29 Best Songs From 1988

The 1980s were an end of an era, as the cassette tape was phasing out and the CD becoming more prominent. This change didn’t slow the music industry down, though, as some of the greatest hits of all time came out in those years, and 1988 was no exception. With that said, here’s some of the best songs from 1988.

“Faith” By George Michael

Song Year: 1988

After George Michael broke from his Wham musical partner, Andrew Ridgeley, Michael embarked on a highly successful solo career. “Faith” broke records across the industry as a single, as did its debut album by the same name.

Bubbly, catchy, and emblematic of the singer’s hold on pop music, “Faith” remained at the top of the Billboard charts for several weeks. It was the #1 single of the year in the US. in 1988. 

“Sweet Child o’ Mine” By Guns N’ Roses

Song Year: 1988

There’s almost no one who listens to rock music who doesn’t immediately recognize the iconic guitar solo that kicks off “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” An MTV favorite, the band’s most famous tune catapulted to the top of both US. and UK charts in June of 1988.

The band’s producer suggested the musical breakdown at the end of the song, which was too long for radio but completes the lengthy single in its most well-loved form. This is Guns N’ Roses at their performance best.

“Need You Tonight” By INXS

Song Year: 1988

INXS are among the most successful Australian bands of all time, with over 80 million albums sold worldwide. Though they’ve produced more notable songs, “Need You Tonight” is arguably by far the most well-known and popular one, even to this day.

This song is all about texture. With the exception of a shouted phrase on the chorus, the voice part doesn’t offer much of a melody, deferring instead to the digital effects and groovy beat.

“Pour Some Sugar On Me” By Def Leppard

Song Year: 1988

There’s no more quintessential late-80s jam than “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” The heavy drums set the tone for the hard rock era that this song dominated while screaming vocals and guitar riffs complete the genre’s aesthetic.

VH1 ranked “Sugar” #2 on their list of “The 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s.” It lives on as a campy tune for parties, karaoke, or dancing.

“Man in the Mirror” By Michael Jackson

Song Year: 1988

It’s impossible to talk about the ‘80s without mentioning MJ. The consummate singer, dancer, and arena entertainer was already the prince of pop music as a grown-up member of Jackson 5, but with his 1987 album Bad, he rose to the status of king.

More than superficial entertainment, the inspiring message of “Man in the Mirror” shows the narrator encouraging himself to start changing the world, starting with himself. The accompanying music video shows a montage of cultures and humanitarian issues around the world.

“Heaven Is a Place on Earth” By Belinda Carlisle

Song Year: 1988

In among Madonna and Cyndi Lauper was Belinda Carlisle, with her hit single “Heaven Is a Place On Earth.” It inhabited the radio-friendly space straddling pop and rock to become Carlisle’s signature song.

Her 2017 album Wilder Shores features this song re-recorded in the form of an acoustic ballad.

“Got My Mind Set on You” By George Harrison

Song Year: 1988

The bluesy, old-fashioned rock song with a touch of soul is most people’s main association with George Harrison’s musical output. They may be surprised to learn that he only covered it. The original composer of “Got My Mind Set on You” is Rudy Clark, and James Ray recorded it first in 1962.

Reminiscent of the Beatles, the track uses hand claps, saxophone riffs, and three-part harmonies to punctuate the playful melody.

“Never Gonna Give You Up” By Rick Astley

Song Year: 1988

The red-haired kid with the voice of a grown man captured the world’s attention in 1988 with his biggest hit. In the mid-2000s, it rose to fame a second time with the help of an Internet bait-and-switch phenomenon called Rickrolling.

“Never Gonna Give You Up” layers a percussive groove with synth-string and bass effects and remains one of YouTube’s most-searched videos to this day.

“Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” By Billy Ocean

Song Year: 1988

The pop music juggernaut that was Billy Ocean came to a head in 1988 with this tune. His R&B-tinged voice combined with a bouncy digital track for one of the year’s biggest hits.

The music video was also iconic for its time. Ocean drives around town, showing off his Porsche while beautiful women and animated cartoon characters dance across the screen.

“Hungry Eyes” By Eric Carmen

Song Year: 1988

The writer of “All By Myself” saw another huge hit in 1988 with “Hungry Eyes.” Describing his unrequited lust for an unattainable woman, the musical aesthetic is a ballad but still fits squarely in the rock genre.

This classic tune found its way into the Dirty Dancing soundtrack as well as an M&M’s commercial a couple of decades later.

Song Year: 1988

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *