Best of the Rest of the Top 40: 1980

Our survey now brings us back into the '80s. We go to #42 on the year-end chart for our list of 25 this year.

What’s your favorite?

Previous polls: 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979

Best #1 single polls: 1955-56 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s All-time

Slim pickings. I chose Brass In Pocket over Cars.

Wow - 95% of this list looks like a K-Tel commercial for “Mellow Hits”.

I got it down to the same two as Sir Prize did, but went for “Cars”. I guess “Shining Star” might be third best here.

This was the first of any of these polls in which I didn’t know a single song by name - and upon Youtubing, “Brass In Pocket” was the only one I recognized as having heard before.

I went with Air Supply, for some reason.

Smokey Robinson’s “Cruisin’” whips the buttocks of every other song on this list.

There are lots of contenders for dead-ass last place, but I’ll pick fellow Peorian Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer.”

Gary Numan - Cars, easily.

Pale, skinny guy. Robotic beats. Cold synth sounds. Hello, the 80s are here.

Unlike most here, there’s a lot on this list that I like. Could’ve picked Smokey, could’ve picked Kim Carnes covering Smokey, the Manhattans, the Kenny Rogers songs, the Kool and the Gang songs, the Pretenders… I enjoy almost all of these songs, even the Air Supply song, which would’ve gotten me beat up in school for admitting I liked it*.

Kind of surprised that Stephanie Mills’s Never Knew Love Like this Before wasn’t on this list as it peaked at #6, which might be my favorite soul song of the year… if it weren’t released the same year that “Cruisin’” and the song that got my vote, Preston and Syreeta’s With You I’m Born Again, which might be the loveliest song released this decade, especially the verse beginning at 1:50 into the song.

*Actually, probably not beat up as I fought with a lack of abandon… I might not have won all my fights, but you knew you were in one when we were done - I never had to fight the same person twice and the typical HS assholes quickly realized there were easier targets. :stuck_out_tongue:

Cars, which is just unlike anything else on this list. Brass In Pocket would have been my second choice, but it’s not as great as Cars and in some ways is still a fairly 70s track. Cars is the 80s announcing itself.

Christopher Cross wins out for me but only just. Second runners-up for me (in no particular order) would be: “More Love”, “Steal Away”, “The Rose”, “This Is It”, and “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”. But in truth a stranger could pick just about any song off that list and I’d probably be able to come up with at least one nice memory associated with it.

I went with “Shining Star,” but it was a sentimental vote since it was our wedding song.


This is one of those years that deserves a “None of the above”.

I went with “Brass in Pocket” just because we thought it was a dirty song. “Cars” was a turn off because a man who looked just like Numan sometimes followed my sister and I around the mall staring at us.

It was down to the wire between Cars and Brass in Pocket, and Gary Numan just barely edged out the Pretenders for me, though that first Pretenders record is top ten all-time material for me.

I voted for “Cars” but it was just what I was feeling that moment. Not that I love it more than other songs on this list. The ones I know I fairly like. I could have easily voted for “Shining Star” or “Cupid”, which the Spinners did much better than Sam Cooke.

Seems the majority are late 70’s soft rock holdovers, I’m guessing that was popular in the time after Disco died and before New Wave took hold. Gary Numan’s song sounds futuristic while the others don’t. “Working My Way Back To You” sounds much older than 1980. Oh and I don’t like The Pretenders at all.

So for 1980 I could have voted for ten of these. At the moment I voted I went with what sounded “80’s” and that was “Cars”.

Agreed, I was surprised this song was here. I voted for it, too. Was 1980 really this terrible for music? Were the top 40 hits much better? Ouch.

Well these are the Top 40 hits that were not #1, I think you mean #1 songs. Yes that list is better but not by much.

As for your question I don’t know. Not the best person since I was not around but my guess is it was a transition period when Disco was no longer accepted and Nona tide 80’s music did not take hold until 1982-83.

This allowed soft rock types like Ambrosia, Kenny Loggins, Christopher Cross to really dominate. There were exceptions though. The number 1 list for 1980 had a more rockish songs than this. By the way “Steal Away” rift is the same as “What Fool Believes”.

Devo came out with “Whip It”, Talking Heads with “Once in A Life Time”. But those I guess did not make the cut. Seems 1980 was a soft rock year.

Yes the Spinners song(originally by Frankie Valli) sounds early 1970’s.

To quote Homer Simpson; “Disco was long dead. Achy Breaky Heart was still ten years away. Something had to fill the void.”


Pretty much so. 1980 was my freshman and sophomore years in high school. IIRC, disco was pretty much passe (and had quickly become seriously looked down upon) by midway through my freshman year (so, the end of '79 / beginning of '80).

And, yeah, looking at this list, there’s a lot of cheesy, mellow stuff that somehow sold records that year.