Best of the '80s Redux, Poll — December 23, 2019 at 8:06 am

Top 100 Songs of 1985: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s Redux — Part 6

What better way to celebrate the holidays than to finally — at long last — deliver the results of the sixth installment of our Best of the ’80s Redux series, the (very) sporadic Slicing Up Eyeballs readers poll in which our readers have now determined the Top 100 songs of 1985.

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 went dormant for near two years.)

RELATED: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Top 100 songs of 1985 playlist on Spotify

We resurrected the polls last year, and completed balloting on the 1982, 1983 and 1984 surveys.

Now comes the results for 1985.

For the ’85 poll, readers 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 6,852 total votes, and, after weeding out songs from the wrong year — including “How Soon is Now?” and “Shout,” which made 1984’s Top 100, and Thompson Twins’ “Lay Your Hands On Me,” which should have but didn’t — and flipping a coin to break ties, we created this list. But we have included two songs that did make the ’84 list: a-ha’s “Take On Me” and Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” because those songs weren’t just re-released in 1985, they were re-recorded entirely.

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.





1. The Cure, “Inbetween Days”
2. New Order, “The Perfect Kiss”
3. Kate Bush, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)”
4. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Just Like Honey”
5. Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Cities in Dust”
6. The Cult, “She Sells Sanctuary”
7. Simple Minds, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”
8. Echo & The Bunnymen, “Bring on the Dancing Horses”
9. The Cure, “Close to Me”
10. Depeche Mode, “Shake the Disease”


11. a-ha, “Take On Me”
12. Til Tuesday, “Voices Carry”
13. Tears For Fears, “Head Over Heels”
14. R.E.M., “Driver 8”
15. Tears For Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
16. The Waterboys, “The Whole of the Moon”
17. New Order, “Love Vigilantes”
18. Prince, “Raspberry Beret”
19. Simple Minds, “Alive and Kicking”
20. Love and Rockets, “Haunted When the Minutes Drag”


21. New Order, “Sub-Culture”
22. INXS, “What You Need”
23. Talking Heads, “Road to Nowhere”
24. The Dream Academy, “Life in a Northern Town”
25. Duran Duran, “A View to a Kill”
26. New Order, “Elegia”
27. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, “So In Love”
28. Talking Heads, “And She Was”
29. New Order, “Face Up”
30. Killing Joke, “Love Like Blood”


31. ABC, “Be Near Me”
32. INXS, “This Time”
33. The Smiths, “The Boy With the Thorn In His Side”
34. Pet Shop Boys, “West End Girls”
35. Bryan Ferry, “Slave to Love”
36. The Replacements, “Bastards of Young”
37. The Cure, “A Night Like This”
38. Shriekback, “Nemesis”
39. Camper Van Beethoven, “Take the Skinheads Bowling”
40. The Smiths, “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore”


41. Big Audio Dynamite, “The Bottom Line”
42. Arcadia, “Election Day”
43. Hüsker Dü, “Makes No Sense At All”
44. R.E.M., “Can’t Get There From Here”
45. The Replacements, “Left of the Dial”
46. Eurythmics, “Would I Lie To You?”
47. Big Audio Dynamite, “E=MC2”
48. Madonna, “Into the Groove”
49. a-ha, “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.”
50. The Dead Milkmen, “Bitchin’ Camaro”


51. Kate Bush, “Hounds of Love”
52. Hoodoo Gurus, “Bittersweet”
53. The Power Station, “Some Like It Hot”
54. Billy Bragg, “Days Like These”
55. Dramarama, “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)”
56. Ministry, “Over the Shoulder”
57. Howard Jones, “Things Can Only Get Better”
58. Kate Bush, “Cloudbusting”
59. Oingo Boingo, “Dead Man’s Party”
60. The Smiths, “The Headmaster Ritual”


