The 100 Best Workout Songs from the '80s


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/5/2013 6:00 AM   :  420 comments   :  512,820 Views

Today, I am happy to deliver the mother of all '80s music lists: 100 awesome '80s hits that are perfect for exercising.

There's a lot of variety here, from dance and pop hits to a little rap and rock. These are truly the best '80s workout songs of all time.

After I created this top 100 list, I asked members of, America's #1 weight loss and fitness website, to vote on their favorites, too. Find out which song took the top spot and whether your favorites made the list, and how you can download a brand new 60-minute cardio workout mix of the top 15 songs (as voted on by exercisers like you)!

Go ahead and make a new mixtape--er, I mean update your iPod or mp3 player--with a blast from the past using these "made in the '80s" tunes next time you exercise.

No. 1 Workout Song from the '80s:
Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1983)

No. 2: Pat Benatar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot (1980)
No. 3:  Survivor – Eye of the Tiger (1982)
No. 4: The B-52's – Love Shack (1989)
No. 5: Michael Jackson – Beat It (1982)
No. 6: Bon Jovi – Livin' on a Prayer (1986)
No. 7: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock N' Roll (1982)
No. 8: Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)
No. 9: Van Halen – Jump (1984)
No. 10: Journey – Don't Stop Believin' (1982)
No. 11: Katrina & The Waves – Walking On Sunshine (1983)
No. 12: Prince – Kiss (1986)
No. 13: Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal (1987)
No. 14: Kool and the Gang – Celebration (1980)
No. 15: Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (1983)

Download SparkPeople's 132-BPM 60-minute continuous cardio remix of the 15 most popular 1980s workout songs on iTunes for $9.99, or at for just $8.99!

Here's the rest of the list (in alphabetic order). Click on each link to listen to a preview (or purchase the mp3) at

A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away) (1982)
a-ha – Take On Me (1985)
The Bangles – Manic Monday (1986)
Billy Idol – Mony Mony (1981)
Billy Idol – White Wedding (1981) (1982)
Blondie – The Tide is High (1980)
Bobby Brown – My Prerogative (1988)
The Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star (1981)
Cameo – Word Up! (1986)
The Cars – Shake It Up (1981)
Culture Club – I'll Tumble 4 Ya (1982)
Culture Club – Karma Chameleon (1983)
The Cure – Just Like Heaven (1987)
David Bowie – Let's Dance (1983)
David Bowie – Modern Love (1983)
Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) (1985)
Depeche Mode – Just Can't Get Enough (1981)
Depeche Mode – People Are People (1987)
Deniece Williams – Let's Hear It for the Boy (1984)
Duran Duran – Girls on Film (1981)
Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf (1982)
Duran Duran – Rio (1982)
Eddie Money – Take Me Home Tonight (1986)
Eddy Grant – Electric Avenue (1983)
Erasure – A Little Respect (1988)
Falco – Rock Me Amadeus (1986)
Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax (1983)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes (1984)
The Gap Band – You Dropped a Bomb on Me (1982)
George Michael – Faith (1987)
The Go-Go's – Our Lips Are Sealed (1981)
The Go-Go's – Vacation (1982)
The Go-Go's – We Got The Beat (1981)
Grandmaster Flash – The Message (1982
Guns N' Roses – Paradise City (1987)
Guns N' Roses – Sweet Child O' Mine (1987)
Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle (1987)
Janet Jackson – Control (1986)
Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation
Kenny Loggins – Footloose (1984)
Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen (1982)
Madness – Our House (1982)
Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride (1983)
Madonna – Borderline (1983)
Madonna – Holiday (1983)
Madonna – Into the Groove (1985)
Madonna – Like a Prayer (1989)
Madonna – Lucky Star (1983)
Madonna – Material Girl (1984)
Madonna – Papa Don't Preach (1986)
Men At Work – Down Under (1981)
Michael Jackson – Bad (1987)
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (1982)
Michael Jackson – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) (1982)
Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (1982)
Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls (1987)
Naked Eyes – Always Something There to Remind Me (1983)
New Kids on the Block – Hangin' Tough (1988)
New Kids on the Block – You Got It (The Right Stuff) (1988)
New Order – Blue Monday (1982)
Pat Benatar – Love is a Battlefield (1983)
Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl (1988)
Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract (1988)
Philipp Bailey ft. Phil Collins – Easy Lover (1985)
Prince – 1999 (1982)
R.E.M. – It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) (1987)
R.E.M. – Orange Crush (1988)
R.E.M. – Stand (1988)
Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up (1987)
Rob Base – It Takes Two (1988)
Sammy Hagar – I Can't Drive 55 (1985)
Scorpions – Rock You Like a Hurricane (1984)
Shannon – Let the Music Play (1983)
Sheila E. – The Glamorous Life (1984)
Soft Cell – Tainted Love (1981)
Talking Heads – Burning Down the House (1984)
Technotronic – Pump Up the Jam (1989)
Tone-Loc – Wild Thing (1989)
Toni Basil – Mickey (1982)
U2 – New Year's Day (1983)
U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love) (1988)
U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (1983)
Van Halen – Hot for Teacher (1984)
Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun (1983)
Wham – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (1984)
Yaz – Situation (1983)

Are any of your '80s favorites missing from this list? Share them below!


