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41 Best Songs From 1989

The end of the 80s signaled a change in music, from glam metal to the raw sounds of Seattle grunge, but do you know what was popular in 1989? Continue reading below to find out which artists and tracks make our list of the 41 best songs from 1989! 

1. Like a Prayer – Madonna 

Madonna - Like A Prayer (Official Video)

First on the list is Madonna with Like A Prayer, and this song is about a woman who loves God, and He is the one male she has in her life. There is a gospel element to the track mixed with pop, and there is a choir you can hear in the background. It was a huge success even though it mixes religion with sexual innuendo. It went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Dance Club Songs chart and ended up topping the charts in multiple countries including New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. 

2. I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - I Won't Back Down (Official Music Video)

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers are on the list with I Won’t Back Down from Full Moon Fever. It hit one on the Mainstream Rock chart for five weeks and 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also went to 29 on the Alternative Airplay chart and is one of their most well-known songs. 

3. Look Away – Chicago 

Chicago - Look Away (Official Music Video)

Next is Chicago with their power ballad hit Look Away, which comes from their album Chicago 19. This song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for two weeks, and it also hit number one on the Adult Contemporary chart. It peaked at number 77 on the UK Singles chart and is one of their most popular tracks. 

4. The Humpty Dance – Digital Underground 

Digital Underground - The Humpty Dance (Official Music Video) [HD]

Calling all fans of the film Free Guy, rap group Digital Underground had a hit with The Humpty Dance, which comes from the album Sex Packets. This song went to number one on the Rap Singles chart, and it hit 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s sung by Humpty Hump, which is the alter ego of Shock G. 

5. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty 

Tom Petty - Free Fallin'

Attention all fans of Jerry Maguire, Tom Petty is once again on the list with Free Fallin’, which comes from the album Full Moon Fever, and this track is also his most popular and stayed on the charts the longest. It hit number one on the Mainstream Rock chart, four on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart, and landed at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. This is thought to be one of the best tracks of all time according to Rolling Stone. 

6. Wicked Game – Chris Isaak 

Wicked Game - Single Edit - Official Music Video

Next on our list is Wicked Game by Chris Isaak, and this song comes from Heart Shaped World. The track did not hit the charts for a while until it was part of the movie Wild At Heart in 1990, and then it hit two on the Alternative Airplay chart and went to number six on the Billboard Hot 100. This was the first time he had a hit song, and it even went into the top 10 in multiple countries. 

7. Here and Now – Luther Vandross 

Luther Vandross - Here and Now (Video)

Luther Vandross is on the list with Here And Now, which is from his compilation record The Best Of Luther Vandross…The Best Of Love. This track made it to number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and hit three on the Adult Contemporary chart. It only peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and this was his first track to make it into the Top 10 on that chart. 

8. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler 

Bette Midler - Wind Beneath My Wings (Official Music Video)

If you’ve seen the movie Beaches, then you probably remember hearing Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler, which was featured on the movie soundtrack. This song was incredibly popular and went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and two on the Adult Contemporary chart. It also went to number one in Australia and two in Iceland, and it won two Grammy Awards for both Song of the Year and Record Of the Year.  

9. Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison

Poison - Every Rose Has Its Thorn (Official Music Video)

Poison is on this list with their power ballad Every Rose Has Its Thorn, which quickly became their signature song and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This was their only number-one track in America, and it made it to 11 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Thought of as one of the best power ballads and love songs, this track is still their most popular.

10. Right Here Waiting – Richard Marx

Richard Marx - Right Here Waiting (Official Music Video)

Next up on the list is Richard Marx with Right Here Waiting coming from his album Repeat Offender. This song was an international hit and topped the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts. It hit two on the UK Singles chart and is thought of as one of the best love tracks of all time. 

11. Straight Up – Paula Abdul 

Paula Abdul - Straight Up (Official Music Video)

Pop star Paula Abdul released the song Straight Up on her album Forever Your Girl, and this pop and dance track was the first time she had a top 40 hit in America. It went to number one on both the Dance Single Sales chart and Billboard Hot 100. It is her biggest song internationally and managed to make it into the top 10 on the charts in over 16 countries worldwide! 

12. Two Hearts – Phil Collins 

Phil Collins - Two Hearts (Official Music Video)

Calling all fans of the movie Buster, you might remember Two Hearts by Phil Collins being in the movie. This song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and Adult Contemporary chart while also becoming a number one hit in Canada and Japan. He won a Grammy Award for this track in the Best Song Written Specifically For a Motion Picture category. 

13. Heaven – Warrant 

One of the biggest power ballads of the 80s is next, which is Warrant with their hit Heaven. Found on their debut record Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, it’s their biggest and hottest commercial song, with it going to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and hitting three on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. This remains one of their most popular and most well-known songs. 

