10 Worst Songs of the 1980s

When I was a teenager in the 1990s, the 1980s were often reviled as the decade that taste forgot. But I think this list is far less heinous than the 10 Worst Songs of the 1970s – the corporate vibes of the 1980s sound less dated than the hippie ethos still permeating some of the worst 1970s songs.

I couldn’t squeeze in Whitney Houston’s ‘The Greatest Love of All’, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s ‘The Girl Is Mine’, or anything by Huey Lewis and the News. Several 1960s legends disgrace themselves and the 1988 Tom Cruise movie Cocktail contributes two numbers. Read on for all the gory details.

10 Worst Songs of the 1980s

#10: Kokomo by The Beach Boys

1988
By 1988 The Beach Boys had been an irrelevant legacy act for years – 1960s mastermind Brian Wilson was struggling under the care of controversial psychologist Eugene Landy, while Dennis Wilson drowned in 1983. ‘Kokomo’, featured in Cocktail, was an unexpected U.S. number one single. It was written by a collective of prominent 1960s musicians – The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, producer Terry Melcher, The Mamas & The Papas’ John Phillips, and Scott McKenzie, best-known for ‘San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)’. It’s redeemed somewhat by lovely vocals in the bridge from Carl Wilson, but it’s a crass cash-grab from a legendary pop band.


#9: Tainted Love by Soft Cell

1981
Gloria Jones’ ‘Tainted Love’ began as an obscure 1965 b-Side, but became popular in British clubs in the 1970s. Leeds synth-pop duo Soft Cell covered the song in 1981. It’s a much-loved tune, easily the most controversial inclusion on the list, but it’s always grated on me. The combination of the repetitive backing track and the sleazy lead vocal has always made it a tough listen.


#8: Shaddap You Face by Joe Dolce

1980
This novelty song was a number one hit in Australia and the UK, but it failed to crack the top 50 in the USA. The US had superior taste in this instance; unlike Australia, where for years it was the highest-selling single ever. This accordion-driven tale of a rebellious Italian boy belongs to the 1920s rather than the 1980s. Dolce was unsuccessful in milking the formula for a follow-up hit – neither ‘You Toucha My Car, I Breaka You Face’ nor ‘Pizza Pizza’ was successful.


#7: The Final Countdown by Europe

1986
Swedish glam-rock band Europe designed ‘The Final Countdown’ as a concert opener, with its piercing and dramatic keyboard riff. They’re ostensibly a rock band but it’s a pop song, based around a drum machine and a synth riff. Europe left the song off their first two records because it was too unusual, but included it on their third album where it was a worldwide smash hit.


#6 – Lady In Red by Chris de Burgh

1986
Argentina-born Chris de Burgh started his career opening for Supertramp, but hit the pay-dirt with this swooning 1986 hit. There’s a pleasant verse melody, but the chorus is lazy and insipid. Chris de Burgh wrote ‘Lady In Red’ about the first time he met his wife. He wrote ‘For Rosanna’, also from 1986’s Into The Light, about his 2-year old daughter; she later became Miss World 2003.


#5 – Girl You Know It’s True by Milli Vanilli

1988
Milli Vanilli are an easy target – the European R&B duo shot to infamy in 1989 when a technical glitch revealed that Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus were lip-syncing their live performances. They weren’t singing in the studio either, although I’m a firm believer that the final product is more important than any notions of artistic integrity. The problem is that the final product is utterly generic R&B, with its “true” and “love you” rhymes – the slick dance moves of Morvan and Pilatus are the group’s biggest redeeming feature.


#4 – We Are The World by U.S.A. for Africa

1985
There are a bunch of questionable collaborative songs that emerged in the 1980s – duets featuring various combinations of Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson were all considered, as well as ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’. It’s fun watching a bunch of legends takes turns at the mic in the music video for ‘We Are The World’ – you’re unlikely to see the combination of Dionne Warwick and Willie Nelson anywhere else. But ‘We Are The World’, written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, is essentially a bad Christmas carol.


