Top 100 Songs of 1983: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s Redux — Part 4

Better late than never? Some three months after voting closed, we’re finally ready to reveal the results of the fourth installment of the Best of the ’80s Redux series, the apparently sporadic Slicing Up Eyeballs readers poll that’s now ranked the Top 100 songs of 1983.

A quick refresher: The Best of the ’80s Redux song polls were launched a few years ago following our wildly popular Best of the ’80s year-by-year album polls, but slowly petered out after we conducted the Top 100 songs of 1980 and 1981 surveys (this whole site, you may recall, went dormant for near two years).

RELATED: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Top 100 songs of 1983 playlist on Spotify

For this 1983 poll, participants were asked to vote for up to 25 of their favorite songs that first were released, in some form (single, album track, etc.), during that calendar year. We received 5,223 total votes, and, after weeding out songs from the wrong year (like The Cure’s “Let’s Go To Bed,” which garnered votes despite having come in at No. 12 on the 1982 poll) and flipping a coin to break ties, we created this list.

So thank you all for voting and sharing your thoughts. Take a look at the Top 100 list below — and feel free to offer your own take on the results, good or bad, in the comments below.

 

 

SLICING UP EYEBALLS READERS POLL: TOP 100 SONGS OF 1983

 

1. New Order, “Blue Monday”
2. Depeche Mode, “Everything Counts”
3. The Smiths, “This Charming Man”
4. U2, “New Year’s Day”
5. R.E.M., “Radio Free Europe”
6. Echo & The Bunnymen, “The Cutter”
7. The Cure, “The Love Cats”
8. Talking Heads, “Burning Down the House”
9. David Bowie, “Let’s Dance”
10. New Order, “Age of Consent”

 

11. Big Country, “In a Big Country”
12. David Bowie, “Modern Love”
13. U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
14. The The, “This Is the Day”
15. Tears For Fears, “Pale Shelter”
16. Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”
17. Bauhaus, “She’s In Parties”
18. Violent Femmes, “Blister in the Sun”
19. Talking Heads, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”
20. Public Image Ltd., “This is Not a Love Song”

 

21. The Police, “Every Breath You Take”
22. The Cure, “The Walk”
23. The Smiths, “Hand in Glove”
24. David Bowie, “China Girl”
25. Aztec Camera, “Oblivious”
26. Peter Schilling, “Major Tom (Coming Home)”
27. Eurythmics, “Here Comes the Rain Again”
28. The Human League, “(Keep Feeling) Fascination”
29. New Order, “Your Silent Face”
30. Elvis Costello and the Attractions, “Every Day I Write the Book”

 

31. Icicle Works, “Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)”
32. Violent Femmes, “Add It Up”
33. Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Dear Prudence”
34. Duran Duran, “Is There Something I Should Know?”
35. Tears For Fears, “Change”
36. Spandau Ballet, “True”
37. Billy Bragg, “A New England”
38. Suicidal Tendencies, “Institutionalized”
39. Yazoo, “Nobody’s Diary”
40. The Fixx, “One Thing Leads to Another”

 

41. Men at Work, “Overkill”
42. The Police, “Synchronicity II”
43. Echo & The Bunnymen, “Never Stop”
44. Depeche Mode, “Get the Balance Right”
45. R.E.M., “Talk About the Passion”
46. Duran Duran, “The Reflex”
47. The Fixx, “Saved By Zero”
48. The Plimsouls, “A Million Miles Away”
49. Thompson Twins, “Hold Me Now”
50. Culture Club, “Karma Chameleon”

 

51. Simple Minds, “Waterfront”
52. The B-52s, “Legal Tender”
53. Melle Mel, “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)”
54. Culture Club, “Church of the Poison Mind”
55. Nena, “99 Luftballoons”
56. Kajagoogoo, “Too Shy”
57. New Order, “Confusion”
58. The Police, “King of Pain”
59. The Chameleons, “Second Skin”
60. R.E.M., “Perfect Circle”

 

