1980s Wedding Songs: Forever ’80s Trending and Timeless Hits

Updated November 1, 2023 | Author: Matthew Campbell

Whitney Houston wanted to dance with somebody, David Bowie raised the cry “Let’s Dance!” and we can’t forget about the “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats.

After all, can we even be friends if you don’t dance to ’80s music?

1980s Wedding Songs

When selecting 1980s songs for your wedding, you must consider the following 3 factors:

  1. What is the tempo of the song to determine the style of dance?
  2. What is the meaning of the song and is it appropriate for your wedding?
  3. Does the song’s genre match the theme of your wedding?

Let’s start with the most popular right now.

Top Trending 1980s Wedding Songs

  1. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston
  2. “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
  3. “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi
  4. “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins
  5. “Love Shack” by B-52’s
  6. “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC
  7. “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  8. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard
  9. “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
  10. “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” by Daryl Hall & John Oates
  11. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams
  12. “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang
  13. “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
  14. “Africa” by Toto
  15. “(I’ve Had The) Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
  16. “Let’s Groove” by Earth, Wind & Fire
  17. “It’s Tricky” by Run-DMC
  18. “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield
  19. “Electric Boogie” by Marcia Griffiths
  20. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

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As an experienced wedding DJ, I’ve assembled a list of popular 1980s songs to get people on the dance floor and for romance at your wedding! The list is grouped by genre to match your taste in music.

1980s Pop Favorites

  1. Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles
  2. (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes (last dance song)
  3. Hot Hot Hot – Buster Poindexter
  4. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley (party dance song)
  5. True Blue – Madonna
  6. Kiss – Prince
  7. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves (recessional song)
  8. Into the Groove – Madonna
  9. Take On Me – a-Ha (party dance song)
  10. Thriller – Michael Jackson
  11. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!
  12. Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper (bouquet toss song)
  13. Let’s Dance – David Bowie
  14. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson (party dance song)
  15. Flashdance…What A Feeling – Irene Cara
  16. 1999 – Prince
  17. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates (recessional song)
  18. New York, New York – Frank Sinatra
  19. My Sharona – The Knack
  20. Rock With You – Michael Jackson

Tip

Next, read a list of 1980s love songs.

 

1980s Rock Hits

  1. Love Shack – The B-52’s (party dance song)
  2. Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
  3. Sweet Child o’ Mine – Guns N Roses (father-daughter dance song)
  4. Mony Mony – Billy Idol (party dance song)
  5. Need You Tonight – INXS
  6. Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi(party dance song)
  7. The Lady In Red – Chris De Burgh
  8. Take Me Home Tonight – Eddie Money (last dance song)
  9. The Power Of Love – Huey Lewis and the News
  10. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey (last dance song)
  11. Your Love – Outfield (party dance song)
  12. You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
  13. Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
  14. Dancing In The Dark – Bruce Springsteen
  15. I Want To Know What Love Is – Foreigner
  16. Footloose – Kenny Loggins (party dance song)
  17. Uptown Girl – Billy Joel
  18. Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler
  19. Faithfully – Journey (first dance song)
  20. Jump – Van Halen
  21. White Wedding – Billy Idol
  22. Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant
  23. Jack & Diane – John Mellencamp (cocktail hour song)
  24. Somebody’s Baby – Jackson Browne
  25. Rock This Town – Stray Cats
  26. Africa – Toto
  27. Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top (groomsmen song)
  28. Centerfold – J. Geils Band
  29. I Love Rock ‘N Roll – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  30. Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie
  31. Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield (party dance song)
  32. 867-5309 / Jenny – Tommy Tutone
  33. Back In Black – AC/DC
  34. You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC (party dance song)
  35. Any Way You Want It – Journey
  36. Another One Bites The Dust – Queen
  37. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
  38. What I Like About You – The Romantics

Tip

Check out a 1990s wedding playlist too.

 

1980s R&B Tracks

  1. Working My Way Back To You – The Spinners
  2. Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car – Billy Ocean
  3. My Prerogative – Bobby Brown
  4. I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston (party dance song)
  5. Word Up! – Cameo (party dance song)
  6. How Will I Know – Whitney Houston
  7. Jump (For My Love) – The Pointer Sisters
  8. All Night Long (All Night) – Lionel Richie
  9. Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye
  10. Get Down On It – Kool & The Gang (party dance song)
  11. Endless Love – Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
  12. Super Freak – Rick James
  13. Lovely One – The Jacksons
  14. Celebration – Kool & The Gang (party dance song)
  15. You And Me – Rockie Robbins

1980s Hip Hop Tunes

  1. Wild Thing – Tone-Loc
  2. Bust A Move – Young MC
  3. It Takes Two – Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock (party dance song)
  4. Fight For Your Right – The Beastie Boys
  5. Push It – Salt ‘N Pepa (party dance song)
 

1980s Country Chart Toppers

  1. Copperhead Road – Steve Earle (group dance song)
  2. Fishin’ In The Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  3. Forever and Ever, Amen – Randy Travis (recessional song)
  4. You And I – Eddie Rabbitt & Crystal Gayle (first dance song)
  5. Lady – Kenny Rogers

1980s New Wave Must-Plays

  1. Everybody Have Fun Tonight – Wang Chung
  2. You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) – Dead Or Alive
  3. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
  4. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics (party dance song)
  5. One Thing Leads To Another – The Fixx
  6. Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners (party dance song)
  7. I Ran (So Far Away) – Flock Of Seagulls
  8. The Safety Dance – Men Without Hats
  9. I Melt With You – Modern English
  10. Call Me – Blondie
  11. Come Dancing – The Kinks (sister-brother song)
  12. Whip It – Devo
 

1980s Disco Dancing

  1. You Dropped A Bomb On Me – The Gap Band
  2. Let’s Groove – Earth, Wind & Fire (party dance song)
  3. I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross
  4. Funkytown – Lipps Inc. (party dance song)

1980s Reggae

  1. Electric Boogie – Marcia Griffiths (group dance song)
  2. Red Red Wine – UB40 (cocktail hour song)

Have a favorite 1980s wedding song, not on my list?  Please share the song below so we I add it!

