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Best Songs of the 80s

Updated on January 10, 2015

The Best Selling Songs in the UK

This is the top 10 best selling singles in the UK for the whole of the eighties. I was quite surprised to find that a few of my favorites didn't make the list - how about yours? Be sure to let me know.

Whatever we think of the following songs, these are what the UK public were buying throughout possibly the best musical decade - the 1980s.

Which 80s Song is the Best?

These songs are the top ten best selling singles of the eighties according to the people buying the black vinyl round things we called 45s in the UK, but which do you think is the best.......

Which of These Best Selling Songs of the 80s is Your Favorite?

See results

The UK Best Selling Singles of the Eighties

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. Two Tribes

Frankie Goes To Hollywood

5. Don't You Want Me?

Human League

Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid

Do They Know It's Christmas? / Feed the World
Do They Know It's Christmas? / Feed the World

Not only was Do They Know It's Christmas? the best selling song of the 80s it remained the highest selling single of all time until 1997 when Elton John released Candle in the Wind, Goodbye England’s Rose.

The song was written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure and was performed by the top British artists of 1984 (under the name Band Aid) to raise money for the famine in Ethiopia.

 

Do They Know It's Christmas Music Video - Band Aid

Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Relax was their first single and when the song was at number 6 in the UK Charts it was famously banned by the BBC. The result of banning Relax? It consequently hit the number one spot and stayed there for five weeks!

Frankie Says Relax Adult White Distressed T-Shirt Tee
Frankie Says Relax Adult White Distressed T-Shirt Tee

The song is now considered an iconic 80s song and spawned the Frankie Say Relax t-shirts of the 80s, similar to the Wham! Choose Life and Go Go t-shirts.

 

Relax Music Video - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

I Just Called To Say I Love You

Stevie Wonder

Blind from birth Stevie Wonder was signed to Motown at just 11 under the moniker of Little Stevie Wonder and had his first hit at age 13.

I Just Called To Say I Love You was written, produced and sung by Stevie Wonder on the soundtrack of the 1984 film Lady in Red. The song became his first UK solo hit record. I Just Called To Say I Love You also won Stevie Wonder an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

I Just Called To Say I Love You Music Video - Stevie Wonder

Two Tribes - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Welcome to the Pleasuredome
Welcome to the Pleasuredome

Frankie Goes To Hollywood actually became only the second UK group to have their first 3 singles hit the number one spot in the charts. (60s Liverpool band Gerry and the Pacemakers being the first) The singles - Relax, Two Tribes and The Power of Love were all taken from this album which makes it an essential album of the 80s.

 

Two Tribes Music Video - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Don't You Want Me - Human League

Dare
Dare

The song Don't You Want Me was from the Human Leagues most successful album - Dare. Dare was a triple platinum album.

Don't You Want Me is said to have been inspired by the movie A Star is Born.

 

Don't You Want Me Music Video - Human League

UK Best Selling Singles of the Eighties

6. Last Christmas

Wham!

7. Karma Chameleon

Culture Club

8. Careless Whisper

George Michael

9. The Power of Love

Jennifer Rush

10. Come on Eileen

Dexy's Midnight Runners

Last Christmas - Wham!

Music From the Edge of Heaven
Music From the Edge of Heaven

Wham!’s Last Christmas actually held a record of being the highest selling single to peak at the number 2 spot in the UK charts. It was released at the same time as Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas. Instead of feeling cheated out of a Christmas number one slot the Wham! boys donated all of their royalties to the Ethiopian famine appeal.

 

Last Christmas Music Video - Wham!

Karma Chameleon - Culture Club

Colour By Numbers
Colour By Numbers

Karma Chameleon is the second single off of Culture Club's most successful album, Colour by Numbers. It was originally going to be called Cameo Chameleon, but was changed at the last minute.

