We all have that one year where the music was just perfectly defined. Maybe it’s the songs that came out, the artist or maybe it’s the nostalgic memories associated with them.
From Michael Jackson to Eric Clapton, the year 1983 had it all. Here are 20 of the greatest songs from that legendary year.
- 1. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
- 2. “Faithfully” by Journey
- 3. “Mr. Roboto” by Styx
- 4. “Every Breath You Take” by The Police
- 5. “Straight from the Heart” by Bryan Adams
- 6. “Fall in Love with Me” by Earth, Wind & Fire
- 7. “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
- 8. “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” by Air Supply
- 9. “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack
- 10. “Flashdance…What A Feeling” by Irene Cara
- 11. “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
- 12. “Never Gonna Let You Go” by Sergio Mendes
- 13. “Say Say Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
- 14. “I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart” by Eric Clapton
- 15. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by The Eurythmics
- 16. “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama
- 17. “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer
- 18. “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club
- 19. “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie
- 20. “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John
1. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
Starting this list strong with a classic love song, Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was released in 1983 and became an instant hit. As it sold approximately 6 million units worldwide, you’d often hear it playing on the radio or at a school dance.
As this song was originally made for a vampire movie that never came to fruition, the lyrics take on a dark undertone. Bonnie Tyler’s raspy vocals and heartfelt emotion in this track have become a fan favorite over the years.
2. “Faithfully” by Journey
Steve Perry’s voice is so beautifully smooth that it’s no wonder this song became a classic favorite. This soft rock song has been a classic as one of the best power ballads ever recorded.
It has been covered by multiple artists in different generations, appeared in different shows and movies, and has performed exceptionally well on the Billboard charts.
3. “Mr. Roboto” by Styx
Progressive rock is rocking with Styx’s “Mr. Roboto.” With its catchy lyrics and heavy synthesizers, it’s no wonder this song is still so popular today.
This song’s music video portrays a world containing robotic prison guards, taking the place of humans. The lyrics were written by band member Dennis DeYoung and reflect on human relationships as well as society’s increasing reliance on technology.
The track topped the US and Canadian music charts and sold over a million units in the US which certified gold.
4. “Every Breath You Take” by The Police
This English rock band hit it big in 1983 with their smash hit “Every Breath You Take.” Winning two Grammy Awards for the song, it peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 list and stayed there for eight weeks.
As this song might sound like a love song, it is actually about stalkers’ point of view and how they intensely watch the victim. As this has been misinterpreted over the years, we can’t deny that it’s a masterpiece nonetheless.
5. “Straight from the Heart” by Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams knows how to tug at our heartstrings with this ballad that became his breakthrough song. It topped the charts in the same year it was released, reaching number one in the Canadian Adult Contemporary.
Few artists have made their renditions of this song, including Bonnie Tyler and Rosetta Stone. Adams’ original, however, will always have the spot for the best.
6. “Fall in Love with Me” by Earth, Wind & Fire
With a mix of R&B, pop, and disco, “Fall in Love with Me” by Earth, Wind & Fire is an 80s classic. It’s the first track from their album ‘Powerlight’ and has been nominated for the Grammys.
It performed well on numerous charts worldwide, with its disco sound and catchy lyrics. This is a feel-good song that will always put you in a good mood.
7. “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
As one of the most popular songs of the 80s, Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” is an anthem for female empowerment. It was her debut single that helped make her a household name.
As this song was originally recorded by Robert Hazard, Lauper put her own spin on it by adding a reggae-infused arrangement. It’s no surprise that this song climbed to the top of the charts, as Lauper’s bubbly personality and powerful message make it so timeless and special.
8. “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” by Air Supply
Air Supply’s power ballad quickly became a global hit in the music charts, with its heart-wrenching lyrics and beautiful melody.
This song has been covered by many artists over the years, including Bonnie Tyler and Rory Dodd. With its heartwarming lyrics and beautiful melody, “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” has become one of the most popular love songs of all time.
9. “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack
A warm and nostalgic track that has been used in weddings and anniversaries, “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” is a timeless love song.
Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack’s voices blended perfectly in this duet that has become popular in various music charts worldwide. It has also been used in the television series ‘Day of Our Lives.’ It’s a track that you will definitely want to listen to on a romantic night.
