Top 29 '80s Soundtracks

For this week's Ranked!, we decided to rank our favorite '80s soundtracks. Enjoy!

29. Back To The Future
28. Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure
27. The Blues Brothers
26. Rattle And Hum
25. Some Kind Of Wonderful
24. To Live And Die In L.A.
23. Tron
22. Say Anything
21. The Breakfast Club
20. Trick Or Treat
19. Vision Quest
18. Eddie And The Cruisers
17. Ghostbusters
16. Good Morning, Vietnam
15. Fast Times At Ridgemont High
14. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan
13. Batman
12. Stand By Me
11. Beverly Hills Cop
10. Sid And Nancy
9. Cocktail
8. Top Gun
7. Less Than Zero

6. Dirty Dancing
Like it or not, the soundtrack to the juggernaut that was the 1987 film Dirty Dancing is to this day one of the best selling albums of all time. Kicked off by the Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes uber-hit "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" and heavily populated by classic songs such as the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," Bruce Channel's "Hey! Baby," and "Stay" by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, one can sum up the true power behind the soundtrack in one word:


There are few more unlikely chart toppers than "She's Like the Wind," a song, according to all knowing/all seeing Wikipedia, originally written for the movie Grandview, U.S.A.. Remember that little nugget of a film? Me neither. Their loss as the song got picked up by Dirty Dancing and those of us who watched that movie on VHS until the tape finally wore thin or watched MTV obsessively were treated to the silky warblings of Patrick Swayze. May he rest in peace.

The soundtrack benefited from the constant rotation of its videos on MTV and VH1. "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" and "She's Like the Wind," as well as "Hungry Eyes" by Eric "All By Myself" Carmen were mainstays of the music video channels in '87/'88, thanks mostly to the handsome mug and naked torso of Swayze. The oh-so-adorable Jennifer Gray sporting her original nose certainly didn't hurt either. The songs were ridiculously catchy, too.

The aforementioned original songs, especially the senior prom theme-friendly "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," and their teen-focused videos helped propel the Dirty Dancing soundtrack to historic levels. The album may not have the street cred the other albums in our top seven do, but admit it: more than 20 years later, you still know all the words to pretty much every song. --Tania

5. Footloose
You're probably thinking, "Sure, I played my Footloose cassette to death in Junior High, but why should I replace it now? I rarely 'kick off my Sunday shoes' and 'cut loose' anymore. I'm busy. Plus I've got bad knees."

Why? Are you kidding me? This soundtrack's got a little bit of everything, a perfect blend of buoyant '80s danceability. It offers not only genre-spanning pop ear candy, but the perfect background music for so many everyday situations.

Say you're trying to teach your best buddy how to unleash his inner pop-and-lock: Deniece Williams's bubblegum-snappy "Let's Hear it for the Boy" is the perfect accompaniment. Or how about when you find yourself in a game of tractor chicken, barreling down a dusty road towards your opponent at a terrifying, breakneck two miles per hour? You need Bonnie Tyler rasping out the heart-pounding "Holding Out for a Hero" in the background.

Sammy Hagar's fast and dirty "The Girl Gets Around" is perfect for when you're this close to getting the local preacher's daughter to jump into your truck. And of course, for those times when you're angry-dancing in an abandoned warehouse (I can't tell you how many times I've been there, man): Moving Pictures' cheese-tastic yet hard driving "Never."

If nothing else, there's always our boy Kenny's heel-kicking, raisin'-a-ruckus eponymous song, which still rocks enough to save the lamest of proms, no matter what year it is.

See what I mean? Now go! Download! --Didactic Pirate

4. The Lost Boys
It was the summer of '87 and vampires were cool. We're not talking the sparkly, wimpy vampires of today. These vampires hung out on boardwalks, hung from overpasses, drank blood from goblets, and ate maggots. They were dangerous and cool. And so was their music. After seeing the movie, The Lost Boys cassette found its way into my boom box and remained there for a very long time. It became not only my soundtrack to that summer, but for a few summers to follow.