In an interview Boy George explained what the song is about. "The song is about the terrible fear of alienation that people have, the fear of standing up for one thing.......... Basically, if you aren't true, if you don't act like you feel, then you get Karma-justice, that's nature's way of paying you back."

Karma Chameleon was Culture Club's second number one in the UK, but was the only US number one that Culture Club ever had. Karma Chameleon became the biggest selling UK single of 1983 and was a number one hit in 16 countries.

 

Karma Chameleon Music Video - Culture Club

Careless Whisper - George Michael

Make It Big
Make It Big

This was George’s first solo release which helped him set a record in 1984 as being the only artist to have number 1 hits as 3 separate entities. A soloist, as a member of Wham! and as a member of Band Aid.

The ironic thing about this song was that it was co-written by his Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley. Most of Wham!'s songs were written by George.

Careless Whisper appeared on Wham!'s Make It Big album even though it was a George Michael solo. In the US it was released under the name Wham! featuring George Michael.

 

Careless Whisper Music Video - George Michael

The Power of Love - Jennifer Rush

Jennifer Rush
Jennifer Rush

Jennifer Rush's The Power Of Love became the biggest selling single of 1985 in the UK and was a number one hit in Australia, South Africa, Japan and several European countries. Despite her success, the single was unable to crack into the Top 40 in the US.

Jennifer Rush did however make it into the Guiness Book of Records as "the best selling single by a female solo artist in the history of the British music industry" for The Power of Love. She held on to this record until 1992 when she was usurped by Whitney Houston and I Will Always Love You.

 

The Power of Love Music Video - Jennifer Rush

Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners

Too-Rye-Ay
Too-Rye-Ay

Come On Eileen became a number one single around the world and is still popular today appearing on the majority of 80s compilations.

It is often referred to as a one hit wonder, although in the UK they had already had a number one single a couple of years earlier and continued to have hits.

 

Come On Eileen Music Video - Dexys Midnight Runners

Is your favorite song in the top ten UK hits of the 80s?

80s Music Chat

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    • strandofsilk profile image

      strandofsilk 3 years ago from London

      Nothing from Metallica? Seems strange !

    • profile image

      brynimagire 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens ! Nice info

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wowo what a flashback! I love Dexy's Midnight Runners!

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 5 years ago

      time to listen to "two tribes" again ..

    • profile image

      JebbieBlue 5 years ago

      I am a big Culture Club and Wham fan. Karma Chameleon was my favorite of the ones on this list.

    • angielichtenstein profile image

      angielichtenstein 5 years ago

      I MISS THE 80s!

    • mySuccess8 profile image

      mySuccess8 5 years ago

      This reminds me of the top songs while I was in London for a year in the 80's. Good collection. Awesome!

    • Retro Loco profile image

      Vicki 6 years ago from USA

      Whoa!!! That was quite a blast to the past! When I was in high school, I was IN LOVE WITH George Michael!! Did he have some legs, or what? OK, this lens isn't about legs, is it? :-) I still love "Careless Whisper", but I have fallen out of love with George (I have a real boyfriend, now.) Great lens on songs of the 80's!

    • bames24 lm profile image

      bames24 lm 6 years ago

      I remember how crazy I was about the Human League and Wham... and Spandau Ballet... :)

    • clariafox profile image

      clariafox 6 years ago

      I think Karma Chameleon is nicest for 80s :D

    • Cinnamonbite profile image

      Cinnamonbite 6 years ago

      I remember my first Boy George video. I was like, "Why does she have a cup that says, "Boy?" LOL

    • profile image

      Rachel J Singer 6 years ago

      Awesome lens!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      Totally ROFLOL! I had completely forgotten some of these songs! Just can't bet Boy George and Wham! Sometimes I wonder, what were we thinking? LOL

    • wolley811 profile image

      wolley811 6 years ago

      I thought I knew the 80s down pat, but these are new to me! Love 'em! Thanks

    • chocsie profile image

      chocsie 6 years ago

      wow, i actually wasn't familiar with some of these songs. but then there are also those that you simply can't forget! nice lens!

