The 80s was the original age of MTV, so when it came to selling soundtracks for films, record producers made sure to load them up with killer songs, often performed by top artists of the time. The result was a smash with the public, particularly with the younger set, spawning Hit singles and promotional videos, launching a trend that continues to this day!
Here is a random line up of Soundtrack albums that guarantee an awesome trip to the past!
1: Top Gun
The soundtrack to the hit Tom Cruise vehicle about young hot shot pilots. Top Gun became a bestselling phenomenon and a model for hit soundtracks to follow, launching the classic, Oscar Winning Number One Hit, “Take My Breath Away” performed by Berlin, as well as three more hits, the tender soft rock number “Heaven In Your Eyes”, performed by Loverboy, the adrenaline pumping “Danger Zone” and “Playing With the Boys”, performed by soundtrack stalwart Kenny Loggins. Featuring other standout songs by Cheap Trick, Teena Marie and Miami Sound Machine, plus a killer main theme performed by Steve Stevens, adrenaline is what this soundtrack is all about!
The soundtrack to one of the most popular action/comedy classics of all time, starring Bill Murray and company, also launched one of most popular songs of all time, with the unforgettably quirky title tune, performed by Ray Parker Jr. Other great songs include the swingin’ “Cleanin’ Up the Town”, performed by the Bus Boys, the kooky new wave hit “In the Name of Love”, performed by the Thompson Twins, and Ray Parker Jr’s instrumental version of the theme song, as well as other standout moments by Air Supply and Laura Branigan. When it comes to Great 80s Soundtracks, “Who You Gonna Call?”
3: Back to the Future
The soundtrack to the beloved 80s sci-fi/comedy, is a nice blend of 80s and 50s songs, including the Number One smash hit “The Power Of Love” and “Back In Time”, performed by Huey Lewis and the News and the classic main theme composed by Alan Silvestri.
4: Rocky 4
One of the great workout soundtrack’s, this pumpin’ collection features the top ten hits “Burnin’ Heart”, performed by Survivor and the funky showstopper “Living In America” performed by James Brown, as well as Survivors Number One Smash hit “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky 3 and a standout “Training Montage” theme by composer Vince DiCola . Kenny Loggins , Gladys Knight and Go West are among the other artists that pepper this killer soundtrack, which is guaranteed to give you extra fuel at the gym!
5: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
While not producing any major hits, (though the sizzling opener “Play With Me”, performed by Extreme, has since become a Guitar Hero favorite) this soundtrack to the popular time travel/ rock n roll comedy features a most outstanding set of 80s glam rock tunes that’ll have you cheering “Party On Dudes!”
6: Transformers: the Movie
When the hit cartoon series about shape shifting robots, became a full length animated feature, there was no stopping the excitement as this sensational, hard hitting soundtrack fueled the high tech action, featuring the famous theme song performed by Lion, and the hits “The Touch”, one of two songs performed by Stan Bush and surprisingly “Dare To Be Stupid”, performed by Weird Al Yankovic.
One of the touchstone soundtracks and films of the era, is also one of the most hit filled, featuring the toe tapping title track performed by Kenny Loggins and “Lets Hear It For the Boy” performed by Denice Williams, both of which shot to Number One. Other Hits include “Almost Paradise” performed by Mike Reno of Loverboy and Ann Wilson of Heart, “Holding Out For A Hero” performed by Bonnie Tyler, “Dancing In the Sheets” performed by Shalamar, “I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)” also performed by Kenny, and the soft rock classic “Waiting For a Girl Like You”, performed by Foreigner.
The soundtrack and film that officially launched the MTV craze, features two Number One Smash Hits, including the classic Oscar winning title track, performed by Irene Cara (which has since become a dancing anthem) and the frantic “Maniac”, performed by Micheal Sembello. Other contributing artists include Laura Branigan, Donna Summer, Kim Carnes and Joe Bean Esposito.
Even before Flashdance, came this iconic film and soundtrack that pretty much started it all, spawning a TV series, a stage musical and setting the standard for pop music soundtrack’s to come. This essential 80’s benchmark features two more classic Irene Cara songs, the immortal title track and the simple, but powerful ballad “Out Here On My Own”, as well as the show-stopping numbers “Never Alone” and “I Sing the Body Electric”.
10: Dirty Dancing
Another 80’s essential, this mega hit soundtrack is also a celebration of the lightweight, pop/dance songs of the decades before it, primarily the 60s. It’s peppered with both original and updated classics and a few new songs, including the Oscar Winning, Number One Hit duet “I’ve Had the Time Of My Life”, performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warren, which became one of the seminal songs of the decade and the films star Patrick Swayze’s hit ballad “She’s Like the Wind”.
11: The Karate Kid
The soundtrack to the classic, coming of age, hit (starring our heroes, Danial San and Mr Myagi), is the teenage “Rocky 4”. Featuring another hit song from “Rocky;s” own Survivor, “The Moment Of Truth”, along with another 80s workout staple “You’re the Best”, performed by Joe Bean Esposito and other supporting artists including Jan and Dean and Paul Davis.
12: Beverly Hills Cop
The soundtrack to the hit Eddie Murphy action/comedy is a vibrant collection of syth/pop and funk, featuring no less than five hits, including “New Attitude” and “Stir It Up” both performed by Patti LaBelle, “Neutron Dance” ,performed by the Pointer Sisters, “The Heat Is On”, performed by Glenn Frey and the classic main theme “Axel F”, composed by synth/pop pioneer Harold Faltermeyer. Other contributors include Shalamar, Danny Elfman and The System.
13: Beverly Hills Cop 2
The soundtrack to the hit sequel, features an even more varied set of pop/rock and R&B songs and produced three major chart hits, including the pulsating “Sakedown”, performed by Bob Seger, which shot to Number One, the controversial “I Want Your Sex”, performed by George Michael and the percussion fused “Cross My Broken Heart”, performed by the Jets. Other standout artists include Pebbles, the Pointer Sisters, Jermaine Jackson, Corey Hart and Ready For the World.
14: Purple Rain
Prince’s soundtrack to his film of the same name is one of the quirkiest and most electrifying albums ever made, featuring killer guitar solos, screaming vocals, backwards choruses and dark and unforgettable songs, including the Number One Smashes “Lets Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry”, the infamous “Darling Nikki”, the haunting “the Beautiful Ones” and the epic title track.
15: The Lost Boys
The soundtrack to the 80s cult hit about modern day teenage vampires is a lively and moody collection of pop/rock songs, featuring the rowdy “Good Times” and the mid tempo “Laying Down the Law” by INXS. Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm, performs the killer theme song “Lost In the Shadows” and Gerard McMann performs the immortal ballad “Cry Little Sister”.