61. Duran Duran, ‘Union of the Snake”
62. Frankie Goes to Hollywood, “Relax”
63. Spandau Ballet, “Gold”
64. The Police, “Wrapped Around Your Finger”
65. Billy Idol, “Rebel Yell”
66. Heaven 17, “Temptation”
67. Kraftwerk, “Tour de France”
68. Violent Femmes, “Kiss Off”
69. Cocteau Twins, “Sugar Hiccup”
70. INXS, “Original Sin”

 

71. UB40, “Red Red Wine”
72. Billy Idol, “Eyes Without a Face”
73. Cyndi Lauper, “Time After Time”
74. Eurythmics, “Who’s that Girl”
75. The Go-Betweens, “Cattle and Cane”
76. The Pretenders, ”Middle of the Road”
77. The Sisters of Mercy, “Temple of Love”
78. XTC, “Love on a Farmboy’s Wages”
79. Violent Femmes, “Gone Daddy Gone”
80. Yes, “Owner of a Lonely Heart”

 

81. Big Country, “Fields of Fire”
82. Howard Jones, “New Song”
83. Ministry, “Revenge”
84. Real Life, “Send Me an Angel”
85. The Replacements, “Color Me Impressed”
86. X, “The New World”
87. Adam Ant, “Strip”
88. Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”
89. Madonna, “Borderline”
90. Split Enz, “Message To My Girl”

 

91. The Call, “The Walls Came Down”
92. The Replacements, “Within Your Reach”
93. The Chameleons, “Up the Down Escalator”
94. Bow Wow Wow, “Do You Wanna Hold Me?”
95. This Mortal Coil, “Song to the Siren”
96. Altered Images, “Don’t Talk To Me About Love”
97. China Crisis, “Working with Fire and Steel”
98. Depeche Mode, “Love, In Itself”
99. Bananarama, “Cruel Summer”
100. Aztec Camera, “Walk Out to Winter”

 

 

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48 Comments

  • Aphotic Empyrean

    Love the one two punch of my Jr year in high school. WLIR/WFDU (at night) were my favorite stations playing alternate (not the only ones..) in the NYC area.
    Great list & great memories

     
    • Two best stations ever. I don’t live in ny anymore but wlir is broadcasting online these days.

       
      • Nortley

        WHFS in the DC area was pretty amazing in the late 80’s. I only lived there a year but when I left I kept 99.1 programed in my car radio as a tribute.

         
    • Alex the DJ

      I was so fortunate to get both San Diego’s 91X and L.A.’s KROQ over the airwaves. I specifically remember sitting at my desk in my room, drawing (ha! so pre-internet/social media!), writing down each song they played. good stuff !

       
  • Would the teens growing up today even be able to put together a list like this? Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying they’re not smart enough, it’s got more to do with the fractured state of the music industry these days. I can’t imagine a year so packed full with fantastic singles. Pity.

     
  • Nortely

    Just wondering. Are these votes tabulated as one vote per list for a song, or is there any weighing of votes based on where they appear on any given list?

    In other words when I submit a list does it matter for tabulation purposes how they are ranked on my list?

     
    • As far as I know, it is one vote per song listed, so #1 or #25 doesn’t matter. Maybe “Blue Monday” was no one’s #1, but it was on more lists than anything else.

      I’m pretty sure if Matt had to manage a weighted vote system he’d just pack in the towel on these lists, and we don’t want that!

       
  • David

    Unfortunately, the US/ English bias comes out. One Australian band (granted a cracker song that should be higher). I mean seriously, Spandau Ballet were past their prime at this point and ‘Gold’ and ‘True’ are just MOR radio fodder. And Adam Ant’s ‘Strip’. When was he ever that relevant? To include Prog Rockers ‘Yes’ is a slap in the face to all the other great indie rock music out at this time. This song is appalling, appealing to the whiny ‘The Big Chill’ baby boomers around at the time who would constantly cry “Music isn’t as good as it was in our day”. Yes were one of the reasons why indie rock came to be, so as to combat music that was so incredibly over-complicated and self indulgent that it continuously got sucked up its own arsehole. This list definitely needs a rethink.

