20. “The Dance” – Garth Brooks (1989)
Album: Garth Brooks
This is one of the best country singles of all-time, if you ask me. Garth was influential in country music becoming the pop-with-twang that it is now, but he was country enough that I would guess he has some regret for setting into motion what the genre has become today.
This song is not on Youtube. C’mon Garth, get with the times!
19. “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” – The Smiths (1986)
Album: The Queen Is Dead
The first time I heard this song was when Anberlin covered it as a B-Side in 2007 (this fact makes me pretty un-hip, but it is what it is). The lyrics to this song are flat-out bizarre, but that’s what makes this track so interesting.
18. “Verge of a Miracle” – Rich Mullins (1987)
Album: Pictures in the Sky
In the mid-90’s I bought Rich Mullins’ Songs compilation and it opened me up to a less cookie cutter style of Christian music than what I was used to. “Verge of a Miracle” was one of my favorites on it, thanks in large part to its absolutely beautiful verses.
17. “Love Is a Battlefield” – Pat Benatar (1983)
Album: Originally released as a single only.
If someone slept through the 80’s and told me to play one song for them that sums of the music of that decade, I think I’d play this one.
16. “With or Without You” – U2 (1987)
Album: The Joshua Tree
Before actually writing out this list, I would’ve guessed this to be an easy top-10 choice for me. As you’ll see later, this is not my favorite song of the decade by this band, but this is definitely the point where they perfected that U2 sound.
15. “The Boys of Summer” – Don Henley (1984)
Album: Building The Perfect Beast
I’ll start my out by saying that I’m not an Eagles fan at all. I don’t completely “dislike” them, I just find them to be incredibly bland. I really can’t explain how Don Henley was able to churn out a song this good. Even the album “Boys of Summer” comes from is terrible…if you’re an Eagles fan, pretend my entire commentary of this song says “Surprisingly fantastic!”
14. “Such a Shame” – Talk Talk (1984)
Album: It’s My Life
“Such a Shame” has always played second fiddle to “It’s My Life”, and maybe that’s why I prefer it. It’s that ‘root for the underdog’mentality, I guess. This really is a great single, worthy to be remembered along side the title track.
13. “How Soon Is Now?” – The Smiths (1985)
Album: Meat Is Murder (Reissue). Originally a single only release.
A sad song with the potential to make you feel better about your own situation, cause nobody can match the sadness expressed by Morrissey. This is my favorite among the many influential tracks recorded by The Smiths.
12. “Pictures of You” – The Cure (1989)
The first in an upcoming onslaught of singles by The Cure, which should be expected considering The Cure is by far my favorite band of the 80’s, and Disintegration is my favorite album of that decade. This particular song is a 7 minute example of how pretty sadness can sound.
11. “Listen” – Tears For Fears (1985)
Album: Songs From the Big Chair
I’ll be the first to admit that this is a pretty unexpected song to appear on a list like this; it’s very progressive sounding, and mostly instrumental. Plus, this band has lots of massive hits, and most of you probably aren’t even familiar with this one. Put your headphones on and see if this track tickles your ears like it does mine. Maybe you’ll see that there’s more to Tears For Fears than radio hits.