Best 80s Summer of Music – Results Are In

By Mark Dursin

The results are in!

Like Totally 80s wanted to know: “Of the ten summers of the 1980s, which one spawned the best music?” So, last week, we provided sample songs from the different summers and then asked you, the fine folks sitting at home, to vote on which summer you considered the best, music-wise. And here’s what you had to say . . .

3rd Best Summer (with 15% of the vote): 1984

2nd Best Summer (with 23% of the vote): 1980

Best Summer (with 26% of the vote): 1983

Congrats, 1983—the glorious summer when Flashdance ruled the airwaves, when a song about an obsessive stalker got strangely misinterpreted as a love song (“Every Breath You Take”), when Kajagoogoo a household name!

80s songs of summer

Honestly, the results surprised me a little. Not so much with the top vote-getter: last December, I had actually written a piece for Like Totally 80s entitled “1983 is the BEST Year in Music,” so I guess I made my bias pretty transparent.

But the strong showing by 1980? Definitely shocked me. Sure, that summer produced some good tunes (e.g. “Funkytown,” “Let My Love Open the Door,” and “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”). But that was also the summer of “Emotional Rescue” by the Rolling Stones—a song which is so strikingly horrible, it just about spoils the entire summer for me.

I was also surprised by the weak performance by 1986, which only managed to rustle up 4% of the vote. (It tied for second-to-last place with 1981.) What’s going on here, people? No love for “Higher Love”? Or “Sledgehammer” or “Papa Don’t Preach” or “Invisible Touch”?

But hey, the people have spoken. Thanks to everyone who participated. And before I sign off, here is a more complete list of songs from our big winner, the summer of 1983:

  • “Every Breath You Take,” Police
  • “Flashdance . . . What a Feeling,” Irene Cara
  • Maniac,” Michael Sembello
  • Safety Dance,” Men Without Hats
  • “1999,” Prince;
  • Wanna Be Startin’ Something” and “Human Nature,” Michael Jackson
  • Too Shy,” Kajagoogoo
  • “Cuts Like a Knife,” Bryan Adams
  • “She Works Hard for the Money,” Donna Summer
  • “Time (Clock of the Heart)” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” Culture Club
  • Our House,” Madness
  • “China Girl,” David Bowie
  • “Come Dancing,” The Kinks
  • “Far From Over,” Frank Stallone
  • “Never Gonna Let You Go,” Sergio Mendes
  • “Family Man,” Hall & Oates
  • Puttin’ on the Ritz,” Taco
  • “Overkill,” Men at Work
  • “She Blinded Me with Science,” Thomas Dolby
  • “Always Something There to Remind Me,” Naked Eyes
  • “Tell Her About It,” Billy Joel
  • “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” Eurythmics
  • “I’m Still Standin’,” Elton John
  • “She’s a Beauty,” Tubes
  • “Electric Avenue,” Eddy Grant
  • “Is There Something I Should Know?” Duran Duran

Author: Mark Dursin

Mark Dursin is an English teacher at Glastonbury High School in Glastonbury, Connecticut. His writing has appeared in the Hartford Courant and several online publications, including The Faster Times and JMWW. He and his co-conspirator, his wife Sheri, blog at

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  1. Man, what a hard list to choose from! I’d say every summer in the 80’s had awesome music. Keep up the great work. This site always provides the right fix for my love of 80’s nostalgia!

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  2. 1985 should have beat ’80 easily. The two best years of music ever were ’84 and ’85. That ’83 list is really good though.

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