New wave hit of the 80s: all the best new wave songs (2024)

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Posted By Pia Sooney on Mar 1, 2007 | 38 comments

As mentioned on the New Wave Music page, the term is hard to pin down and covers a wide range of artists from the period spanning the late 70s and on into the 80s.

It came to mean music that was slightly out of the mainstream, a post-punk, pre-alternative music that was edgier and with more attitude. Below are some of the most popular New Wave hits of the 80s listed alphabetically by artist. This list of 80s new wave songs includes some songs from the late 70s (they have to be really special to be included) and is by no means all inclusive. We will be adding more of the best new wave songs regularly. If you see one we missed, please comment below or email us at


ABC: “Poison Arrow” (1982), “The Look Of Love (Part One)” (1982), “All of My Heart” (1982), “How to Be a Millionaire” (1984) “Be Near Me” (1985)
Adam & the Ants: “Ant Music” (1980), “Stand and Deliver” (1981), “Prince Charming” (1981), “Antrap” (1981), “Dog Eat Dog” (1980)
Adam Ant: “Goody Two Shoes” (1982), “Friend or Foe” (1982), “Desperate But Not Serious” (1982), “Strip” (1984)
After the Fire: “Der Kommissar” (1983)
a-ha:Take On Me” (1985), “Hunting High And Low” (1985)
Alphaville: “Big In Japan” (1984), “Forever Young” (1984)
Altered Images: “Happy Birthday” (1981), “I Could Be Happy” (1981)
Animotion:Obsession” (1985)
Arcadia: “Election Day” (1985)


The B-52’s: “Private Idaho” (1980), “Rock Lobster,” “Party out of Bounds,” “Strobe Light” (1979), “Love Shack” (1989)
Bananarama: “Really Saying Something” (1982), “Shy Boy (Don’t It Make You Feel Good)” (1982), “Cruel Summer” (1983), “Venus”
The Bangles: “Manic Monday” (1985), “Walk Like An Egyptian” (1986), “Hazy Shade of Winter” (1987)
Toni Basil:Mickey” (1981)
Bauhaus: “She’s in Parties” (1983), “Stigmata Martyr” (released in 1980, included on the soundtrack of 1988’s Night of the Demons)
Berlin: “The Metro” (1982), “No More Words” (1984), “Sex” (1982)
Big Country: “In a Big Country” (1983)
Blondie: “X-Offender” (1976), “One Way or Another” (1978), “Dreaming” (1979), “Call Me” (1980), “The Tide Is High” (1980), “Rapture” (1980), “Heart of Glass” (1978)
The Boomtown Rats: “Rat Trap” (1978), “I Don’t Like Mondays” (1979), “Someone’s Looking at You” (1980), “Banana Republic” (1980)
The Bongos: “Numbers With Wings” (1983), “Barbarella”(1983)
David Bowie: “Heroes” (1977), “Ashes to Ashes” (1980), “Fashion” (1980), “Let’s Dance (1983), “China Girl” (1983)
Bow Wow Wow: “C30, C60, C90, Go!” (1980), “I Want Candy” (1982), “Go Wild in the Country” (1982)
Bronski Beat: “Smalltown Boy” (1984), “Why?” (1984)
The Buggles:Video Killed the Radio Star” (1980)


The Call: “Let the Day Begin” (1989), “Everywhere I Go,” “I Still Believe”
Camouflage: “The Great Commandment” (1988)
The Cars: “Just What I Needed” (1978), “My Best Friend’s Girl” (1978), “Shake It Up” (1981), “Drive” (1984), “Magic” (1984)
The Church: “Under the Milky Way” (1988)
Anne Clark: “Our Darkness” (1982)
The Clash: “Rock the Casbah” (1982), “Train in Vain” (1980), “Should I Stay or Should I Go” (1982), “London Calling” (1979 – Dec, so close enough)
co*ck Robin: “The Promise You Made” (1985)
The Communards: “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (1986), “Never Can Say Goodbye” (1987), “Tomorrow” (1987)
Elvis Costello: “Radio Radio” (1978), “Oliver’s Army” (1979), “Good Year for the Roses” (1981 – not really New Wave as it was on his country cover album Almost Blue), “Everyday I Write the Book” (1983), “Veronica” (1989)
Josie Cotton: “Johnny Are You Queer?” (1981)
Culture Club: “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” (1982), “Time (Clock of the Heart)” (1982), “Church of the Poison Mind” (1983), “Karma Chameleon” (1983), “Miss Me Blind” (1984), “Victims” (1983)
The Cure: “Boys Don’t Cry” (1979), “A Forest” (1980), “Let’s Go to Bed” (1982), “Love Cats” (1983), “In Between Days” (1985), “Close to Me” (1985), “Why Can’t I be you” (1987), “Just Like Heaven” (1987), “Love Song” (1989), “Hot Hot Hot!!!” (1988)


