SONGS OF THE 1980S 80spopanimals


I Want Candy Bow Wow Wow

I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow: CRUCIALLY ICONIC ‘80S CLASSIC


This song by English new wave group Bow Wow Wow is a 1982 remake of a 1965 song by American band The Strangeloves (click here). Both versions are well-known for using the Bo Diddley beat, popularized by American musician Bo Diddley, who influenced the integration of the blues with rock and roll music in the ‘60s. The Bo Diddley beat is a syncopated musical rhythm that combines elements of Afro-Cuban and Latin music into a dynamic rock beat, making the music sound more energetic.


Bow Wow Wow’s version of I Want Candy was the first and only single from their debut EP The Last of the Mohicans (a reference to their Mohawk hairstyles). The video was played in heavy rotation on American television channel MTV, which launched in 1981, but the song did not enter the U.S. Billboard Top 40, peaking at #62. The song was a hit in the U.K., peaking at #9, and was also a hit in Belgium, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. Bow Wow Wow is known as a one-hit wonder in the U.S., but the band did have another hit song in the U.K. and Ireland: Go Wild In the Country (click here).


Bow Wow Wow formed in 1980, comprising former members of English post-punk band Adam and the Ants and 13-year-old Annabella Lwin on vocals. The band became popular for a danceable new wave sound, slightly risqué lyrics, and the unique banshee squeals of the teenage vocalist. In 2012, the band members split from Annabella Lwin, found a new singer, and continued to perform as Bow Wow Wow, all of which was done without the consent of Annabella Lwin. Since then, she has performed as Annabella Lwin of the original Bow Wow Wow.


I Want Candy is not on this list of THE TOP 500 POP SONGS OF THE 1980S because it did not enter the U.S. Billboard Top 40, and is therefore ineligible for inclusion on this list. However, because it has become an enduring new wave classic, it is the #3 song on a separate list: THE TOP 50 CRUCIALLY ICONIC ‘80S SONGS THAT WERE NOT POPULAR (IN THE UNITED STATES) IN THE ‘80S. The songs on this list are some of the most beloved ‘80s songs, despite the fact that they were not “popular” in the 1980s.

Top 500 Pop Songs of the 1980s



Using the TABLE below, you may sort the list of THE TOP 500 POP SONGS OF THE 1980S by rank, title, artist, and year.


When sorting song titles or artists in the table, they will be alphabetized. (The four songs that begin with a parenthesis will be listed first, followed by the four songs that begin with numbers.)


Songs and artists that begin with A or The are alphabetized that way. (For example, you’ll find The Police and The Pretenders with the letter T, and A Flock Of Seagulls with the letter A.)


Solo artists are alphabetized by their first names. (For example, Bryan Adams is with the letter B, and Richard Marx is with the letter R.)


To see all of an artist’s songs ranked in order, enter the artist’s name in the search box, and then, to sort the results by rank, click on the # at the top of the first column.

Kiss Prince
Love Bites Def Leppard
Back To Life Soul
Love Battlefield Pat Benatar
Freeway Of Love Aretha Franklin
Luka Suzanne Vega
King Of Pain Police
Hey Nineteen Steely Dan



The SEARCH BOX is in the top right corner of the table. When you type a word or words into the SEARCH BOX, the table will collapse, revealing the search results, which you may then sort by clicking on the table headers. (NOTE: To get back to the full list of 500 songs after doing a search, you must clear the search box.)

Dr. Feelgood Mötley Crüe
Summer of '69 Bryan Adams
I'm Coming Out Diana Ross
Kyrie Mr. Mister



To see songs from a specific year ranked in order, enter an apostrophe and the year (for example: ‘84) in the search box, and then sort the results by rank. The year listed is the year that the song entered the United States Billboard Top 40.

Pump Up the Volume
Looking New Love Jody Watley
Look Away Chicago
Don't You Want Me Human League
Express Yourself Madonna
Let's Groove Earth Wind Fire
Working Weekend Loverboy



For more information about how this list was compiled, click HERE.

Goody Two Shoes Adam Ant
Vacation Go-Go's
Ain't Nobody Chaka Khan
Mr. Roboto Styx
Miss You Much Janet Jackson
Tainted Love Soft Cell
Private Eyes Hall Oates
Longest Time Billy Joeal



To play the songs on the list, click HERE. You will find all 500 songs listed alphabetically. Click on a song title to be taken to a video on YouTube (if a video is available). In most cases, you will see the original video from the ’80s.

Living America James Brown
Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder
Hold Me Now Thompson Twins
I Want To Know What Love Is Foreigner



For more information and interesting facts about the songs and the artists, plus other great ‘80s songs that didn’t make this TOP 500 list, and much more, check out PAGE 2: THE MUSIC.



Who has the most songs on the list – Madonna, Prince, George Michael, Whitney Houston, or Michael Jackson? Click HERE to find out.

Look Of Love ABC
Human Nature Michael Jackson
Africa Toto
Part-Time Lover Stevie Wonder


On our Facebook page, we are counting down this list of THE TOP 500 POP SONGS OF THE 1980S.


Songs are posted with detailed descriptions, fun facts, and the original ‘80s videos, as we count down the list.

Hungry Like the Wolf Duran Duran
Nightshift Commodores
Rose Bette Midler
Caught Up In You 38 Special
80s Playlist Spotify