Skip to main content

1984: The Absolute Best 80s Music For Your Wedding Playlist

06 February 2021

Not even a global pandemic like COVID-19 will crush my passion for the music. First and foremost, I am a wedding DJ whose passion is on the music. I don't focus on anything else. After all, that is the primary reason you are hiring a wedding DJ, correct?  YOUR wedding music. I've been working on some other projects recently as  it appears that this pandemic is getting ready to wreak havoc on another season of weddings.  In case you missed some of my earlier posts about how to navigate around COVID-19 as it pertains to planning your wedding, be sure to read through this post and I will include some links down below.  A lot of the inspiration for most of the posts you see on my blog come from a lot of the banter I take part in over on Twitter. The other day one of the many folks I follow posted a screenshot from a Radio & Records magazine from February 1984. Throughout my entire DJ career, it's been the music of the 80s that's always been near and dear to my heart.  While you can argue that certain years of the 80s had better music than others, I am fairly certain you'll agree that 1984 could be one of the best years of the music of the 80s.

At the beginning of 1984, I was approaching the 4 month mark after my 10th birthday. Having two older sisters in the house who spent so much time watching MTV in it's glory years and heading to Hall & Oates concerts,  I was subjected to an amazing mix of music.  It was an incredible time to be alive if you were a fan of music if you lived through the 80s. And having grown up in the MTV era, the music came with it those countless visual images from iconic music videos. While I was still very young in forming my likes and dislikes on music, we were 20 years before the launch of Facebook. Radio DJs were still very much at the forefront of introducing new music to their audiences. And when they introduced these new singles, people would flock to the record store to pick up the artist's latest album or single on a 45 or cassette tape. Of course back then, we were wearing out cassettes in our cars and would be soon replacing them with CD players.

The Pop Culture And Events Of 1984
Before we get into some of the pop culture and events of 1984, I wanted to post the image that set in motion the inspiration to put this blog post together. Down below you'll see a snapshot of the music charts of 1984 from multiple genres. Check them out and see how many songs you recognize.
Radio And Records 1984

Movies Of 1984
1984 was an incredible year for movies with songs from some of the most popular movies of the year appearing on this playlist. Some other notable movies of '84 include:
Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Sixteen Candles
Beverly Hills Cop
Red Dawn
Karate Kid

TV Shows Of 1984
1984 would be the year that we would see The Cosby Show, Miami Vice, and Night Court hit the airwaves, and we cannot forget the A-Team, starring Mr. T. 

1. Apple launches the Macintosh computer.
2. Michael Jackson's fire catches on fire during a Pepsi commercial. It's my opinion that Michael Jackson's life was never normal after this accident. Michael Jackson would endure a lot of pain and a ton of facial surgeries that would forever halt his appearance.
3. Vanessa Williams would become the first black Miss America, but would give up this honor due to the unauthorized release of nude photos.
4. Wendy's, the popular hamburger restaurant would have us all saying "Where's The Beef?"

Toys Of 1984
If you were a kid during the Christmas of 1984, the hottest toys of that year were Transformers, Rainbow Brite, G.I Joe, and the Cabbage Patch Kids. 

Download These Best Songs Of The 80s From 1984 At My Spotify Right Now
Just over a year ago, I made the decision to migrate all of the playlists you see on this blog over to a new and improved Spotify profile. In the months and years leading up to this migration, I was getting bombarded by numerous Spotify playlists sent to me by my clients. Some of these clients had ALL of their music figured out even before signing a contract with me. Some others though, had only a few songs and needed some much needed inspiration.  If you are a newly engaged bride or groom and need some inspiration as it pertains to getting started in putting together the best wedding playlist that suits you as a couple, please head over there after you finish reading over this post. All you need to do is head over to Spotify, then search for DJ Mike Bills.

"When Doves Cry" | Prince
I don't recall if we had any heatwaves back in the summer of 1984, but when Prince released the music video to this signature song in advance of the Purple Rain movie, I guarantee everyone's temperature went up 10 degrees.  "When Doves Cry" was released in May of 1984 and would peak at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  For more of the best Prince songs for your wedding playlist, <---Click this link.

"Footloose" | Kenny Loggins
While some DJs may shy away from playing this song, I've personally found it to appeal to guests of all ages. People of all ages still respond to this song on the dance floor, which was released in January of 1984, about a month in advance of the movie release.  The movie soundtrack of Footloose would become one of the most popular of the 80s. While the movie was remade in 2011, it's remake pales in comparison to it's original, and is not recommended. "Footloose" would spend 3 weeks at the top of the Hot 100 beginning in late March 1984.

