best 1980s music for weddings

Popular 1980s Songs for Weddings

Top 100 for 2020

 

 

The 1980s were the decade of dance. Disco became popular after the release of Saturday Night Fever in 1977. Hey, let’s face it — dancing was fun again. 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?

“‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance well, they’re no friends of mine.” Ivan Doroschuk

best 1980s music for weddings

 

Table of Contents:

Let’s stop reminiscing and get to dancing – 80s style!

These are the best 1980s songs to get people on your wedding reception’s dance floor!

1980s wedding song list curated by Matthew Campbell
Last Updated: March 30, 2021

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SongAmazon Link
a-Ha
Take On Me
1984, New Wave
AC/DC
Back In Black
1980, Rock
AC/DC
You Shook Me All Night Long
1980, Rock
Beastie Boys
Fight For Your Right
1987, Rap Rock
Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
(I've Had) The Time of My Life
1987, Pop
Billy Idol
Mony Mony
1987, Rock
Billy Idol
White Wedding
1982, Rock
Billy Joel
Uptown Girl
1983, Rock
Blondie
Call Me
1980, New Wave
Bobby Brown
My Prerogative
1988, R&B
Bon Jovi
Livin' On A Prayer
1986, Rock
Bonnie Tyler
Total Eclipse Of The Heart
1983, Rock
Bruce Springsteen
Dancing In The Dark
1984, Rock
Bryan Adams
Summer of '69
1985, Rock
Buster Poindexter
Hot Hot Hot
1987, Pop
Cameo
Word Up!
1986, R&B
Chris De Burgh
The Lady In Red
1986, Rock
Culture Club
Karma Chameleon
1983, New Wave
Cyndi Lauper
Girls Just Want To Have Fun
1983, Pop
David Bowie
Let's Dance
1983, Pop
Dead Or Alive
You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
1984, Pop
Def Leppard
Pour Some Sugar On Me
1988, Rock
Devo
Whip It
1980, New Wave
Dexy's Midnight Runners
Come On Eileen
1982, New Wave
Diana Ross
I'm Coming Out
1980, Disco
Earth, Wind & Fire
Let's Groove
1981, Funk
Eddie Money
Take Me Home Tonight
1986, Rock
Eddie Rabbitt & Crystal Gayle
You And I
1982, Country
Eddy Grant
Electric Avenue
1982, Rock
Eurythmics
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
1983, New Wave
Flock Of Seagulls
I Ran (So Far Away)
1982, New Wave
Foreigner
I Want To Know What Love Is
1984, Rock
Frank Sinatra
New York, New York
1980, Jazz
Gap Band
You Dropped A Bomb On Me
1982, Funk
Guns N Roses
Sweet Child o' Mine
1988, Rock
Hall & Oates
You Make My Dreams
1980, Pop Rock
Huey Lewis and the News
The Power Of Love
1986, Rock
INXS
Need You Tonight
1987, Rock
Irene Cara
Flashdance...What A Feeling
1983, Pop
J. Geils Band
Centerfold
1981, Rock
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
I Love Rock 'N Roll
1981, Rock
John Cougar
Hurts So Good
1982, Rock
John Mellencamp
Jack & Diane
1982, Rock
Journey
Any Way You Want It
1980, Rock
Journey
Don't Stop Believin'
1981, Rock
Journey
Faithfully
1983, Rock
Katrina and the Waves
Walking On Sunshine
1985, Pop
Kenny Loggins
Footloose
1984, Rock
Kenny Rogers
Lady
1980, Country
Kool & The Gang
Celebration
1980, Disco
Kool & The Gang
Get Down On It
1981, Funk
Lionel Richie
All Night Long (All Night)
1983, Pop
Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
Endless Love
1981, Pop
Lipps Inc.
Funkytown
1980, Disco
Madonna
Into the Groove
1985, Pop
Madonna
Like A Prayer
1989, Pop
Marcia Griffiths
Electric Boogie
1989, Dance
Marvin Gaye
Sexual Healing
1982, R&B
Men Without Hats
The Safety Dance
1982, New Wave
Michael Jackson
Beat It
1983, Rock
Michael Jackson
Billie Jean
1983, R&B
Michael Jackson
Rock With You
1979, R&B
Michael Jackson
Thriller
1984, Pop Disco
Modern English
I Melt With You
1982, New Wave
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Fishin' In The Dark
1987, Country
Outfield
Your Love
1986, Rock
Paul Simon
You Can Call Me Al
1986, Pop Rock
Prince
1999
1982, Pop
Prince
Kiss
1986, Pop
Prince
Purple Rain
1984, Rock
Queen
Another One Bites The Dust
1980, Rock
Queen
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
1979, Rockabilly
Queen & David Bowie
Under Pressure
1981, Rock
Randy Travis
Forever and Ever, Amen
1987, Country
Rick Astley
Never Gonna Give You Up
1987, Pop
Rick James
Super Freak
1981, Funk
Rick Springfield
Jessie's Girl
1981, Rock
Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
It Takes Two
1988, Hip Hop
Salt 'N Pepa
Push It
1987, Hip Hop
Steve Earle
Copperhead Road
1988, Country
Stray Cats
Rock This Town
1982, Rockabilly
The B-52's
Love Shack
1989, Rock
The Bangles
Walk Like An Egyptian
1989, Rock
The Fixx
One Thing Leads To Another
1983, New Wave
The Knack
My Sharona
1979, Pop
The Pointer Sisters
Jump (For My Love)
1984, R&B
The Police
Every Breath You Take
1983, Rock
The Romantics
What I Like About You
1980, Pop
The Spinners
Working My Way Back To You
1979, R&B
Tommy Tutone
867-5309 / Jenny
1981, Pop
Tone-Loc
Wild Thing
1989, Hip Hop
Toto
Africa
1982, Rock
UB40
Red Red Wine
1983, Reggae
Van Halen
Jump
1983, Rock
Wang Chung
Everybody Have Fun Tonight
1986, New Wave
Wham!
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
1984, Pop
Whitney Houston
How Will I Know
1985, Pop
Whitney Houston
I Wanna Dance With Somebody
1987, Pop
Young MC
Bust A Move
1989, Pop
ZZ Top
Sharp Dressed Man
1982, Rock

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

Let’s Dance (At Your Wedding) with 1980s Songs

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.

  • “Come on Eileen” – Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)
  • “I Melt With You” – Modern English (1982)
  • “Take on Me” – A-Ha (1984)
  • “The Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats (1982)
  • “Funkytown” – Lipps, Inc. (1980)

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 Culture Shaped 1980s Songs

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 were common in the 1940s 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 to the start of MTV, the first video shown was “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Buggles.

 

Similar song lists for further reading:

Prosperity Brings In-Home Tech and Comedy

In the 1980s, 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 breakdance. 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).

 

1980s Songs Were Fundraisers

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.

 

Fun and Energetic Songs For Young And Old

The 1979 Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in Chicago was the beginning of new music styles in the 1980s. Born from the punk rock style music were New Wave and Synthpop. Bands such as The B52’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 Best 1980s Music as 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.

 

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3 responses to “Fun Wedding Songs — 1980s Decade of Dance”

  1. Durell DeFelice says:

    My favorite decade of music of all time.

  2. Matthew Campbell says:

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

  3. Stephen says:

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

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