While many people view the ’80s through rose colored glasses, it cannot be denied that this was the decade of decadence and that the ’80s will forever be linked with raucous parting. The ’80s provided us with a brilliant canon of party songs, especially those from hair metal bands and glam rockers. While there were many iconic dance songs of the ’80s, it is the ’80s rock and roll scene that perfectly encapsulates the feel of the time. These are the 25 best ’80s party songs for your next ’80s-themed party, karaoke session, or big night out.
“18 and Life” by Skid Row (1989)
Even though the lyrical content of the song is a bit dark, the song’s roaring chorus has made it one of the most iconic hair metal bar anthems, one that belongs on any ’80s party playlist.
“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey (1981)
While the song is too ubiquitous for music snobs, the song’s popularity makes it a karaoke standard and the fact that everyone knows the words means the entire bar will sing along with it, drowning out the questionable vocals of the person doing their karaoke interpretation.
“Dr. Feelgood” by Motley Crue (1989)
Motley Crue is synonymous with the wild ways of the ’80s party lifestyle and this song captures that vibe perfectly, making it an essential for ’80s-themed parties.
“Girls, Girls, Girls” by Motley Crue (1987)
The party hasn’t started until this ’80s rock staple is piped through the speakers. Watch as the ladies, of all ages, loosen up a bit as this song sets the tone for the night.
“Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen (1985)
Bruce Springsteen can capture a moment in time better than just about any recording artist and this track has become one of his most famous since it lets everyone go back to that special place that warms their memory.
“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts (1982)
The Arrows original was a solid song, but Joan Jett and the Blackhearts made it their own and the track is still being played in bars across America, giving party-goers a timeless sing-along.
“Faith” by George Michael (1987)
Limp Bizkit covered it in ’97, but the ’80s original is the prime party anthem that tops the trendy nu-metal remake and belongs on everyone’s ’80s party playlist.
“Jack & Diane” by John Mellencamp (1982)
Watch the dance floor come alive as guys and girls live vicariously through this classic ’80s song.
“Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield (1981)
Rick Springfield painted a lyrical picture in 1981 that still makes everyone feel the party vibe the second the opening notes fill the night.
“Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi (1986)
Bon Jovi was the prime deliverer of arena rock back in the day and this track still packs enough energy to loosen up any crowd and inspire nearly everyone to sing along with the huge chorus.
“Nothin’ but a Good Time” by Poison (1988)
There was not a single poignant thing said in the lyrics of this, or any, Poison classic, but the good time feeling it evokes has lived on long past its ’80s peak, making the song an essential party track to this very day.
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard (1988)
The shots will flow when this classic party anthem from ’88 is played.
“Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol (1983)
If the crowd is dying down, this classic rock anthem from the ’80s will no doubt get everyone back in the party mood.
“Rock the Casbah” by The Clash (1982)
No list of ’80s party songs is complete without this iconic punk rock gem.
“Round and Round” by Ratt (1984)
Big hair and big choruses defined the ’80s hair metal scene and Ratt’s “Round and Round” fits the bill perfectly.
“Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones (1981)
The Rolling Stones transcend generational confines, but this 1981 classic is permanently enshrined in the ’80s party song canon.
“Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses (1988)
Axl Rose’s trademark vocal style made this one of the biggest songs of 1988 and the song remains a favorite of party crowds everywhere.
“Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams (1985)
The song was released just 16 years after the time depicted in the lyrics which is roughly half the span of time between that release date and today. Try not to think about that fact the next time you hear this blaring from a barroom’s speakers.
“Talk Dirty to Me” by Poison (1987)
Poison captured the feelings of party-goers in 1987 with this rocking party anthem and the track still elicits the same feelings as it did back then.
“You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi (1986)
Arena rock was defined by the trademark big choruses and this classic ’80s party song took that trait to new highs.
“You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC (1980)
The mass appeal of this song has made it standard bar fare for decades and the track belongs on any playlist of ’80s party tracks.
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham! (1984)
There are few songs that provide as much foreshadowing as this classic ’80s song. Watch as people couple off to this one and take your bets about who will be singing this one in the morning.
“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves (1983)
The upbeat energy of this ’80s pop/rock track has made it a staple on party playlists well into the 2000s.
“Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses (1987)
The Guns N’ Roses sound lent itself perfectly to the party scene of the ’80s and that vibe still resonates with modern partiers.
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister (1984)
Twisted Sister’s unabashed nature shined through on this hair-metal track that still sees frequent rotation in bars and on throwback ’80s-themed playlists.
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