"Jump" | Van Halen
David Lee Roth and Van Halen were riding high when they released their album 1984. Some hard core fans were a bit taken aback by the use of synthesizers, as they were a departure from their edgier sound in the late 70s.  While David Lee Roth would leave the band not too long after the release of 1984, but "Jump" would become the band's biggest song ever, reaching #1 on the Hot 100 chart. For more of the Best 80s Rock Songs For Your Cocktail Hour. <--Click HERE

"Hello" | Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie was having the time of his life in the early - mid 80s.  In the fall of 1983, he'd release his album Can't Slow Down, and on the day before Valentine's Day 1984, his single "Hello" would be released. What a perfect song to celebrate Valentine's Day with the one you love.  "Hello" would reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and spend 6 weeks at the top of the Adult contemporary chart.  For more of the Best Soft Rock Songs Of The 80s, <-----be sure to click over to this link.

"Ghostbusters" | Ray Parker Jr.
For those brides and grooms who have chosen to get married in Charleston, Bill Murray has become the unofficial mayor of this wonderful city.  He became part of the city when he became part owner of the Charleston minor league baseball team, The Riverdogs. You never know where he'll pop up. He's been known to crash weddings and parties around the city. Back in the summer of 1984, one of his signature movies was released.  Ghostbusters became one of the biggest movies of 1984 and the theme song would reach #1 in August of 1984 and stay there for 3 weeks.

"Karma Chameleon" | Culture Club 
If I were having my own wedding reception, I'd consider having an 80s Cocktail Hour and this song would be on there because of it's happy and laid back vibe.  Despite all of their 80s success, "Karma Chameleon" would be the band's only #1 song in the U.S. reaching the top of the charts in January 1984.

"Let's Hear It For The Boy" | Deniece Williams
When I said Footloose would become one of the biggest movies of 1984, I was not kidding and it's soundtrack would rule the charts too.  "Let's Hear It For The Boy" would be the second single to be released from the soundtrack in February of 1984. The song would peak at #1 on the Hot 100 in late May of 1984. The song would also peak at #1 on the Dance chart.

"Dancing In The Dark" | Bruce Springsteen
For those modern brides and grooms from New Jersey, there generally is no escaping adding The Boss to your wedding playlist.  Be sure to watch the music video to this song by clicking the link in the title up above and see if you can recognize a very young Courtney Cox.  "Dancing In The Dark" was the first song to be released from his iconic Born In The USA album and would peak at #2 on the Hot 100 chart. For more of the best New Jersey Musicians And Bands On Your Wedding Playlist, <---Click this Link

"Time After Time" | Cyndi Lauper
In early 1984, Cyndi Lauper was still riding high from the worldwide success of her first single, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".  Her second single from the She's So Unusual record would be one I would end up putting in my 80s Soft Rock Arsenal. <---Click Here For more soft rock songs of the 80s.  "Time After Time" would peak at #1 on the Hot 100, as well as the Adult Contemporary chart.

"Let's Go Crazy" | Prince
The release of Purple Rain to movie theaters in the summer of 1984 was a much anticipated event that would launch Prince to superstar status. "Let's Go Crazy" has become a popular Last Song Of The Night by a lot of my clients.<--Click This Link. Let's Go Crazy" would peak at #1 on the Hot 100 and Hot R&B charts.

"Hold Me Now" | Thompson Twins
A signature song for the Thompson Twins, "Hold Me Now" would be released in the United States in February of 1984 and would become the groups highest charting single. The song would peak at #3 on the Hot 100 chart.

"99 Luftballoons" | Nena
Here's a song that has two versions. One version is in German, while the other is in English.  It would be the German version of the song that would peak at #2 in the U.S. For more of the Best One Hit Wonders Of The 80s, <---Click This Link

"I Can Dream About You" | Dan Hartman
If there is a category of 80s music that puts me in a good mood, this song would definitely be placed into it.  The song appeared on the soundtrack of the movie Streets Of Fire and would peak at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. If you are a fan of the 12 inch remixes of the 80s, I think you would really appreciate Jellybean Benitez's remix!

"Sunglasses At Heart" | Corey Hart
Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades......We were singing that to each other during the summer of 1984. 1984 was probably one of the biggest years in Corey Hart's career.  After being on the radio all during the summer of 1984, "Sunglasses At Night" would peak at #7 on the Hot 100 in September.

"Sister Christian" | Night Ranger
Whenever I hear this song, I think back to those days in high school in the parking lot on Friday afternoons. We'd all be talking about what we'd be doing on the upcoming weekend. There was no Facebook and it was a time we were talking and actually exchanging phone numbers! And when I see the video of this song, I think back to some of those images that made the 80s so much more innocent than today. "Sister Christian" was released in March of 1984 and would peak at #5 on the Hot 100 chart. For more of The Most Requested Power Ballads At Weddings, <---Click This Link

"The Warrior" | Scandal
Patty Smyth and the band Scandal would release their album The Warrior in 1984. The title track would be released in the summer of 1984. The song would peak at #1 in Canada, and #7 on the Hot 100 in the U.S.

"Let The Music Play" | Shannon
Wow, I would have loved to have been old enough to be a DJ in 1984. It would have been a very special moment to drop this song for the first time at a wedding or party.  The song would come in at #43 on VH1's Greatest One Hit Wonders Of All Time and would peak at #8 on the Hot 100 chart.

