10. “Brilliant Disguise”-Bruce Springsteen
“Tunnel of Love” is the album most forgotten, even by Springsteen fans. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting fusion of classic Bruce themes and a pop sound. “Brilliant Disguise” is probably the best-known track, but many are solid.
9. “Bad”-Michael Jackson
Sure “Thriller” and “Beat It” got all the pub, but “Bad” was just as good. The song was extremely catchy and hip for the time. The video is also quite incredible, with Jackson showing off his signature dance moves.
8. “Sign o’ the Times”-Prince
“Sign ‘O’ the Times” shows us a more serious side of Prince, as he seems to get a bit more political. Nonetheless, we still get plenty of audio goodness, even though this song is much more somber and understated. Awesome…anyways.
7. “Don’t Get Me Wrong”-The Pretenders
Unfortunately, “The Pretenders” have been a bit forgotten today, but if you lived through the 1980’s, you’d know how amazing they were. “I’ll Stand By You” is probably their best song, but Don’t Get Me Wrong” isn’t far behind. The latter is much more of a pop song, but is similarly powerful.
6. “Wanted Dead or Alive”-Bon Jovi
Aside from their work in rock and ballads, Bon Jovi really revitalized western rock. In that sense, “Wanted Dead or Alive” is very much their masterpiece. The song is a beautiful comparison between the life of an outlaw and that of a rock and roll musician. It works perfectly, even upon numerous listens.
5. “Luka”-Suzanne Vega
Suzanne Vega brought a bit of the 1970’s alternative pop to the 1980’s and early-1990’s. While she never had a huge catalogue of hits, “Luka” was her biggest. This track about child abuse became a rallying cry during the decade. The lyrics are stern and heart-breaking.
4. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”-U2
Easily the most similar to American rock on “The Joshua Tree,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is a breath of fresh air, and a steep departure from their protest songs. This also foreshadowed a major change in direction for the band in the coming decade.
3. “The Way It Is”-Bruce Hornsby and the Range
The economy was a mess, international relations were the worst in four decades. In a lot of ways, the 1980’s were a mess. This perceived helplessness was not better exemplified than in Bruce Hornsby and the Range’s “The Way It Is.” The band wouldn’t have too many more hits, but this one was among the decades very best.
2. “Livin’ On A Prayer”-Bon Jovi
While all the songs on this countdown are very, very good…there’s only one “Livin’ On a Prayer.” Aside from being one of the best rock songs of all-time, the number launched Bon Jovi into musical superstardom. This one is absolutely flawless.
- “With or Without You”-U2
The lyrics should give this one away, but you still hear this way too many times on wedding day. In actuality, “With or Without You” is about someone who struggles to make sense of a love that is both euphoric and hazardous.