14. eternal Flame – The Bangles 

The Bangles - Eternal Flame (Official Video)

Pop group The Bangles make the list with Eternal Flame, which comes from their album Everything. This song went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and Adult Contemporary chart and hit number one in other countries including the UK. It became one of their biggest hits and one of the best power ballads of the 80s. 

15. Listen To Your Heart – Roxette 

Roxette - Listen To Your Heart (Official Music Video)

A group out of Sweden, Roxette had a hit with Listen To Your Heart from their album Look Sharp! This song was one of the biggest hits of 1989 and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Canada Top Singles chart. It also made it into the top 10 in other countries including the Netherlands and France. 

16. Love Shack – The B-52’s 

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

Next is The B-52s with the song Love Shack from the album Cosmic Thing. This is one of their most popular tracks and is their signature song, with it being a popular and regularly played track since it was released back in 1989. It hit number three on the Billboard Hot 100 but topped the charts in countries such as Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. It also landed at number two on the UK Singles chart and is considered one of the best songs of all time by Rolling Stone.

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17. If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red 

Simply Red - If You Don't Know Me By Now (Official Video)

Simply Red covered If You Don’t Know Me By Now, and this was one of their biggest hits and commercially successful songs. It went to number one on the Adult Contemporary and Billboard Hot 100 charts and two on the UK Singles chart. They won a Grammy Award in the Best R&B Song category for this cover, and it also hit number one in both New Zealand and Australia. You can find it in movies such as Class Action and American Psycho. 

18. Love Will Lead You Back – Taylor Dayne 

Taylor Dayne - Love Will Lead You Back (Official HD Video)

On our list next is Taylor Dayne with Love Will Lead You Back, which comes from Can’t Fight Fate, and this song was the second track from this album to be released. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed within the top 40 for 15 weeks. It also hit number two on the Canadian charts and went to number 11 in Australia. 

19. 18 And Life – Skid Row 

Skid Row - 18 And Life (Official Music Video)

Skid Row had a hit with 18 And Life, and this heavy metal band saw massive success with this track, which comes from their debut record. This is their signature song and biggest hit and went to number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and made it to 11 on the Album Rock Tracks chart. 

20. Funky Cold Medina – Tone-Lōc 

Next is the hip hop classic by Tone-Lōc called Funky Cold Medina, which comes from his debut record Loc-ed After Dark. The rapper had a huge hit with this song, and it’s often thought of as one of the best tracks of the decade. It went to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and hit 13 on the UK Singles chart

21. Janie’s Got a Gun – Aerosmith 

Aerosmith - Janie's Got A Gun

Rock band Aerosmith makes the list with Janie’s Got A Gun, and this comes from their album Pump. This is a song all about a woman who was abused as a child and is now plotting her revenge on her abuser.

It went to number two on the Album Rock Tracks chart and four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also was a hit internationally, with it topping the charts in Australia and hitting two on the Canadian charts. It helped Aerosmith win a Grammy in the category of Best Rock Performance By A Duo or Group with Vocal in 1990. 

22. We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel 

Billy Joel - We Didn't Start the Fire (Official HD Video)

Next up is Billy Joel’s smash hit We Didn’t Start The Fire, which has more than 118 types of political and cultural references in it, and it’s from his album Storm Front. This song is very fast, and it is one of the most iconic tracks of all time. It went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and five on the Adult Contemporary chart. He won a Grammy Award for this song for Record of the Year. 

23. Me So Horny – 2 Live Crew 

One of the more infamous songs on our list is Me So Horny by 2 Live Crew, which was such a sexually-charged track that it was banned in multiple countries and even banned from sale in Florida, although it was overturned. This song hit number one on the Hot Rap Tracks chart and made it to 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it stayed for over 30 weeks! It did not receive airplay because of the lyrical content but that didn’t stop it from becoming one of the biggest hits of the decade.

24. Dr. Feelgood – Mötley Crüe 

Dr. Feelgood (2021- Remaster)

Rock group Mötley Crüe had a smash hit with Dr. Feelgood, and this song is one of the best rock tracks of all time. It was their first hit in the Top 10 where it peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in sixth position. The song also placed seven on the Mainstream Rock chart and 50 on the UK Singles chart.

25. Lost In Your Eyes – Debbie Gibson 

Debbie Gibson - Lost In Your Eyes (Official Music Video)

Pop singer Debbie Gibson makes the list with Lost In Your Eyes from her album Electric Youth. This song made it to one on the Billboard Hot 100 and three on the Adult Contemporary charts while peaking at 34 on the UK Singles chart. While this might not be her most well-known track, it was one of the hottest songs of the 80s. 

26. Head Like a Hole – Nine Inch Nails 

Nine Inch Nails - Head Like A Hole

Industrial rock and metal group Nine Inch Nails had a smash hit with Head Like A Hole from their album Pretty Hate Machine, which was their debut record. This song was played a ton on the radio, which helped it reach nine on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart and 28 on the Alternative Airplay chart. It has been covered by a lot of artists over the years including Buckcherry and AFI. 

