Special Report

Biggest Hits of the '80s According to Billboard

Kool & the Gang
Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

The 1980s were a golden age for music, with the advent of new genres, music videos, and even the walkman. In fact, a 2021 survey by Ipsos found that 40% of Americans still thought the best music was that produced in the 1980s.   

The ‘80s pop scene featured iconic artists like Tina Turner and Diana Ross, as well as legendary bands like Queen and Blondie. Musicians began to utilize electronic instruments, prompting catchy dance hits, opening up a new world of sound, and setting the stage for future decades of pop music.    

To determine the biggest pop hits of the 1980s, 24/7 Tempo reviewed performance data on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Songs were ranked based on an inverse score wherein a week at No. 1 is worth 100 points, a week at No. 2 worth 99 points, and so on, up to a week at No. 100 worth one point. Chart data is current through the week of August 20, 2022. (Christmas songs were not included.)

The biggest pop hits of the 1980s not only performed well on the Hot 100, but also received prestigious accolades. A dozen of the 80’s hits ranked on this list won Grammy nominations, and seven brought home Grammys. The winners included No. 2, Young M.C.’s “Bust a Move,” and No. 16, “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. The music video for No. 7, “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John – a montage that famously featured leotard-clad actors exercising together – earned her a Grammy for Video of the Year,  

In fact, of all of the biggest ‘80s pop hits, “Physical” remained at the No. 1 position on the Hot 100’s for the longest amount of time, 10 weeks in total. Not far behind were No. 17,  Diana Ross & Lionel Richie’s, “Endless Love,” and No. 15, Kim Carnes’s, “Bette Davis Eyes,” both of which remained at the top spot for nine weeks. (These are the artists with the most No. 1 hits.)

Click here to see the biggest hits of the ‘80s according to Billboard

While many of the biggest pop hits from the 1980s came from bands, 15 of the songs on our list were either performed by solo artists, or duets between two solo artists. The duet “Endless Love,” No. 17, between Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, was nominated for a Grammy. Diana Ross also had a solo hit: No. 7, “Upside Down.” (These are solo artists who were more successful than their bands.)

Source: David Redfern / Getty Images

25. Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got To Do With It”
> Entered Hot 100: May 19, 1984
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 3 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 28

[in-text-ad]

Source: Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

24. Blondie, “Call Me”
> Entered Hot 100: February 16, 1980
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 6 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 25

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

23. Eddie Rabbitt, “I Love A Rainy Night”
> Entered Hot 100: November 8, 1980
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 2 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 28

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

22. Eddie Rabbitt With Crystal Gayle, “You And I”
> Entered Hot 100: October 9, 1982
> Peak position on Hot 100: #7 (for 4 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 29

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Jodi Hilton / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment

21. The J. Geils Band, “Centerfold”
> Entered Hot 100: November 7, 1981
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 6 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 25

Source: Rick Kern / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

20. Diana Ross, “Upside Down”
> Entered Hot 100: July 12, 1980
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 4 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 29

[in-text-ad]

Source: RB / Redferns via Getty Images

19. The Steve Miller Band, “Abracadabra”
> Entered Hot 100: May 29, 1982
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 2 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 25

Source: David Redfern / Redferns via Getty Images

18. Bonnie Tyler, “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”
> Entered Hot 100: July 16, 1983
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 4 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 29

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

17. Diana Ross & Lionel Richie, “Endless Love”
> Entered Hot 100: July 11, 1981
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 9 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 27

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

16. Survivor, “Eye Of The Tiger”
> Entered Hot 100: June 5, 1982
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 6 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 25

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

15. Kim Carnes, “Bette Davis Eyes”
> Entered Hot 100: March 28, 1981
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 9 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 26

[in-text-ad]

Source: Courtesy of Patti Austin Music via Facebook

14. Patti Austin A Duet With James Ingram, “Baby, Come To Me”
> Entered Hot 100: April 24, 1982
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 2 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 32

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

13. The Pointer Sisters, “I’m So Excited”
> Entered Hot 100: September 18, 1982
> Peak position on Hot 100: #9 (for 1 week)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 40

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

12. Irene Cara, “Flashdance…What A Feeling”
> Entered Hot 100: April 2, 1983
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 6 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 25

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Tabatha Fireman / Getty Images

11. The Human League, “Don’t You Want Me”
> Entered Hot 100: March 6, 1982
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 3 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 28

10. Moving Pictures, “What About Me”
> Entered Hot 100: September 18, 1982
> Peak position on Hot 100: #29 (for 2 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 43

[in-text-ad]

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

9. Benny Mardones, “Into The Night”
> Entered Hot 100: June 14, 1980
> Peak position on Hot 100: #11 (for 2 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 37

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

8. Kool & The Gang, “Celebration”
> Entered Hot 100: October 25, 1980
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 2 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 30

Source: David Redfern / Redferns via Getty Images

7. Olivia Newton-John, “Physical”
> Entered Hot 100: October 3, 1981
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 10 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 26

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: David Redfern / Redferns via Getty Images

6. UB40, “Red Red Wine”
> Entered Hot 100: January 28, 1984
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 1 week)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 40

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

5. John Cougar (Mellencamp), “Hurts So Good”
> Entered Hot 100: April 24, 1982
> Peak position on Hot 100: #2 (for 4 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 28

[in-text-ad]

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

4. Queen, “Another One Bites The Dust”
> Entered Hot 100: August 16, 1980
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 3 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 31

Source: Mike Lawrie / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

3. Rick Springfield, “Jessie’s Girl”
> Entered Hot 100: March 28, 1981
> Peak position on Hot 100: #1 (for 2 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 32

2. Young M.C., “Bust A Move”
> Entered Hot 100: July 29, 1989
> Peak position on Hot 100: #7 (for 1 week)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 39

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

1. Laura Branigan, “Gloria”
> Entered Hot 100: July 10, 1982
> Peak position on Hot 100: #2 (for 3 weeks)
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 36

Want to Retire Early? Start Here (Sponsor)

Want retirement to come a few years earlier than you’d planned? Or are you ready to retire now, but want an extra set of eyes on your finances?

Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help you build your plan to retire early. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free.

Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.