Very often we focus on the best of the 80s, the top ten greatest wrestlers, the top ten movies. It’s not very often that we focus on the bad things, but I think it’s about time that we did, because there were plenty of them. We’re going to start with music.
Whilst the 80s were known for producing some absolute bangers, such as ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody,’ ‘Billie Jean,’ and ‘Karma Chameleon,’ it also produced some massive flops.
Here we count down what we think are the top ten worst songs of the 1980s. We begin with…
10. Sussudio – Phil Collins
Sussudio was released as a single in January 1985. It is the first track on Collins’ third solo studio album, ‘No Jacket Required. So why is it considered bad?
At the time, critical reception for the song has been mixed. Many suggest that the song sounds very similar to “1999” by Prince and Collins does not deny this. He said he is a massive fan of Prince’s work.
In 2013, Tom Service, writing for The Guardian said: “Sussudio brings me out in a cold sweat; the production, the drum machine, the inane sincerity of the lyrics; there’s no colder or more superficial sound in popular music, precisely because it takes itself so seriously.”
9. Blame It On The Rain – Milli Vanilli
This song by German dance-pop group Milli Vanilli dubuted on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on October 7th, 1989 at number sixty-five. Seven weeks later, it reached number one. The song became Milli Vanilli’s third number one single on the Hot 100 after “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” and “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You”. “Rain” was their final single to top the chart before their infamous scandal took off.
The song was ranked at number 21 on Billboard’s Year-End Singles list for 1989, and number forty-six for 1990.
8. Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – Starship
This is a song co-written by Albert Hammond and Diane Warren. It was recorded by the American rock band, Starship, in 1986. It is a duet featuring the vocalists Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas. It is featured as the theme to the romantic comedy film Mannequin.
The power ballad received an Academy Award nomination for ‘Best Original Song’ at the 60th Academy Awards.
Despite this, it appears at number eight of our top worst songs of the 1980s.
7. That’s What Friends Are For – Dionne Warwick Cover
‘That’s What Friends Are For’ is a song written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. It was first recorded by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack of the film Night Shift.
The song is better known for the 1985 cover version by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder released as a charity single for AIDS research and prevention. It raised over $3 million for its cause.
6. Stuck With You – Huey Lewis and the News
‘Stuck with You’ is a single by Huey Lewis and the News, written by guitarist Chris Hayes and lead singer Huey Lewis. It was released in 1986. It was the first single from the band’s fourth album, Fore!
The single was the band’s second number-one hit on the Hot 100 chart, following “The Power of Love” in 1985. The song reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart.
5. We Built This City – Starship
Coming in at the halfway point on our list is ‘We Built This City’ by Starship, written by Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, Dennis Lambert and Peter Wolf (we don’t know why it took four people to write one song.)
It reached number one in Australia, Canada and the U.S. and got into the top 10 in Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.
So why is it on our list? Well, it’s not the only list of worst songs of the 80s it has appeared on. It topped a 2011 Rolling Stone poll of worst songs of the 1980s by a wide margin.
4. Don’t Worry, Be Happy (LP Version) – Bobby McFerrin
This was a popular worldwide hit song by musician Bobby McFerrin and was released in September 1988. It was the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Despite winning numerous awards, including three Grammys for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, it comes in at number four on our list of the top ten worst songs of the 1980s.
3. Party All The Time – Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy is usually known for his comedy prowess and acting ability, but in 1985 he released a single called ‘Party All the Time.’ It was written and produced by Rick James and Kevin Johnston.
It features on the list of top ten worst songs mainly because of the odd message of the song. It is a lament by the singer that despite the expensive things he gives her, his girlfriend prefers to spend her time out dancing rather than staying at home and showing affection. In other words, she’s just not materialistic, and this is a good thing!
Since 2014, the song has enjoyed a mini resurgence in Scotland thanks largely to the supporters of St Johnstone F.C, who now have adopted it as an unofficial club anthem.
2. Girl I’m Gonna Miss You – Milli Vanilli
Another entry by the German dance-pop group, Milli Vanilli, it was released in July 1989 as a single from their debut album, Girl You Know It’s True. It reached number one in Canada, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, but it couldn’t quite reach number on in our list. That honour (or dishonour) goes to…
1. Hangin’ Tough – New Kids on the Block
This song is a 1989 single from New Kids on the Block, which was released on Columbia Records. It was the fourth single from the group’s second album of the same name.
There are two versions of the song: the original album version, which includes a keyboard solo, and the remixed version, which is more recognisable and is commonly included on Greatest Hits albums.
“Hanging Tough” was used in the 1989 film The Wizard as well as on the Regular Show episode “High Score.” In 1991 it was used as the entrance theme for the tag team of Tony Williams and Brian Lawler in the Memphis, Tennessee-based United States Wrestling Association. Alvin and the Chipmunks released a cover version in 1991 for their album The Chipmunks Rock the House.
So do you agree with our choices? Are there some on here that you’re vehemently think shouldn’t be, and should be in the top ten best songs? Are there any that we have missed off? Let us know.