Top 10 One-Hit Wonders of the 1980s

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The ’80s had some great tracks, especially some of the one-hit wonders. You know the ones. When it came on your boom box you cranked up the volume and moonwalked your way across your kitchen floor! “I want my MTV!” was a hot phrase back when the station actually played videos.


Martha Quinn, Nina Blackwood, and Adam Curry entertained you with their big hair and bad jokes. If you read my articles you know how much I adore the ’80s. Here are 10 of my picks (there are so many to choose from) for the best of the one-hit wonders.

10. “Come On Eileen” Dexys Midnight Runners

Who didn’t want a pair of overalls after seeing this video on MTV? The English pop band’s danceable tune comes from their album Too-Rye-Ay. It was their only international hit. I still crank this song when it comes on!

Next Page: What was that song by General Public?

9. “Tenderness” General Public

General Public was formed by The Beat vocalists Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger. Coincidentally, it included members of Dexys Midnight Runners, The Specials, and The Clash. Their album All the Rage spawned this one-hit wonder.

Next page: Play Deep

8. “Your Love” The Outfield

This was one of my favorite songs when I was kid and still is! The Outfield’s album Play Deep had several great tracks on it, but this was their chart-topper.

Next Page: How a girl finds her voice.

7. “Voices Carry” ‘Til Tuesday

We all knew the story. The controlling abusive boyfriend and the girl who found her voice. This song was one of the first independence songs of its time. Off of the album Voices Carry, this ballad had us singing from the rooftops.


Next Page: The 1980s version of a “quarter-life crisis.”

6. “Turning Japanese” The Vapors

Many thought this song from their album New Clear Days was about masturbation, but The Vapors said no. Lead singer Dave Fenton said, “Turning Japanese” is all the clichés about angst and youth and turning into something you didn’t expect to.” The song reflected Fenton’s relationship issues at the time.

Next Page: A classic ska hit from a great ska band.

5. “Our House” Madness

One of my favorite ska bands, Madness, remains a classic ensemble of that genre. From their album The Rise and Fall, “Our House” is a classic!

Next Page: How many does it take?

4. “It Takes Two” Rob Base, DJ E-Z Rock

“It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta sight. Hit it! I wanna rock right now. I’m Rob Base and I came to get down. I’m not internationally known, but I’m known to rock the microphone.” Every…single…time it came on, my sister and I had to sing that track! I’m dancing right now… (from the album It takes Two)

Next Page: Reshaping the hip-hop scene.

3. “Bust a Move” Young MC

‘Memba this guy? This Young MC and this song helped to reshape the hip-hop scene in the ’80s. With clever rhymes and hook, this song from the album Stone Cold Rhymin’ can still hold up today.


Next Page: Take me on…

2. “Take on Me”– a-ha

This song was awesome and the video was even better. The cartoon animation was cutting-edge for its time and totally rad. Off of the album Hunting High and Low, it was the band’s only top hit. One of my first crushes was on the lead singer Morten Harket. Hawt!

1. “Video Killed the Radio Star” The Buggles

The song was released in 1980 and was the very first video to appear on MTV. Off of the album The Age of Plastic, this song goes down in video and song history, and we just love it!

What are your favorite one-hit wonders from the ’80s? Leave me a comment and let me know!


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