"Caribbean Queen" | Billy Ocean
There were several years where Billy Ocean always was occupying space on the Hot 100 charts.  The song would enter the Hot 100 in August of 1984 and eventually peak at #1 in the fall. 

"Cruel Summer" | Bananarama
Released in the summer of 1984, this classic song by this all-girl group from England also appears on my Soundtrack To Summer. <--Click this link  "Cruel Summer" would peak at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

"Holiday" | Madonna
One of Madonna's signature classic songs, "Holiday" was released in the fall of 1983 and would only manage #16 on the Hot 100 chart. "Holiday" has been requested by some of my brides to be used as a dance with her bridesmaids.

"Tenderness" | General Public
Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger would form the band General Public in the early 80s. Their first single "Tenderness" would be released in the spring of 1984 and peak at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100. I think this song is the perfect addition to an upbeat 80s Cocktail Hour at your wedding.

"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" | Wham
Choose Life tshirts and Day-Glo makeup were what we were talking about one when we first saw the video to this signature song by Wham.  "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" would be released in August of 1984 and peak at #1 on the Hot 100 chart. For more of The Best George Michael And Wham Songs For Your Wedding Playlist <----Click HERE

"It's My Life" | Talk Talk
Later covered by the lovely and talented Gwen Stefani and No Doubt,  the original version was released in January of 1984.  The song would peak at #31 on the Hot 100, but the No Doubt version would peak at #10 in 2003.

"No More Words" | Berlin
One of the many subgenres of 80s music I absolutely love is new-wave. There was a very interesting new-wave scene in Los Angeles that featured bands like Berlin. Berlin would release their 3rd album Love Life in 1984. "No More Words" would be the lead single off this album and would peak at #23 on the Hot 100 in May of 1984.

"Infatuation" | Rod Stewart
In 1984, Rod Stewart's career was in overdrive.  "Infatuation" can be found on the album Camoflauge, which also features his hit single "Some Guys Have All The Luck", as well as a cover of the classic Free song, "All Right Now". "Infatuation" would in rotation all over the radio in the summer of 1984 and would peak at #6 on the Hot 100 chart.

"Self Control" | Laura Branigan
There's no easy way to put this. We lost Laura Branigan way too soon. She died of a brain aneurysm in 2004 at the age of 52. "Self Control" would be released as a single in the spring of 1984 and would become of the summer of 1984. The song would peak at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"The Reflex" | Duran Duran
Duran Duran took the music world by storm in the early 80s with songs like Hungry Like The Wolf and Rio. By 1984, the band would play Madison Square Garden in America and release "The Reflex" in the spring of 1984. The song would be the third single from their album Seven And The Ragged Tiger and peak at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Think Of Laura" | Christopher Cross
Back in the 80s, soap operas had some of their highest ratings ever. General Hospital had some of the highest ratings during the 80s due to it's dramatic story lines between Luke and Laura. The soap opera would begin to play this song during the early part of 1984 after the release of the song. The song would be the last to break into the Top 10 on the Hot 100 by Christopher Cross.

"Drive" | The Cars
Heartbeat City was an album that was released by The Car back in March of 1984.  "Drive" would be the third single to be released from this album after "You Might Think" and "Magic". The song would peak at #3 on the Hot 100 chart, and #1 on the adult contemporary chart.

"The Heart Of Rock & Roll" | Huey Lewis & The News
Huey Lewis would release their album Sports in September of 1983, and by the summer of 1984 it would become #1 on the Billboard 200 chart.  "The Heart Of The Rock & Roll" would be the third single to be released from the album and would peak at #6 on the Hot 100 chart in the summer of 1984.

Ready To Meet With DJ Mike Bills & Talk About The Music For Your Wedding?
You know what I love the most about putting these posts together? The time that I put into performing all the research for these posts allows me to forget about the negativeness of today and take a time warp back to the year I am focusing on. Music will always be an escape for me, and every song I hear has the ability to instantly take me to what was happening in my life at that time. It's one of the most powerful forces in our lives, which is also why I think the music at your wedding is of utmost importance.  You should never trust your wedding reception to an amateur wedding DJ. And I have to tell you that now more than ever, COVID 19 has brought out so many amateurs and wanna-be's as it pertains to the wedding industry. Beware!  

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I was going to share some of the recent publications I've put together for the modern bride and groom during COVID. Be sure to check out these posts that could be helpful to the modern bride and groom in the era of COVID 19.
Lessons Learned During COVID 19 As A DJ
How To Plan Your Wedding During COVID 19

If you just got engaged and are ready to speak with me about being your wedding DJ, thank you so much! I would love to speak with you about being your DJ on your most special day. All you need to do is click on the link up above and you'll be taken over to my contact form. Once you get over to my form, you'll be asked for some quick details about your special day. I look forward to speaking with you about your big day.