Dead or Alive: “You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record)” (1984), “Lover Come Back To Me” (1984), “In Too Deep” (1985), “Brand New Lover” (1986)
The Dead Milkmen:Punk Rock Girl,” (1988) “Bitchin Camero” (1985)
Depeche Mode: “Dreaming Of Me” (1981), “Just Can’t Get Enough” (1981), “Meaning of Love” (1982), “Get the Balance Right” (1983), “People Are People” (1984), “Master and Servant” (1984), “Never Let Me Down Again” (1987), “Behind the Wheel” (1987), “Strangelove” (1987), “Personal Jesus” (1989), “Enjoy the Silence” (1990)
Devo:Whip It” (1980)
Divinyls: “Boys In Town” (1982)
Duran Duran: “Planet Earth” (1981), Girls on Film” (1981), “Hungry Like the Wolf” (1982), “Save A Prayer” (1982), “Rio” (1982), “Is There Something I Should Know?” (1983), “Union of the Snake” (1983), “New Moon on Monday” (1984), “Reflex” (1984 – first single to hit #1 in US), “Notorious (1986), “All She Wants Is” (1988)


Echo & the Bunnymen: “Seven Seas” (1984), “Bring on the Dancing Horses (1985), “Lips Like Sugar” (1987) “People are Strange”
The English Beat: “Mirror in the Bathroom” (1980)
Erasure: “Sometimes” (1986), “Who Needs Love (Like That)” (1986), “Stop!” (1988)
Eurythmics: “Love Is A Stranger (1982) “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” (1983), “Who’s That Girl?” (1983), “Here Comes the Rain Again” (1984)


Falco: “Rock Me Amadeus” (1985), Junge Roemer (1984)
The Fixx: “One Thing Leads to Another” (1983), “Red Skies” (1982), “Are We Ourselves?” (1984), “Stand or Fall” (1982), “Saved by Zero” (1982), “Secret Separation” (1986)
Flash and the Pan: “Waiting for a Train” (1983), “Midnight Man” (1984)
A Flock of Seagulls: “I Ran” (1982), “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)” (1982), “Space Age Love Song” (1982), “The More You Live, The More You Love” (1984)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood:Relax” (1983), “Two Tribes” (1984), “The Power of Love” (1984), “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” (1985)
Fun Boy Three: “It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It)” (1982)

New wave hit of the 80s: all the best new wave songs (2)


General Public:Tenderness” (1984)
The Go-Go’s: “We Got The Beat” General Public (1981), “Our Lips Are Sealed” (1981), “Vacation” (1982), “Head Over Heels” (1984)
Go West: “We Close Our Eyes” (1985)
Eddy Grant: “Electric Avenue” (1983)


Robert Hazard: “Escalator of Life” (1981)
Heaven 17: “Play to Win” (1981),“Let Me Go” (1982),“Come Live with Me” (1983),“Temptation” (1983), “Crushed by the Wheels of Industry” (1983),“Sunset Now” (1984), “This is Mine” (1984)
Holly and the Italians:
“Tell That Girl To Shut Up” (1981)
HooDoo Gurus
Human League: “Being Boiled” (1978), “The Sound of the Crowd” (1981), “Love Action (I Believe in Love)” (1981), “Open Your Heart” (1981), “Don’t You Want Me” (1981) , “Mirror Man” (1982), “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” (1983), “The Lebanon” (1983), “Human” (1986)