#3: Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin

1988
‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ is the second song on this list to originate from the movie Cocktail. Bobby McFerrin has a jazz pedigree, influenced by Keith Jarrett and working with Herbie Hancock. The song is an impressive technical achievement with all of its sounds emanating from McFerrin’s mouth. But ultimately it’s a gimmicky novelty hit – McFerrin’s faux-Jamaican accent is particularly painful. ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ was used as George H.W. Bush’s campaign song against McFerrin’s wishes, and it’s often falsely attributed to Bob Marley – Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ (which also features lyrics about not worrying) is a much stronger song.


#2: We Built This City by Starship

1985
In the 1960s Jefferson Airplane were an anti-establishment band, pushing boundaries with songs like ‘White Rabbit’, ‘Triad’, and ‘Volunteers’. By 1985 they’d morphed into Starship and they were the establishment, singing a corporate rock song about how they’d built this city on rock and roll. Bernie Taupin provides incomprehensible lyrics like “Marconi plays the mamba”. The attempted inspirational anthem ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’, from 1987’s No Protection, was also in contention for this list.


#1: Dancing in the Street – David Bowie & Mick Jagger

1985
Two rock legends joined forces for a cover of a 1960s Motown classic, with a video recorded for broadcast at Live Aid. It’s a robust song, co-penned by Marvin Gaye, but it’s spoiled by the over-enthusiastic singing of the pair. They sound like caricatures of themselves, embarrassing dads.

Am I wrong about ‘Tainted Love’? Am I crazy to think that David Bowie and Mick Jagger recorded the worst song of the decade? What did I forget to include?

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133 comments

  1. I actually rather like ‘Kokomo,’ ‘Tainted Love,’ and ‘Don’t Worry.’ I can take or leave ‘We Are the World.’ ‘We Built this City’ is a piece of garbage and a long fall from grace for what used to be the great Jefferson Airplane. That said, it’s good to know that ‘Marconi plays the mamba’ or whatever. (Rolling Stone readers voted it the worst by a wide margin. And did you know Bernie Taupin – to his lasting shame – was a co-writer?)

    As to Jagger/Bowie, I never thought that was such a great song in the first place. Their “I’m a bigger star” one-upmanship in the video is more embarrassing than the song. My choices?

    -That’s What Friends Are For – Warwick and crew
    -Groovy Kind of Love – Phil Collins
    -Ebony and Ivory – Jackson/McCartney

    And while I don’t know when it came out exactly, special mention – as always – to “Sometimes When We Touch,” literally the worst song of all time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sometimes When We Touch is late-1970s, but it kind of sounds 1980s.

      I did consider Ebony and Ivory (I assume you meant this Wonder and McCartney collab, not McCartney and Jackson’s The Girl is Mine) and That’s What Friends Are For.

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    2. That’s what Friends are For and Dionne Warwick beat out Steve Windwood, Peter Gabriel, and Paul Simon for the Grammy that year, so there’s that……

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Now you’re talking!

    An amazing list.

    No way tainted love should be there, though. And I’m not sure about “we are the world” – it’s not a bad song and it’s for charity.

    All others are terrible.

    My 1 and 2 worst songs of the 1980s:

    1. Culture Club – “War Song”

    2. Duran Duran – “Wild Boys”

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    1. I’d never heard that Culture Club song before. Listening now, I do enjoy Boy George’s voice enough to give it a pass, even though the chorus lyrics are kind of stupid (their words, not mine).

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  3. I agree with several of your picks – especially anything by the egregiously fake Milli Vanilli – but must disagree on “Tainted Love” and “Greatest Love of All”, and strenuously disagree on “We Are the World”. Many love to hate on that song, which I’ll concede is a bit sappy, but hearing all those voices of so many important singers of that time period who came together for this fund-raiser track still puts a lump in my throat.

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  4. I agree with you on 10, 5, 4, and 2, disagree with you on 9, 7, 6, 1, and would nominate “Hangin’ Tough” by New Kids on the Block, “Party all the Time” by Eddie Murphy, “Sunshine Raggae” by Laid Back, and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” by Boy George.

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    1. Music tastes are so subjective. I hate hearing most of these today simply because I’ve become so burnt out on them over the decades. Not because they were bad songs in the first place.