     
    • Haunted When the Minutes Drag

      I don’t disagree your comments about Spandau Ballet. They were always horrible. And, by Strip, Adam Ant was past it. But there was a time when he was not only relevant, but groundbreaking. I urge you to listen to Kings of the Wild Frontier. Placed the the musical landscape that existed at the time, it was completely innovative and unlike anything up until that point.

      As for Yes, sure their 70s output is what New Wave was against. But the 90120 album is pretty good and was anything but resting on their 70’s laurels.

       
      • Nortley

        Actually many baby boomers were appalled by “Owner of a Lonely Heart” which had a different sound from the yes of the 70’s. They wanted the band re-record “Roundabout” 500 more times considered Owner to be a sellout.

        Not everything on these voting lists has to (or is going to be) indie/alternative/80’s college rock. I did not vote for the song, but I find its presence on this list less puzzling than Madonna’s “Borderline.”

        But hey, let’s offer some grudging thanks to Yes and their ilk. They gave punk something to rebel against.

        Agree 100% with you on the “Let’s Dance” comment below.

         
      • David D.

        These lists always have some outliers on them. This list has far fewer than 1980, 1981 and 1982. Every year except this one has had a Tom Petty song on it. 1980 also had AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen. 1981 had Rush, Jessie’s Girl and In The Air Tonight (at 22 no less) and 1982 had more Rush and Bruce Springsteen along with Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean and Toto’s Africa. So, I can live with the two outliers (Yes and Madonna, being low on this list. Much better than the 7-10 outliers that the first three years had. As far as stuff like Kajagoogoo, Culture Club and Cyndi Lauper that I see people complaining about, at least they were considered “new wave” at the time. Heck, Madonna was out of the New York alternative scene, despite her music. She knew Talking Heads and Sonic Youth. I can’t wait until we get to the late 80’s and stuff like Nirvana and Soundgarden appear on the list. “Nobody knew who they wete until the 90’s. OMG, that meant that every song from The Cure’s Disintegration couldn’t make the list. WAAAHH!”

        That being said, I am disappointed that Sonic Youth’s “Kill Yr. Idols”, Nina Hagen’s “New York, New York” and Haysi Fantayzee’s “Shiny Shiny” (Yes, I voted for all of those!) Could’ve done with one less New Order and Depeche Mode.

        Also surprised that Fun Boy Three’s “.Our Lips Are Sealed” and Freur’s “ Doot-Doot missed the cut. Oh, well. On to 1984!

         
        • I purposely only vote for one song per artist/band, for just the reason you mentioned. More diversity of acts makes a better list, IMO.

           
    • Jay Montgomery

      INXS, Go-Betweens, that’s two Australian bands.

       
      • Men at Work? Not many American bands either.

         
        • Nortley

          Real Life is Australian too.

           
          • The Church, my personal favorite band from Down Under, didn’t make the list at all for ’83. Seance — released June 1983 — has some fantastic songs on it, and several were on my submission list. I suspect they were on more lists than mine, but we didn’t overwhelmingly pick the same song.

             
  • Haunted When the Minutes Drag

    One more thing. Love Bowie. But let’s not kidd ourselves that Let’s Dance was one of the top ten songs of this year.

     
    • The vote article has a title of “Vote for your favorite songs of 1983” which has little to do with “best.” Purely a nostalgic bit of fun. The title of this article should be “This here site’s non-scientific, highly biased, list of favorite, mostly indie/alt rock/new wave/post punk songs.”

      Doesn’t have much of a ring to it.

       
  • Andrea

    Where can we vote for the 1984 poll?

     
    • Nortley

      Andrea — you’ll be able to vote here whenever it is posted. Just keep checking back.

       
  • Nigel Day

    Never liked Blue Monday. Even at the time it bored me senseless after Ceremony/Procession/Temptation.

    And Bowie’s Modern Love Top 10 ?????? Christ on a bike. Not exactly Starman is it. I can just about get my head around Let’s Dance doing so well but Modern Love is a rotten piece of throwaway tat.

    IMO :)

     
    • Georgio Cider

      this website isn’t for you

       
    • David D.

