Can you believe it’s been three decades and counting since the music industry graced our ears with its iconic and classic songs from 1986?
It’s not just the ticking of the clock that reminds us of the past; it’s the unmistakable sound of 1986 — a transformative era that witnessed the fusion of new wave, dance-pop, and electronic dance rhythms.
Remember when Michael Jackson reshaped the music industry with his groundbreaking tunes?
Or how 1986 introduced us to phenomenal new artists whose echoes can still be felt in today’s hits?
Not to mention the indelible marks left by legends like Whitney Houston, Genesis, and Lionel Richie, each delivering some of their best work during this period.
To celebrate this monumental year in music, we’ve curated a list of the Top 101 Songs from 1986 based on Billboard’s annual chart-toppers.
And, because we know you’re itching to hit play, we’ve crafted a Spotify playlist just for you.
So, without further ado, immerse yourself in the best songs from 1986!
1. “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne and Friends
The leading track among the top songs from 1986 is a heartfelt tribute to friendship, recorded by Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Gladys Knight.
It was released as a single to raise funds for the American Foundation For AIDS Research (AmFAR), helping to draw attention to the cause.
2. “Say You, Say Me” by Lionel Richie
“Say You, Say Me” is a beautiful ballad about the importance of friendship and human connection.
It was featured in the film “White Nights” and topped the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, and R&B charts, securing its seat as one of the best songs from 1986.
3. “I Miss You” by Klymaxx
“I Miss You” by Klymaxx is a song that tugs at your heartstrings with its poignant lyrics and soulful melody.
It’s a hit single from their fourth album, “Meeting in the Ladies Room.”
The song was written and co-produced by Klymaxx keyboardist Lynn Malsby.
The song’s lyrics express a deep longing and heartache, making it relatable to anyone who has experienced a painful separation.
Once you hear it, the melody and the powerful vocals can quickly get stuck in your head, making you want to play it on repeat.
4. “On My Own” Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald
This song is a powerful duet that stands out in its own right, much like Culture Club’s songs.
It’s a poignant exploration of independence and self-reliance, beautifully performed by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald.
Not only is it one of the best songs from 1986 — but it is also one of Patti LaBelle’s signature songs.
5. “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister
“Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister is a classic 80s pop-rock ballad that tells a story of love and loss.
The song is loosely based on a book by Kahlil Gibran called “The Broken Wings,” which tells the story of a couple separated by their society.
Once you hear the opening drum solo, you’ll feel like you’re in the 80s again.
It’s a song that resonates with anyone who has experienced heartbreak and yearns for healing
6. “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” held significant cultural relevance in the 1980s.
Its infectious melody and upbeat tempo reflected the era’s spirit of optimism and freedom, making it one of the top songs from 1986.
The song catapulted Whitney Houston to stardom, solidifying her status as a pop sensation with remarkable vocal talent.
As an iconic anthem of its time, “How Will I Know” continues to transport listeners back to the vibrant and unforgettable musical landscape of the 1980s.
7. “Party All the Time” by Eddie Murphy
This track is a lively party anthem performed by comedian and actor Eddie Murphy.
It was a significant hit in 1986.
The song, written and produced by Rick James, is a testament to Eddie Murphy’s versatility as an entertainer.
8. “Burning Heart” by Survivor
“Burning Heart” by Survivor isn’t just one of the leading songs from 1986 — it’s a blazing testament to resilience and determination.
Its stirring lyrics, including the powerful line “In the warrior’s code, there’s no surrender,” and electrifying melody convey a message of unwavering courage and the relentless pursuit of one’s goals.
This anthem played a pivotal role in Survivor’s legacy, cementing their reputation as masters of arena rock.
9. “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister
Mr. Mister, the band known for chart-toppers, displayed their musical versatility with “Kyrie,” a blend of rock and pop with spiritually inspired lyrics.
It cemented their reputation for crafting emotionally resonant and commercially successful songs.
10. “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer
“Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer became one of the most popular videos of the 1980s, making it a standout track in Robert Palmer’s discography.
Known for its iconic music video featuring high fashion models, it is a rock-infused exploration of love’s addictive qualities.
11. “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston
“The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston is a remarkable ballad that showcases her exceptional vocal prowess and captures the spirit of the 1980s.
The song’s message of self-empowerment and inner strength, embodied in the famous line “I believe the children are our future,” resonated deeply during an era of self-discovery and societal change.
Whitney’s rendition of this song became an anthem of hope and resilience, transcending generations and solidifying her legacy as a musical icon of her time.