    • profile image

      the777group lm 6 years ago

      Come On Eileen - Don't You Want Me, Baby?

      How do I choose?

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 6 years ago

      Human League was awesome. I think they were very underated!

    • KOrazem profile image

      Seeking Pearls 7 years ago from Pueblo West

      Fun songs you chose here... I honestly just love music. Lensrolling to my lonely cars lens. Thanks for the flashback in time. Careless Whisper so pretty.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      There's a lot on here I don't remember but I do remember that 80's big hair!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      Boy, some of these I don't remember at all! But who could forget Stevie Wonder, Culture Club and Jennifer Rush?

    • profile image

      jimisan 8 years ago

      This lens make me missed my younger days. What I've missed out in life. Sweet and bad memories.

    • profile image

      jaye3000 8 years ago

      Great lens~ love 80's music. It's funny the difference between what's huge in the UK vs. what hits big here. 5 stars :)

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      80's music was awesome!

      Thanks for sharing

      Lizzy

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 8 years ago

      Oh this was so much fun walking down memory lane! Funny how they make you sing along, even when you make dogs howl you don't care!

    • motherbunny lm profile image

      motherbunny lm 8 years ago

      great lens what memories it brought back,really enjoyed looking at this

    • profile image

      CleanerLife 8 years ago

      Wow, so long ago, but it doesn't seem like it, especially not after listening to a few of these great songs. Time just seems to melt away!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens. One of your videos no longer works though.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      cool they are really best songs.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What fun! I have been planning my Duran Duran lens for a few days now - I love 80's music:)

    • Adrienne Jenkins profile image

      Adrienne Jenkins 8 years ago

      Great lens. My faves Relax and Come on Eileen. Thanks for the trip back to the 80s.

    • Rach 75 profile image

      Rach 75 8 years ago

      Geez that brought back some memories! Wham for me, Human League and those boys from Bros....looking back on it how could I have been so obsessed with them! I'm sure it went with my bad perm at the time. 5 stars from me!

    • Rach 75 profile image

      Rach 75 8 years ago

      Geez that brought back some memories! Wham for me, Human League and those boys from Bros....looking back on it how could I have been so obsessed with them! I'm sure it went with my bad perm at the time. 5 stars from me!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Cool lens, a few songs I had forgotten in there, and several I wish to now forget again LOL! 5***** lensrolled into my 80's Lyrics Lenses.

    • profile image

      enslavedbyfaeries 8 years ago

      My 13 year old daughter is obsessed with 80's music!! It is really strange to hear the music of my youth blasting from her bedroom. It's a lot of fun actually, having an excuse to listen to some of these songs again. I can't wait to show her this lens and let her watch the videos. :)

    • GypsyGirl68 profile image

      GypsyGirl68 8 years ago

      this lens is AWESOME! I am a total 80s chic!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      I just saw the Human League in concert this summer as part of the Regeneration tour! Awesome lens. You've got all my favorites!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      Love this music! This was my disco period! :)

    • stoetzels lm profile image

      stoetzels lm 8 years ago

      A child of eighties....and I am proud to born in the eighties and I remember my young uncles at that time played these songs on the record players....One of my favorites from the list:Last Christmas - Wham!...Thank you! 5*

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      This was the music when I was in high school. Nice lens!

    • EelKat13 profile image

      EelKat13 8 years ago

      I love 80's music! My picks would have been very different though: Poison, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, and Alic Cooper.

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      Gina08 8 years ago

      Great lens. Its amazing how many memories can get stirred up just by thinking about this stuff.

    • profile image

      Seattletaxaccountant 8 years ago

      The 80s were great.

    • profile image

      ThomasC 8 years ago

      I like 80's music, but more into the heavier American 80's bands! Starred and Angel blessed!

      ThomasC