Icehouse: “We Can Get Together” (1980), “Great Southern Land” (1982), “Hey Little Girl” (1982), “Electric Blue” (1987)
The Icicle Works: “Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)” (1984) and “Love Is A Wonderful Colour” (1983)
Billy Idol:Dancing With Myself” (1981), “White Wedding” (1982), “Rebel Yell” (1984), “Eyes Without a Face” (1984), “Mony Mony” (1987)
Information Society: “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)” (1988)
INXS: “The One Thing” (1982), “Don’t Change” (1982), “I Send A Message” (1984), “Original Sin” (1984), “The Swing” (1984), “What You Need” (1985), “Need You Tonight” (1987), “Devil Inside” (1987), “Never Tear Us Apart” (1987), “New Sensation” (1987)


Joe Jackson: “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” (1979), “Steppin’ Out” (1982), “Nineteen Forever” (1989)
The Jam: “Town Called Malice” (1982)
Japan: “Adolescent Sex (1978), “Life In Tokyo” (1979-1982*reissue)
Joy Division: “Transmission” (1979), “She’s Lost Control” (1979), “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980)
Howard Jones: “New Song” (1983), “What is Love?” (1984), “Things Can Only Get Better” (1985), “No One is to Blame”, “Everlasting Love” (1989)


Kajagoogoo:Too Shy” (1983)
Katrina & the Waves: “Walking on Sunshine” (1985)
The Knack: “My Sharona” (1979) – ok, not really the 80s, but it gets counted.


Cyndi Lauper: “Girls Just Want To Have Fun ” (1983), “True Colors” (1986)
Level 42: “Lessons In Love” (1987), “Something About You” (1985)


Madness: “One Step Beyond” (1979), “It Must Be Love” (1982), “House of Fun” (1982), “Our House” (1983)
Men at Work: “Who Can It Be Now?” (1981), “Johnny Be Good” (1982), “Down Under” (1982), “Overkill” (1983), “It’s a Mistake” (1983)
Men Without Hats:The Safety Dance” (1982), “Pop Goes the World” (1987)
Ministry: “(Everyday is) Halloween” (1984)
Modern English:I Melt With You” (1982)
The Modern Lovers: “Pablo Picasso” (recorded 1973, released 1976)
Moving Pictures: “What About Me” (1982)
Alison Moyet: “Love Resurrection” (1984)


Naked Eyes: “Always Something There to Remind Me” (1982, hit #8), “Promises Promises” (1983, hit #11), “What in the Name of Love” (1984, hit #39)
Nena: “99 Luftballons” (1983)
New Order:Blue Monday” (1983), “Bizarre Love Triangle” (1986), “True Faith” (1987)
Gary Numan: “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (1979), “Cars” (1979), “We Are Glass” (1980), “Music for Chameleons” (1982), “I Die: You Die” (1980), “This Wreckage” (1980), “We Take Mystery (To Bed)” (1982)


Oingo Boingo: “Only A Lad” (1981), “Dead Man’s Party” (1985)
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD): “Electricity” (1979), “Enola Gay” (1980), “Souvenir” (1981), “If You Leave” (1986)


Pet Shop Boys: “West End Girls” (1984), “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” (1985), “Suburbia” (1986), “It’s a Sin” (1987), “What have I done to deserve this? ” (with Dusty Springfield) (1987), “Always On My Mind” (1988), “Heart” (1988), “Domino Dancing” (1988)
The Police: “Roxanne” (1978), “Every Breath You Take” (1983), “Wrapped Around Your Finger” (1983), “King of Pain” (1983), “Synchronicity Part II” (1983)
The Pretenders: “Brass in Pocket” (1980), “Back on the Chain Gang” (1983), “Don’t Get Me Wrong” (1986), “Hymn to Her” (1986), “Precious” (1980)
The Psychedelic Furs: “Dumb Waiters” (1981), “Love My Way” (1982), “Pretty in Pink” (1986), “Heartbreak Beat” (1987)
Public Image Limited: “Public Image” (1978), “Death Disco” (1979), “This is Not a Love Song” (1983)