12. “Secret Lovers” by Atlantic Starr
Released in 1985 as the third single from their album “As the Band Turns,” “Secret Lovers” by Atlantic Starr captures the struggle of two people in love but unable to be together due to existing relationships.
The song’s relatable story and beautiful melody propelled it to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and a week-long reign atop the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in April 1986.
Its timeless appeal draws listeners into the narrative, making it a classic that continues to resonate.
13. “Friends and Lovers” by Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson
Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson’s “Friends and Lovers” is a standout duet from 1985, originally recorded for the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”
The song portrays a tale of forbidden love, striking a chord with listeners.
When you listen to it, you’ll find yourself drawn into the emotional narrative, empathizing with the character’s dilemma.
14. “Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera
As the enchanting theme for “The Karate Kid Part II” in 1986, “Glory of Love” is a musical love story that still leaves us breathless.
With Cetera’s velvety voice and poetic lyrics, it soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, earning a spot on the best songs from 1986 — etching itself into our hearts as the ultimate ballad of enduring love.
Whenever it plays, it’s like a warm embrace from the past, reminding us that the glory of love knows no bounds.
15. “West End Girls” by Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls” is a total synth-pop gem that instantly transports you to the lively London scene of the 80s.
It’s the kind of track that just screams 80s coolness.
So, if you’re up for nostalgic vibes and catchy beats, put this song on and take a trip down memory lane!
16. “There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)” by Billy Ocean
Billy Ocean’s “There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)” is a song that makes you feel the emotions of someone deeply in love but also facing the pain of separation.
It’s a classic 80s hit that will tug at your heartstrings and make you sing along.
So, if you’re in the mood for romantic drama and soulful vocals, try it and let yourself sway to Billy Ocean’s voice!
17. “Alive and Kicking” by Simple Minds
Looking for a feel-good tune? Try Simple Minds’ “Alive and Kicking.”
It’s one of the best feel-good songs from 1986.
It’s all about love and life, with a catchy chorus and 80s vibes.
Listening to it will boost your spirits and keep you grooving!
18. “Never” by Heart
Heart’s “Never” is a rock anthem from 1986 that captured the wild spirit of the era.
With its powerful vocals and electrifying guitar riffs, the song takes you on a journey through the highs and lows of love.
In a year filled with unusual hit song topics, “Never” is a timeless classic that still rocks our hearts today.
19. “Kiss” by Prince and The Revolution
Prince and The Revolution’s “Kiss” is an iconic 1986 track that oozes with Prince’s signature charisma and funkiness.
With its irresistible beat and seductive lyrics, this song takes you on a musical journey that’s impossible not to groove to.
20. “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood
“Higher Love” by Steve Winwood is like pure musical positivity.
With its infectious rhythm and soulful vocals, it’s one of the best songs from 1986 that can instantly lift your spirits and get your feet tapping.
It’s all about seeking something more in life and love, and Steve Winwood’s smooth delivery makes it impossible not to sing along and feel the good vibes.
21. “Stuck with You” by Huey Lewis and the News
“Stuck with You” by Huey Lewis and the News is like a sweet, musical blast from the past.
It’s got that warm and fuzzy vibe that makes you feel like you’re in a cozy blanket of memories.
This song’s like a musical time machine, taking you through all those moments that make you smile and sigh simultaneously.
22. “Holding Back the Years” by Simply Red
At its core, “Holding Back the Years” by Simply Red is all about reflection and the bittersweet feeling of nostalgia.
The lyrics touch upon regret and the longing to turn back time to fix mistakes or cherish moments that have slipped away.
It’s a song that reminds us to appreciate the people and moments in our lives while we have them as time waits for no one.
23. “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel
This killer track called “Sledgehammer” by the British legend Peter Gabriel, dropped in 1986 as part of his “So” album.
Now, this song, folks, is all about making your lover happy with some, well, let’s say, “creative” methods – packed with cheeky innuendos and humor.
The music video is a visual masterpiece loaded with mind-blowing animations that won many awards, making it a true music history gem and one of the most memorable songs from 1986!
24. “Sara” by Starship
“Sara” by Starship is a classic rock ballad that’ll tug at your heartstrings.
With its soulful lyrics and melodic chorus, it’s a song that captures the essence of love and longing.
One of the most soulful lines in the lyrics of “Sara” by Starship is: “(‘Cause Sara) Loved me Like no one ever loved me before,” expressing the deep love and gratitude that the singer felt for Sara and how hard it is to let her go.
Whether you’re reminiscing about a lost love or simply in the mood for some timeless rock, “Sara” is a track that never gets old.
