Do You Know Who Sang These Hit Songs From the '80s?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: RCA Records

About This Quiz

Are you ready for big hair and even bigger shoulder pads? Then get your boombox ready! 1980s music and fashion are some of the best remembered and most often imitated of any decade. Big hair, bold makeup, shoulder pads and a punk-meets-glam aesthetic were everywhere, thanks to some of the biggest acts of the day. Michael Jackson, Blondie, Aerosmith, Prince, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and David Bowie broke boundaries and changed the face of music forever. The '80s was the decade when "Video Killed the Radio Star" and Brat Pack movies made the teen comedy a Hollywood staple. Whether you were new wave or old school, there was something for you. From slick pop to pure goth, no one could get enough.

The '80s is largely remembered for its materialism and conservative slant, as American society grew tired and unsure following worldwide turmoil. The era of peace and love was over. Reagan was president, the yuppie was on the rise, and the Cold War pitted America against the USSR and communism against capitalism.

The 1980s saw the rise of both the sitcom and blockbuster films. People flocked to theaters to catch "Indiana Jones" films and families gathered around their TVs to watch "Roseanne" and "Family Ties." MTV helped launch rap and metal into the stratosphere.

If you are an MTV kid who knows all your '80s hits, see if you have what it takes to "Get Physical" with this HowStuffWorks quiz!

"She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene," she was "Billie Jean," a song made famous by which artist?

"Billie Jean" was a huge hit from Michael Jackson's sixth album. The 1983 hit was so big that it helped break the color barrier on MTV music videos. It was the first video by a black artist ever to find a near-constant presence on the popular music channel.


Which hard rock band yearned for "Sweet Child O' Mine"?

It was Axl Rose and Guns N' Roses that sang a song of longing in "Sweet Child O' Mine," which features one of the most memorable opening guitar riffs in rock history.


Which funky female singer cranked out a hit called "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"?

With her wildly colored hair and soaring vocals, Cyndi Lauper made a mark on stages everywhere. It helped that she had one of the biggest hits of the decade in "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."


Which paradise-loving guys sang the sand anthem "Kokomo"?

"Kokomo, we'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow." The Beach Boys played steel drums and sang about the good life in "Kokomo."


In 1985, which crooner struck gold with "Say You, Say Me"?

Lionel Richie wrote "Say You, Say Me" for a movie called "White Nights." He was no stranger to stardom. It was his ninth No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts.


Which 80s band had a gigantic hit with "Eye of the Tiger," which became associated with the movie "Rocky III"?

"It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight," it's the biggest song ever by the band Survivor. It became a No. 1 hit and was used as the theme song for "Rocky III."


Which band created their own version of "La Bamba," a traditional Mexican folk song?

Los Lobos sang their version of "La Bamba" in 1987. The song was also featured in a hit movie of the same name. The 1958 version of the song (by Ritchie Valens) may be even more famous.


In 1988, which glam band made music history with "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"?

Bret Michaels and Poison sang about the worst kind of heartbreak on their hit "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." It was the band's only No. 1 hit.


"Ebony and Ivory" is a No. 1 hit that touched on race relations. It was performed by Paul McCartney and ______.

In "Ebony and Ivory," McCartney sings about black and white people living in harmony. He made the hit song with Stevie Wonder.


"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" is a 1983 hit sung by which band?

"Sweet dreams are made of this, who am I to disagree?" That's the opening line of the Eurythmics' hit song. The British duo scored a No. 1 hit with this tune, which also featured an amazingly popular music video.


Before he went solo, George Michael had a huge hit with "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go," a song by which band?

"Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" was sung by the British duo Wham! The 1984 hit was a happier tune from a band that had previously gained a reputation for darker themes.


At the end of the 80s, which glam band sang the drug-laden anthem "Dr. Feelgood"?

Motley Crue gained all sorts of notoriety with their substance abuse scarred lives. Songs like "Dr. Feelgood" only added to their drug-saturated legend.


"Say Say Say" was a duet between former Beatles member Paul McCartney and ______.

