100 Greatest Songs From 1981

Criteria: Songs listed are from Rock 'n' Roll and related sub-genres. Rankings are based on initial and lasting popularity and on acclaim received from critics and musicians.
Note: Yearly song lists go by earliest 'release date' (Single, Album, or Country of first release).
Not necessarily the year a song peaked in the U.S. charts.

I Love Rock 'n' Roll - Joan Jett single cover
Don't You Want Me? - Human League single cover
Super Freak (Part 1) - Rick James single cover
Don't Stop Believin' - Journey single cover
Start Me Up - Rolling Stones single cover
Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield single cover
Rock This Town - Stray Cats single cover
Who Can It Be Now? - Men At Work single cover
1 I Love Rock 'n' Roll Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
2 Don't You Want Me? Human League
3 Tainted Love Soft Cell
4 Super Freak (Part 1) Rick James
5 Physical Olivia Newton-John
6 Don't Stop Believin' Journey
7 In The Air Tonight Phil Collins
8 Start Me Up Rolling Stones
9 Our Lips Are Sealed Go-Gos
10 Jessie's Girl Rick Springfield
11 Endless Love Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
12 I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) Hall & Oates
13 Under Pressure Queen and David Bowie
14 Rock This Town Stray Cats
15 Down Under Men At Work
16 Centerfold J. Geils Band
17 Waiting For A Girl Like You Foreigner
18 Who Can It Be Now? Men At Work
19 Let's Groove Earth, Wind, & Fire
20 867-5309/Jenny Tommy Tutone
21 Genius of Love Tom Tom Club
22 Just Can't Get Enough Depeche Mode
23 Bette Davis Eyes Kim Carnes
24 The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel Grandmaster Flash
25 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic The Police
26 Urgent Foreigner
27 Edge Of Seventeen (Just Like The White Winged Dove) (live) Stevie Nicks
28 Ghost Town Specials
29 Being With You Smokey Robinson
30 Kids In America Kim Wilde
31 Open Arms Journey
32 Slow Hand Pointer Sisters
33 Give It To Me Baby Rick James
34 Get Down On It Kool & The Gang
35 Tom Sawyer Rush
36 Tempted Squeeze
37 Girls On Film Duran Duran
38 Working For The Weekend Loverboy
39 Baby, Come To Me Patti Austin and James Ingram
40 Freeze Frame J. Geils Band
41 Never Too Much Luther Vandross
42 You're The One For Me D-Train
43 Heartbeat Taana Gardner
44 Mama Used To Say Junior
45 She's A Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked) Carl Carlton
46 Harden My Heart Quarterflash
47 Turn Your Love Around George Benson
48 Lady (You Bring Me Up) Commodores
49 The Stroke Billy Squier
50 Shake It Up The Cars
51 Walking On Thin Ice Yoko Ono
52 Never Say Never Romeo Void
53 At This Moment Billy Vera & The Beaters
54 We Got The Beat (I.R.S. version) Go-Gos
55 Mony Mony Billy Idol
56 You Better, You Bet The Who
57 For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) AC/DC
58 Pull Up To The Bumper Grace Jones
59 Stop Draggin' My Heart Around Stevie Nicks w/ Tom Petty & Heartbreakers
60 How 'Bout Us? Champaign
61 Waiting On A Friend Rolling Stones
62 Limelight Rush
63 Controversy Prince
64 Theme from "Chariots of Fire" Vangelis
65 Stand And Deliver Adam & The Ants
66 Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag Pigbag
67 Love Action (I Believe In Love) Human League
68 (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang Heaven 17
69 Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) Haircut 100
70 A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do) Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio
71 Square Biz Teena Marie
72 A Million Miles Away Plimsouls
73 I'm In Love Evelyn "Champagne" King
74 Chant No. 1 (We Don't Need This Pressure On) Spandau Ballet
75 Call Me Skyy
76 All Those Years Ago George Harrison
77 The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em) Greg Kihn
78 It Must Be Love Madness
79 Message Of Love Pretenders
80 Wordy Rappinghood Tom Tom Club
81 Stray Cat Strut Stray Cats
82 Da Da Da (I Don't Love You, You Don't Love Me, Aha Aha Aha) Trio
83 Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do) Christopher Cross
84 O Superman (For Massenet) Laurie Anderson
85 Boy From New York City Manhattan Transfer
86 Abacab Genesis
87 Funky Sensation Gwen McRae
88 Out Come The Freaks Was (Not Was)
89 The Sweetest Girl Scritti Politti
90 Ai No Corrida (I-No-Ko-Ree-Da) Quincy Jones feat. Dune
91 Moody ESG
92 Spirits In the Material World The Police
93 Too Drunk To Fuck Dead Kennedys
94 Gloria U2
95 T.V. Party Black Flag
96 When She Was My Girl Four Tops
97 Ceremony New Order
98 To Hell With Poverty! Gang of Four
99 Charlotte Sometimes The Cure
100 This Little Girl Gary "U.S." Bonds
20 more worth mentioning.
101 Just Between You And Me April Wine
102 The Waiting Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
103 Hold On Loosely .38 Special
104 Burnin' For You Blue Oyster Cult
105 Who's Crying Now? Journey
106 Planet Earth Duran Duran
107 Magic Power Triumph
108 Young Turks Rod Stewart
109 One Of Us ABBA
110 Oh No Commodores
111 Private Eyes Hall & Oates
112 Hold On Tight Electric Light Orchestra
113 Reward (With A Capital Wow) The Teardrop Explodes
114 Homosapien Pete Shelley
115 Der Kommissar (The Commissioner) Falco
116 Ghosts Japan
117 Say Hello, Wave Goodbye Soft Cell
118 Tears Are Not Enough ABC
119 That's When I Reach For My Revolver Mission of Burma
120 Der Mussolini D.A.F.
DigitalDreamDoor Editor Picks for 1981
Jeff's Choice - Greatest Single Re-Entry
* No Woman, No Cry (#8 UK) Bob Marley & The Wailers
Jeff's Choice - An unheralded great record from 1981
* Fate Chaka Kahn
Lew's Choice:
* Trouble Lindsey Buckingham
Bruce's Choice:
* Hepno Beat Dynamic Hepnotics
Brett's Choice:
* Haunted Town The Effigies
Ryan's Choice:
* It's Obvious Au Pairs
Adam's Choice:
* The Gigolo O'Bryan

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