      I’m with you on Blue Monday and the Let’s Dance stuff. Never liked New Order, and while I love Bowie, Let’s Dance was far less interesting than everything else he had released to that point.

      Forget Starman, Modern Love wasn’t even Fashion!

       
  • Nigel Day

    This is where the 80s rot is slowly setting in. DX7 synths, Linn Drums, Bob Clearmountain, mullets, Classic 70s artists selling out. Not impressed in hindsight

     
  • Paul Carpenter

    Cheers Matt, great list as always, a few I voted for didn’t crack the 100, look forward to listening to this list and going back the 13 yr old me.
    Look forward to 1984

     
  • Billy Casper

    With regards to weeding out songs from the wrong year – why do both “Mad World” & “Pale Shelter” appear on this list considering they were released in 1982? (and also appeared on the 1982 list)

     
    • Billy Casper

      Same question for The The’s “Uncertain Smile (released in 1982 and also appeared on the 1982 list).

       
      • First of all, yes, “Pale Shelter” is being treated like “Radio Free Europe,” two different versions released separately.

        But as for “Mad World” and “Uncertain Smile,” that’s on me. I thought I checked every single song for release year, but managed to screw those up.

        So they have been removed, the list has been re-sorted, and we have new entries at No. 99 and No. 100 (Depeche Mode and Bananarama).

        Thank you for catching that.

         
  • Paul Carpenter

    Pale Shelter I guess was released in 1982 and a different version in 1983 (Like Radio Free Europe, 1981 and 1983).
    But Mad World I guess should only of been listed in the 1982 list.

     
  • UE405

    Okay, we’ve had 35 years — has anyone figured out the narrative logic of the “In a Big Country” video yet?

     
  • Steve D

    Plan 9 is way too expensive these days. Used to be much more reasonable!

     
  • David D

    Little Red Corvette was 57 in the 1982 poll. It did better in ‘83.

     
  • vertual

    A nice snapshot for a great year. I was 19-20 years old so all this is fun. Just putting in into perspective, one’s preferences are framed by what they’ve been exposed to. If you were lucky enough to live in a town that had a cool radio station, an independent record store and a vibrant scene you had it all; just needed the curiosity of open ears. So while the list may not reflect creative career highs for certain acts, it does reflect what was cool then and what has stood the test of time. I love these time machine trips. Something for everyone. Thanks!

     
  • Sarah Zupko

    An ‘80s singles list without OMD and with Culture Club is problematic. “Enola Gay” is probably the single best song of the ‘80s. Big Country, Culture Club, and Kajagoogoo… that stuff was silly even at the time.

     
    • Paul Carpenter

      Enola Gay does appear, on the 1980 list, when it was released along with other great OMD tracks

       
    • Nortley

      There ain’t nothing silly about Big Country’s album “The Crossing.”

       
  • Nigel Day

    No Ultravox Visions in Blue ?

     
    • David D.

      While, the single came out in 1983, the album it was on, Quartet, came out in 1982, thus disqualifying it.

       
  • Nigel Day

    Then shouldn’t Pale Shelter be disqualified as that originally came out in 1982 ?

     
    • David D.

      As was stated earlier, this was a re-recording Of Pale Shelter, like Radio Free Europe.

       
  • Nigel Day

    Ah ok. I kinda lost track ! Threads quite lengthy now :)

     
  • It would probably be more work than it is worth, but I’d love to see this list edited for “Only One Song Per Artist.” So, you could only have one song by the Police… whichever one had the most votes. This would open a lot of slots, and I’d be really interested to see what fills them, as we get more obscure, less main stream songs voted in.

    Quick glance, it looks like Depeche Mode had 3, and New Order had 4 songs… so that would free up five slots right there. The Cure The Smiths, etc. always take up multiple slots, so… if it was easy to do, I’d really enjoy seeing those results.

    (Or possible to post the raw data somewhere?)

     
  • Voting for 1984? Maybe? Please?

     
  • Paul Carpenter

    Please, please, got my list for 1984 ready to go……

     
 

 

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