"Say, say, say what you want, but don't play games with my affection." So sang McCartney and Michael Jackson, two of the biggest stars of the 80s on "Say Say Say."


Which rock group waxed poetic about rock on "I Love Rock 'N Roll"?

"I love rock n' roll, put another dime in the jukebox, baby…" Joan Jett & the Blackhearts made the song "I Love Rock N' Roll," one of the most enduring hits of the decade.


Before she became known as a drug-addicted diva, she was known for hits like "Didn't We Almost Have It All"? Who was it?

Whitney Houston sang "Didn't We Almost Have It All," the kind of wistful song that came to symbolize her tragic life.


Which big rock band sang "Another One Bites The Dust," a song that was a No. 1 hit for three weeks?

Freddy Mercury and Queen had one of their biggest hits with "Another One Bites The Dust." The song was released in 1980.


Which female with the funny voice got even more famous for "Heaven Is a Place on Earth"?

Belinda Carlisle first made her mark with The Go-Gos. In her early solo career, the soaring "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" took over the charts. It was her first and only No. 1 hit in America.


Which pop singer was the "Man in the Mirror" in real life and on stage, too?

"Man in the Mirror" is still one of Michael Jackson's biggest hits with both fans and critics. It is a reflective song in which a man considers how he can make himself better while improving the world, too.


In 1989, which female pop star sang the No. 1 hit "Don't Want to Lose You Now"?

Gloria Estefan achieved her second No. 1 hit with "Don't Want to Lose You Now." Random fact about the singer -- her full name is Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García.


In 1988, which hairy guys had a No. 1 hit with the power ballad "The Flame"?

In 1988, Cheap Trick released a single called "The Flame," which became arguably their biggest hit. They're also known for songs like "I Want You to Want Me" and "Surrender."


"But now I'm only falling apart, and there's nothing I can say," and then? It's a "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Who sang it?

In 1983, Bonnie Tyler sang the sprawling epic "Total Eclipse of the Heart." It sold millions of copies, even though the album version of the song went on for nearly seven minutes.


This famous 80s singer was best known for singing a song about rain. Who was he?

Prince scored one of the biggest and most memorable hits of the 80s with his song "Purple Rain."


Which fire-obsessed musician claimed that "We Didn't Start the Fire"?

On "We Didn't Start the Fire," Billy Joel recounts half a century of headlines in a rapid-fire delivery. It was his third No. 1 hit.


"Like a Prayer" had a religious-sounding title but the video caused an uproar about blasphemy. Who sang this song?

On "Like a Prayer," Madonna struck gold with one of her biggest hits, a blend of dance music and near-religious yearning. The music video found her prancing around religious icons while wearing lacy lingerie.


It's not a song about a kidnapping. But "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" was definitely a 1988 hit by which artist?

The upbeat love tune "Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car," was a good song, but the music video was even better, an innovative flick blending live action with animation, a fact that helped boost the song's popularity.


Which male star had big hits in both "Higher Love" and "Back in the High Life Again"?

Steve Winwood, his voice, and his great hair had plenty of 80s hits, from "Valerie" and a No. 1 song called "Higher Love."


"Love Bites" sounds like a song from the "Twilight" soundtrack, but it was actually an 80s hit from which band?

Def Leppard used ominous guitars to great effect in "Love Bites," a heartbroken song about a soul-sucking vampire, or something like that.


"(I Just) Died in Your Arms" was by far the biggest hit for which English band?

In 1986, Cutting Crew broke through on the charts with "(I Just) Died in Your Arms." The singer says he "should've walked away" but you know he doesn't mean it.


Which band built a city on rock and roll and also sang "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"?

In 1987, Starship sang the loud ballad "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." The famous chorus goes: "And if this world runs out of lovers, we'll still have each other, nothing's gonna stop us now." The band included some members of Jefferson Airplane, which was known as Jefferson Starship before legal action forced them to change the name to just "Starship."


This sexy singer was responsible for both "Who's That Girl" and "Open Your Heart." Who was it?

In 1988, Madonna was on fire. She had two No. 1 hits that year in "Who's That Girl" and "Open Your Heart."


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