25. “Human” by The Human League
“Human” is a synth-pop ballad that tells the story of a couple who cheated on each other while apart.
It was written and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (yes, the same duo who rocked with Janet Jackson), and it became a chart-topper in the US and Canada.
The song is catchy and emotional, and it shows that everyone makes mistakes because we’re only human
26. “I Can’t Wait” by Nu Shooz
“I Can’t Wait” is a catchy and upbeat song by Nu Shooz, released in 1986. The song is all about that electric feeling of waiting for someone special.
Its funky bass, unforgettable synth riff, and chorus that sticks in your head make it a certified 80s dance floor banger.
This track’s not just a classic; it’s a timeless groove that still gets the party going today in the US, UK, and beyond.
27. “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin
“Take My Breath Away” is a romantic ballad featured in “Top Gun.”
The song expresses the intense feelings of two lovers drawn to each other despite their challenges.
Giorgio Moroder wrote and produced the song, which won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
It was a massive hit for Berlin, reaching number one in several countries.
28. “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco
Falco’s catchy synth-pop hit, inspired by the movie “Amadeus,” uniquely blends German and English, telling Mozart’s story of fame and struggle.
Surprisingly, it’s the sole German song to top the US Billboard Hot 100.
The Simpsons even spoofed it in an episode, and there are various versions and remixes.
Plus, it featured in the “Stranger Things” episode “The Spy,” in season two on Netflix – quite the pop culture phenomenon!
29. “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna
Are you looking for a song that’s both powerful and empowering?
Look no further than Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach.”
This iconic hit blends catchy pop beats with lyrics that tell the story of a young woman determined to stand her ground and make her own choices, no matter the obstacles.
With Madonna’s magnetic energy and a chorus that’s impossible not to sing along to, “Papa Don’t Preach” is the ultimate anthem for those who want to seize control of their destiny.
30. “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi
This song rocks!
It’s all about how some lovers can be so sneaky and hurtful.
The singer tells his ex that she broke his heart and made love look bad.
He says she smiled like an angel but lied to him big time.
This song was Bon Jovi’s first big hit and one of the best hard-rock songs ever.
31. “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” by Billy Ocean
Listen to Billy Ocean’s “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” for a motivational boost.
It’s the groovy theme song from the 1985 movie “The Jewel of the Nile” with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.
The music video even has them as backup singers, adding to the fun vibe.
Billy Ocean belts out powerful lyrics about overcoming obstacles and chasing love.
This track is a genuine 80s anthem and one of the top songs from 1986 that’ll boost your spirits!
32. “When I Think of You” by Janet Jackson
If you’re in the mood for an upbeat song that’ll make you want to dance, give Janet Jackson’s “When I Think of You” a listen.
It’s a catchy 80s pop hit about the joy of thinking about someone you love.
Fun fact: It was her first US #1, and she and Michael Jackson are the only siblings with solo #1 hits.
The music video features Janet dancing around with a mysterious guy in the neighborhood, and it’s a blast to watch!
33. “These Dreams” by Heart
If you want to find a tune that gets the dreamy vibe, check out Heart’s “These Dreams.”
It’s got Nancy Wilson taking the mic, singing about the wild dreamland she dives into when she hits the sack.
It’s a mix of rock and synth-pop that’ll whisk you away into the hazy world of your dreams.
34. “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” by Glass Tiger
Those who’ve faced heartbreak or fading love will connect with the emotion in Glass Tiger’s “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone).”
This powerful song, featuring Bryan Adams, captures longing and fear. Released in 1986, it topped the charts in Canada, reached #2 in the US, and won a Juno Award for Single of the Year.
35. “Live to Tell” by Madonna
“Live to Tell” by Madonna is a hauntingly beautiful ballad that tugs at your heartstrings.
With its soulful vocals and emotional lyrics, it’s a song that makes you reflect on life’s ups and downs.
Madonna’s voice shines through as she takes you on a journey of introspection and resilience.
It captures the essence of storytelling through music.
36. “Mad About You” by Belinda Carlisle
“Mad About You” is a passionate declaration of love and desire, showcasing Belinda Carlisle’s debut as a solo artist.
With its catchy melody and Belinda’s iconic vocals, this song is an instant mood lifter.
The chorus repeats “Mad about you” to emphasize their obsession and devotion.
37. “Something About You” by Level 42
Level 42’s “Something About You” from 1985 is a synth-pop gem celebrating lasting love.
It’s all about that irresistible connection and not wanting to let go.