R.E.M: “Radio Free Europe” (1983 – I.R.S. version), “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)” (1984), “Cant Get There from Here” (1985), “Driver 8” (1985), “Fall on Me” (1986), “Superman” (1986), “It’s The End of The World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” (1987), “The One I Love” (1987), “Finest Worksong” (1988), “Orange Crush” (1988), “Stand” (1989), “Pop Song 89” (1989)
Real Life: “Send Me an Angel” (1983)
Red Flag: “Russian Radio” (1988)
Red Rockers: “China” (1983)
The Romantics: “What I Like About You” (1980), “Talking In Your Sleep” (1983)
Romeo Void: “Never Say Never” (1982)
Roxy Music: “Dance Away” (1978), “Angel Eyes” (1979), “Over You” (1980) “Oh Yeah” (1980), The Same Old Scene” (1980), “Lover” (1980), “More Than This” (1982)


Peter Schilling: “Major Tom” (1983), “The Different Story (World Of Lust And Crime)” (1989)
Simple Minds: “I Travel” (1980), “Sweat In Bullet” (1981), “Love Song” (1981), “Theme For Great Cities” (1981), “Someone Somewhere In Summertime” (1982), “Promised You A Miracle” (1982), “New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)” (1982), “Glittering Prize” (1982), “Waterfront” (1983), “Speed Your Love To Me” (1984), “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (1985), “Alive & Kicking” (1985), “All The Things She Said” (1985)
The Smiths
The Smithereens
Soft Cell: “Tainted Love” (1981), “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” (1982), “Torch” (1982)
Spandau Ballet: “To cut a long story short” (1980), “Musclebound” (1981), “Lifeline” (1982), “True” (1983), “Gold” (1983), “Only when you leave” (1984)
Sparks: “Beat The Clock” (1979)
Split Enz: “I Got You” (1980)
Spoons: “Arias and Symphonies” (1982), “Nova Heart” (1982) , “Romantic Traffic” (1982)
Squeeze: “Black Coffee in Bed” (1981), “Another Nail in My Heart” (1980), “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)” (1980), “If I Didn’t Love You”, “Tempted” (1981), “Hourglass” (1987)


Talking Heads: “Psycho Killer” (1977), “Once in a Lifetime” (1981), “Burning Down the House” (1983), “Road to Nowhere” (1985), “And She Was” (1985)
Talk Talk: “Talk Talk” (1982), “It’s My Life” (1984)
Tears for Fears: “Pale Shelter” (1982), “Mad World” (1982), “Change” (1983), “Shout” (1984), “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (1985), “King for a Day” (1985), “Head Over Heels” (1985), “Sowing the Seeds of Love” (1989)
The The: “This is the Day” (1983), “The Beat(en) Generation” (1987)
Thompson Twins: “Love on Your Side” (1982), “Hold Me Now” (1983), “Doctor! Doctor!” (1984), “Lies” (1983), “You Take Me Up” (1984), “Sister of Mercy” (1984)
Throbbing Gristle: “United” (1978)
‘Til Tuesday: “Voices Carry” (1985)
The Tubes: “Talk to Ya Later” (1981), “She’s a Beauty” (1983)
Tubeway Army: “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (1979)
Tuxedomoon: “In a Manner of Speaking” (1985)


Ultravox: “Vienna” (1981), “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes” (1984), “Reap the Wild Wind” (1984)


The Vapors: “Turning Japanese” (1980)
Suzanne Vega: “Luka” (1987) “Tom’s Diner” (1981)
Violent Femmes: “Blister in the Sun” (1982)
Visage: “Fade To Grey” (1980), “The Damned Don’t Cry” (1980)


Wall of Voodoo: “Mexican Radio” (1983)
Wang Chung: “Dance Hall Days” (No. 16 In the summer of 1984), “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” (No. 2 in 1986) and “Let’s Go!” (No. 9 in 1987)
When In Rome: “The Promise” (1988)
Kim Wilde: “Cambodia” (1981), “Kids in America” (1981), “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (1987)


Yaz: “Only You” (1982), “Situation” (1982), “Don’t Go” (1982), “Nobody’s Diary (1983)”
Yello: “Bostich” (1981), “I Love You” (1983), “Lost Again” (1983), “Oh Yeah” (1985)
Paul Young: “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)” (1983), “Come Back and Stay” (1983), “Love of the Common People” (1983)

New wave hit of the 80s: all the best new wave songs (2024)
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