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  • 370
    LOVE that my guys, New Kids on the Block on here! - 12/3/2012   9:05:48 AM
    Thanks for the list and the memories! - 11/29/2012   6:53:39 AM
  • 368
    What about (micki your so fine you blow my mind)
    hey micki
    - 11/23/2012   11:09:35 PM
  • 367
    I didn't catch if someone else recommended it already, but for an up-beat, fun song to exercise with:

    Dancing with Myself - Billy Idol
    - 11/23/2012   7:48:17 PM
  • 366
    @ DETERMINED569, I was about to type in Maniac and What a feeling and saw you noted them both down lol. I was wondering the same thing. Those 2 songs get me imagining Im the best dancer in the world getting filmed for a remake of Flashdance haha. - 11/15/2012   11:34:07 PM
  • 365
    Only one song from Motley Crue?!?! - 11/15/2012   3:23:14 PM
  • 364
    Lots of great songs! - 11/15/2012   1:56:32 PM
  • 363
    I have a lot of these songs. Maybe it would help if I were to put them all on a playlist... - 11/7/2012   11:16:47 PM
  • 362
    deleted - 11/7/2012   10:20:46 PM
  • 361
    I wish I knew the new technologies! especially the MP3 type, I always work out better to music! - 11/7/2012   5:34:18 PM
  • 360
    For me, all I have on my MP3 player is Bruce Springsteen-nothing like Dancing In The Dark :) - 11/7/2012   4:53:02 PM
  • 359
    We voted on these about 3 - 5 weeks ago, right? I can't remember the timeline, but I wrote this on the blog when we voted -

    WHERE'S DEVO'S "WHIP IT"?!?!?!?! Quintessential 80's song right there. - 11/7/2012   10:12:22 AM
  • 358
    Ok really why is Maniac, What A
    Feeling & Venus not on here? Why? And I see you have alot of Michael Jackson but why No Janet you know like Control Pleasure Principal, I mean really come on now these songs should of been on this list too! Im soo glad you finally listened & added Eurthymics & Footloose finally! - 11/7/2012   1:08:28 AM
  • 357
    Good job, I guess I wasn't the only one asking for an 80's list. - 11/7/2012   12:23:04 AM
  • 356
    I blogged about a better list just a couple of days ago. My intellectual property! I've been plagarized! Check my blog.

    - 11/6/2012   11:56:36 AM
    I miss the 80s music - it was always such FUN music. I was an 80s child and love grabbing other people's mixes to switch things up.

    Another song that is great to move to is: Mirror in the bathroom - English Beat. Joe Jackson's Steppin Out also has a great fast beat to keep you motivated! - 11/6/2012   7:20:21 AM
  • 354
    Where is Joe Esposito's "You're the Best" from the Karate Kid? If this was just iconic 80s songs, I could see leaving it off, but as a workout song it is fantastic! I start every workout with it! - 11/5/2012   10:24:23 PM
  • 353
    I don't see air supply's songs
    without you, chances, all out of Love
    Lost in Love, Someone
    these are good songs. - 11/5/2012   8:14:00 PM
  • 352
    These songs are great thanks Nicole! - 11/5/2012   7:43:25 PM
  • 351
    Not listed would like to see:
    Freeze Frame, 867-5309/Jenny, Maneater, Gloria, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Centerfold, Funkytown, Ghostbusters - 11/5/2012   1:55:25 PM
  • 350
    Bought it and love it too, especially when shuffled in with my other workout playlist. - 11/4/2012   4:30:13 PM
  • 349
    I bought it and love it. - 11/4/2012   4:28:28 PM
  • 348
    I love most of those songs!! I used to work out with my mom and we would listen to most of them :D - 11/4/2012   4:13:41 PM
  • 347
    Go 80's GO!!! - 11/4/2012   3:39:23 PM
  • 346
    ...Am I the only person who works out to Man In Motion (St Elmo's Fire)?! Thought for sure it would be on the list. - 11/4/2012   2:11:55 PM
  • 345
    Gotta love the 80's Hair Bands! - 11/4/2012   1:59:01 PM
    Gotta add the Vision Quest soundtrack (1985)......some great workout songs on that one!!!
    - 11/4/2012   7:54:21 AM
  • 343
    I counted 34 tunes that I would listen to, anytime. Good pics,, no oldies though,,, NO led Zep? NO Deadies tunes? Overall, a pretty good list.. - 11/4/2012   7:05:43 AM
  • 342
    Reading over this list of songs from the 80's is making me some serious flash backs to playing four years of basketball and listening to these songs during warm-ups and practices. I have many of the songs already but I'm just happy that I still don't have 80's hair!! - 11/4/2012   4:07:18 AM
  • 341
    I remember working out with Jane Fonda in the 80's. I had a step video she did. It was fun. - 11/3/2012   11:39:11 PM
  • 340
    Some great tunes here!! Finally!!!!! :-) - 11/3/2012   10:35:49 PM
    The problem I have with the mixes that Sparkpeople puts out is that they do not use the original artists--I realize that this would be more costly, etc. But my point is, when I vote on a song, I am voting on the combination of the song AND the artist.