61. Love and Rockets, “Ball of Confusion”
62. The Cure, “Push”
63. Pet Shop Boys, “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)”
64. Oingo Boingo, “Just Another Day”
65. Fine Young Cannibals, “Johnny Come Home”
66. Wang Chung, “To Live and Die in L.A.”
67. The Sisters of Mercy, “Marian (Version)”
68. Sting, “Fortress Around Your Heart”
69. The Smiths, “Barbarism Begins at Home”
70. Talk Talk, “Life’s What You Make It”


71. Cocteau Twins, “Aikea-Guinea”
72. Falco, “Rock Me Amadeus”
73. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Tupelo”
74. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, “Secret”
75. Simple Minds, “Sanctify Yourself”
76. Skinny Puppy, “Assimilate”
77. Scritti Politti, “Perfect Way”
78. Simply Red, “Holding Back the Years”
79. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Never Understand”
80. 7 Seconds, “Walk Together, Rock Together”


81. Baltimora, “Tarzan Boy”
82. Level 42, “Something About You”
83. Sting, “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free”
84. Hüsker Dü, “Celebrated Summer”
85. The Replacements, “Kiss Me On the Bus”
86. The Hooters, “And We Danced”
87. Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing”
88. Faith No More, “We Care a Lot”
89. Katrina and the Waves, “Walking on Sunshine”
90. The Cult, “Rain”


91. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Don’t Come Around Here No More”
92. X, “Burning House of Love”
93. Prefab Sprout, “Appetite”
94. Big Audio Dynamite, “Medicine Show”
95. David Bowie and Pat Metheny Group, “This Is Not America”
96. Run DMC, “King of Rock”
97. Ramones, “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg”
98. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “You Trip Me Up”
99. Felt, “Primitive Painters”
100. Suzanne Vega, “Marlene on the Wall”






  1. What an amazing year for good music.

  2. Great list
    from ABC (be near me) to 7 seconds (Walk together (spread))
    everything is in it. From the Skinheads to Amadeus.
    These are the ‘primitive painters’ that made my life.

  3. Pity “Sun City” didn’t make the cut, but on the plus side my #1 showed up at #14 on the list, and the #1 song was on my list.

    A great year for music. Time machine, please!

  4. Haunted when the minutes drag

    Wow. I never thought about it too much, but this may have been the peak year for the 80s. So many great songs that it is hard to figure out where to put them all and how they compare to each other.

  5. Nearly all of my choices made the list but can’t believe neither boy or I touch roses from book of love made it…both are essential new wave tracks ! Shame on you people

  6. Matt, if you need statistical help with these list, let me know I would help, love your efforts, keep it

    • Same! I’ve already begun compiling votes for 1986, but I can’t even imagine the enormous amount of work it is for you.

      • And again, offering to help with the data if you need it. If the raw data (or even your cleaned data) could be posted here… I’m assuming csv file… some cool things could be done with it. Like making a list where only one song per artist was allowed… pulling all the extra Cure and Smiths and New Order songs would open a lot of space, and it would be interesting to see what made it in.

  7. I Touch Roses had a vote from me too!

  8. Loved the music from this year!
    Some of my votes that didn’t make the Top 100:

    The Cure – Six Different Ways (was this release before ’85? It must have because I’m pretty shocked it didn’t make the Top 100)
    Howard Jones – Life in One Day
    The Pogues – A Pair of Brown Eyes
    Prefab Sprout – Desire As
    Rave-Ups – Positively Lost Me
    Scritti Politti – Wood Beez
    Tom Waits – Rain Dogs

  9. addictedtonoise

    Wasn’t #72 “It Says Here” released on 1984’s Brewing Up With Billy Bragg album?

    • You are correct. I thought it was first released on the “Between the Wars” EP in ’85, but I now I see I was mistaken. I will remove that, and bring in a new No. 100: Suzanne Vega’s “Marlene on the Wall.”

      • addictedtonoise

        Hated to see it go but I’m sure you’re just as much a stickler for accuracy as I am. Great work Matt and can’t wait for the ’86 poll!

