Monday, October 15, 2012

20 Best Love Songs of the '80s

If there's one thing that I love about the '80s (besides the banana clips, oversized sweaters, high tops, hair spray and acid wash jeans), it's the music. With the launch of MTV in 1981, the music of the Buggles, Run DMC, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bon Jovi and countless others could be blasted into your living room on a daily basis. Or, you could listen to you favorite hair sprayed or mini-skirt wearing musicians from your boombox or Sony Walkman.

I loved all types of music from the '80s because no matter what type of genre it was, whether it was pop, hip hop, techno or punk, you were bound to hear some sort of drum machine or synthesizer in the song. This is especially true for the love songs during this decade, which also incorporated the sexy saxophone or cosmic keyboard.

Which songs did this the best? Here is my pick for the 20 best love songs of the '80s:

1.  Whitney Houston - "You Give Good Love" (1985)

Although most people would choose "The Greatest Love of All" as Whitney's greatest love song, I figured it was too predictable. That's why I chose this one instead. "You Give Good Love" was the first song released on her self-titled album, and it put her name on the music map. Originally written for Robertal Flack, it became her first Top 10 hit.

2.  Starship - "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (1987)

This was not only a #1 hit on the Billboard charts, but it was also the theme song to the romantic comedy film Mannequin, featuring Kim Cattrall of Sex in the City fame and former '80s Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy. It was written by English songwriter Albert Hammod, who said its inspiration came from his desire to marry his live-in girlfriend of seven years.

3. Richard Marx - "Right Here Waiting" (1989)

Richard Marx was one of the best songwriters of the '80s. This is the second release from his second album, Repeat Offender. Marx said he wrote the song about his wife, Cynthia Rhodes (of Dirty Dancing fame), while she was in Africa filming a movie.

4.  REO Speedwagon - "Can't Fight This Feeling" (1984)

Many guys have experienced what this song is about: falling in love with a good friend. The song appeared on the band's album Wheels are Turnin' and became their second #1hit after "Keep on Lovin' You."

5. Peter Cetera - "Glory of Love" (1986)

Peter Cetera, the original lead singer for the popular '70s and '80s band Chicago, scored six Top 40 singles as a solo artist. This was one of theme, and also happened to be the theme song to the Karate Kid: Part II.

6.  Stevie Wonder - "I Just Called to Say I Love You" (1984)

One of the great hits written, produced and performed by the talented artist Stevie Wonder. It reached #1 on the Billboard charts and was featured in the Gene Wilder comedy The Woman in Red. I don't know of any person who was alive in the '80s who hasn't sung this to someone they love.

7. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes - "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (1987)

This is the unforgettable song from the final scene in Dirty Dancing, when Jennifer Grey (Baby) and Patrick Swayze (Johnny) have the time of their life performing at the talent show. The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

8. Cyndi Lauper - "Time After Time" (1984)

She may be "so unusual,"but this song became so popular in 1984, reaching #1 on the Billboard charts. Despite it being almost 30 years old, the song still gets covered by well-known musicians today. Some artists who have covered it include Tracy Chapman, Willie Nelson, Boyz II Men, Matchbox Twenty and Mariah Carey.

9.  Journey - "Faithfully" (1982)

This is the second big power ballad hit from the band Journey. Although it only reached #12 on the Billboard charts, it's still one of the most recognizable love songs in pop culture. Keyboard player Jonathan Cain wrote the song to describe how difficult it was to have a relationship while touring.

10. U2 - "With or Without You" (1987)

This song was the first single released from the band's highly acclaimed album, The Joshua Tree. It reached #1 on both the American and Canadian charts, and has been recognized by music critics as one of the best songs of all time. Lead singer Bono wrote the song as a reflection of his struggles living his life as a married man and a musician.

11. Berlin - "Take My Breath Away" (1986)

Every Top Gun fan recognizes this song from the film's soundtrack. Performed by the pop band Berlin, it won an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song in 1986.

12. Lionel Richie - "You Are" (1983)

Although the video isn't as memorable as Richie's blind sculpture video "Hello," the lyrics epitomize what true love is all about. The song was written by Richie and his ex-wife Brenda Harvey Richie, and reached #4 on the Billboard chart.

13. Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes - "Up Where We Belong" (1982)

No one can forget the ending of the film An Officer and a Gentleman, where which Richard Gere sweeps Debra Winger off her feet and this song is playing in the background. Looks like Jennifer Warnes is a lucky charm for winning awards (see above for "(I've Had) The Time of My Life") because she helped this song to take home the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1983.

14. Whitesnake - "Is This Love?" (1987)

Not to be confused for "Is This Love?" by Bob Marley, this 1987 power ballad is from the English band Whitesnake. The video is one of the most memorable of the '80s, featuring lead singer David Coverdale's then-girlfriend, Tawny Kitaen, dancing on the hood of a car. Although it only reached #87 on the Billboard charts, it is considered to be one of the greatest power ballads of all time.

15. The Bangles - "Eternal Flame" (1988)

This song by '80s all girl band The Bangles, became a #1 hit in over nine countries.The song was actually inspired by two "eternal flames:" one a flame that the band saw on the gravesite of Elvis Presley, and another one at a synagogue in Palm Springs. 

16.  Belinda Carlisle - "Mad About You" (1986)

This was the first single released by Go-Go's leader singer Belinda Carlisle, as a solo artist. It reached #3 on the U.S. Billboard charts and #1 in Canada. The music video features her and her husband, Morgan Mason, whom she is still married to today.

17. Foreigner - "I Want to Know What Love Is" (1984)

This was the British-American band Foreigner's biggest hit, reaching #1 in both the U.S. and U.K. The song is considered by Rolling Stone as one of the greatest songs of all time, and by VH1 as one of the Top 100 songs of the '80s. 

18.  Madonna - "Crazy for You" (1985)

This song, originally written for the 1985 film Vision Quest, became Madonna's second #1 hit in the U.S. The song has been ranked by VH1 as one of the greatest love songs. An interesting fact about the song: it was recorded in one take.

19. Peter Gabriel - "In Your Eyes" (1986)

This was the song that was playing during the memorable scene in Say Anything... when John Cusack holds a boombox up to Ione Skye's window.  The song reached #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and #26 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been featured in episodes of South Park, The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live.

20. Huey Lewis and the News - "The Power of Love" (1985)

This was the first #1 hit for the band, and was featured in the popular 1985 Michael J. Fox film Back to the Future.

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