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  5. You were not blighted by Stock Aitken and Waterman the way I was. The top ten could be produced by that gang of Turd Vendors. But yep this list is all pretty hideous. I hold deep the belief that the 80’s were a shockingly bad decade for music punctuated by pockets of quality and the retro kitsch cash in machine promotes all the worst aspects of it.

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    1. There are a whole lot of big dancefloor fillers from the 1980s that have held up really well – I’ll rep for Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’ or Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’. We got a bit of SAW over in New Zealand – I don’t actually hate Rickrolling like I’m supposed to, and most of their hits are pretty upbeat.

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  6. That’s the thing about music – it polarises opinion!
    I’m not a fan of 80s music in general after about 1984, but some of these on your list I’d definitely disagree with. I’m sure I could name some that are a hundred times worse….. what about all that Stock Aitken Waterman bilge? 😀

    But then, nobody agrees 100% on music do they? 😉

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  7. I can agree with you on most of these, especially Chris DeBurgh. I much prefer his 1983 single, “Don’t Pay the Ferryman.” The only thing I like about Joe Dolce is that years later, my ex wife hated it because it kept her favourite song at the time, “Vienna” by Ultravox off the number one spot in the UK. As for the number one, well according to Family Guy, it was the gayest video ever made.

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  8. You have a few of one hit wonders like Joe Dolce and BM on your List -. But the 1980s should be remembered as the decade when otherwise accomplished musicians committed serious music crimes.

    So in addition to the Culture Club (War song) and Duran Duran (Wild Boys) mentioned above, these are on my list:

    Phil Collins – “Illegal Alien”

    Glen Fry – “The Heat is on” ( or anything from the BHC soundtracks)

    Elton John – “I’m still standing”. Ya it’s catchy, but the background “gospel singers” are gimmicky and the lyrics are beyond terrible

    Anything from the Huey Lewis album that came after “Sports” – “Happy to be stuck with you”, “ gonna go back in time…”. Etc.

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    1. Illegal Alien is bad, but I don’t really feel like picking on deep cuts works for this list. Glenn Frey was in contention too – ‘Sexy Girl’ is a bad one. I like ‘I’m Still Standing’ though – I’m pretty sure John has some worse 1980s stuff.

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  9. Where do I start?

    I would add these

    The Safety Dance….this would be my number 1 followed by We Built This City
    Every Rose Has It’s Thorn (prick)
    Mr. Roboto
    Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

    And for me…Duran Duran’s entire 80s catalog.

    Don’t Worry Be Happy is annoying I’ll give you that and I don’t like it…but no one fired up a synthesizer so it might be the only song of the 80s not to feature one.

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      1. The Safety Dance would also probably take the worse video of the decade…and that is saying a lot!
        The only song that I could stomach on your list is the Soft Cell song…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. God, you’re right these are all horrible songs as well; plus if i remember correctly the Safety Dance video is bizarre and creepy and the Mr. Roboto one is just weird.

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      1. Thank you Paul! The video matched the song in bad. I cringe everytime I hear the song. That song was really popular and it boggled my mind…but a cool song like Salt In My Tears was barely a hit….a different kind of decade.

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  10. When I was growing up in Montreal there was a synth-pop band called “Rational Youth” that was popular locally .

    Then one of the main members left to do something else and they re-branded as “Men Without Hats”. The Safety Dance was a huge global billboard hit and they received a Grammy nomination for the song and the video.

    People assumed at the time that the member who left would be upset. Even back then, he said “not really”.

    Now we know why.

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  11. I have to say I much prefer thinking and writing about music I like. While I agree none of the songs you listed are masterpieces, most don’t bother me that much except perhaps “Tainted Love,” which is really terrible.

    Two additional tunes I find truly awful are “Looking for Freedom” (David Hasselhoff) and “Cheri Cheri Lady” (Modern Talking). You can pretty much add any other tune that German pop duo ever released!

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      1. I think Hasselhoff (sorry, David, don’t mean to keep picking on you, but acting and singing usually doesn’t work out very well!) and Modern Talking were even worse.

        Modern Talking were extremely popular in Germany. During their heyday, you simply couldn’t listen to (mainstream) radio without encountering the annoying duo.

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  12. There is a theory, espoused by music Historians such as Alan Cross, that music swings in a long pendulum from pop to rock and back again

    Many observers believe that musically the decade of the 1980’s was the worst ever and the 1990s the greatest.

    In a few short years we went from listening to “How Will I know?” To “Jeremy “

    But the butterfly wings were flapping in the late 1980s like canaries in the coal mine:

    REM, the ultimate college radio band, was suddenly on the main billboard chart with “Losing my religion”

    Prince transformed himself into something totally different from before and was mesmerizing (sorry G I know you love “I wanna be your lover”- which is a fun song )

    At the very end of the decade 40 people paid exactly $5 go to a tiny bar in Madison Wisconsin to hear Nirvana open for The Tragically Hip.

    If you have a poster or a ticket stub from that night it’s worth a lot of money today.

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    1. I don’t know that we’ve really had a swing back to rock since the early 2000s – things like The Strokes, The White Stripes, and Franz Ferdinand are the last vestiges of rock hitting the mainstream. I’d question whether it will ever swing back.

      I think there’s lots of good underground rock and alternative UK stuff around in the 1980s – just not much in the way of mainstream rock.

      I think every era has good stuff, it’s just more obvious in some than others.

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      1. You are right that there’s all styles of music in every era but that you never know which styles will be emphasized at that time on the radio and the charts.

        Yes, after the swing to rock in the 1990-2005 years it went back to pop during the 2010’s (Drake,Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar , justin Beiber etc) and hasn’t swung back yet.

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        1. Yes!
          Just when you think it won’t ever swing from pop etc back to rock, it does. It usually needs a crossover bridge like Prince was in the mid- late 1980s .

          As you say “a female appealing to disaffected youth” is exactly what I was thinking about for this time around – probably Lorde but more likely Billy Eilish – each has both pop and rock cred

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  13. There are some classics (as in, classically bad) songs on this list and for that, I salute you. Soft Cell’s “Tainted love” though? I love that one. You can easily replace that one with Taco’s “Puttin’ on the ritz” or Spandau Ballet’s “True” (which for some reason, I’ve always hated) or Squeeze’s “Cool for cats” or…

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    1. I’m aware everyone else likes ‘Tainted Love’, I’m pretty sure ‘True’ is disliked by a lot of people though. You hate ‘Cool For Cats’? Some of those lyrics are pretty gross, but it’s not that bad (and it’s from 1979)….

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      1. 1979. TBH, I just assumed Cool for cats was 80s. I never really cared enough about the band to know for sure. I had a roommate in university that had Squeeze’s “best of” and often played that song just to bug me.

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  14. “When I was a teenager in the 1990s, the 1980s were often reviled as the decade that taste forgot.”

    I did much of my growing up in the 80s, and became a teenager in the late 80s, though most of it was done in the 90s. So I’m mostly in agreement with that sentiment. But it just…amazes me how the 80s have been held up as “cool” to those who didn’t live through it since about the early aughts. I don’t get it. Yeah, there was some great pop, and the clothes were colorful! But I think those who currently worship the 80s either a) had it be their “great” years or b) were too young to remember or not born yet. Because when I now think of the 80s, I think about Reagan, the threat of nuclear war, the poor getting poorer (which has just intensified in the past few decades), the AIDS crisis and the homophobia surrounding it, and lots of bad Saturday morning cartoons. So to see some consider it The Greatest Decade just boggles my mind.

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    1. I certainly don’t think it was the greatest decade ever, I just think its music was written off too much in the 1990s. In New Zealand we had a bizarre political situation where the right wing party almost bankrupted the country with a bunch of public works projects, then the left wing party brought in a bunch of neo-liberal policies.

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        1. When I think of the mid to late 1990s, I think of stuff like Oasis, Spice Girls, and Hanson. I can see why they don’t get critical acclaim, but

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        2. Oh, no doubt there’s some great stuff from the 90s. (Not No Doubt, though.) It just seems that it’s become easy for people to bag on the decade.

          I blame it on the trends that came to a head in the late 90s: Fourth-generation warmed-over grunge, nu-metal, etc. There were genres that tried to become predominant and failed (electronica, ska, swing revival). It’s almost like what came later in the decade negated what started it. And because some of the late 90s music was just that bad, it’s hard for people to get over it.

