The 1980s was a decade that saw the emergence of many iconic and timeless songs.
Amongst the most well-known songs from the 1980s are those released in 1983.
This article looks at 20 of the most popular songs from 1983, offering a brief overview of each one.
Each song is discussed in terms of its lyrical content, production style, and the impact that it had on the music scene of the 1980s.
1. “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
“Total Eclipse Of The Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, released in 1983, is a widely-known and beloved power ballad.
It was an international success, topping the charts in multiple countries including the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK.
Musically, it is characterized by its hard rock-influenced instrumentation, soaring melody, and passionate vocal performance.
It has since become a classic, often featured in films and TV shows, and frequently covered by other artists.
Its lasting popularity and legacy are a testament to its quality and craftsmanship.
2. “Faithfully” by Journey
Released in 1983, Journey‘s hit single “Faithfully” became an instant classic, capturing the hearts of listeners with its powerful and emotive lyrics.
The mid-tempo rock ballad is composed of two musical sections, each repeated twice.
The song’s emotional content is delivered through Perry’s distinctive and soulful vocals.
Instrumentally, the song is driven by a prominent synthesizer and guitar solo, as well as a steady drum beat.
The result is an anthem of devotion and commitment, a song that has stood the test of time and is still popular today.
3. “Islands In The Stream” by Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers
Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ duet “Islands In The Stream” is an iconic country-pop crossover hit that has stood the test of time since its release in 1983.
It became a chart-topping success, reaching the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 and the country chart.
It also charted in multiple countries, making it a global success.
The song’s catchy melody and memorable lyrics have helped it become a classic, with many covers and remixes produced by artists over the years.
The song continues to be popular today, proving its timelessness and status as a classic.
4. “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” is an iconic pop anthem that has become a global phenomenon since its release in 1983.
It has been covered by numerous artists and featured in countless films and television shows.
The song is known for its upbeat and empowering message about female independence and freedom.
Its catchy chorus is instantly recognizable and its infectious beat has made it a go-to dance party favorite.
The song’s success is due to its universal themes and Lauper’s unique vocal style.
It is a testament to the enduring power of music.
5. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by Eurythmics
The captivating melody and hypnotic beat of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” has mesmerized listeners since its release in 1983.
Its synthpop sound and Lennox’s signature vocals are integral to its appeal.
The arrangement, with its mix of acoustic and electronic instruments, is both modern and timeless.
The lyrics explore the complexities of human emotion, creating a unique blend of music and poetry.
It is no wonder the song remains a classic of the genre.
6. “Every Breath You Take” by The Police
Released in 1983, “Every Breath You Take” by The Police is a timeless classic of the new wave era.
The song was the band’s most successful single, topping the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
The song’s haunting lyrics and catchy melody made it an instant hit.
Its use of a synthesizer, as well as the guitar and bass, created a unique sound that has been used in many other genres of music.
Its influence can still be felt today, making it a timeless classic.
7. “True” by Spandau Ballet
Spandau Ballet’s “True” is a classic 1980s synth-pop song that utilizes a blend of electric guitar and synthesizers to create a distinct sound.
The song’s lyrics focus on the power of love and touch upon themes of longing and hope.
The electric guitar, when combined with the synthesizers, creates a bright and uplifting melody that is both memorable and easy to dance to.
It is considered one of the most important and influential songs of the decade.
8. “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie
David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” is an iconic synth-pop single that expertly interweaves an upbeat rhythm with a catchy chorus, showcasing the singer’s signature style.
Released in 1983, the song was Bowie’s biggest commercial hit, reaching number one in the UK and US charts.
It was also the title track for the singer’s most successful album and earned the artist two Grammy Award nominations.
The song’s musicality is a great example of Bowie’s ability to blend multiple genres, from funk to rock to disco, creating a unique and memorable sound.
9. “Photograph” by Def Leppard
Def Leppard’s single “Photograph” is a hard rock anthem that showcases the band’s knack for crafting powerful choruses with driving guitar riffs.
Released in 1983, the song quickly became a fan favorite and has since become one of Def Leppard’s most iconic hits.
Lyrically, the song deals with the heartache of a past relationship and speaks to the universal theme of love lost.
The song’s heavy guitar riffs, its catchy chorus, and lead singer Joe Elliott’s powerful vocal performance make for an uplifting and memorable experience.
10. “Love Is A Battlefield” by Pat Benatar
Released in 1983, Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield” provides a powerful and emotionally charged anthem about love, resilience, and the difficult fight for true love.
It is a song that speaks to the struggles of persisting in a relationship, despite potential obstacles.
Musically, it is a rock-pop hybrid, featuring a strong drum beat, heavy bass line, and Benatar’s rousing and evocative vocals.
Lyrically, it speaks to the idea of love being an ongoing battle and the need for strength and perseverance to overcome the obstacles.
The song has endured over the years and speaks to the universal human experience of love.
11. “Take Me To Heart” by Quarterflash
Quarterflash’s 1983 hit “Take Me To Heart” is a power-pop rock song that blends upbeat guitar riffs with passionate lyrics about the complexities of relationships.
