29 Best Songs From 1982

1982 stands as a pivotal year in music history. Pop music takes its shape, hip-hop hits the mainstream, and indie rock has some early hits. There is so many top songs from 1982 it's hard to include everything. We will look at some of the biggest tracks of the year.

1. “I’m So Excited” by The Pointer Sisters

The Pointer Sisters were already well-established by 1982, but they produced one of their most beloved songs that year: “I’m So Excited.” The song was another big hit for the group, peaking at number 30 and proving that it was just as relevant in this young decade.

The song is upbeat and perfect to play at a club or party. Like many vocal groups of this generation, the Pointer Sisters took inspiration from the now-dead genre of disco for the production.

2. “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye had a public exit from the Motown label in 1981, and people wondered if he would ever reach the same heights without its support. Gaye responded to those critics with “Sexual Healing,” one of his most popular songs and proof he still had more music to make.

The song synthesizes disco, funk, and soul for unique instrumentation. Gaye sings about the power of loving someone and how it heals your soul. Gaye died two years later after being shot by his father, cutting his impressive career tragically short.

3. “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five

1982 was one of the first years when hip-hop took off and reached a more mainstream audience. While hip-hop and rap were already established as musical genres, Grandmaster Flash was one of the first artists to discuss social issues the Black community was dealing with at the time.

“The Message” has the rappers talk about the condition of the inner cities in the 1980s. The group took inspiration from the transit strike in New York. The lyrics describe the poor standard of living in American cities and the issues residents dealt with daily.

4. “1999” by Prince

Prince created the Minneapolis sound, and “1999” perfectly demonstrates its mixture of funk and new wave. The song is the title track of one of Prince’s best records, and critics consistently rate “1999” as one of the eclectic rocker’s best songs.

The song details a party being held as the world is ending. There is nothing they can do but enjoy some debauchery until the end comes. The instrumentation is funky and upbeat to contrast with the macabre subject matter.

5. “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran

Duran Duran proved the artistic merits of the fledgling new wave genre with its smash hit “Hungry Like the Wolf.” The song put Duran Duran on the map and propelled it to international fame as the song sprang up the charts.

Lyrically, “Hungry Like the Wolf” has remained a mystery to many listeners. Duran Duran member John Taylor said he did not have a singular interpretation of the lyrics in mind, and pictures it as a song about meeting girls.

6. “Wolves, Lower” by R.E.M.

R.E.M. is one of the most beloved alternative rock bands of all time. In 1982, however, the group was just some college kids playing music in Athens, Georgia.

Despite its obscurity at the time, “Wolves, Lower” exemplifies what would make R.E.M. so unique. This song demonstrates the jangle pop sound the band employed in its early years. It is a wonderful song that is made better by its uniqueness and freshness compared to other rock music in 1982.

7. “Houdini” by Kate Bush

Kate Bush was a few years away from proving herself to be a force in art pop, but the writing was on the wall for the British singer’s rise in popularity. “Houdini” demonstrates the eclectic nature of Kate Bush that would captivate fans for years.

“Houdini” is a bizarre song where Bush attempts to push the boundaries of her songwriting. She succeeds with a haunting track that laid the groundwork for her later work.

8. “Rock the Casbah” by The Clash

The Clash made a name for itself as a punk band early in its career, but took an unprecedented shift in direction in 1982 with “Rock the Casbah.” The band embraced new wave music and nearly abandoned its early punk influences.

Lyrically, “Rock the Casbah” takes inspiration from the modern history of Iran, including the hostage crisis and the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The music video is cheesy and the band filmed it in Texas.

9. “Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners

Dexys Midnight Runners are one of the first bands people hold up as a one-hit-wonder. But when you are talking about good music from 1982, you can’t go long without mentioning “Come On Eileen.”

“Come On Eileen” is a unique new wave song that includes a Celtic fiddle. The song is technically impressive with key and tempo changes throughout. For a mainstream breakthrough, “Come On Eileen” was ambitious and lives on in our memories.

10. “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

It is hard to imagine a song with more plays in the gym than “Eye of the Tiger.” Survivor crafted this song for the Slyvester Stalone film Rocky III, and since its inclusion in the film, it has taken on a life of its own. Future WWF champion and Rocky III co-star of the film Hulk Hogan used the song' during his career.

The song describes a person getting ready for a big fight. They are ready to engage with confidence and poise.

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