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The 100 Best Songs of the 1980s

they never did turn Japanese

1980s music sounds better now than ever, since we are no longer subjected to hair metal on the radio or Starship on MTV.  By cherry picking the goodies, we can appreciate what Prince and Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen did for the mainstream, while Husker Du and R.E.M. and the Replacements gave hope to the left of the dial listeners.  And as the decade progressed, rap just got better and better.

100.  “Graceland,” Paul Simon (1986)

99.  “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” Crowded House (1987)

98.  “Genius of Love,” The Tom Tom Club (1982)

97.  “I Stand Accused,” Elvis Costello (1980)

96.  “Unhappy Anniversary,” Loudon Wainwright III (1986)

95.  “They Don’t Know,” Tracey Ullman (1983)

94.  “The Message,” Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five (1982)

93.  “Unsatisfied,” The Replacements (1984)

92.  “Stomp!,” The Brothers Johnson (1980)

91.  “Bad Reputation,” Joan Jett (1981)

90.  “Beautiful World,” Devo (1981)

89.  “U Got the Look,” Prince (1987)

88.  “An Empty Glass,” Gary Stewart (1988)

87.  “Let It Whip,” Dazz Band (1982)

86.  “Keep Your Hands to Yourself,” The Georgia Satellites (1986)

85.  “Highwayman,” The Highwaymen  (1985)

84.  “A Matter of Time,” Los Lobos (1984)

83.  “Right Side of My Mind,” Angry Samoans (1980)

82.  “Sexual Healing,” Marvin Gaye (1982)

81.  “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On),” Talking Heads (1980)

80.  “I’m Coming Out,” Diana Ross (1980)

79.  “Here Comes the Rain Again,” The Eurythmics  (1984)

78.  “Come On Eileen,” Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)

77.  “Pretty in Pink,” Psychedelic Furs (1981)

76.  “So This is Love?,” Van Halen (1981)

75.  “Freeway of Love,” Aretha Franklin (1985)

74.  “No Sex,” Alex Chilton (1986)

73.  “Rhythm Nation,” Janet Jackson (1989)

72.  “Jack the Ripper,” LL Cool J (1988)

71.  “I Will Dare,” The Replacements (1984)

70.  “Swingin’,” John Anderson (1983)

69.  “There She Goes Again,” Marshall Crenshaw (1982)

68.  “Absolutely Sweet Marie,” Jason and the Scorchers (1984)

67.  “Cleaning Windows,” Van Morrison (1982)

66.  “Alex Chilton,” The Replacements (1987)

65.  “Atlantic City,” Bruce Springsteen (1982)

64.  “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” The Gap Band (1982)

63.  “I Melt With You,” Modern English (1982)

62.  “I’ll Be You,” The Replacements (1989)

61.  “Burnin’ for You,” Blue Oyster Cult (1981)

60.  “Turning Japanese,” The Vapors (1980)

59.  “Tainted Love,” Soft Cell (1982)

58.  “Push It,” Salt-n-Pepa (1987)

57.  “Love is for Lovers,” dB’s (1984)

56.  “Would I Lie to You?,” The Eurythmics  (1985)

55.  “Just Like Heaven,” The Cure (1988)

54.  “Kiss,” Prince (1986)

53.  “Panic,” The Smiths (1986)

52.  “That’s the Joint,” Funky Four Plus One (1981)

51.  “Radio Free Europe,” R.E.M. (1981)

50.  “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” R.E.M. (1987)

49.  “Just Between You and Me,” April Wine (1981)

48.  “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” Tina Turner (1984)

47.  “Hold Me Now,” Thompson Twins (1984)

46.  “867-5309/Jenny,” Tommy Tutone (1982)

45.  “Running Up That Hill,” Kate Bush (1985)

44.  “Fast Car,” Tracy Chapman (1988)

43.  “Talk of the Town,” The Pretenders (1980)

42.  “(Say No to) Saturday’s Girl,” Human Switchboard (1981)

41.  “Word Up,” Cameo (1986)

40.  “Romeo Had Juliette,” Lou Reed (1989)

39.  “Something to Believe In,” The Ramones (1986)

38.  “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell),” Squeeze (1980)

37.  “The One I Love,” R.E.M. (1987)

36.  “Jump,” Van Halen (1984)

35.  “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda,” The Pogues (1985)

34.  “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” George Jones (1980)

33.  “Round and Round,” Ratt (1984)

32.  “The Boys of Summer,” Don Henley (1984)

31.  “Downtown Train,” Tom Waits (1985)

30.  “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Guns N’ Roses (1988)

29.  “Off the Wall,” Michael Jackson (1980)

28.  “Raising Hell,” Run-DMC (1986)

27.  “Whenever You’re on My Mind,” Marshall Crenshaw (1983)

26.  “Follow the Leader,” Eric B. & Rakim (1988)

25.  “Celebrated Summer,” Husker Du (1985)

24.  “Dear God,” XTC (1987)

23.  “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,” The Ramones (1985)

22.  “Ace of Spades,” Motorhead (1980)

21.  “Roll Me Away,” Bob Seger (1983)

20.  “Little Red Corvette,” Prince (1983)

19.  “Call Me,” Blondie (1980)

18.  “Like a Prayer, Madonna (1989)

17.  “Just Like Honey,” The Jesus and Mary Chain (1985)

16.  “Right Next Door (Because of Me),” Robert Cray (1986)

15.  “Our Lips Are Sealed,” The Go-Gos (1981)

14.  “Rockin’ in the Free World,” Neil Young (1989)

13.  “When Doves Cry,” Prince (1984)

12.  “Eight Miles High,” Husker Du (1984)

11.  “Beat It,” Michael Jackson (1983)

10.  “Tunnel of Love,” Bruce Springsteen (1987)

9.    “People Have the Power,” Patti Smith (1988)

8.    “Refugee,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1980)

7.    “Ana Ng,” They Might Be Giants (1988)

6.    “Left of the Dial,” The Replacements (1985)

5.    “Billy Jean,” Michael Jackson (1983)

4.    “Fight the Power,” Public Enemy  (1989)

3.    “True Faith,” New Order (1987)

2.    “Bring the Noise,” Public Enemy (1988)

1.    “London Calling,” The Clash (1980)

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