The energetic and catchy chorus is an anthem of resilience against heartache.
Its instrumentation is marked by a prominent use of synthesizers and electric guitars, while the lyrics suggest a theme of longing for a deeper connection with one’s beloved.
A pop classic of its time, “Take Me To Heart” is an example of the power of music to capture the emotions of love in a way that resonates with audiences.
12. “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan’s 1983 single “Ain’t Nobody” is a classic soul-funk track that seamlessly combines smooth rhythms and soulful vocals to create a timeless piece of music.
The song features Khan’s signature soulful vocals, as well as a unique combination of funk and soul influences.
The underlying groove of the song is provided by a mix of synthesizers, percussion, and bass.
The song’s chorus is particularly captivating due to its catchy melody and Khan’s powerful vocal delivery.
“Ain’t Nobody” is an iconic song from the 1980s and is widely considered to be one of the best songs from this era.
13. “Promises, Promises” by Naked Eyes
Following along the same line of ’80s synth-pop classics, “Promises, Promises” by British duo Naked Eyes is another iconic song from 1983.
The song is a great example of the synthesizer and drum machine-driven production of the era, with its driving beat and catchy chorus.
The lyrics are simple yet effective, focusing on the idea of a broken promise and the resulting heartache.
The song has been covered by many other artists, ranging from alternative rock acts to pop acts, and has been featured in numerous films.
14. “New Year’s Day” by U2
U2’s “New Year’s Day” was released in 1983 and became an instant hit, illustrative of the band’s signature sound that blended pop, rock, and folk music.
The song features complex guitar riffs and driving beats, along with Bono’s passionate vocal delivery.
Lyrically, the song reflects on the struggles of a new year and the possibility of hope for the future.
The song’s success has made it one of U2’s most iconic singles.
15. “Joanna” by Kool & The Gang
Released in 1983, Kool & The Gang’s “Joanna” is an upbeat hit that combines funk and soul with an infectious energy.
The song is characterized by its catchy chorus and upbeat rhythm and has become a classic hit of the 80s.
Lyrically, it speaks about a woman named Joanna and celebrates her beauty and spirit.
The song has been praised for its musical composition, with its clever use of horns and percussion adding to its energetic atmosphere.
It has become a fan favorite and is considered a timeless classic.
16. “Talking In Your Sleep” by The Romantics
The Romantics’ hit single, “Talking In Your Sleep”, is a classic example of the power-pop rock genre.
The song’s simple lyrics and catchy melody blend together to create an infectious rhythm that appeals to a wide range of listeners.
The musical structure of the song is also noteworthy, featuring a steady beat and a prominent guitar part that supports the vocals.
Overall, “Talking In Your Sleep” is an iconic example of 1980s rock music.
17. “Solitaire” by Laura Branigan
Laura Branigan’s 1983 hit single, “Solitaire”, is a classic example of the adult contemporary genre that showcases the songstress’ signature vocal style.
It was Branigan’s second U.S. chart-topping single and features a powerful and emotive vocal performance.
The song’s lyrics focus on personal struggles and the chorus is an uplifting message of hope and endurance.
The accompanying music video features a romantic storyline and adds a visual element to the song.
The song is a prime example of how adult contemporary music can explore deeper themes and use them to create a memorable song.
18. “Jeopardy” by Greg Kihn
Greg Kihn’s 1983 single “Jeopardy” is a pop-rock song that reflects the era’s musical styles.
It features a driving guitar riff and a classic rock beat, with an upbeat and catchy melody.
The lyrics use classic rock motifs, such as a reference to the ‘Jeopardy’ television show.
The chorus features a memorable harmonic hook that is repeated throughout the song.
It remains a popular classic rock song to this day.
19. “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” by Laura Branigan
In 1983, Laura Branigan recorded the power ballad “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You”.
It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming a classic rock radio staple.
Branigan’s powerful vocal performance centers on the emotional pain of a breakup, using complex melodic and lyrical phrasing.
Accompanied by a soulful piano track, Branigan’s vocals remain timeless.
20. “Get The Balance Right” by Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode released “Get The Balance Right” in 1983, an electronic track that utilizes a minimalistic approach of synthesizers and drums to create a unique soundscape.
Its innovative amalgamation of electronic and synthpop genres has been praised for its creative use of instrumentation, ranging from basic drum beats to more complex synthesizers.
It has become a staple of Depeche Mode’s discography, praised for its unique blend of style and sound.
Best Songs From 1983 (Popular Songs) – Final Thoughts
1983 was a great year for music, with many of the songs released that year still being listened to and enjoyed today.
From the dance-pop classic “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper to the soulful “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” by Laura Branigan, there is a song for everyone.
Even those looking for a good rock song can find something in Journey’s “Faithfully”.
Other songs, such as “Islands In The Stream” by Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers and “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by Eurythmics, demonstrate the variety present in the year’s music.
Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” is one of the most iconic songs from 1983 and is still widely popular today.
It is clear that 1983 was a great year for music, with many of the songs still resonating with audiences decades later.
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