The Ultimate ’80s Singalong Playlist
By Lily Doolin
Despite the 1980s being in the past for almost 40 years now, nostalgia for this decade of legwarmers, Lost Boys, and Live Aid is still going strong.
Whether it’s because your parents made you listen to it, or you even lived through the ’80s yourself, you probably have some sort of relationship with songs from that time. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a list of ’80s songs that you love to jam out to.
However, if you don’t have a playlist going, I’ve provided you with my own ’80s singalong playlist below. It’s full of songs to either sing along with in the shower while you’ve got your Ferris Bueller shampoo mohawk going on, or to jam out to with friends and family at a totally radical party. So, grab your karaoke mics or hairbrushes—it’s time to sing your heart out, and maybe dance around a little bit, too.
Just be careful if you’re going to try and pull off the signature Dirty Dancing lift. Maybe wear a helmet, in case things go south.
Your Love - The Outfield
I have yet to go to any sporting event, party, or simply a casual get-together where the people in attendance don’t automatically start screaming the opening lyrics of this song. It’s as if “Josie’s on a vacation far away” is ingrained into the brains of everyone at birth. I especially remember listening to this song at my sweet 16. When it came on, everyone automatically got on the dancefloor and just started jamming out. This is also one of my favorite ’80s songs for the sheer fact that it’s so easy to follow along with, and the lyrics are relatable—sometimes, we only want to use someone’s love for one night.
Working for the Weekend - Loverboy
There are very few songs that just scream “party all night long and into the next morning” like “Working for the Weekend.” The overall sound of this song is also so very nostalgic. I remember it was actually the theme song for the Namco series game on the PlayStation 2. Every time I wanted to play Pac Man, this song would start playing. Ten-year-old me would just sit there running away from ghosts and belting out an off-key version of this song.
Mr. Roboto - Styx
This song holds a special place in my heart: It’s probably the first song I ever truly had a connection with. “Mr. Roboto” was my absolute favorite song of all time when I was a kid, back before I ever had an iPod or even a CD player. I remember sitting in the backseat, singing along to this song with my mom in the car. I personally love singing the bridge, which is just “Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto” repeated a bunch of times over. Now, whenever my suitemates and I have to do some cleaning of the dorm, I throw on this song and we actually have some fun.
Summer of ’69 - Bryan Adams
My fond feelings toward this song as an ultimate sing-along anthem stems from a sort of tradition I’ve built around it. Just before coming back to school after a vacation—whether it be winter break, after summer vacation, or even spring break—I’ll hop in my car and drive down to the beach near where I live. With windows down, no matter if it’s 80 degrees or ten below, I’ll throw this song on blast and belt my heart out. It’s the type of song that speaks to happier times and is a feel-good jam to pick anyone up when you’re feeling a little down.
Centerfold - J. Geils Band
Is it just me, or does “Centerfold” come on at the most random times in your life? Just the other day, I was eating at a nice, expensive restaurant with my family and this song came on. So, in my fancy clothes and my best manners, I started singing this song under my breath, because I honestly just couldn’t help myself. This song always visits me just when I need it. Whether it’s during dishes with my dad, or when a party has seemingly hit a lull, J. Geils Band swoops in with a little dose of energy to bring the good vibes back up.