Best of 1981 - Top 50 Singles List

Following the tragic death of John Lennon in December 1980, the world was still in mourning after the loss of one of the most influential musical masterminds of all time. All this did also had impact on the charts as where his biggest hits "Woman" and "Imagine" could be found again. Even Roxy Music paid tribute to him by covering "Jealous Guy".
Apart from this, the charts were still dominated by the rising stars of 1980, Adam and the Ants while The Police had more hits. Human League re-formed this year exiting the dark phase and releasing "Don't You Want Me Baby" which together with Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" helped to emblem the music style which would in the coming years be known as Synth-pop.
Along with the increasing popularity of synth driven music, the New Romantic movement slowly grew to fame as new kids adopted synths and started wearing lipstick. Perhaps the biggest event of the year was the launch of MTV which aired "Video Killed The Radio Star" by The Buggles. The song became a huge hit and a symbol for the new platform which would give the music industry a new face and dimension.
 During our 30 year anniversary of 1981 in 2011, the following album were voted Top 50 singles by Burning Flame friends and readers including in-house votes.

Updated: 05/2020

01. Ultravox- Vienna 
02. The Cure- Charlotte Sometimes 
03. The Human League- Don't You Want Me 
04. Siouxsie and the Banshees- Spellbound 
05. New Order- Ceremony 
06. Soft Cell- Tainted Love 
07. Talking Heads- Once in a Lifetime 
08. Duran Duran- Planet Earth 
09. Ultravox-The Voice 
10. Japan- Quiet Life 
11. Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough 
12. Simple Minds- Love Song 
13. Kraftwerk- Computer Love 
14. The Specials - Ghost Town 
15. Heaven 17 -We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang 
16. David Bowie - Up The Hill Backwards 
17. Kim Wilde - Kids in America 
18. Depeche Mode- New Life 
19. Men At Work - Down Under 
20. Soft Cell - Memorabilia 
21. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark-Souvenir 
22. Laurie Anderson - Oh Superman 
23. Bruce Springsteen - The River 
24. B-Movie - Remembrance Day 
25. Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes 
26. Grace Jones - I've Seen This Face Before (Libertango) 
27. Jean Michel Jarre - Les chants magnétiques 
28. Vangelis - Chariots of Fire 
29. The Human League- The Sound of the Crowd 
30. David Bowie - Wild is the Wind 
31. Kim Wilde - Cambodia 
32. The Jam - That's Entertainment 
33. OMD - Joan of Arc 
34. Imagination – Body Talk 
35. Daryl Hall & John Oates - I Can't Go for That (No Can Do) 
36. Duran Duran- Girls on Film 
37. R.E.M. - Radio Free Europe 
38. U2 - Gloria 
39. Queen & David Bowie - Under Pressure 
40. The Go Go's - Our Lips are sealed 
41. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Arabian Nights 
42. The Teardrop Explodes - Reward 
43. Spandau Ballet - Chant No1 
44. Eurythmics - Never Gonna Cry Again 
45. Pete Shelley - Homosapien 
46. Adam and the Ants - Prince Charming 
47. Abba - Lay All Your Love on Me 
48. John Foxx - Europe after the Rain 
49. Squeeze - Tempted 
50. Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love 


Anonymous said...

Great list - every track is a classic. Really like the new site design, too. Thanks!

Bori B. said...

Thanks for your comment. This is how the readers voted! 1981 first class of course!