It climbed the UK and US charts with a catchy melody, groovy bass, and soulful Mark King vocals.
38. “Venus” by Bananarama
This song is a pop-rock remake of Shocking Blue’s ’69 hit with a dancey twist.
You’ve got their sweet harmonies, a hook that’s impossible not to sing along with, and some killer synths.
Plus, it’s all about celebrating girl power and charm, paying tribute to the goddess of love and beauty.
So, it’s one of those fun and flirty party anthem songs from 1986!
39. “Dancing on the Ceiling” by Lionel Richie
If you’re in the mood for a song that’ll kickstart a party wherever you are, look no further than Lionel Richie’s “Dancing on the Ceiling.”
This 80s classic will have you grooving, whether on the dance floor or daydreaming about dancing on the ceiling.
Lionel’s smooth vocals and fun lyrics make it a blast. So go ahead, hit play, and get your dance on!
40. “Conga” by Miami Sound Machine
Conga is like this excellent Latin-pop jam, you know?
It’s got Gloria Estefan belting out those killer vocals, some groovy horns, and percussion that won’t quit.
The song’s about celebrating the conga line, that super fun Latin dance that gets everybody movin’ and shakin’.
It’s one of Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine’s biggest hits and a must-listen in Latin music.
41. “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper
“True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper is a song you shouldn’t miss.
It’s all about being authentic and accepting yourself and others.
Cyndi sang it so passionately that it became a chart-topper in the US.
It’s become an anthem for those who feel different, especially in the LGBTQ+ community.
And the best part?
It’s still relevant today, reminding us to stay true to ourselves.
42. “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins
Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” is the jam for folks who love living on the edge.
It nails that rush you get when things get intense.
The tune makes you want to rev your engine and feel like a Maverick from “Top Gun.”
So, if you’re up for adrenaline, crank up the volume and dive right into the “Danger Zone.”
43. “What Have You Done For Me Lately” by Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson’s breakout hit “What Have You Done for Me Lately” from “Control” was all about empowerment.
Catchy, funky, and sassy, it made a statement about valuing women.
It set her on the path to pop icon status. Women deserve respect and recognition, no doubt!
44. “No One Is to Blame” by Howard Jones
“No One Is to Blame” is a deep ballad about unfulfilled desires.
It’s all about wanting something you can’t have and realizing there’s no one to blame.
Howard Jones on vocals and piano, with the incredible Phil Collins on drums and backing vocals in the re-recorded version, made this a huge hit.
It’s a must-listen!
45. “Let’s Go All the Way” by Sly Fox
This catchy synth-pop anthem is about chasing your dreams in politics, work, or love.
Plus, it’s part of time capsule songs from 1986 with nods to President Reagan, the Cold War, and Disneyland.
Get ready to groove and reminisce!
46. “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” by Robert Palmer
Robert Palmer, the 80s sensation, mixed rock, pop, and soul like a pro, creating one-of-a-kind tracks.
His hit “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” is a funky cover of Cherrelle’s track.
It’s about a charming guy unintentionally winning over a lady but not looking for commitment.
Palmer’s smooth vocals and catchy chorus are the highlights, and the iconic video features models in black dresses and red lipstick.
47. “Words Get in the Way” by Miami Sound Machine
A heartfelt ballad from Miami Sound Machine, “Words Get in the Way,” is about a woman struggling to express her love because the words keep getting in the way.
We’ve all been there, right?
The chorus says it all: “I tried to say I love you, but the words got in the way.”
Sometimes, love is all about the feeling, not the words.
48. “Manic Monday” by The Bangles
“Manic Monday” by The Bangles is the ultimate anthem for anyone who’s ever struggled to get out of bed on a Monday morning.
It’s got that catchy 80s pop vibe that’ll have you humming along in no time.
With lyrics about the daily grind and longing for the weekend, it’s the perfect soundtrack for those manic Monday blues.
49. “Walk of Life” by Dire Straits
“Walk of Life” by Dire Straits is a feel-good classic that’ll have you tapping your feet and humming in no time.
With its alluring tune, captivating beat, and Mark Knopfler’s signature guitar licks, this song can instantly elevate your mood.
It’s one of those songs from 1986 that you’ll want to play on a sunny day with the car windows down or at a party to get everyone grooving.
50. “Amanda” by Boston
This song is the king of emotional rock songs.
Picture this: solid and heart-tugging vocals, catchy guitar solos you’ll be humming for days, and lyrics about love and longing.
Loads of people have had this song hit them right in the feels.
The classic rock jam brings out the nostalgia and makes you think about all those warm, fuzzy moments.