 

FAQs

When we think of fun songs for a wedding reception, most of us think of the 1980s.

Very similar to the era of the 1950s, thirty years earlier, the 80s was a post-war decade marked by prosperity. It was good to have fun again.

It’s common to hear a wide range of musical genres at your 80s theme wedding reception. One-hit wonders became a thing. Sometimes even the music video gave songs a chance to rise in popularity that wouldn’t have been considered otherwise.

Danceable 80s playlists can include Aerosmith, Madonna, Run-DMC, Bobby Brown, and AC/DC at the same reception. These songs will get everyone, regardless of age, up and dancing.

Remember that when choosing music from any decade, you will stir up plenty of nostalgia.

Even better is to pair these songs with a slideshow or display photos of you and your new spouse from the ’80s. This could include the bride and groom’s family — especially if you weren’t born yet.

The 1980s was known for its historical events. The Berlin Wall came down and many eastern countries wanted freedom and the stuff that comes with it. Western countries were all about consumerism. Designer names and particular brand names became status symbols. Everyone was about themselves and greed. Heck — greed wasn’t even called greed! Advertising companies created buzzwords for the 1980s like yuppies and empty nesters.

As in previous years, music defined what is happening in the world. War protest songs people danced to in the 40s with World War II and again in the 1970s with the Vietnam War. This holds true for the best 1980s music. With the beginning of music television in 1981, teens tuned in on their TVs to watch music videos on MTV. Apropos of the start of MTV, the first video shown was “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Buggles.

In the 1980s, the tech came inside every home. Atari was replaced by Nintendo and Super Mario Brothers. Hip hop blared on ghetto blasters while kids enjoyed watching and trying to break dance. Fluorescent tops and parachute pant-clad teens wanted music wherever they were. Music became mobile in teen society with ghetto blasters and the invention of the Walkman by Sony. We sure didn’t know we’d have to wait twenty years for the iPod.

Teens were entertained at the movies with blockbuster hits such as E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Comedy clubs rose in popularity in the 1980s and late-night TV shows like Saturday Night Live became mainstream. Comedy didn’t stay on the silver screen or during late-night television. Family sitcoms like The Cosby Show, Roseanne, and Family Ties became dinnertime entertainment.

Other popular TV shows included Dallas, Falcon Crest, and Dynasty. Eighties teens were also obsessed with Cabbage Patch Kids, Pac-Man, and the invention of the compact disc (CD). For the first time, sales of vinyl were outranked by another medium — CDs (1988).

The ’80s were a time of prosperity, yes, but also disruption. The Challenger Space Shuttle exploded on live TV while we all watched in school, Prince Charles married Diana — a non-royal, and Apple Computer released the Macintosh.

The Eighties saw the end of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, fuel prices went back down, and prosperity dominated this decade. Songs became fun and companies and people focused their attention on the world.

We saw this with the USA for Africa’s “We Are the World. Even concert festivals became fundraising platforms in the 1980s with events like Farm Aid, Band-Aid, and Live Aid.

The 1979 Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in Chicago was the beginning of new music styles in the 1980s. Born from punk rock style music were New Wave and Synthpop. Bands such as The B-52’s, Duran Duran, and Culture Club are considered New Wave.

Sub-genres of rock in roll sprouted in the 1980s with glam rock, heavy metal, and thrash metal. We commonly refer to many rock bands of the 1980s as music hair bands. Long hair was back and much longer than the “long hair bands” of our parents’ generation.  Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, and Def Leppard were formidable 1980s mega-rock stars.

The change in music wasn’t limited to pop or rock. Rap quickly became mainstream and finally escaped urban centers. Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, and LL Cool J dominated the charts. In fact, Run-DMC was the first rap group to have an album become certified gold.

Why trust Matthew Campbell?

DJ, Author, Music Lover

matt

Matthew (Matt) Campbell is the founder/editor of My Wedding Songs from his experience as a wedding DJ. He is the author of two wedding planners: ‘Wedding Songs Planner’ and ‘The Wedding Music Toolkit’. Matt is the host of the ‘Wedding Songs Podcast’. He shares music inspiration in his weekly newsletter the ‘Wedding MusicLetter’. His articles have been published on Rolling Stone, DJ Life Magazine, and DJ Times. Matt resides in the wedding capital of the world – Las Vegas.

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Durell DeFelice
Durell DeFelice
5 years ago

My favorite decade of music of all time.

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
7 years ago

Hi Stephan. We totally agree but it fills dance floors. However, we have decided to replace the song!

Stephen
Stephen
8 years ago

How in God’s name do you think that ‘Tainted Love’ would be appropriate for a wedding??