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,
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
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.
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