51. “Two of Hearts” by Stacey Q
“Two of Hearts” by Stacey Q is an 80s hit about head-over-heels love.
It’s got a super catchy beat, synths galore, and lyrics all about that deep connection with a special someone.
VH1 even ranked it 27th on their “100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s” list.
Stacey Q had another minor hit, too.
This song’s still going strong, covered by many, and even featured in HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant.”
52. “Crush on You” by The Jets
The Jets’ song “Crush on You” is described as an exciting and upbeat track about having a secret crush on someone.
It was a significant hit in the US and UK, reaching the top five charts.
The song was co-written by Jerry Knight and Aaron Zigman and produced by Knight, Zigman, Don Powell, and David Rivkin.
Elizabeth Wolfgramm and her siblings provide the heavenly vocals, making up the band The Jets.
53. “If You Leave” by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
This killer synth-pop tune is all about high school love vibes.
It even made it into the movie “Pretty in Pink.”
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, aka OMD, nailed this one. It’s their anthem, pure and simple.
So, if you’re in the mood for some old-school feels, spin it. You won’t be disappointed.
54. “Invisible Touch” by Genesis
“Invisible Touch” by Genesis is a catchy pop-rock hit about a woman’s mysterious influence on a man’s feelings.
With Phil Collins’ dynamic vocals and the band’s tight performance, it became their only US Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper, solidifying their 80s music legacy.
It’s a burst of excitement, reminding us of the magic in love’s invisible touch.
55. “The Sweetest Taboo” by Sade
Sade nails it in “The Sweetest Taboo.”
It’s all about that intense, forbidden love, and Sade’s smooth vocals, exotic beats, and passionate lyrics create a storm of emotion.
It’s classic Sade and one of their biggest US hits.
You need to listen to it!
56. “What You Need” by INXS
This song is a catchy, high-energy anthem encouraging listeners to enjoy life and forget their troubles.
It showcases a blend of rock, funk, and new wave with charismatic vocals by Michael Hutchence.
It was the band’s first significant hit in the U.S. and the lead single from their album “Listen Like Thieves.”
The music video features the band performing in various locations, creating a fun and lively atmosphere.
57. “Talk to Me” by Stevie Nicks
“Talk to Me” by Stevie Nicks is a timeless gem that’ll stir your emotions.
With Stevie’s unique voice and heartfelt lyrics, it’s like catching up with an old buddy over coffee.
This song beautifully captures the essence of seeking solace in conversation, wrapped in Stevie’s enchanting style.
58. “Nasty” by Janet Jackson
“Nasty” is a super cool dance song by Janet Jackson from her 1986 album “Control.”
It’s all about her taking charge and standing up to those annoying “nasty boys” who harass her on the street.
You’ve probably heard that famous line: “It’s not baby, it’s Janet… Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.”
It’s one of those songs from 1986 that says, “Don’t mess with Janet!”
59. “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money
Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight” from 1986 is a rock jam featuring Ronnie Spector’s incredible vocals.
It’s all about wanting some romance and fun.
When you listen to it, you’ll feel the energy and excitement of the night.
Sing along with that “Be my little baby” chorus!
60. “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” by Jermaine Stewart
Feelin’ like some dance-pop fun?
Play Jermaine Stewart’s “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off.”
It’s all about romance and respect, with a funky beat and an irresistible hook.
Get ready to dance and sing along without any wardrobe changes!
61. “All Cried Out” by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
“All Cried Out” by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force is a hit ballad known for its soulful vocals and impressive production.
It climbed the charts in 1986, beautifully capturing the emotions of a breakup with a dramatic music video.
It’s a duet with Paul Anthony and Bow Legged Lou from Full Force, who also co-wrote the song with their brothers.
62. “Your Love” by The Outfield
Have you heard “Your Love” by The Outfield? It’s a rad 80s track that’ll get you in the groove.
With its catchy tune and chorus, you can’t resist singing, and it’s a timeless banger.
Whether you’re taking a trip down memory lane or discovering it now, this song’s a classic that’ll have you nod your head.
63. “I’m Your Man” by Wham!
Wham!’s “I’m Your Man” is a classic pop jam about love and commitment.
With George Michael’s silky-smooth vocals and a captivating melody, it’s a song that’ll get you grooving and singing along, no matter the occasion.
Whether trying to set a romantic mood or just looking to add cheer to your day, this track’s got you covered.
64. “Perfect Way” by Scritti Politti
“Perfect Way” is a pop hit by Scritti Politti, featuring synth and guitar, with Green Gartside’s smooth vocals.
