The 50 Greatest Pop Songs Of The ’80s

Sources: Metro Weekly – By Chris Gerard | All Things Michael


All of the songs selected appeared in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart sometime during the ’80s. Only one song per artist is included.

1. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson (1982)

If one song changed an entire decade, it’s Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” One of the greatest recordings in pop history, its foundation is a heavy back beat by drummer Leon Chancler and a sinuous bass-line by the late Louis Johnson. Soaring over it all is Michael Jackson’s innovative vocal delivery. His phrasing — every vocal hiccup, twirl and twinge perfectly placed — makes the song. It’s a viscerally exciting piece of music, tense and dramatic, enigmatic and otherworldly. Who else but the King of Pop could have produced the single greatest pop song of the ’80s? See songs 1- 10 here

14. “Miss You Much” – Janet Jackson (1989)

Following up Control was no doubt a daunting endeavor, but Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were nothing if not ambitious. They ended up besting it by a mile with Rhythm Nation 1814, a hard-edged collection of pop, dance and R&B that not only grooves but has a positive message. The first single, “Miss You Much,” is a sizzling dance/pop anthem, formed around a heavy backbeat thickened by a funky bass-line, with swirls and bursts of keyboard underlying Jackson’s heavily layered vocals. The manic vocal arrangement during the chorus is particularly genius and Jackson sounds playful, self-assured and upbeat. See songs 11-20 here

Songs 21 – 30

Songs 31- 40

Songs 41- 50

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