Welcome to PopRedux80, a blog dedicated to all the chart hits of the 1980s. The goal is simple: listen to every song that appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 chart beginning with the songs that debuted on the first published chart in 1980 through to the last published chart in 1989. Included will be information on the song and artist along with a personal review and anything that may be of interest.

Why am I doing this? For me, the 80s represents the last great decade of pop music. Previous decades had incredible classics and quirky oddities, but as disco began to fade in the late 70s it seemed to be a free-for-all to come up with the latest sound, fad, or instant hit. New Wave began hitting the mainstream along with hair metal. Synths, sequencers, and electronic drums were proving that just about anyone could come up with a tune on their own and get it committed to tape. MTV helped all of this along with its debut in 1981, making music a visual medium and creating overnight stars out of anyone who had a catchy song and a great (or unusual) look. There was big hair, blinding bold colors, a lot of one-hit wonders, Madonna and Michael Jackson. R&B and rap began to break through to pop and country (real country, that is) still had a place in the Top 10. It was a decade trying to define itself and all along the way there were songs that just got embedded in the ears of everyone who grew up during that time. It was my decade and the music will remain central to who I was then, and in some ways even now.

When I revisit music from the 80s, I sometimes happen upon a song I had completely forgotten about or will hear something I didn't even know existed. It made me think that there were a lot of songs that didn't make the upper reaches of the pop chart that I may have missed along the way. Perhaps some of these might have been just as good or better than the competition. That curiosity is what prompted me to want to go back and hear every single chart hit from the decade, from the ones I still play today to the ones I've never heard. I wanted to listen to all the songs and find out about the artists, especially the ones who may have only had a few fleeting weeks on the chart.

I hope that you enjoy this indulgent experiment and I also hope I can keep it going! There are approximately 4,300 songs that hit the chart. That is a lot of listening and posting! But I am going to give it a shot and see how far I can get. Hopefully, I'll reach that last chart in 1989 sometime in the years (!?!) to come!

Long live 80s music and the wonderful artists who contributed to one of the oddest, coolest, and memorable decades ever.


  1. I just discovered your blog! Wow, what an intense project! I had considered doing something similar just covering all the #1's or even just the Top 5, but you've got it all covered!

    I don't know if you'll read this comment or not, since it's basically on your opening post, but I do have a few suggestions:

    1. While I understand your parameter of starting with songs that DEBUTED in 1980, I would argue that perhaps every 1979 debut that APPEARED on that first 1980 chart might have been worthy of inclusion (perhaps as an appendix at the end). There were a total of 232 #1 songs of the 1980s. And the first of these was not "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)," it was "Please Don't Go." And actually, because of a weird fluke right at the beginning of the decade, "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" actually has a claim. It was clearly the last #1 of the 70s, but it jumped back to #1 in the second week of 1980. Most people say that "Please Don't Go" is the first one, though, and "Pina Colada" is the second (the order would have been reversed had the year turn happened in the middle of a decade--so strange that this ambiguity exists right at the outset). Anyway, I felt like something was missing when the first #1 was not either "Please Don't Go" or "Pina Colada Song." Most reckonings consider these to be 1980 #1s, not 1979 #1s.

    2. Prince's output is supposedly coming back to Spotify as early as next week. It might be worthwhile to put the links back in when that happens.

    3. Some of your entries with YouTube videos are now available on Spotify.

    Keep up the great work! Eventually, you'll wind up at "Me So Horny," the song that prompted AT40 to eventually abandon the Hot 100--and of course, it happened right at the end of our decade.

  2. Maybe revise the suggested criteria for 1979 debuts as an appendix. Perhaps not every 1979 debut that appeared on the first 1980 chart should be included, especially those that were on the way down.

    But I would say that it should have been extended to include every 1979 debut that PEAKED in 1980. That would have made a lot of sense. And it would include the Pina Colada Song, since it spent a week at #1 in 1980. AND it would include things like "Send One Your Love," which reached a peak of #4 in 1979 but was still at that position on the first 1980 chart. By those criteria, the only songs in the Top 10 of that chart that I would leave out would be "Babe" and "Still" (both 1979 #1's). The other songs in the Top 40 that week that would not make it in with these criteria would be "You're Only Lonely," "No More Tears," "Take the Long Way Home," Pop Muzik," "Half the Way," and "Heartache Tonight."

    1. Thanks for discovering the blog! Hope you have fun rediscovering these songs. I'm having a blast! I appreciate the feedback. I decided at the beginning to cover only the songs that debuted on the 80s charts for a few reasons. First, before I started I did consider covering the whole first chart of 1980. But when I asked folks the year they though some of those songs were hits, none of the said the 80s. They identified the songs as from the late 70s. And technically, they are as they debuted in 1979. Also, I wanted to follow a distinct pattern. Start with the lowest debut song each week and work up the chart covering each new debut song. Covering the whole first chart goes against that as those songs debuted on various weeks in '79. Lastly, adding those songs would mess up the stats for 1980 (which you can see in a year-end wrap up post) and I'd always have to account for them separately somehow. So I decided to make a clean start and begin with the first song to debut on the first chart in 1980. However, I do like the suggestion of an appendix. I may have to think about that for a future page.

      With Spotify updating constantly, there have been a lot of songs where I originally used YouTube or another source for the clip, but the songs later appeared on Spotify. Conversely, there are also ones originally on Spotify that are now gone. Honestly, I can't keep track of the comings and goings and with nearly 2,000 posts I don't have the time to go back and check/revise them. However, when I reference a past post I will look and make sure the sound clip is still valid. If not, I update it. And yes, it would be nice if Prince came back to Spotify - or anything really!

      You are very kind to comment and I appreciate it. Hope you continue to follow. Pass it along to friends! Also, at the bottom of each post is a "Rate It" section. Add a rating if you like. It is always interesting to see what other folks think. It's anonymous, so I don't know who checks the boxes, but I enjoy seeing the ratings.

  3. Oops, my daughter's account was logged in for that last comment. Sorry! Hope you can find the playlists and find some enjoyment there. I find comparing all the songs that peaked at certain positions to be fascinating.

  4. Really enjoy your blog . . . actually am reading every single entry. 70's and 80's are my bag and I agree with your assessment on pretty much every track. But where is Shannon's 'Give Me Tonight', debuting in March of 84? Not coming up.

  5. Thank you for the time and effort it takes to do a blog like this one. It is well researched and has become a great little part of my day. Thank you Aaron!

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the comments. It certainly has been a fun project to do! Glad you enjoy it.