31 Best Love Songs Of the 80s (1980s Romance Hits)

Every era has its fair share of juicy ballads, but nothing compares to the vibrancy and mystique of the 80s love songs. From an age when Madonna and Prince ruled the world, these best love songs from the 80s are the go-to soundtrack for humankind’s insatiable heartache, longing, and lust.

Come with us, if you dare, to a time of hair-sprayed bangs, neon-lit sequins, and tainted love. Without further ado, we present the top 31 love songs of the 80s!

1. “I Want to Know What Love Is” – Foreigner

Foreigner - I Want To Know What Love Is (Official Music Video)

Wholesome and desperate, and with a healthy dose of synthesizers, this ballad gets number one because it’s just so darn sweet. That universally-felt loneliness of heartache is given a sense of hope only Foreigner can deliver. The writer Mick Jones said the song was “probably written entirely by a higher force.” We believe it, buddy.

Next: Best songs about feeling lonely and loneliness

2. “Careless Whisper” – George Michael

George Michael - Careless Whisper (Official Video)

George Michael never shied away from the sultriest of tunes. This track is no exception. What other song has a saxophone line that gets your blood going like this one?

Next: The most powerful romantic love songs of all time

3. “Hello” – Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie - Hello (Official Music Video)

This song is proof Lionel Richie went through the biggest crush in human history. Dreaming of requited love? None can dream harder than Lionel in “Hello.” This one will be on repeat for those working up the gumption to finally ask their object of affection, “is it me your looking for?”

Next: The top songs about crushing on someone hard

4. “Sexual Healing” – Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye - Sexual Healing (Official HD Video)

This is the classiest song about sex ever made. What more is there to say? When Marvin Gaye released this track, the world prepped for another Marvin Gaye reign. Unfortunately, Gaye died only two years after the song was released. At least he went out with a bang.

Next: The top songs about sex to get down to

5. “Take My Breath Away” – Berlin

Berlin - Take My Breath Away (Official Video - Top Gun)

Berlin brings us the most 80s arrangements of this list so far. Over the big snare claps, a choir-like synth in the background, and that boingy bass line, Terri Nunn takes our breath away with her pleading lyrics and dramatic performance.

Next: Top love songs for him (tracks for your boyfriend)

6. “Against All Odds” – Phil Collins

Phil Collins Against All Odds

As the decades pass, our appreciation for Mr. Phil Collins deepens. This song is a great example of his ability to give new feelings to love song clichés. In this song, he knows it’s a long shot, but he’s changed, and trying again is a chance he’s willing to take. I mean, if she’d just listen and take a look at him, she’d probably realize he’s Phil Collins and take him back on the spot.

Next: The biggest songs about breakups to get you through it

7. “Total Eclipse of The Heart” – Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart (Turn Around) (Official Video)

When I was younger I never realized how strange the arrangement for “Total Eclipse” is. It’s kind of a weird song, right? But when the chorus hits, all the tension gives way to one of the most epic moments of the 80s. Bonnie Tyler’s voice drips with passion and desperation, and the music keeps moving and upping itself, making it one of the most intense ballads ever written.

Next: The top songs of the 1980s (best 80s tracks)

8. “I Would Die 4 U” – Prince

Energetic, confident, and funky as heck. Prince, basically. This song has the added bonus of being easy to text.

Next: The best rock songs from the 1980s

9. “With or Without You” – U2

U2 - With Or Without You (Official Music Video)

Bono’s ballad about the conflict of being away from his family due to the band’s success is another example of how real and complicated tracks from the 80s could be while dripping with style and mood.

Next: Top songs about missing someone you love (our favorites)

10. “Love Action (I Believe in Love)” – The Human League

Love Action (I Believe In Love)

Thoroughly and undeniably 80’s, “Love Action” is a bouncy pop track about the power of love. The title alone is so 80s, we can’t take it!

Next: The best karaoke songs from the 1980s

11. “Saving All My Love for You” – Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston - Saving All My Love For You (Official HD Video)

It’s a known fact that Whitney Houston is one of the greatest singers of all time. This song is a wonderful example of her talent. Her performance on this track is so strong, you can practically smell the hairspray.

12. “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time (Audio)

This one’s got all the Cyndi Lauper hallmarks: longing lyrics, an emotional chorus, and an enduring melody. (Author’s note: my friends call this my ‘vodka song.’ Wish I could remember why. They just laugh every time I ask.)

13. “Just Like Heaven” – The Cure

The Cure - Just Like Heaven (Official Audio)

You’ve found it. The catchiest song on this entire list. Leave it to The Cure to turn a song about love and longing into a bouncy synth-pop masterpiece.

Next: Greatest bands of the 1980s (80s rock bands list)

14. “Keep on Loving You” – REO Speedwagon

Keep on Loving You

The video for this early 80s arena-rock ballad was one of the first to appear on MTV. The power of the anthem-like chorus still sneaks up on me to this day.

