Music
298 voters

The Best British '80s Songs

Updated January 8, 2020 3.6k votes 298 voters 22.5k views34 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!

Photo:
...more
  • Sweet Dreams1
    90
    53

    Sweet Dreams

    Eurythmics

    AlbumsSweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

    ComposerAnnie Lennox, David A. Stewart

    ProducerDavid A. Stewart

    Length (seconds)3:32

    More Sweet Dreams 

    #63 of 122 Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals#9 of 36 The Best & Most Memorable Songs From Scary Movies

  • Love Will Tear Us Apart2
    90
    55

    Love Will Tear Us Apart

    Joy Division
  • Let's Dance3
    77
    44

    Let's Dance

    David Bowie
  • Hungry Like the Wolf4
    52
    21

    AlbumsRio

    ComposerDuran Duran

    Length (seconds)5:10

    More Hungry Like the Wolf 

    #13 of 22 These Pop Songs Describe The Plots Of Your Favorite Horror Movies#11 of 115 The Best '80s Dance Songs

  • Under Pressure5
    90
    59

    Under Pressure

    David Bowie, Queen

    AlbumsHot Space, Let's Dance

    ComposerDavid Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor

    ProducerDavid Bowie, Queen

    Length (seconds)3:50

  • Careless Whisper6
    79
    49

    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#27 of 100 The Best R&B Songs Of The '80s, Ranked

  • The Reflex7
    82
    54

    The Reflex

    Duran Duran

    AlbumsSeven and the Ragged Tiger

    ComposerDuran Duran, Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor, Nigel John Taylor, Nick Rhodes

    Length (seconds)5:29

  • Another One Bites The Dust8

    AlbumsThe Game

    ComposerJohn Deacon

    ProducerQueen, Reinhold Mack

    Length (seconds)3:35

    More Another One Bites The Dust 

    #9 of 133 The Best Workout Songs#3 of 77 The Best Pop Songs About Death

  • Running Up That Hill9

    AlbumsHounds of Love

    ComposerKate Bush

    ProducerKate Bush

    Length (seconds)5:3

    More Running Up That Hill 

    #2 of 100 The Best Songs with Hill in the Title#5 of 79 The Best Songs About Running

  • Shout10
    76
    50

    Shout

    Tears for Fears
  • Mad World11
    86
    63

    Mad World

    Tears for Fears

    Date Recorded1982

    AlbumsThe Hurting

    ComposerRoland Orzabal

    ProducerChris Hughes, Ross Cullum

    Length (seconds)3:31

    More Mad World 

    #24 of 182 The Best '80s New Wave Songs#8 of 113 The Best Alternative Songs Of The '80s, Ranked

  • Don't You Want Me12
    78
    55

    Don't You Want Me

    The Human League
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love13

    AlbumsThe Game

    ComposerFreddie Mercury, Queen

    ProducerQueen, Reinhold Mack

    Length (seconds)2:41

    More Crazy Little Thing Called Love 

    #8 of 256 The Best Songs with Love in the Title#11 of 174 The Best Songs About Being Crazy

  • Lovecats14
    59
    39

    Lovecats

    The Cure
  • Money For Nothing (Full Length Version)15

    AlbumsBrothers in Arms

    ComposerSting, Mark Knopfler

    ProducerMark Knopfler, Neil Dorfsman

    Length (seconds)8:25

    More Money For Nothing (Full Length Version) 

    #30 of 89 The Best Ever Grammy Winning Records#9 of 16 16 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

  • Another Brick in the Wall, Part 216

    AlbumsThe Wall

    ComposerRoger Waters

    ProducerRoger Waters, Bob Ezrin, James Guthrie, David Gilmour

    Length (seconds)4:0

    More Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 

    #5 of 138 The Best Pink Floyd Songs#8 of 61 The Best Rebel Songs

  • I Want to Break Free17

    AlbumsThe Works

    ComposerJohn Deacon

    Length (seconds)3:18

    More I Want to Break Free 

    #3125 of 3,867 The Best Songs Of All Time, Ranked#13 of 89 The Best Queen Songs of All Time

  • Karma Chameleon18
    55
    46

    Karma Chameleon

    Culture Club

    AlbumsColour by Numbers

    ComposerBoy George, Culture Club, Roy Hay, Mikey Craig, Jon Moss

    ProducerSteve Levine

    Length (seconds)3:52

    More Karma Chameleon 

    #184 of 193 The Worst Freakin' Songs of the '80s, Ranked#26 of 52 The Best 1980s Music Videos

  • In the Air Tonight19
    56
    48

    In the Air Tonight

    Phil Collins

    AlbumsFace Value

    ComposerPhil Collins

    ProducerPhil Collins, Hugh Padgham

    Length (seconds)4:0

    More In the Air Tonight 

    #6 of 284 The Best Rock Songs Of The '80s, Ranked#12 of 84 The Best Songs About Betrayal

  • Wake Me Up Before You Go Go20
    54
    49

    Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

    George Michael, WHAM!

    AlbumsMake It Big

    ComposerGeorge Michael

    ProducerGeorge Michael

    Length (seconds)3:49

    More Wake Me Up Before You Go Go 

    #11 of 20 The Best Happy Songs of All Time#42 of 114 The Best Party Songs Of The '80s, Ranked

  • Cars21
    51
    48

    Cars

    Gary Numan

    AlbumsThe Pleasure Principle, The Pleasure Principle / Warriors

    ComposerGary Numan

    ProducerGary Numan

    Length (seconds)3:37

    More Cars 

    #128 of 161 The Best Songs to Sing at Karaoke#1 of 105 The Best Songs with Car in the Title

  • Leave In Silence22
    46
    51

    Leave In Silence

    Depeche Mode
  • Faith23
    46
    54

    Faith

    George Michael

    AlbumsFaith

    ComposerGeorge Michael

    ProducerGeorge Michael

    Length (seconds)3:16

  • Happy House24
    38
    48

    Happy House

    Siouxsie & the Banshees

    AlbumsKaleidoscope

    ComposerSiouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin

    Length (seconds)3:52

  • Flesh for Fantasy25
    32
    43

    Flesh for Fantasy

    Billy Idol

    AlbumsRebel Yell

    ComposerWilliam Michael Albert Broad, Steve Stevens

    Length (seconds)4:38