10 Decade Defining Songs of the 80s

10. Beat it – Michael Jackson (1983): It's the song that made every kid around the world try to master the Moonwalk. "Beat It" was just that infectious, causing even the shyest among us to leap out of our chairs and sing along like we were trying to negotiate a friendly dance competition between rival gangs.

9. Walk This Way — RunDMC (ft. Aerosmith) (1986): It was a crossover hit for the boys from Queens, New York, that got the whole world hooked on hip-hop. Whichever race you are, it didn't matter—everyone knew the lyrics and wasn't afraid to rap along.

8. Don’t Stop Believin – Journey (1981): Long before it was given a second life by the popular TV show Glee, '80s kids were reminding each other to "hold on to that feeeeling". Part of what makes this song so darn entertaining is the clapping. Seriously, that's a big part of it ("Don't stop…" clap, clap… "believin'"). It's like you're suddenly a cheerleader, even though you're just a working stiff stuck in rush hour traffic, listening to the oldies station and singing along to that song that reminds you of the summers of your youth, filled with sweet, sweet freedom.

7. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns’n Roses (1988): This song was the common ground between lovers of pop-rock and the metalhead purists. That may not sound all that remarkable, but it was an astonishing feat at the time. Metal, real metal, never came close to satisfying people who loved hummable melodies. And the pop crowd, well, let's just say they didn't venture into metal territory beyond Twisted Sister. But with "Sweet Child O' Mine," Guns N' Roses created a world that was safe for both factions to coexist peacefully.

6. I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston (1987): Has any other song ever composed in human history brought every single person to their feet at a wedding? The answer is no. Don't even bother looking. Nothing else comes close to "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)."

5. Africa – Toto (1982): Do not ask an '80s kid if he or she likes Weezer's cover of "Africa". I'll save you some trouble—no, they don't. Because Rivers Cuomo's version is unnecessary. It'd be like rebuilding Stonehenge, or the Great Sphinx of Giza. You'll never recreate the magic, the awe-inspiring beauty, the breathless audacity of these marvels of human achievement. Just listen to the original "Africa" and feel gratitude for its abundance of musical riches.

4. We Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel (1989): It was the kind of song you listened to on cassette and then would rewind again and again as you tried to figure out every lyric. It was a history lesson that we wanted to sit through, just so we could shout/sing lines like "Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball/Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide!" Never before has a pop song made us feel so smart by just kinda-remembering some of the lyrics.

3. The Power of Love – Huey Lewis & the News (1985): It wasn't just a beefed-up DeLorean that safely took Back to the Future's Marty McFly home to the '80s: He was also aided by this ditty from harmonica-blowing everydad Huey Lewis, who penned the song for the 1985 blockbuster's soundtrack.

2. Livin on a Prayer – Bon Jovi (1986): Jon Bon Jovi's signature track holds on all right.  It’s all about Richie Sambora’s talk box really, isn’t it? The guitarist rescued the tool from mid-70s Peter Frampton ignominy, to give us the “ooh-wa ooh-wah” sound that ate the world.

1. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley (1987): The meme known as Rickrolling—wherein someone baits you with an enticing link, which points instead to the video for this 1987 dance-pop smash—always seemed a little puzzling to us, mainly because, like, who wouldn't want to be surprised with another exposure to this delightfully cheerful mega jam

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