Music
249 voters

The Best British '80s Songs

Updated January 8, 2020 3.2k votes 249 voters 18.9k 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
  • 1
    Hungry Like the Wolf
    44
    12

    AlbumsRio

    ComposerDuran Duran

    Length (seconds)5:10

  • 2
    Sweet Dreams
    72
    42

    Sweet Dreams

    Eurythmics

    AlbumsSweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

    ComposerAnnie Lennox, David A. Stewart

    ProducerDavid A. Stewart

    Length (seconds)3:32

    More Sweet Dreams 

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

  • 3
    Under Pressure
    82
    53

    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

  • 4
    Running Up That Hill

    AlbumsHounds of Love

    ComposerKate Bush

    ProducerKate Bush

    Length (seconds)5:3

  • 5
    Careless Whisper
    69
    43

    Careless Whisper

    George Michael, WHAM!

    AlbumsMake It Big

    ComposerGeorge Michael, Andrew Ridgeley

    ProducerGeorge Michael

    Length (seconds)4:49

    More Careless Whisper 

    #9 of 50 The Best Blue-Eyed Soul Songs#2 of 37 The Saddest Songs From The '80s

  • 6
    Shout
    68
    44

    Shout

    Tears for Fears
  • 7
    Love Will Tear Us Apart
    73
    50

    Love Will Tear Us Apart

    Joy Division
  • 8
    The Reflex
    69
    46

    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

  • 9
    Mad World
    79
    57

    Mad World

    Tears for Fears

    Date Recorded1982

    AlbumsThe Hurting

    ComposerRoland Orzabal

    ProducerChris Hughes, Ross Cullum

    Length (seconds)3:31

    More Mad World 

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

  • 10
    Let's Dance
    63
    41

    Let's Dance

    David Bowie
  • 11
    Another One Bites The Dust

    AlbumsThe Game

    ComposerJohn Deacon

    ProducerQueen, Reinhold Mack

    Length (seconds)3:35

    More Another One Bites The Dust 

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

  • 12
    Crazy Little Thing Called Love

    AlbumsThe Game

    ComposerFreddie Mercury, Queen

    ProducerQueen, Reinhold Mack

    Length (seconds)2:41

    More Crazy Little Thing Called Love 

    #21 of 256 The Best Songs with Love in the Title#14 of 89 The Best Queen Songs of All Time

  • 13
    Money For Nothing (Full Length Version)

    AlbumsBrothers in Arms

    ComposerSting, Mark Knopfler

    ProducerMark Knopfler, Neil Dorfsman

    Length (seconds)8:25

  • 14
    Lovecats
    54
    37

    Lovecats

    The Cure
  • 15
    Don't You Want Me
    68
    53

    Don't You Want Me

    The Human League
  • 16
    I Want to Break Free

    AlbumsThe Works

    ComposerJohn Deacon

    Length (seconds)3:18

    More I Want to Break Free 

    #3220 of 3,866 The Best Songs Of All Time, Ranked#75 of 284 The Best Rock Songs Of The '80s, Ranked

  • 17
    Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
    50
    41

    Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

    George Michael, WHAM!

    AlbumsMake It Big

    ComposerGeorge Michael

    ProducerGeorge Michael

    Length (seconds)3:49

  • 18
    Karma Chameleon
    46
    38

    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 

    #180 of 194 The Worst Freakin' Songs of the '80s, Ranked#26 of 52 The Best 1980s Music Videos

  • 19
    In the Air Tonight
    50
    46

    In the Air Tonight

    Phil Collins

    AlbumsFace Value

    ComposerPhil Collins

    ProducerPhil Collins, Hugh Padgham

    Length (seconds)4:0

  • 20
    Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2

    AlbumsThe Wall

    ComposerRoger Waters

    ProducerRoger Waters, Bob Ezrin, James Guthrie, David Gilmour

    Length (seconds)4:0

  • 21
    Cars
    45
    43

    Cars

    Gary Numan

    AlbumsThe Pleasure Principle, The Pleasure Principle / Warriors

    ComposerGary Numan

    ProducerGary Numan

    Length (seconds)3:37

    More Cars 

    #130 of 161 The Best Songs to Sing at Karaoke#45 of 49 The Best '70s Karaoke Songs

  • 22
    Leave In Silence
    42
    46

    Leave In Silence

    Depeche Mode
  • 23
    Faith
    43
    47

    Faith

    George Michael

    AlbumsFaith

    ComposerGeorge Michael

    ProducerGeorge Michael

    Length (seconds)3:16

  • 24
    Happy House
    35
    44

    Happy House

    Siouxsie & the Banshees

    AlbumsKaleidoscope

    ComposerSiouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin

    Length (seconds)3:52

  • 25
    (Just Like) Starting Over
    39
    52

    (Just Like) Starting Over

    John Lennon, Yoko Ono

    AlbumsDouble Fantasy, Double Fantasy Stripped Down

    ComposerJohn Lennon

    ProducerJohn Lennon, Yoko Ono, Jack Douglas

    Length (seconds)3:56