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Songs of the Summer: The ’80s Playlist

Billboard’s Songs of the Summer chart returned three weeks ago for 2020, but we’re feeling a bit nostalgic for the warm-weather music of decades past. So what better day than Throwback Thursday to go back in time and revisit some of the tunes that burned up the Summer chart and dance floors?

This week, we travel back to the decade of super bright colors, big hair and the beginning of MTV — the ’80s. Many of the tunes that ruled the Songs of the Summer chart that decade went on to become classics, while several of the artists themselves have since become music icons. (Madonna and Prince, to name just two.)

Below, see which songs reigned as the No. 1 Song of the Summer from each year of the ’80s, then hop in your DeLorean to revisit them in our playlist. Afterward, vote in our poll to let us know which Song of the Summer from the ’80s is your favorite!

  • 1980: “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” Billy Joel
  • 1981: “Jessie’s Girl,” Rick Springfield
  • 1982: “Eye of the Tiger,” Survivor
  • 1983: “Every Breath You Take,” The Police
  • 1984: “When Doves Cry,” Prince
  • 1985: “Shout,” Tears for Fears
  • 1986: “Papa Don’t Preach,” Madonna
  • 1987: “Alone,” Heart
  • 1988: “Roll With It,” Steve Winwood
  • 1989: “Right Here Waiting,” Richard Marx


See the top 10 tunes that ranked in our Songs of the Summer chart each year from 1958 to 2019 here.

Prior to 1992, Songs of the Summer were calculated from their Hot 100 chart performance during the summer months based on an inverse points system — with weeks at No. 1 earning the most value, and weeks at No. 100 raking in the least.

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