Much like the movie itself, The Lost Boys soundtrack is a study of cool. INXS, at the height of their popularity, contributed two raucous tracks. Roger Daltrey gave a soulful version of the epic "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" and Echo & The Bunnymen sounded like a Doors cover band with their take on "People Are Strange." But the song that will perpetually stand out for me is the moody, haunting "Cry Little Sister," which is the centerpiece of the album.

A good soundtrack compliments a picture. The Lost Boys soundtrack goes above and beyond. It's impossible to think about The Lost Boys movie without thinking about the music. It's one of the coolest soundtracks from one of the coolest movies of the '80s. --Daddy Geek Boy

3. Valley Girl
If you want a soundtrack album that embodies the music of the early '80s, look no further than the Valley Girl soundtrack. You had The Plimsouls' "A Million Miles Away," "Who Can It Be Now?" by Men At Work, "Angst In My Pants" by Sparks, "Love My Way" by Psychedelic Furs, and the '80s classic, Modern English's "I Melt With You," a favorite of '80s proms and lovers.

But unlike most soundtracks, where producers seek out the most popular artists of that given moment, Valley Girl contains tracks from the "little guys." The Flirts contributed "Jukebox (Don't Put Another Dime)," which I thought was an extremely scandalous tune at the time because I couldn't belive our local video channel would play a song with the word "damn" in the pre-chorus. The horror! And just like The Plimsouls, Josie Cotton not only contributed two tracks to the soundtrack, one being the fantastic "Johnny, Are You Queer?," but also performed in the film. She was the lead singer of the prom band! My prom had some forty-year-old loser spinning Bon Jovi ballads and "Y.M.C.A."

I have always believed that one thing has kept this album off everyone's Top Soundtracks Of All Time lists: when the movie came out, you couldn't actually purchase the album. The filmmakers had licensing issues with some of the songs -- a few of the songs that appeared in the movie's credits didn't actually appear in the movie because of money issues -- so a proper soundtrack was not released until eleven years after the film hit theaters. By then, it was too late to cash in on its awesomeness. --Chag

2. Pretty In Pink
The movie and music... and the timing. Imagine an awkward, chubby, just-wanted-a-boy-to-like-her 7th grade girl.


The Pretty In Pink soundtrack was a pivotal force in my young development. I swear I smell Aqua Net whenever "If You Leave" comes on. This music takes me back to the days I'd close my eyes and imagine what it'd be like to have a boy kiss me.

That Andie. She had two boys pining after her. Lucky. *grips chest*

I'm sorry. I lost my focus. I've kissed a boy. It's just... how powerful is music?

INXS, The Smiths, New Order. How would my adulthood be now without the angst... the dreaming... the pining. And the work -- I would never want a teenhood without having to spend hour after hour hitting rewind on my GE cassette player or Walkman.

Those were the days. --Jennyonthespot

1. Purple Rain
Much has been said and written about Prince's seminal '80s soundtrack, Purple Rain. So much so that it's nearly impossible to find a new angle to assess or secret to expose that someone hasn't discussed at length.

As a matter of fact there was a moment while writing this that I decided that maybe two sentences could sum it up quite nicely: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to listen to the world's most beloved funkadelic masterpiece given to us by the tiny monarch of musical bedlam. Now enjoy."

This was Prince at his crossover best, fusing funk, r&b, rock, and dance and creating an intoxicating mixture of hard edges, dance songs, and volatile live performances. That and you know you envied his ability to dance for two hours straight in stilettos and make your mother gasp in horror the first time she heard the lyrics to "Darling Nikki."

So never doubt the inherent greatness of the purple one and his timeless soundtrack and if you need confirmation, you need only turn it on full blast and attempt NOT to dance. --Dufmanno

We showed you ours, not show us yours. What was your favorite '80s soundtrack? Have your say in the comments!

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