The 80s is perhaps the most divisive decade in modern history. For some, it was dominated by Thatcherism, strikes and mass unemployment, while for others it was a time of opportunity – an era when corporate business planted its flag on the landscape, and the technology we now take for granted (mobile phones, the internet) first became a reality. In many ways, the music mirrored this divide, with stadium rock, MTV and glossy production values in vogue, while grittier genres such as indie-pop and the burgeoning hip-hop scene provided alternatives. Taken as a whole, however, it coalesced into one hell of a soundtrack, as our run-down of the best 80s songs proves…
Listen to the best of the 80s here, and check out our best 80s songs, below.
20: The Jesus And Mary Chain: Just Like Honey (1985)
Formed by Scottish brothers Jim and William Reid, The Jesus And Mary Chain courted controversy from the off, with their feedback-strafed gigs usually lasting just 20 minutes and often ending in riots. It was manna from heaven for the music press, who duly dubbed them “the new Sex Pistols”, but, beyond the nihilism and the deafening noise, the JAMC’s landmark debut album, Psychocandy, proved the group had the talent to outstrip the hype. Though not their biggest chart hit, their fourth single, Just Like Honey, was a magnificent slice of opiated, Velvet Underground-esque pop which wasn’t just a classic song – it showed that indie outsiders could actually crack the mainstream during the aspirational 80s.