It hit No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and got covered by Miles Davis on his album “Tutu.”
It’s from the album “Cupid & Psyche 85.”
65. “Living in America” by James Brown
Check out this groovy patriotic jam by the iconic James Brown from ’85.
You might remember it from “Rocky IV.”
It’s all about the USA’ diversity and freedom, with Brown’s killer vocals and moves.
And guess what? It was his last big hit on the Billboard Hot 100, hitting the top spot!
66. “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” by John Cougar Mellencamp
John Cougar Mellencamp’s “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” is a toe-tapping, feel-good anthem that perfectly embodies the essence of American rock ‘n’ roll.
Its lively beat and spirited lyrics make it a joyful celebration of the music genre and the spirit of the USA.
So turn up the volume and get ready to groove to this ultimate rock ‘n’ roll tribute!
67. “Who’s Johnny” by El DeBarge
How about a lively pop tune from the 1980s?
Absolutely! “Who’s Johnny” is a track by El DeBarge in the movie “Short Circuit.”
This catchy song boasts an upbeat and dance-worthy rhythm that perfectly complements the film’s comedic atmosphere.
Its lyrics tell the story of a robot named Johnny 5 breaking free from a military establishment and forming a bond with a woman.
68. “Word Up!” by Cameo
Cameo’s jam “Word Up!” is about funky R&B goodness.
It’s got a catchy chorus and even drops a nod to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
Plus, it made saying “word up” cool for showing you’re all in for something.
People love it – and it got awards, and many artists covered it.
This track’s a total classic!
69. “Why Can’t This Be Love” by Van Halen
Do you ever experience that funny feeling when you touch someone you love?
That’s what this song is about.
Van Halen’s first single with Sammy Hagar is a synth-driven pop-rock anthem celebrating the thrill of falling in love.
It has what it takes to make you smile and wonder why this can’t be love.
70. “Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)” by Mike + The Mechanics
One of Mike + The Mechanics’ most famous songs from 1986, “Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground),” is a haunting message from a man who knows his family’s future on Earth.
He warns them of the impending chaos and urges them to trust him and prepare themselves.
It’s a powerful song that captures the fear and hope of a dystopian scenario.
You can listen to it when you’re feeling adventurous – or even when you’re not!
71. “Typical Male” by Tina Turner
“Typical Male” by Tina Turner is a sassy pop-rock hit with captivating beats.
In the music video, Tina outwits an arrogant lawyer with her charm while Phil Collins rocks the drums.
The video, directed by Brian Grant, includes humorous scenes like Tina playing chess with a dog and the lawyer getting soaked by a sprinkler.
It has an MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Female Video, making it one of the most iconic songs from 1986.
72. “Small Town” by John Cougar Mellencamp
“Small Town” is this awesome classic tune about the ups and downs of living in a small town.
It’s like John Mellencamp’s love letter to his own Indiana upbringing.
The song has this appealing, feel-good melody that goes perfectly with Mellencamp’s intense and heartfelt singing.
If you’re a hometown lover, this song will hit you right in the feels!
73. “Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora
Baltimora’s “Tarzan Boy” is a timeless 80s track that keeps you moving.
Its irresistible rhythm and fun lyrics will have you dancing like nobody’s watching, transporting you to the jungle with Tarzan in no time.
It’s a feel-good song that never loses its charm.
74. “All I Need Is a Miracle” by Mike + The Mechanics
Get ready to jam to “All I Need Is a Miracle” by Mike + The Mechanics!
This hit, penned by Mike Rutherford and Christopher Neil with vocals by Paul Young, is all about pining for lost love.
It even got a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group 1987!
You might remember it from the “Police Academy 3” soundtrack, where artists like Rick Astley and Boyzone made covers for it.
75. “Sweet Freedom” by Michael McDonald
Michael McDonald’s “Sweet Freedom” instantly makes you smile.
With its silky vocals and irresistible tunes, it’s the ideal track for when you want to kick back and savor life’s simple pleasures.
Whether cruising down the highway or grooving in your space, “Sweet Freedom” provides the perfect soundtrack for embracing a carefree vibe.
76. “True Blue” by Madonna
Madonna’s “True Blue” is an enduring pop gem bound to get you singing and dancing.
With its irresistible melody and heartfelt lyrics, it’s the kind of song that never fails to put you in a good mood.
Madonna’s powerful vocals convey her deep devotion, making it a timeless hit that keeps people moving and grooving with the rhythm.
77. “Rumors” by Timex Social Club
In 1986, Timex Social Club released “Rumors,” a super groovy track that calls out all the gossip and lies.