          It seems to be a pattern: We remember the 60s more for the psychedelic rock at the end vs the pop acts that dominated the pre-Beatles charts, the 70’s are depicted as being dominated by disco and “yacht rock”, music that came to the forefront in the decade’s later years. I guess the 80s has a “leg up” because we tend to think fondly of the stuff that came from 1985 and earlier while ignoring the hair metal and such that dominated the last few years.

          Disclosure: I do like a good amount of ska music, but the acts that “got big” in the later 90s were not that good for the most part.

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        3. I think in my age cohort, the early 1990s are loved. My friends were into then-current bands like Manic Street Preachers, Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine etc.

          The late 1990s did have Radiohead – they plus Nirvana are the most identifiable rock bands for the decade.

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  15. The Muppets version of Kokomo is a pinnacle. The Beach Boys version a travesty. The 80’s was a strange time, the true start of the decline with Thatcher et al.

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  16. With so many awful ones to choose from I don’t know how you ever narrowed it down to 10. I could never. The only one I kind of disagree with is Tainted Love, which is kind of okay. Anything after 1983 or so was so terrible that early 80s synth-pop seems like the highlight of the entire decade. lol

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    1. I think synth sounds got better later in the decade – I like 70s synth sounds and sounds from later in the 1980s but there’s a little zone in the early 1980s where I don’t like the synths much.

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  17. I’m impressed you narrowed it down to so few songs – that decade was a shiat-pile of the highest order. I once wrote a whole post ranting about that Chris DeBurgh song. Ugh. And I might have to stick up for those embarassing dads. Their enthusiasm and camp is what makes that track such hilarious fun.

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  18. Yes it’s hard to narrow down the badness of the decade musically.

    I would include Dire Straits “Twisting By the Pool” and also anything by “The Stray Cats”.

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  19. Everyone loves to trash the 1980s- but what decade can compete with this list?
    The ten best songs of the 1980s (according to me)

    1. The Smiths – “How Soon is Now?”
    2. Queen/ Bowie – “Under Pressure”
    3. U2 – “ With or without you”
    4. REM- “ Losing My Religion”
    5. INXS- “Never Tear us Apart”
    6. The Pixies – “Debaser”
    7. The Cure – “Just Like Heaven”
    8- Simple Minds – “Alive and Kicking”
    9. The Clash – “ Bankrobber”
    10. The psychedelic Furs – “Heaven”

    And I didn’t even have room for the Talking Heads, Prince, Tom Petty, Guns & Roses, Dire Straits, The Stone Roses, the Ramones, New Order/Joy Division, Lou Reed etc

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  20. Omg.

    I purposely googled most of the songs just to make sure they were all exactly from the 80s.
    I just assumed that that REM album was as well .

    Ok , so just replace LMR with something from “Life’s Rich Pageant” or the B52s – also from Athens, GA

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      1. I think “Automatic for the People”! is their finest album , Better than “Pageant” . The singles , plus “Night-swimming “ and “ Find the river” hang together.

        It’s obviously 90s, but somehow the band will always be in one’s imagination as an 80’s college radio band.
        Same with U2.
        Hard to imagine, but there was a time in the late 1990s-early 200s when U2 and REM were not the bomb anymore – overshadowed by grunge and Oasis and the Smashing Pumpkins, and Radiohead, and you could see them in a mid-sized venue if you paid attention to the touring dates

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        1. I think U2 and REM both outstayed their welcome and became less relevant. Although REM’s last couple of albums are pretty good, and U2 are still relevant as a touring band but probably should have slowed their recording output right down.

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  21. Well, that’s the same for most bands.

    There are a lot.of theories behind a band’s inevitable decline – but most likely it’s a combination of internal and external forces

    I tried to like “accelerator.” but I dare you to listen to it all the way through.

    REM eventually broke up (I think) but I saw them tour with “the National” and “ Modest Mouse” near the end in TO at a mid sized venue – was great.

