See if you remember the #1 songs of the summer from the ’80s and ’90s!Entertainment The List
Summer is the season of hitting the road and pumping the jams – but if this new stuff on the radio just isn't hitting the right notes with you, relive some of the country's favorite summer jams from back in the day! Refresh your summer playlists with the #1 Billboard Hot 100 songs of the summer from the 80s till the 2000s, straight from the Billboard charts themselves – We figure you (or your kids) have got the past decade of music covered.
1980: It's Still Rock and Roll to Me – Billy Joel
A perfect anthem for a summer of throwback songs and fashions, this jam is a celebration of all the stuff you loved way back when, even if other people think it's "out of style".
1981: Jessie's Girl – Rick Springfield
If you watched your high school crush leave class in the arms of some jerk on the last day of school, this was the song for you. Nothing says summer like reminiscing about the one that got away…or at least, the one that chose to date someone who wasn't you. The nerve.
Fun fact, though: The guy Rick Springfield sings about in this song was actually a real dude. His name was Gary, but "Gary's Girl" doesn't have quite the same ring…
1982: Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
While it's become the anthem of working out montages and perseverance, Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" was once just the anthem of an early '80s summer. Well, you know, that and Rocky III. But no matter why you're listening, this song will always get you pumped for action – even if all you're fighting is, like, a hard jar of pickles to open.
1983: Every Breath You Take – The Police
A lot of people in '83 jammed out to this song, playing it for their significant others while they looked longingly into each others' eyes. But really, can we talk about how the song is actually kind of creepy? Especially when you think about how Sting wrote the song after he had recently divorced his first wife. From that angle, the song goes from sweet and loving to, kind of uncomfortable…Still a great song, though. Obsession makes for great art.
1984: When Doves Cry – Prince
Any time a song opens with killer guitar licks, you know it's going to be good one and Prince delivers with this jam. Another fun fact for you – the song is purposely missing a bass line to bring forth a feeling of "something missing" in the listener. This feeling matches the theme that is hidden in the lyrics and in scenes of Purple Rain that feature the song.
1985: Shout – Tears for Fears
Is there anything more '80s than a song sung over a moody synthesizer, performed by English men with better hair than you? Probably not.
1986: Papa Don't Preach – Madonna
Any time the music video starts with the artist walking in time to a hardcore synth beat, you know they mean business and Madonna brings it along with the truth to her dad. She's a grown up and she's going to do what she wants!
Maybe my Dad would've let me do more of what I wanted if I just sang to him about it…
1987: Alone – Heart
One of the greatest female-led rock bands of the 80s, the Wilson sisters kept the hits rolling with this song about just wanting to be with the person you like the most. While the sisters passionately ask in the song, "How do I get you alone?", if I were to do a parody of the song, I would earnestly ask the two, "How do I get hair like yours?" Really – their hairdos were incredible.
1988: Roll With It – Steve Winwood
Summer should be the season of taking it easy, but in case you needed a reminder, Steve Winwood was there in '88 to tell you the one thing to do when hard times came your way…roll with it! And if you didn't believe him, you'd for sure believe the soulful saxophone rocking out in the song. You can't help but roll onto the dance floor when that sax starts. Goodbye, troubles; hello, dancing shoes.
1989: Right Here Waiting – Richard Marx
Before we get to the '90s, we'd like to bring it down a second and think about how much this song makes us feel actual feelings and emotions. Curse you, '80's love songs set to delicate piano playing! I'm not crying – you're crying…
I like to think of this song as the less creepy version of "Every Breath You Take" because I feel the love and not the urge to look out my windows for someone peeking in.
1990: Mariah Carey – Vision of Love
We made it to the '90s – the decade of vocal rifts in songs. And no one rocked those vocal gymnastics like vintage Mariah Carey. Before awkward lip syncing moments, diva-liciousness, and that weird Nick Cannon thing, she was the tiny girl with the giant voice and none of us could get enough of Miss Mariah.
1991: (Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams
This song was so soulful and emotional, it made Robin Hood fall in love. Yup, this song was written by Adams for the cinematic masterpiece known as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. At least something good came out of that movie…
1992: Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot
I can't believe it took us this long in music to sing about the glory that is a healthy booty. Thankfully, in 1992 Sir Mix-A-Lot became the chosen one to bring the world the message that big bootys are in and they have been since then…come to think of it, the Kardashians probably owe half of their careers to Sir Mix-A-Lot…
1993: Can't Help Falling In Love – UB40
If you liked your Reggae songs with a little bit of British flair then you might have been one of the '90s kids jamming out to this song by UB40. The band's vibes and horns were sure to get your toes tapping whether they were in Skechers or jelly sandals.
1994: I Swear – All-4-One
I know I wasn't the only one who listened to this song pretending that the band was singing it to me personally. And if you're saying you didn't do that, you either had this song play at your wedding during the first dance…or you're just a liar.
1995: Waterfalls – TLC
The three girls that you just wanted to be your best friends, TLC dropped this iconic song hoping to make a difference in the lives of '90s kids who might not realize that their choices have consequences. Sometimes, you don't need a long lecture from your parents to learn the right thing to do – sometimes you just need cool chicks to sing that lesson to you.
1996: Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) – Los Del Rio
Nothing. Nothing in the world is more 1990s than this song; its music video; the dance craze it started…The Bayside Boys remix of the Macarena is the '90s.
1997: I'll Be Missing You – Puff Daddy & Faith Evans feat. 112
Puff Daddy wasn't just smooth and cool in the '90s, he was also sensitive. With the soulful sounds of Faith Evans, heartfelt lyrics, and sample from previously mentioned "Every Breath You Take" (one of Puff Daddy's favorite songs), Sean Combs gave us all a piece himself with this song he dedicated to fellow rapper and friend Notorious B.I.G….here come those feelings again…
1998: The Boy Is Mine – Brandy and Monica
In one of the most creative musical collaborations, singers Brandy and Monica paint a picture of two ladies in love with the same dude with incredible harmonies and clever musical arrangements. The best part about the song, though, is the music video, complete with '90s colors, outfits, hairdos, and girl power.
1999: Genie In A Bottle – Christina Aguilera
Before she was an X Factor judge; before she was X-Tina, Christina Aguilera was making wishes (and middle school boys' dreams) come true with "Genie In A Bottle". The song was her first real big hit as an artist, but you might know her by another famous song, "Reflection" from the Disney film, Mulan, which Aguilera covered, to the delight of all of our ears.
2000: Bent – Matchbox Twenty
Ringing in the new milennium, Matchbox Twenty brought us this theme song for every "over it" teen unfazed by Y2K but looking for something better. Eventually the band made a home in the "jaded and lonely but still wanting you to love me" genre of '00s music, but it had to start somewhere and "Bent" was just the beginning.
Don't believe the songs on this list were #1 in their year? (Some of them surprised me too!) Want to see what the top songs of the summer were in the '60s, '70s, and '00s? Check out the rest of Billboard.com's #1 Summer Songs list here: Summer Songs 1958 – 2016: The Top 10 Tunes of Each Summer