The song was a massive hit, topping charts everywhere.
“Rumors” is pure post-disco with witty, sarcastic lyrics and a groove that makes you move.
It inspired others to make songs about gossip.
78. “Life in a Northern Town” by Dream Academy
“Life in a Northern Town” by Dream Academy is like a warm, musical hug for your soul.
It’s all about that small-town vibe, with dreamy tunes and lyrics that’ll take you back to your hometown, no matter where you grew up.
It’s like a cozy, musical trip down memory lane that’ll make you smile.
79. “Bad Boy” by Miami Sound Machine
Miami Sound Machine’s “Bad Boy” is a song that showcases Gloria Estefan’s vocal range and charisma.
The song is about a woman attracted to a rebellious and adventurous man despite knowing he is in trouble.
The song was a massive hit in 1985, reaching the top 10 in the US and several other countries.
It also features in the movie “Three Men and a Baby.”
The quirky music video shows Gloria trying to impress a star and dancing with alley cats.
80. “Sleeping Bag” by ZZ Top
“Sleeping Bag” is a rock hit featuring their trademark Texas blues-rock style.
The song’s lyrics are all about the freedom of the open road, making it an ultimate road trip jam.
With catchy guitar riffs and that unmistakable ZZ Top swagger, this will have you cranking up the volume and hitting the highway in no time.
81. “Tonight She Comes” by The Cars
The Cars’ “Tonight She Comes” is an 80s rock hit about a guy hooked on a woman who’s only into physical flings.
It hit number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and appears on their Greatest Hits album, making it one of the most timeless songs from 1986.
The video features the band in a studio, covered by others like Letters to Cleo and Matthew Sweet.
82. “Love Touch” by Rod Stewart
Let’s talk about “Love Touch” by Rod Stewart – a vibrant rock-pop track from 1986.
It plays in the romantic comedy “Legal Eagles” with Robert Redford and Debra Winger.
It’s all about a guy trying to mend things with his lover. with lyrics of regret and longing.
Give it a listen!
83. “A Love Bizarre” by Sheila E.
This song is a funky classic co-written with Prince.
It’s a jam that’ll make you dance, featuring catchy lyrics and Sheila E.’s impressive vocals and percussion.
It appears in the movie “Krush Groove,” showcasing her musical prowess.
84. “Throwing It All Away” by Genesis
Genesis’ “Throwing It All Away” is the ultimate breakup anthem.
That chorus, though: “Is there nothing I can say to make you change your mind?
I watch the world go round and round and see mine turning upside down.”
That’s heartbreak in a nutshell.
85. “Baby Love” by Regina
“Baby Love” is the ultimate upbeat jam that’ll get you moving.
With Regina’s smooth vocals and catchy lyrics, this song celebrates young love and the butterflies it brings.
It’s a perfect track for when you’re in the mood for sweet, summery vibes.
Get ready to hit the dance floor and let “Baby Love” take you on a musical joyride!
86. “Election Day” by Arcadia
Back in 1985, during a year with many political and social issues, Arcadia, a band connected to Duran Duran, released a song called “Election Day.”
It had a dark and moody vibe, like a city at night.
They even had Grace Jones join in with her unique voice and mysterious speaking parts.
The song became super popular, hitting the top 10 charts in both the US and the UK.
So, amid all the chaos, we had some fantastic music to enjoy!
87. “Nikita” by Elton John
“Nikita” by Elton John is a popular song about forbidden love during the Cold War.
George Michael sings backup, and Nik Kershaw plays guitar in it.
The song was a big hit, topping the charts in eight countries.
88. “Take Me Home” by Phil Collins
Phil Collins’s “Take Me Home” is a classic hit.
It’s not about missing home but escaping a mental institution.
With its iconic chorus and beat, it rocked the charts in 1985, hitting the top 10 in the US and UK.
The music video shows Collins singing in cool spots worldwide.
89. “Walk This Way” by Run-D.M.C.
“Walk This Way” by Run-D.M.C. is a famous song that mixes rap and rock.
It was a big hit in 1986 and helped both Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith.
The music video shows how rap and rock came together.
90. “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker
Let’s dive into the charm of “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker.
Anita Baker’s captivating vocals, enchanting melody, and rhythm gave her a Grammy for Best R&B Song and a spot in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“Sweet Love” is a timeless classic that instantly immerses you in love and passion.
Give it a listen, and you’ll feel the magic of songs from 1986.
