Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes
Released: 1984 Highest chart position: 1
Thanks to an enormous publicity campaign Holly Johnson and co dominated the UK charts in 1984. This dance rock classic and its controversial predecessor Relax ensured Frankie were the first group since The Beatles to hold the top two positions on the chart.
Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
Released: 1986 Highest chart position: 4
Who can forget the vocodered vocal grunts that introduce this fist-pumping air-guitaring stadium rock classic. The Jovi epitomised the 80s fashion for pop metal (see Def Leppard, Poison, Thunder, Rainbow, Alice Cooper).
Tears For Fears – Mad World
Released: 1982 Highest chart position: 3
They were the pop band it was OK for intellectuals and musos to like. This was a highlight from their seminal debut album The Hurting.
Madonna – Like A Prayer
Released: 1989 Highest chart position 1
Along with Michael Jackson, Madonna was the most successful solo star of the eighties - notching up an incredible 24 Top 40 hits in the decade alone. This is the pick of the bunch – with its gospel-tinged chorus.
Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
Released: 1985 Highest chart position: 1
No duo has amassed as many chart entries in the history of pop. Intelligent songwriters - this debut single is a sleazy synth-pop delight.
Soft Cell – Tainted Love
Released: 1981 Highest chart position: 1
Still the song your rythmless Uncle will attempt to dance to at parties, Marc Almond and David Ball’s reworking of this Northern Soul classic insitigated the whole electronic movement and was also the best-selling single of the year.
Prince – Purple Rain
Released: 1984 Highest chart position: 8
Prolific musical chameleon and the smallest man in pop - this remains Prince’s best record. An epic anthem it contains an overload of wonderous guitar flourishes.
A-ha – Take On Me
Released: 1985 Highest chart position: 2
These Norwegian synth-poppers not only produced wonderfully crafted pop songs but were fancied by teenage girls and envied by teenage boys. They’re also reaponsible for starting the leather wrist-band wearing craze.
Guns ‘N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
Released: 1988 Highest chart position: 24
They were the exception that proved the rule. Ignoring the trend for pop metal and dance pop, G ‘n’ R were a dirty old school rock ‘n’ roll band. Slash’s spacious guitar riffs made this their best offering from the beastly Appetite For Destruction album.
Queen/David Bowie – Under Pressure
Released: 1981 Highest chart position: 1
The theatrical rockers finest moment by a country mile – the vocal interplay between Bowie and Freddie as the chorus builds is pure genius amply supported by Brian May’s overzealous guitar riffs.
U2 – Where The Streets Have No Name
Released: 1987 Highest chart position: 4
Spawned from the hugely successfully Joshua Tree album – an epic anthem that helped push them to the status of world’s biggest band. Later reworked by the Pet Shop Boys.
Simple Minds – Belfast Child
Released: 1989 Highest chart position: 1
Not only did Jim Kerr score with the women (Chrissie Hynde, Patsy Kensit) he also fronted one of the biggest stadium rock bands of all time. This was a tidy arrangement of a traditional song.
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
Released: 1980 Highest chart position: 13
Considered by many crtics to be the finest single of all time. Keyboards, guitars and an hypnotic drum beat interweave to provide the perfect alternative pop sound.
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now
Misery never sounded so good. Johnny Marr’s reverberated guiar and Morrisey’s lyrics about loneliness, despair and death made for the perfect bedsit single.
Tiffany – Think We’re Alone Now
This dance pop breakdown from teen queen Tiff proved to be a bit of a one-hot wonder. Still thousands of school kids got their first snog with this as the soundtrack
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
Jacko before the wacko and the undisputed King of pop. The fantastic beat drives this pop classic in a time when Jacko could have attracted a Billie Jean – should he haven chosen to.
Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
“And I need you more tonight and I need you more than ever” Oh yes indeed… Jim Steinman’s operatic rock found its natural home with the fag drenched strains of Bonnie – better than anything by Steinman’s other charge, Meatloaf
Duran Duran – Rio
What can you say? Indisputably the leaders of new wave – they had the looks, style and big production budgets for their videos – amply evidenced by our Girls On Film promo. Rio did the best though to personify their jet-setting lifestyle.
Spandau Ballet – Gold
Deserve a spot in the Top 20 for kickstarting the new romantic movement. The handy title ended up soundtracking a lot of Olympics coverage.
Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection
The first indication that dance music was just around the corner. An absolute classic from their eponymous seminal debut. Squire’s guitar breaks for the closing five minutes are utterly inspired. He’d blot his copy book years later by forming the Seahorses.
Best of the rest:
B-52s – Love Shack
Adam Ant – Stand And Deliver
Wham! – Freedom
Ultravox – Vienna
Prefab Sprout – The King Of Rock And Roll
Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
Eddy Grant – Electric Avenue
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