    “How to dismantle an atomic bomb “ is without question one of U2’s best albums. But ya, the shark was jumped for both bands by then

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  22. I normally don’t comment on blog posts. Especially top ten lists as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That said this list is a little harsh and overly opinionated. While not representing the best of the decade they’re far from the worst.

    As you mention yourself, some of these were easy targets and almost come across as lazy inclusions. I think given the decade a lot or these get a pass. This was, after all, the decade of excess.

    Tainted Love by Soft Cell is a Synth Pop Classic that’s been covered by many an artist. Simply does not belong here. Sounds like it’s only basis for being a “bad” song is the fact you personally didn’t like it.

    If I had to pick a single song as the worst song of the decade it would probably be ‘The Girl is Mine.’ Which you mention but do not give a slot. This was a extreme waste of talent imo and kept ‘Thriller’ from being a perfect album. For that reason alone it deserves the top spot.

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    1. Lists of ten worst anything are going to be “harsh and overly opinionated” by design. There’s no “objective” way to determine what the worst is when you are talking about an artform.

      “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell IS a cover. They didn’t write the song, just made it popular.

      I do agree with you on “The Girl Is Mine”, though.

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      1. Well “if it’s a cover “is your test, then you are really letting the genie out of the music bottle –

        Google every song you love to make sure it’s not a cover. I think you will be surprised

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        1. “Cover” is not my test. Maybe it wasn’t your intention, but the wording of your comment makes it sound (at least to me) like people are “covering” Soft Cell. While those folks may be informed by Soft Cell’s take on it, they aren’t “covering” Soft Cell. They weren’t the writers nor the original artist of said song.

          Yes, there are many songs I love that are covers, no doubt. Covers can be great, horrible, or somewhere in between. Sometimes a cover becomes “the definitive” version of a song in most people’s eyes, like Soft Cell’s version of “Tainted Love” and Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You”. Some of it comes down to personal taste. For example, I like Husker Du’s cover of “Eight Miles High” better than the Byrds original.

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        2. I Will Always Love You is pencilled in for the 1990s list. I don’t hate Whitney Houston (IMO ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ is a total banger) and I like the Dolly Parton original, but it drives me crazy. It was all over the radio at the age where I was becoming musically conscious.

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        3. The comment adventurepdx has responding to said “a Synth Pop Classic that’s been covered by many an artist.” I don’t think covers are intrinsically bad, but Soft Cell shouldn’t get credit for writing Tainted Love.

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        4. I read somewhere that “Tainted Love” was pretty popular in the UK in the ’70s, at least amongst those who were into Northern Soul. When they did their take on the song, they figured everyone would realize it was a cover.

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  23. I definitely think “Do they know it’s Christmas” is much better, more genuine, than “We are the World”. I liked “Kokomo”, I’m indifferent about “Dancing in the Street” and “Tainted Love” used to make me turn off the radio. Probably still would.

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    1. I’m not a huge fan of Do They Know It’s Christmas, but I think it’s a step up from We Are The World. It focuses in on one issue and did a good job on bringing attention to it.

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  24. I have an idea of the worst and best of the 1990s. That’s my decade!

    G – I’m not telling you what to do but if you include the WH song you will get Tons of pushback like soft cell.

    Watch the documentary on her. “Whitney.” It’s really very good.

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  25. I agree with 8 out of 10 of your worst 1989s ideas.

    I’m glad you didn’t put down “Spandau Ballet” or “Flock of Seagulls” or “Mister Mister”.

    They are classic 80s, and decent enough songs to boot.

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    1. Apparently True is hated by a lot of people. I think it’s well-written but is just a bit slow/long and drags a bit. I don’t hear that Flock of Seagulls song around much.

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  26. I don’t know what it is about the 80s but I seem to enjoy everything equally, I can’t even hate joe dolce. For me the really bummers on the list are the American ones it’s like they are trying too hard especially Jefferson Starship.

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  27. I’m with you about Starship. Jefferson Starship was my favourite band from 1976-84. However, after Paul Kantner left the band, taking the Jefferson name with him thanks to a lawsuit, Starship became a top 40 band and that was a damn shame.

