Here’s my TOP TEN of 80’s songs. Whilst not necessarily the best these are the ones that mean something to me
10] The Jam – Going Underground
The first of their UK chart-toppers, Going Underground, was penned by Paul Weller, the frontman. The lyrics of the track convey a feeling of frustration with the political situation of the era and a yearning for transformation. The song’s first verse, “Some people might say my life is in a rut,” showcases the vocalist’s dissatisfaction with the existing state of things. Going Underground was released when the UK was experiencing unrest in social and political spheres, including widespread protests against the economic policies of the Thatcher government. The tune’s message resonated profoundly with several young people who were disillusioned with the political establishment.
09] S’Express – Theme from S’Express
Theme from S’Express is a lively dance tune created by the British electronic music ensemble. The song’s contagious rhythm and memorable chorus, which blends house music, hip hop, and samples from Chris Montez’s 1960s hit “Let’s Dance,” have gained widespread recognition. It topped the charts and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording in 1989.
08] Pet Shop Boys – It’s a Sin
The lyrics of the song ponder feelings of guilt and shame associated with being raised in a strict Catholic environment, where certain actions are considered sinful. With a catchy synth-pop beat and a dramatic orchestral arrangement, the track became a popular fixture on dance floors during the 1980s. The music video, directed by Derek Jarman, generated controversy for its portrayal of the AIDS epidemic and the bias and persecution experienced by the LGBTQ+ community.
07] Bros – When Will I Be Famous?
The brothers, Matt and Luke Goss, together with Nicky Graham, wrote the song, which was then produced by Nicky Graham and Tom Watkins. It gained international recognition and reached number two on the UK Singles Chart. The tune’s catchy pop rhythm, with a pulsating beat and unforgettable chorus, reflects the brothers’ ambition for fame and success.
06] Specials – Ghost Town
With its eerie tune and poignant lyrics depicting a forsaken town plagued by destitution and decay, Ghost Town symbolises the desolate atmosphere of many UK communities in the early 1980s. The song, crafted by The Specials, reflects the rampant racial tension, unemployment, and poverty that infested the country during that time. Known for their politically charged compositions, The Specials’ Ghost Town is a powerful representation of their artistic vision.
05] The Beautiful South – Song For Whoever
The song satirises the music industry’s inclination to produce songs that cater to a broad audience, irrespective of the real content. The witty and cynical lyrics comprise a range of observations on the different individuals who may relish an ordinary love song.
04] The Proclaimers – Sunshine on Leith
Sunshine on Leith was released in 1988 and is the title track of their second studio album. The song is a tribute to the duo’s hometown of Leith, a port district in Edinburgh, Scotland and describes the beauty of the city and its people.
03] The Housemartins – Happy Hour
The song provides a satirical yet cutting portrayal of existence in the realm of the average working man, who frequents nearby pubs during lunchtimes and most evenings. The first band that were mine and not handed by by relatives.
02] Brother Beyond – The Harder I Try
Brother Beyond’s “The Harder I Try” is a 1988 pop hit that was composed and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman. The track peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band’s most successful single. The song incorporates a captivating synth-pop melody, a pulsating rhythm, and lively verses about attempting to earn someone’s affection. Additionally, it borrows the drum introduction from The Isley Brothers’ “This Old Heart of Mine.”
01] Kylie Minogue – I Should Be So Lucky
In late 1987, the hit-making team of Stock Aitken Waterman released yet another chart-topping song. This particular track became a smash hit, dominating the music scene in various countries such as Australia, the UK, and Germany. It was also the debut single of Minogue, catapulting her into the limelight as a pop star. The song’s lively melody and positive lyrics immediately won over audiences worldwide.