91. “Your Wildest Dreams” by Moody Blues
Enjoy the enchanting song “Your Wildest Dreams” by the Moody Blues.
It’s a classic rock tune with a memorable melody and meaningful lyrics.
This is one of the classic songs from 1986 that can transport you to cherished past moments.
Let the soothing vocals and memorable soundtracks guide you on a musical journey.
92. “Spies Like Us” by Paul McCartney
“Spies Like Us” by Paul McCartney is like a musical shot of adrenaline.
It has a lively and rhythmic melody that makes you want to dance.
Paul’s vocals are as smooth as ever, and the lyrics?
They’re all about spies, but in a fun way.
It’s a song you’ll want on your playlist for a good time.
93. “Object of My Desire” by Starpoint
This upbeat R&B song from the 80s revolves around themes of love and longing.
Its inviting rhythm and silky vocals make it a great song for dancing or singing along.
Whether you’re seeking a dose of nostalgia or simply looking for an enjoyable tune, add this to your playlist – its allure is hard to resist!
94. “Dreamtime” by Daryl Hall
Listen to “Dreamtime” by Daryl Hall if you’re into a song that’ll take you to a different world.
It’s a fantastic track co-written by John Beeby, and with its cool synths, excellent guitar solo, and Daryl’s unique vocals, it’s like musical magic!
95. “Tender Love” by Force MDs
You’ve got to check “Tender Love” by Force MDs – it’s like a warm hug for your ears!
This R&B classic is all about that sweet, gentle kind of love that makes your heart melt.
With their smooth harmonies and soulful vibes, the Force MDs create a musical love letter perfect for cozy nights with your sweetheart.
It plays in hit movies like “The Best Man” and “Crooklyn,” making it an authentic soundtrack to love.
So grab your special someone and let this song serenade your soul!
96. “King for a Day” by Thompson Twins
Thompson Twins’ “King for a Day” is an energetic 80s pop tune that will make you want to dance.
Featuring a groovy bassline, memorable synth melodies, and Tom Bailey’s distinctive vocals, it’s one of those classic songs from 1986 that perfectly captures the spirit of the times.
Close your eyes, turn up the volume, and let this song transport you back to the neon lights and dance floors of the 80s, where you can feel like royalty for a few minutes.
97. “Love Will Conquer All” by Lionel Richie
You know that song “Love Will Conquer All” by Lionel Richie?
It’s like a musical bear hug full of optimism and love.
When you listen to it, it’s like Lionel Richie is saying, “Hey, no matter what life dishes out, love’s got this!“
His smooth voice and heartfelt lyrics make you feel everything will be alright.
So, just hit play and let the good vibes roll!
98. “A Different Corner” by George Michael
George Michael’s “A Different Corner” is a touching song from 1986.
It’s all about feeling alone and wishing for a second chance in love, and George’s fantastic voice and piano music make it so emotional.
If you’re in the mood for a heartfelt song that makes you think, this one’s a classic.
99. “I’ll Be Over You” by Toto
Have you heard “I’ll Be Over You” by Toto?
It’s a song that touches your heart with its soothing melodies and heartfelt lyrics.
It is in the movie “The Secret of My Success” with Michael J. Fox, making the film feel even more romantic and emotional.
It is an excellent fit for the story.
100. “Go Home” by Stevie Wonder
Have you ever had a crush on someone who didn’t feel the same way?
Stevie Wonder’s song “Go Home” dives into that scenario.
It’s about a girl who wants to stay with him, but he knows it’s not right.
This 80s hit is catchy, with a funky groove and an incredible synth solo.
It’s also a reminder to be honest about your feelings.
If you’re up for groovy songs from 1986 and wise advice, listen to “Go Home” by Stevie Wonder — you won’t be disappointed!
101. “Can You Feel The Beat” by Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam With Full Force
Check out “Can You Feel The Beat” by Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam With Full Force – it’s like a time machine to the 80s dance floor!
Lisa Lisa’s got that smooth, sultry voice that’ll make you want to groove, and the beat grabs you and won’t let go.
This track’s a total mood lifter, one of those songs you can’t help but bop along to.
So, if you’re up for some serious dance vibes, give it a listen!
Timeless Songs from 1986 For Your Ultimate Listening Experience
We hope this list of the best songs from 1986 helps you relive these timeless classics!
Listening to and reminiscing about the top songs from 1986 can help you see how music has changed and evolved, while helping you appreciate the simpler times back then.
No matter how much time passes, it can’t erase the fun memories with these songs, especially for those who grew up listening to them!
So, anytime you feel nostalgic, return to this list and relive the good old days through music!