    Listening to a beloved song sung by someone else is like eating a favorite sandwich with different condiments--it's just not the same and you are left unsatisfied. - 11/3/2012   9:46:57 PM
  • SAS202554
    I love the 80s music!!! - 11/3/2012   9:03:42 PM
  • 337
    This is exactly my era - I loved growing up in the 80s and was a huge music fan.
    Having looked at the list I can honestly say I recognise every track on there.
    Am very tempted to download the workout now! - 11/3/2012   3:13:18 PM
  • 336
    I already have many of these songs on my MP3 player. - 11/3/2012   1:30:45 PM
  • 335
    forget the list....I'm going through the comments, you guys ROCK and like, fer sure, know your 80s

    I especially look for "not so mainstreamed & entirely overplayed" songs such as "marathon" by Rush or "Love will tear us apart" by Joy Division Oooooh there was absolutely no mention of Tears for fears...although I can work out to "Everybody wants to rule the world".

    I'm so proud of my Sparkies:D - 11/3/2012   12:31:51 PM
    Walking on Sunshine was from 1985 not '83. I know. I was working at a radio station the year it was a hit. I was also doing high impact aerobics back then (complete with leg warmers, spandex tights and Jane Fonda leotard) and we worked out to anything from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack as well as Fletch, Flashdance, Huey Lewis and the News (Power of Love, New Drug), Pointer Sisters (Jump). I can still remember some of the routines we did whenever I hear certain music. - 11/3/2012   11:56:47 AM
  • 333
    No BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN? Dancing in the Dark is one of my favorite songs. - 11/3/2012   10:26:25 AM
    Who can forget the Tom Cruise performance to Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll"? --that's the song that makes me want to move - it always works! - 11/3/2012   9:36:02 AM
  • 331
    Awesome! I love 80s music!! - 11/3/2012   9:28:24 AM
  • 330
    needless to say I have all of these songs on my ipod.. I loved the 80s - 11/3/2012   9:10:47 AM
  • 329
    Too Bad it's only for itunes. I use Amazon Mp3 player but the link doesn't work, and doing a search didn't help either. I had planned on buying it. - 11/3/2012   8:48:50 AM
    Great list - but for me, number 1 is Industrial Disease by Dire Straits! - 11/3/2012   6:17:24 AM
  • 327
    By and large, a great list. Too bad we can't mix and match, though. There are a couple of songs on the list that I cannot stand strongly enough that I won't buy it. I might go in and pick a few of the others though. - 11/2/2012   11:44:50 PM
  • 326
    Memories - 11/2/2012   11:31:27 PM
  • 325
    1980's? I know I lived through that era as an adult. What was I doing that I remember so few of these songs?

    Ah! Working my asp off 12-15 hour days, listening to 'Oldies' from the 60's and converting to a Country fan. - 11/2/2012   8:59:39 PM
  • 324
    OK I know this isn't the "right" era but I can't help but groove to the version of Do Wa Ditty from Stripes...

    LOVE this list. - 11/2/2012   7:00:56 PM
  • ANDY_54
    Yep, it's just as bad as I thought. I remember every one of these songs from the '80s! LOL (And I have most on my iPod.) - 11/2/2012   5:37:21 PM
  • 322
    How about "Breakin' the Concrete" by The Pretenders? - 9/29/2012   12:18:28 AM
  • 321
    So glad I found this! I just got back on my workout schedule a couple of days ago and my husband is setting up my MP3 playlist for me. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for!
    I did add a couple of Billy Joel (River of Dreams & We Didn't Start the Fire) that may have been 90's and also Heart of Rock & Roll by Huey Lewis and the News. - 9/3/2012   10:48:40 AM

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