27. Rockin’ In The Free World – Neil Young

Rockin' in the Free World

Up next is Rockin’ In The Free World by Neil Young, which comes from his album Freedom. This song went to number two on the Mainstream Rock chart and 83 on the UK Singles chart. It’s one of his most popular and well-known tracks with it being ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the best songs of all time. 

28. Love Song – Tesla 

Tesla makes the list with Love Song, which is one of their most famous tracks and is from their album The Great Radio Controversy. This song is thought of as their signature track and as a power ballad, it remains one of the best songs of the 80s. It went to seven on the Album Rock Tracks chart and 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

29. She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals 

She Drives Me Crazy (Remastered)

Fine Young Cannibals make the list with She Drives Me Crazy from their album The Raw & The Cooked. This song was a massive hit and is considered to be one of the best tracks of the 80s. It hit number one on the Dance Club Songs chart and Billboard Hot 100 chart while also hitting number one in numerous countries such as Canada, Spain, Australia, and New Zealand.

30. Just a Friend – Biz Markie 

Biz Markie - Just A Friend (Official Video)

Next up is Biz Markie with his signature song Just A Friend, which is from the album The Biz Never Sleeps. This track made it to five on the Hot Rap Singles chart and nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remains his most successful song to date. 

31. Poison – Alice Cooper 

Alice Cooper - Poison

Rock star Alice Cooper had a massive hit with Poison, which comes from the album Trash. This song went to number two on the UK Singles chart and seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also peaked at 15 on the Mainstream Rock chart, and it’s one of his best power ballads and has remained one of his most well-known and popular hits with fans. 

32. If I Could Turn Back Time – Cher 

Cher - If I Could Turn Back Time (Official Video)

Cher is on the list with If I Could Turn Back Time, which went to number one on the Adult Contemporary chart and three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This song is about wanting to turn back time in an effort to make things right after doing wrong. It also landed on the UK Singles chart in sixth position and is known as one of her signature tracks and most popular songs.

33. About a Girl – Nirvana 

Nirvana - About A Girl (MTV Unplugged)

Grunge band Nirvana burst onto the music scene with About A Girl, which is from Bleach, their debut album. This was one of their biggest and earliest hits, although it never made it onto the charts until 1994 after Kurt Cobain killed himself. When it did make the charts in 1994, it went to number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and peaked at 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

34. The Dance – Garth Brooks 

The Dance is one of the signature songs from Garth Brooks, and it was a huge hit in 1989 with it coming from his debut album. This track made it to number one on the Hot Country Songs chart and 36 on the UK Singles chart. There are two components to the track with one being that it’s a love song where a relationship is ending and the other being about someone dying after standing up for what they believe in. 

35. Once Bitten Twice Shy – Great White 

Great White - Once Bitten Twice Shy

Great White had a hit with Once Bitten Twice Shy, and this was one of their biggest hits of all time, with many considering it to be their signature song. It went to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at six on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. This is one of the best glam metal songs of the 80s and went to 11 on the Canada Top Singles chart. 

36. When I See You Smile – Bad English 

Bad English - When I See You Smile

Bad English was a glam metal band, and they had a hit with When I See You Smile, which went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and 10 on the Mainstream Rock chart. It’s their signature song and most successful single, and it also reached number one in Canada. 

37. Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode 

Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (Remastered)

Depeche Mode makes the list with Personal Jesus, which comes from Violator, and this is one of their top songs and is thought of as their signature track. It hit 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and three on the Alternative Airplay chart while making it to 13 on the UK Singles chart. Rolling Stone labeled this song as one of the best tracks of all time and has been covered by the likes of Marilyn Manson. 

38. On Our Own – Bobby Brown 

On Our Own (From "Ghostbusters II" Soundtrack / Extended Club Version)

Next is Bobby Brown with On Our Own, which comes from the Ghostbusters II movie soundtrack. This song went to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and hit within the top five in countries including Ireland and Canada. 

39. The Look – Roxette 

Roxette - The Look

Roxette is on our list again with The Look, which comes from Look Sharp! This was one of their most well-known songs and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as in over 23 other countries. It was one of their biggest international hits and is still receiving a lot of radio play today. 

40. Bust a Move – Young MC 

Young MC makes the list with Bust A Move, which was one of the best rap songs of the year. It comes from the album Stone Cold Rhymin’, and it was their biggest hit with it peaking at seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and staying on the chart for over 39 weeks! It also is thought of as one of the best hip hop tracks of all time. 

41. Black Velvet – Alannah Myles 

Black Velvet by Alannah Myles

Black Velvet is the last song on our list, and this track by Alannah Myles quickly became a hit and went to number one on the Adult Contemporary chart and three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The track is blues mixed with rock, and she won a Grammy Award for this song in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance category. It remains her biggest hit and signature track.

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