Music

The Best British '80s Songs 

Ranker Music
Updated January 8, 2020 1.8k votes 198 voters 14.6k views 34 items

What are the best songs to come from the British Isles during the '80s? Let's not forget, some of the greatest bands of all time originated in Great Britain, and while the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, U2, and many more began long before the 1980s, that doesn't mean the decade doesn't have a lot of hits. Let's rank the best '80s songs from British artists that truly defined the decade not just in the UK, but around the world.

The 1980s was a great decade for British songs, which becomes all the more clear if you've ever heard a little tune called "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. In fact, just about every major hit from Queen was released during the 1980s, but that was hardly the only band to kick out killer tracks in the '80s. George Michael released a few amazing tracks including "Faith" and "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" while Culture Club dropped "Karma Chameleon," which is probably running through your head right now after simply reading the title. Other amazing hits to come from the decade include "Shout" by Tears for Fears, "Leave In Silence" by Depeche Mode, and The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" among many obvious others from artists like Billy Idol and Phil Collins.

Vote up your favorite British '80s songs, and add as many to the list as you like!

list ordered by
1
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David Bowie, Queen

Albums: Hot Space, Let's Dance

Composer: David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor, + more

Producer: David Bowie, Queen

Length (seconds): 3:50

2
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Eurythmics

Albums: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

Composer: Annie Lennox, David A. Stewart

Producer: David A. Stewart

Length (seconds): 3:32

More Sweet Dreams 

#2,999 of 4,108 The Best Songs Of All Time, Ranked #113 of 123 Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals #3 of 59 The Best 1980s Music Videos

3
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Tears for Fears

Date Recorded: 1982

Albums: The Hurting

Composer: Roland Orzabal

Producer: Chris Hughes, Ross Cullum

Length (seconds): 3:31

More Mad World 

#12 of 194 The Best '80s New Wave Songs #12 of 121 The Best Alternative Songs Of The '80s, Ranked #1 of 162 The Best Songs with World in the Title

4
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Duran Duran

Albums: Seven and the Ragged Tiger

Composer: Duran Duran, Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor, Nigel John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, + more

Length (seconds): 5:29

5
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Shout Tears for Fears
6
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Queen

Albums: The Game

Composer: John Deacon

Producer: Queen, Reinhold Mack

Length (seconds): 3:35

7
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Queen

Albums: The Game

Composer: Freddie Mercury, Queen

Producer: Queen, Reinhold Mack

Length (seconds): 2:41

8
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Kate Bush

Albums: Hounds of Love

Composer: Kate Bush

Producer: Kate Bush

Length (seconds): 5:3

9
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Let's Dance David Bowie
10
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Love Will Tear Us Apart Joy Division
11
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Don't You Want Me The Human League
12
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George Michael, WHAM!

Albums: Make It Big

Composer: George Michael, Andrew Ridgeley

Producer: George Michael

Length (seconds): 4:49

More Careless Whisper 

#9 of 51 The Best Blue-Eyed Soul Songs #107 of 194 The Best '80s New Wave Songs #100 of 117 The Best Party Songs Of The '80s, Ranked

13
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starwarssuperfan added Duran Duran

Albums: Rio

Composer: Duran Duran

Length (seconds): 5:10

More Hungry Like the Wolf 

#6 of 59 The Best 1980s Music Videos #15 of 22 These Pop Songs Describe The Plots Of Your Favorite Horror Movies #16 of 194 The Best '80s New Wave Songs

14
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Lovecats The Cure
15
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Queen

Albums: The Works

Composer: John Deacon

Length (seconds): 3:18

16
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Dire Straits

Albums: Brothers in Arms

Composer: Sting, Mark Knopfler

Producer: Mark Knopfler, Neil Dorfsman

Length (seconds): 8:25

More Money For Nothing (Full Length Version) 

#3,491 of 4,108 The Best Songs Of All Time, Ranked #46 of 93 The Best Ever Grammy Winning Records #116 of 194 The Best '80s New Wave Songs

17
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Culture Club

Albums: Colour by Numbers

Composer: Boy George, Culture Club, Roy Hay, Mikey Craig, Jon Moss, + more

Producer: Steve Levine

Length (seconds): 3:52

More Karma Chameleon 

#175 of 184 The Worst Freakin' Songs of the '80s, Ranked #2,624 of 4,108 The Best Songs Of All Time, Ranked #27 of 59 The Best 1980s Music Videos

18
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Gary Numan

Albums: The Pleasure Principle, The Pleasure Principle / Warriors

Composer: Gary Numan

Producer: Gary Numan

Length (seconds): 3:37

19
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Pink Floyd

Albums: The Wall

Composer: Roger Waters

Producer: Roger Waters, Bob Ezrin, James Guthrie, David Gilmour

Length (seconds): 4:0

20
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George Michael, WHAM!

Albums: Make It Big

Composer: George Michael

Producer: George Michael

Length (seconds): 3:49

21
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Phil Collins

Albums: Face Value

Composer: Phil Collins

Producer: Phil Collins, Hugh Padgham

Length (seconds): 4:0

22
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Leave In Silence Depeche Mode
23
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Happy House Siouxsie & the Banshees

Albums: Kaleidoscope

Composer: Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin

Length (seconds): 3:52

24
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George Michael

Albums: Faith

Composer: George Michael

Producer: George Michael

Length (seconds): 3:16

25
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John Lennon, Yoko Ono

Albums: Double Fantasy, Double Fantasy Stripped Down

Composer: John Lennon

Producer: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Jack Douglas

Length (seconds): 3:56