10. “Flashdance…What A Feeling” by Irene Cara
This song was written for the iconic film ‘Flashdance’ and quickly became a global hit. It stayed on top of the Billboard Hot 100 list for six weeks.
The track has been acknowledged for its inspiring lyrics and Cara’s beautiful vocals, winning numerous prestigious awards such as the Golden Globe, Academy Award, and Grammy Award.
Irene Cara’s powerful vocals and the song’s relatable lyrics about chasing your dreams inspire many to this day.
11. “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
A comforting song that is written by the famous band Bee Gees, “Islands in the Stream” is a duet between country icons Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. The song quickly rose to the top of the charts, with its soothing melody and relatable lyrics.
This track has sold over 1.5 million digital sales and is one of the best-selling duets in this list. There have been numerous artists who made their versions of this song, but Rogers and Parton’s original fully capture the emotions of the timeless track.
12. “Never Gonna Let You Go” by Sergio Mendes
As one of the complex pop tracks because of its constant key changes, “Never Gonna Let You Go” is a unique love song. Sergio Mendes’ original version quickly rose to the top of the charts, with its catchy melody and soulful vocals.
The song has been covered by various artists over the years but Mendes’ rendition will always be remembered as one of the best.
13. “Say Say Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
A feel-good track that has a funk-rock tune, “Say Say Say” is a duet between two of the biggest icons in the music industry. As a certified gold track, this song has sold over a million copies in the United States alone.
McCartney’s talent in instruments and voice plus Jackson’s powerful vocal performance creates a one-of-a-kind dance track. The song’s popularity has transcended generations, with many people still enjoying it today.
14. “I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart” by Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton’s love for rock and roll is perfectly captured in this song. “I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart” is an ode to the music genre that has inspired many artists over the years.
The track performed well in the music charts, especially in the US, with its infectious melody, Clapton’s soulful vocals, and his signature guitar riffs. It’s a must-listen for any Clapton fan or anyone who loves rock and roll.
15. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by The Eurythmics
Soulful voices backed up with electro pop tunes was possible and The Eurythmics proved it with “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”.
The song quickly gained popularity all over the world, with its relatable lyrics and Annie Lennox’s copper hair becoming an iconic look of the 80s. As the track was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame recently, it is evident that “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is truly a timeless classic.
16. “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama
Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” is an unwavering track to listen to on a hot summer day. Given that they were the biggest girl group of their time, it’s no wonder this song was a worldwide success.
This song has been certified silver in the UK for its catchy melody and fun lyrics. The track has been featured in the movie “Karate Kid” and contains a pop beat that is infused with punk, similar to how their songs were described in the 80s.
17. “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer
A feminist anthem of sorts, “She Works Hard for the Money” is a classic disco track that became an instant hit, placing at the top spot in the Billboard R&B singles chart and staying there for three weeks.
The track’s relatable lyrics and empowering message have made it one of the best-performing songs of the year, as she sang it at the opening of the Grammy Awards.
Being the ‘Queen of Disco,’ Donna Summer is literally an icon in the industry, and “She Works Hard for the Money” is one of her best works.
18. “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club
With its new wave and reggae fusion, “Karma Chameleon” is one of Culture Club’s most popular songs. The track has a catchy melody that many people can sing along to.
The track has sold over 7 million units worldwide and was able to top the charts in various countries. “Karma Chameleon” also won Best British Single at the 1984 Brit Awards, which is a testament to its popularity and success.
19. “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie
An upbeat track with a disco feel, “Let’s Dance” is one of David Bowie’s most popular songs. The title says it all as the song is truly meant to make you want to dance.
With its dance-pop tune and Bowie’s signature crooning, the song was able to achieve commercial success and was one of his fast-selling singles. “Let’s Dance” remains to be an iconic song, not just for Bowie but for the entire decade.
20. “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John
A certified bop, “I’m Still Standing” is one of Elton John’s most successful singles. As this song speaks about staying strong and not giving up, it has become an anthem for many people who have gone through difficult times in their lives.
“I’m Still Standing” attained commercial success and hit number one on charts in countries like Canada and Switzerland. With the US certifying it gold and the UK two times platinum, this track is one of the best songs of 1983.
These tracks have stood the test of time and continue to be enjoyed by many people all over the world. Long-time artists kept putting out hits, and new talents arose and quickly made a name for themselves. Without a doubt, 1983 was an incredible year for music lovers of all types.