The 10 most famous rock songs of the 80's includes a wide mix of bands and singers. And since the 80's marked the launch of MTV and the music video in general, the most famous rock songs of the 80's are likely to coincide with some of the most memorable videos, too. The 80's gets a bad rap for being best known for a bunch of one-hit wonders and throwaway pop. However, this list of the most famous rock songs of the 80's should remind anyone that the Reagan era really rocked.
- "Another Brick in the Wall." Pink Floyd said goodbye to the 70s with this December 1979 protest song that became one of the biggest rock hits worldwide in 1980. "Another Brick in the Wall" is actually the name for a three-set song from the band's landmark album "The Wall," but most radio listeners are familiar with Part II (Education). The song was actually banned in South Africa after it became a rallying cry to end Apartheid.
- "The Waiting." Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released this 1981 rock classic about the challenges of wondering whether your dreams will come true. Petty has said he thinks of it as an optimistic song because it reaffirms the importance of having dreams.
- "You Shook Me All Night Long." Perhaps AC/DC's most popular song, it became a monster hit from the band's 1980 comeback album "Back in Black" after the death of former lead singer Bon Scott.
- "I Love Rock and Roll." One of the biggest hits from 1982, this Joan Jett and the Blackhearts classic and its unmistakable opening was actually first recorded by the Arrows in 1975. The song also represented, in 1982, a rock and roll response to disco that had been dominated popular music for the past several years.
- "Sunday Bloody Sunday." You could fill plenty of rock lists of the 80s with U2 songs, but this one, the opening track on the band's 1983 album "War," may sum up everything that's been great about U2 from the beginning. The video, shot during their famous Red Rocks concert, was a staple of early MTV.
- "Born in the U.S.A." The title song from the album that turned Bruce Springsteen from a rocker with a largely East Coast cult following into an international superstar who would fill stadiums for years to come, may not be everyone's favorite Boss track. But it was a huge hit and became a political hot button issue when President Ronald Reagan tried to use it as a patriotic anthem instead of the angry protest song it really is.
- "When Doves Cry." A hit for Prince from his "Purple Rain" album and movie, "When Doves Cry" puts you right in the center of 80s rock. It also cemented Prince as an 80s rock icon.
- "Money for Nothing." Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler took the comments about MTV he overheard from a couple of appliance deliverymen and put them to music in one of the defining songs of the decade.
- "You Give Love a Bad Name." Bon Jovi started cranking out hits from their monster album "Slippery When Wet." This tune is about an emotionally wounded man who'd been "shot through the heart" by his former lover.
- "Sweet Child O' Mine." Guns-n-Roses closed out the 80's with one of the decade's biggest-selling albums, "Appetite for Destruction." "Sweet Child O' Mine" followed "Welcome to the Jungle" for one of the biggest rock songs of 1988.
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