When you have small children, people love to tell you that the days are long but the years are short. That can be hard to wrap your head around, especially when you’re sleep-deprived and have the same routine day in and day out, over and over again. It can be difficult to fully grasp that a handful of years, or even a decade, has passed until you realize just how out of date your music taste is. Before you know it, all of your favorite songs are being played on the classics station, and the current hits amount to “just a bunch of noise that those kids are listening to these days.”
Be prepared to feel really old, because the following songs that you have sung hundreds of times (and the lyrics of which you could recite in your sleep) hit the Billboard Hot 100 THIRTY YEARS AGO.
1. “I Hate Myself for Loving You” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
Oh Joan Jett, we love you and can’t believe it’s been thirty years since you rocked your way into our hearts. This song scored the band a Grammy nomination. And lucky for us, it remains timeless, as it is featured in the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages,” as well as the movies “Rounders” (1998) and “Kick-Ass 2” (2013).
2. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin.
You don’t even have to think twice before being able to whistle the epic opening to this song. The video itself is like so many from this time (oddly reminiscent of “Got My Mind Set On You,” which is also on this list), but we can’t forget that it features the late, great Robin Williams, as well as the physical comedic heavyweight, Bill Irwin.
3. “Hazy Shade of Winter” by The Bangles.
This is perhaps not their best song, or the most well-known, but it is solid. This one really shows its age as clips from “Less Than Zero” (1987) play interspersed throughout the video. Perhaps not-so-little known fact: this song was actually written and recorded by Simon and Garfunkel, but the Bangles made it famous when they released it in 1987.
4. “Red Red Wine” by UB40.
Neil Diamond originally wrote and recorded this song in 1967, but obviously UB40 put its reggae twist on it 16 years later. “Red Red Wine” gave the British band one of its two number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100. (The other was “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”)
5. “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman.
The gorgeous guitar combined with Chapman’s unmistakable voice make this song so easy to love over and over again. The singer performed it at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute, and it shot up in the charts as a result. In the United States it peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
6. “Got My Mind Set On You” by George Harrison.
Even though Harrison didn’t write this song (it was originally recorded by James Ray in 1962), it reminded us how much we love this Beatle even as a solo performer. Plus he has that very ’80s dance break in the spotlight, in addition to all the dancing objects in the room around him. So good.
7. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley.
The real question is: have you ever Rick-rolled anyone? My husband and I worked some of the lyrics of this very excellent song into our wedding vows, thereby Rick-rolling all of our wedding guests. Only a few people caught on, and those who did had this song playing on loop in their heads the rest of the night.
8. “Simply Irresistible” by Robert Palmer.
Every woman wanted to be one of Rober Palmer’s girls (and secretly put on red lipstick, slicked back her hair, and practiced this dance in her closet), and every guy wanted to be Robert Palmer. It was just so good, even though it’s painfully clear that most of those women are not professional dancers.
9. “Faith” by George Michael.
We could watch George Michael shake his booty in this video ad nauseam. But more importantly, this song is so solid that it actually remained in the number one position of the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks straight. Just prior to releasing this song as a solo artist, Michael disbanded Wham!. Looks like things worked out well as a result.
10. “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.
Jackson could hardly release a song that wasn’t immediately embraced by the masses, but this particular song was different from the rest. Its message made people really think, and it reflected the pop star’s own philosophies. Jackson himself does not appear in the video, which instead features famous people, historical figures, and news events.