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The Best-Selling Songs of the 80s in the UK and Germany

I’m delighted to take you on a nostalgic journey again, back to the heart of my youth and a remarkable decade in music ā€“ the 1980s. Being born in 1973, my formative years were spent in the midst of an explosive era of music innovation and creativity. The unforgettable melodies, the iconic artists, and the cultural movements that framed this period have left a lasting imprint on me. Each song on this list sparks a unique memory, a moment of time encapsulated within the chords and lyrics of these classic tunes.

Back then, we saw a massive shift in the music landscape, from the raw acoustic and earthy sounds of the 70s, transitioning into the vibrant, electronic, and synthesized beats of the 80s. This era was marked by its pioneering use of new technology, synthesizers, and production techniques, a stark contrast to today’s music that thrives on digital platforms, streaming services, and social media influence. And of course, let’s not forget the extraordinary fashion statements ā€“ the big hair, the neon colors, and the shoulder pads that were as bold as the music itself!

Now, join me as we travel back in time, revisit the top-selling and most popular songs in the UK and Germany for each year of the 80s, and explore how these hits shaped the music and culture of the time.

Right before we dive into this musical journey, a little surprise awaits you at the end of this post ā€“ a link to a carefully curated Spotify playlist featuring all the top-selling songs from the 80s in the UK and Germany that we’re about to explore. Keep reading and enjoy this nostalgic trip, knowing that a musical treasure trove awaits you!


1980

  1. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)” – Pink Floyd
  2. “Call Me” – Blondie
  3. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” – The Police
  4. “Woman in Love” – Barbra Streisand
  5. “Super Trouper” – ABBA

1981

  1. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell
  2. “Bette Davis Eyes” – Kim Carnes
  3. “Endless Love” – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
  4. “Stand and Deliver” – Adam and the Ants
  5. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” – The Police

1982

  1. “Come On Eileen” – Dexys Midnight Runners
  2. “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor
  3. “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  4. “Ebony and Ivory” – Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
  5. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” – Culture Club

1983

  1. “Karma Chameleon” – Culture Club
  2. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson
  3. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
  4. “Flashdanceā€¦ What a Feeling” – Irene Cara
  5. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” – Eurythmics

1984

  1. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Band Aid
  2. “Relax” – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  3. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” – Stevie Wonder
  4. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham!
  5. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker Jr.

1985

  1. “The Power of Love” – Jennifer Rush
  2. “Careless Whisper” – George Michael
  3. “We Are the World” – USA for Africa
  4. “I Want to Know What Love Is” – Foreigner
  5. “Easy Lover” – Philip Bailey & Phil Collins

1986

  1. “West End Girls” – Pet Shop Boys
  2. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” – The Communards
  3. “Take My Breath Away” – Berlin
  4. “Papa Don’t Preach” – Madonna
  5. “Rock Me Amadeus” – Falco

1987

  1. “Never Gonna Give You Up” – Rick Astley
  2. “La Isla Bonita” – Madonna
  3. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” – Whitney Houston
  4. “With or Without You” – U2
  5. “It’s a Sin” – Pet Shop Boys

1988

  1. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses
  2. “A Groovy Kind of Love” – Phil Collins
  3. “One More Try” – George Michael
  4. “Orinoco Flow” – Enya
  5. “Desire” – U2

1989

  1. “Like a Prayer” – Madonna
  2. “Another Day in Paradise” – Phil Collins
  3. “Eternal Flame” – The Bangles
  4. “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)” – Soul II Soul
  5. “The Look” – Roxette

And there we have it ā€“ a nostalgic look back at a decade filled with iconic hits that defined my youth and the music landscape of the 80s. Each song holds a precious memory, a flash from the past, a reminder of how far we’ve come, and yet, how these classics still manage to inspire and influence us today.

The 1980s was a decade unlike any other, a pivotal period that reshaped music and brought a fresh wave of sound that still reverberates today. Comparing the music scene of the 80s to today’s scene showcases a fascinating evolution ā€“ from record players and mixtapes to digital downloads and streaming services. Yet, the magic of music remains unchanged ā€“ it continues to inspire, unite, and empower us in so many ways.

As we listen to today’s music, we’re reminded of how it’s built on the foundation laid by these legendary 80s hits. These songs ā€“ their beats, their lyrics, their spirit ā€“ continue to influence modern artists, reminding us that even though times have changed, good music remains timeless.

Thanks for taking this journey with me, through the highs and lows of the music that marked my coming of age. Music is more than just a melody, it’s a connection to our past and a bridge to our future. I hope these songs brought back fond memories for you as well and continue to inspire as we navigate the rhythm of life.

Till the next nostalgic trip, keep the music playing!

As a special treat to accompany this nostalgic journey, I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist featuring all the songs mentioned above.