar classic that describes the hardships of love, while Scandal's "Goodbye To You" is an '80s song about breaking up from the perspective of the initiating the breakup. Other great '80s breakup songs are "Don't You Want Me" by Human League, "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" by Naked Eyes, and "Careless Whisper" by George Michael.

Add your favorite tracks to the list if they're not already here, so other people can vote them up along with the existing entries. The song must be a song released in the 1980s that's about breaking up with someone.

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  • Total Eclipse of My Heart1
    169
    53

    AlbumsFaster Than the Speed of Night

    ComposerJim Steinman

    ProducerJim Steinman

    Length (seconds)4:29

    More Total Eclipse of My Heart 

    #17 of 36 The Best & Most Memorable Songs From Scary Movies#2 of 77 The Best Ballads of the 80s

  • Alone2
    142
    37

    Alone

    Heart
  • Don't You (Forget About Me)3
    163
    55

    Don't You (Forget About Me)

    Simple Minds
  • Every Rose Has It's Thorn4

    AlbumsCrack a Smile... and More!, Open Up and Say... Ahh!

    ComposerBret Michaels, Rikki Rockett, C.C. DeVille, Bobby Dall

    Length (seconds)3:47

    More Every Rose Has It's Thorn 

    #24 of 73 The Best Classic Rock Songs For A First Dance#32 of 51 The Best Rock Songs To Sing At Karaoke

  • Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)5
  • Missing You6
    135
    40

    Missing You

    John Waite
  • I Hate Myself for Loving You7
    135
    45

    I Hate Myself for Loving You

    Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Joan Jett

    AlbumsUp Your Alley

    ComposerJoan Jett, Desmond Child

    Length (seconds)4:6

    More I Hate Myself for Loving You 

    #64 of 284 The Best Rock Songs Of The '80s, Ranked#14 of 113 The Best Songs About Hate

  • Separate Ways (Words Apart)8

    AlbumsFrontiers

    ComposerSteve Perry, Jonathan Cain

    Length (seconds)5:25

    More Separate Ways (Words Apart) 

    #3077 of 3,867 The Best Songs Of All Time, Ranked#103 of 162 The Best Songs with World in the Title

  • With or Without You9

    AlbumsThe Joshua Tree

    ComposerBono, The Edge, Larry Mullen, Jr., Adam Clayton

    ProducerDaniel Lanois

    Length (seconds)4:56

    More With or Without You 

    #68 of 90 The Greatest Songs That Are Ruined By Laptop Speakers#3 of 158 The Best U2 Songs of All Time

  • (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me10

    AlbumsNaked Eyes, Burning Bridges

    ComposerBurt Bacharach

    Length (seconds)3:35

  • Every Breath You Take11
    147
    64

    AlbumsSynchronicity

    ComposerSting

    ProducerThe Police, Hugh Padgham

    Length (seconds)4:13

    More Every Breath You Take 

    #19 of 52 The Best 1980s Music Videos#13 of 38 The Greatest Depressing Love Songs

  • Tainted Love12
    134
    56

    Tainted Love

    Soft Cell

    AlbumsNon-Stop Erotic Cabaret

    ComposerEd Cobb

    ProducerMike Thorne

    Length (seconds)2:32

    More Tainted Love 

    #9 of 122 Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals#2 of 142 The Greatest Songs by One-Hit Wonders

  • Love Is a Battlefield13
    130
    56

    AlbumsTropico

    ComposerHolly Knight, Mike Chapman

    ProducerNeil Giraldo, Pete Coleman

    Length (seconds)4:8

    More Love Is a Battlefield 

    #53 of 53 The Best Father/Daughter First Dance Wedding Songs#13 of 20 The Best Bouquet Toss Songs

  • Careless Whisper14
    128
    63

    Careless Whisper

    George Michael, WHAM!

    AlbumsMake It Big

    ComposerGeorge Michael, Andrew Ridgeley

    ProducerGeorge Michael

    Length (seconds)4:49

    More Careless Whisper 

    #8 of 50 The Best Blue-Eyed Soul Songs#125 of 182 The Best '80s New Wave Songs

  • Take My Breath Away15

    ComposerGiorgio Moroder, Tom Whitlock

    More Take My Breath Away 

    #104 of 246 The Greatest Pop Songs by One-Hit Wonders#11 of 107 The Greatest Songs by '80s One-Hit Wonders

  • Hard Habit to Break16

    AlbumsChicago 17, The Ultimate Chicago: Australian Tour Edition

    ComposerSteve Kipner

    Length (seconds)4:44

  • Don’t You Want Me17
    101
    51

    Don’t You Want Me

    Human League
  • If I Could Turn Back Time18

    AlbumsHeart of Stone

    ComposerDiane Warren

    Length (seconds)3:52

    More If I Could Turn Back Time 

    #177 of 193 The Worst Freakin' Songs of the '80s, Ranked#19 of 191 The Best Songs with Time in the Title

  • If You Leave19
    91
    49

    If You Leave

    Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark
  • Broken Wings20
    88
    49

    Broken Wings

    Mr. Mister

    AlbumsWelcome to the Real World

    ComposerRichard Page, Steve George

    Length (seconds)5:42

    More 

    #36 of 85 The Best Songs About Freedom#40 of 112 The Best Songs With Wing in the Title

  • Close My Eyes Forever21
    80
    50

    Close My Eyes Forever

    Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford

    AlbumsLita

    ComposerOzzy Osbourne, Lita Ford

    Length (seconds)4:39

  • Should I Stay or Should I Go22
    92
    61

    Should I Stay or Should I Go

    The Clash
  • The Breakup Song23
    74
    50

    The Breakup Song

    Greg Kihn Band
  • In Your Eyes24
    73
    52

    In Your Eyes

    Peter Gabriel

    AlbumsSo

    ComposerPeter Gabriel

    Length (seconds)5:29

    More In Your Eyes 

    #87 of 179 The Best Pop Songs Of The '80s, Ranked#6 of 165 The Best Songs About Eyes

  • The Winner Takes It All25

    AlbumsABBA, Super Trouper

    ComposerBenny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus

    ProducerBjörn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson

    Length (seconds)4:38

    More The Winner Takes It All 

    #38 of 97 The Best Ballads of the 70s#31 of 47 The Saddest Breakup Songs Ever Written