      • “I will remove that, and bring in a new No. 100: Suzanne Vega’s “Marlene on the Wall.”

        And thus another song I voted for makes the cut!

  10. How is there not more Prefab Sprout on this list? Still criminally underrated.

  11. Jason Wilbert

    Nothing from the Church “Heyday”?

  12. Yaaaassss! So good.

    Already have ’86 compiled and waiting. Always interesting to see what makes it and what doesn’t.

    Great list!

  13. Michael Reed

    I devoted my 25 to songs that might not get as many votes as they deserved. Still, 13 songs—just over half!—made the Top 100. Here are the other 12 that didn’t make it.

    Praying Mantis – Don Dixon
    Happy Boy – The Bolshoi
    King In A Catholic Style – China Crisis
    Flag Day – The Housemartins
    Positively Lost Me – The Rave-Ups
    Lost Weekend – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
    Pleasure And Pain – Divinyls
    Number One – Chaz Jankel
    Fire In The Twilight – Wang Chung
    My Wife And My Dead Wife – Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians
    Bike Ride To The Moon – The Dukes Of Stratosphear
    Dare To Be Stupid – Weird Al Yankovic

    On to 1986!

    • Likewise. 13 of mine made it (12, until Billy Bragg’s “It Says Here” was deemed ineligible and Suzanne Vega’s “Marlene On The Wall” got added.

      The 12 that did not make it?

      Sun City – Artists United Against Apartheid
      Sally MacLennane – The Pogues
      The Old Main Drag – The Pogues
      It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) – Eurythmics
      Faded Flowers – Shriekback
      The Lady Don’t Mind – Talking Heads
      Don’t Bang The Drum – The Waterboys
      Knight Moves – Suzanne Vega
      If I Was – Midge Urge
      We Work The Black Seam – Sting
      This World – The Dream Academy
      Pass It On – Lone Justice

  14. Opps. I miscounted. 13 did not make the cut. The other missing one I voted for was “Wendell Gee” by R.E.M.

    • I got 17 on the list, which is really high. My misses were more personal favorites than ones I expected to make the list…

      Oh Yeah, Funny How Love Is, Can’t Help Falling In Love, Small Blue Thing, The Edge of Forever, Give Blood, and Kayleigh.

  15. I love these lists but I guess I need some clarity on some of the rules. In specific are release dates. I voted for “Shout” by Tears For Fears for the 1985 list. I live in America and that was the year it was released here. I suspect for most of the world too. It, as you know, was only eligible for the 1984 list. There should be some kind of exception to songs which get an overwhelming amount of votes that also have scattered release dates that stretch over a year. 1986 here we come!

    • Yeah, there are always vagueries that come up in these lists. I just check every song I vote for against Wikipediea for the first release (on the album or the single, whichever it was) and the international release.

      For example, I was ready to vote for “Life’s What You Make It” on my 1986 list, until someone pointed out it was first released in Australia in 1985. So, I voted for it then, and glad it made the list. A lot of songs came out the year before as singles, so best to check.

      I always post my list before I officially vote, so that people can point out if a choice I made is disqualified.

      Definitely looking forward to 86. Nearly as tough to narrow down as 85. 88 will be the killer year for me.

  16. I just saw this yesterday. 16 of my picks made it. Here are my misses:

    10,000 Maniacs – My Mother, the War
    Book of Love -I Touch Roses
    Coil – Tainted Love
    The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?
    Dead Kennedys – MTV-Get Off the Air
    Husker Du – New Day Rising
    Naked Raygun – I Don’t Know
    Sisters of Mercy – No Time To Cry
    Sonic Youth – Death Valley ‘69

    Totally disappointed that Sonic Youth didn’t make it. I hope one of their songs makes it before the 1988 poll.

  17. Dan Moriarty

    I love that these lists include both Top 40 and underground stuff. How often does Baltimora – or Tom Petty for that matter – end up on a mix tape with Skinny Puppy and 7 Seconds?!

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