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  28. Hey, watz up? I’m in a hurry but not that much to say that Hey Mickey was bad but they ULTIMATELY WASTED ALL ENERGY ON (PAC MAN FEVER) or did you forget that one? I did actually like LADY IN RED but different strokes. TTYL PEACE

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  29. Someone obviously did not like the ’80s. However, I can agree with some of these, they’re definitely not the worst. It would be more like. “I got my set on you.”- George Harrison, and Hangin’ Tough – New Kids on the block.

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  30. The absolute worst song of the 80s is You Spin Me Around by Dead or Alive.

    Another song that should have been included is Mickey by Toni Basil.

    Those two songs are just plain awful

    Signed a 1987 HS Grad…I know the 80s!

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  31. With the exception of that stupid faux italian somg that i never even heard of, this list is WHACK. In fact, these are some of the BEST and most DEFINING songs of the 80’s and as a generation x’er born in 1978 i think that makes me qualified. I don’t think the writer knows what he or she is talking about.

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  32. I sang along on the car radio happily in the 80’s some of your picks for “worst songs'”. They probably didn’t hold out to appeal to your generation, but at the time, a ton of people around me also sang along with some of them-some were catchy tunes. Most of my friends then preferred Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Ramones, Clash, Queensryche, Motorhead, Dead Kennedys, Stones, Rush etc, but some of those songs were still cool then, too-like, “Tainted Love”. Could be partially a generational thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. That’s actually a great list, with the exception of Soft Cell. The song comes from their brilliant album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret (hence, the sleazy vocals). Nice pick for number 1. I’m a huge Bowie fan, but that was one of the worst recordings he ever did. Half of these songs would probably be on my list. I’d have to include “Endless Love” or “Hello” by Lionel Richie. He wrote some good songs, but he also wrote some real stinkers that were huge. Also, Sussudio, by Phil Collins. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for writing in! I’m well aware that I’m in the minority about Soft Cell – maybe I should hear the parent album sometime to see how I respond to it.

      IMO, Adele’s ‘Hello’ makes Richie’s look good.

      Like

        1. I have a list of 1990s worst songs ready to write about – I was planning to publish it today, but the accusations of 1980s hating pushed me to make a 1980s best of list instead.

          Like

  34. I CANT BELIEVE YOU HAVE KOKOMO ON THIS LIST – i LOVE THAT SONG!! Kidding, kidding, totally kidding. Don’t spam me! This is quite the list. Kokomo is actually at the top of my list for worst songs ever. We Built this City as well – have you ever seen the video – it actually makes the song worse if that’s possible; Re: Tainted Love though, I always kind of liked that song so there you go.
    Will go back and check out the 70s best and worst. Looking forward to the 90’s as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m aware that lots of people like Tainted Love – it’s more just a personal bugbear for me. I’ve got a lot of response from these posts, so really I should make a best hits, worst, and maybe best deep cuts/cult acts list for every decade from the 1960s to 2010s.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Two additional comments – how did Australia, the land that has given the world so many great bands, make “Shaddap Your Face” a hit?
    Secondly, the idea of comparing Don’t worry be happy with Three Little Birds almost makes me physically ill – it approaches sacrilege. Blahhh… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shaddap Your Face was a hit almost everywhere except the USA.

      I was at a party where someone got those ‘Don’t Worry’ and ‘Three Little Birds’ mixed up. Didn’t want to be rude and correct them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well the US certainly has had its share of novelty song feel that probably didn’t chart elsewhere.
        Re party I would have probably backed away slowly… 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  36. The final countdown is a great song. If europe was an american band it would have been made it big. Every song on that album is good just people cant listen too stuff if it aint about love, sex , drugs, violence but i do recon alot of people dare not admit they like it. It blows def leppard out of the water

    Liked by 1 person

  37. “We built this city” is a dumpster fire of a song. The interesting thing to me is that jefferson starship, although nowhere near as cool as airplane, didn’t embarras themselves with some of their 70s and early 80s stuff. Red Octopus has some well crafted tunes. Hell even their arena rock efforts like “find your way back” etc. were fine entries into that tepid genre. So when ” we built this city” came out it kinda shocked me. Clearly they didn’t care anymore about anything but makin a buck. Kind of a bummer.

    Liked by 1 person

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