Next: The top classic rock songs of all time (our list of picks)

15. “Sweet Child of Mine” – Guns n’ Roses

Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns n’ Roses (Cover by First To Eleven)

Axl Rose was a true rock star. This song is an example of why he’s legendary and why GNR became so successful. If it’s been a while, put this on and tell us if Axl startles you when he first comes in. Or is it just us?

16. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” – Stevie Wonder

I Just Called To Say I Love You

I don’t think we need to say anything about this one. It’s Stevie Wonder at his sweetest. If you don’t know it, go listen to it right now. And bring a tissue to wipe away those happy tears.

Next: The happiest songs of all time (happy track hits)

17. “Love Shack” – The B-52’s

The B-52's - Love Shack (Official Music Video)

American 80s through and through, the B-52’s helped define the decade with their quirky brand of new wave. This song is one of their most well-known and upbeat tracks about, you guessed it, love… in a shack?

18. “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” – Michael Bolton

How Am I Supposed to Live Without You

This ballad is an example of Michael Bolton’s signature belting. Dramatic, powerful, and a great track from the 80s for your next karaoke party.

Next: Greatest karaoke songs to sing tonight

19. “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” – Dead or Alive

Dead Or Alive - You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) (Official Video)

The perfect band to capture that crazy 80s crush energy, Dead or Alive’s biggest hit is an upbeat and ridiculously catchy track.

Next: The best cover songs of all time (our list of picks)

20. “The Power of Love” – Jennifer Rush

Jennifer Rush - The Power Of Love (Official Video) (VOD)

This one secured Jennifer Rush as the first female solo artist to hit a million sales. Take a listen and you’ll see why.

21. “Eternal Flame” – Bangles

The Bangles - Eternal Flame (Official Video)

Susanna Hoffs actually recorded this without any clothes on. She says it was a prank by the producer, who fooled her into thinking Olivia Newton-John records naked. But when I listen to this song I just think, “yep, naked makes sense!”

22. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Joy Division

Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Okay, maybe this one is the catchiest actually. Joy Division’s bleak love song is one of the most iconic tracks from the 80s.

Next: The saddest and most powerful somber songs of all time

23. “Right Here Waiting” – Richard Marx

Richard Marx - Right Here Waiting (Official Music Video)

Richard Marx’s ballad is one of the most popular love songs from the 80s. It was even featured in an episode of The O.C.! Not that I care. What, do you?

23. “Crazy for You” – Madonna

Madonna - Crazy For You (Official Video)

Early Madonna showcases her powerhouse vocals and penchant for catchy love songs. This song was featured in the movie Vision Quest, which I’m pretty sure is about wrestling or something. (Here’s a piece of 80s trivia: no one saw that movie.)

Next: The top songs about being secretly in love

24. “Your Love is King” – Sade

Sade - Your Love Is King - Official - 1984

Smooth, sultry, and oozing with desire, Sade’s voice is the perfect match for this love song. Be careful when you put this one on with that special someone around.

25. “Love Plus One” – Haircut 100

Haircut 100 - Love Plus One (Official Video)

If you grew up in the 80s, you might have forgotten this song. If you didn’t grow up in the 80s, congrats, you found a little gem here. Catchy, poppy, and maybe even a little punk? Horns + synth + marimba + belting love lyrics = one of the best love songs from the 80s.

Next: The top 80s one hit wonder songs

26. “Rosanna” – Toto

Toto’s got magic I can never quite put words to. When you’re listening to one of their hits, you feel like they could bring you anywhere. And they definitely take this song places you weren’t expecting! (Does anyone else think this one would make an epic sitcom intro?)

27. “Jack & Diane” – John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp - Jack & Diane

This song would be number one if it weren’t for that line about “suckin’ on chili dogs.” Sorry, John. This love song is an early 80s classic, and it’s hard not to sing along when you hear it. Except for that one line.

28. “You Make My Dreams” – Hall and Oates

Daryl Hall & John Oates - You Make My Dreams (Official HD Video)

I really wish commercials would stop using this song so I could enjoy how catchy and upbeat this track is without getting a hankering for Applebees.

29. “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” – Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes

Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes - (I've Had) The Time Of My Life (Official HD Video)

So sweet, so wholesome. This duet gets funky and has one of the most memorable choruses from the 80s.

Next: The best karaoke duets to try out tonight

30. “All Out Of Love” – Air Supply

Air Supply - All Out Of Love (Official Video)

Air Supply was very popular throughout the decade and this is their hit that still gets airplay on adult contemporary radio stations today. What a timeless track. This is one of my favorites because of how heartbreaking the lyrics are.

31. “Woman In love” – Barbara Streisand

Barbra Streisand - Woman in Love (Audio)

What a way to end our list! Barbara Streisand’s ballad “Woman In Love” from 1980 is one of our favorites, so we certainly saved one of the best for last!

There you have it, 31 of the best 80s love songs. This list can also double as karaoke options when you feel like staring down Josh from accounting or Carrie from HR and letting them know how you really feel. With that said, please use this list wisely. I don’t have a good lawyer.


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