Ranking The 25 Best ’80s Hits From Corniest To Greatest

The 1980s delivered the world some great entertainment – Mario Bros. video games, John Hughes movies, and MTV. The rise of Music Television ushered in “The Second British Invasion,” a phenomenon where many new wave English bands became popular in America. These artists were some of the first to use the musical film medium, and therefore MTV played their (occasionally over-the-top) videos often. The influence of these synth-heavy groups helped shape the music of the decade, for better or for worse.

25. “Never Gonna Give You Up” – Rick Astley (1987)

This 1987 track by British performer Rick Astley topped the charts in 25 countries when it was released. Astley’s deep voice is striking, but the exuberant synths and sappy lyrics make this song difficult to take seriously. Its video solidifies its position as the corniest song from the 1980s. With shots of Astley flanked by two female backup dancers, Astley’s huge grin and very ’80s trench coat, and people casually doing parkour moves, it is no wonder why “rickrolling” – a prank where this video would appear under the guise of other internet links – went viral a few years ago.

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24. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham! (1984)

The late George Michael of Wham! was inspired to write this bubbly hit based off a note that his band member Andrew Ridgeley had written to his parents. Ridgeley was living at home temporarily because Wham! was on the road often, and in the message he mistakenly wrote “wake me up up.” Realizing he had repeated a word, he followed it with “before you go go,” accidentally creating the song’s famous title. The track opens with the lyric “Jitterbug” before launching into an unapologetically danceable melody. The music video is just as sugary as the song, with lots of synchronized hand claps and ’80s pastel clothing.

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