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1986: Most Popular 80s Music For Your Wedding Playlist

25 August 2020

For those modern brides and grooms who have just found my website and blog, thank you so very much for finding me. What you've found is one of the most passionate guys you'll probably meet online as it pertains to the craft of being a wedding DJ. Music is my passion.  And if you should delve a little deeper into my blog and maybe check out my Spotify profile, you'll find that one of my most favorite eras of music were the 80s. No matter if I meet with a bride and groom who are 25, 45, or 55, there always seems to be some 80s music added to their wedding playlist. The inspiration for this published post came to me after noticing a snapshot of the music charts from August 1986. In case you did not know, I follow a lot of different music research and radio consultants on Twitter, as well as a lot of people who are very interested in celebrating and spreading the word about 80s nostalgia. After seeing this snapshot of the CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) music chart in August 1986, I felt the need to go a little further and explore what would become (in my opinion) one of the best years of music in the 80s: 1986.

Back in 1986, some of the internet protocols were invented that would play a role in the development of email.  Some of the other notable events of 1986 included a major setback for the Space program in America when the Space Shittle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986 after take off on a brutally cold morning .  Back then, I was in the middle of my 6th grade year, and all of my classes turned on the TV to show us the coverage.  1986 would be the first year we would see Oprah Winfrey as she would launch her talk show in the fall.  1986 would also be the first year we'd see the Nintendo Gaming System. 1986 would be the year where one of the most popular 80s movies was released to theaters that will have a sequel released soon.  Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis would make for hot makeout sessions in the summer of 1986 with an amazing soundtrack. Berlin would release one of the most popular make-out songs of the 80s with "Take My Breath Away". Kenny Loggins would release "Danger Zone" for the Top Gun soundtrack, which would become a popular garter toss song for modern brides and grooms.  If you were watching TV in 1986, you probably saw Cheers, Family Ties, and The Cosby Show as some of the most popular shows of 1986. See below for the screenshot that inspired this post.

CHR Radio August 1986

Download These Popular Songs From 1986 From My Spotify Right NOW
My Spotify was created solely for the modern bride and groom who use streaming services to discover music and to create playlists for important events in their life.  I would certainly say that getting married is one of the most important events of your life! When you click to my Spotify profile, you find over 100 playlists designed with wedding playlist inspiration in my mind. Head over there now. Just search for DJ Mike Bills.

 "Addicted To Love" | Robert Palmer
It's still hard to believe that as I put together this post from 1986 that Robert Palmer has not been with us since 2003. "Addicted To Love" would become one of the most popular songs of his career. Released in the winter of 1986,  the song would peak at #1 in the spring and summer of 1986 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Greatest Love Of All" | Whitney Houston
Originally released and recorded in 1977 by George Benson, Whitney Houston would record her version of the song for her debut self titled album in 1985. "Greatest Love Of All" would be the 5th single to be released from her first album in the spring of 1986 and would peak at #1 on the Hot 100. "Greatest Love Of All" also appears on my very popular post about 80s Soft Rock Songs For Your Wedding Playlist

"Kiss" | Prince
One of the most requested songs by Prince in the 80s by modern brides and grooms was released back in the winter of 1986. If you are a huge Prince fan, be sure to check out the link up above for some of  the most popular Prince songs.  "Kiss" would eventually peak at #1 on the Hot 100, as well as the Hot R&B and Dance charts.

"Higher Love" | Steve Winwood
Speaking of Whitney Houston, you probably heard her posthumous cover of "Higher Love" with Kygo. Also,  James Vincent McMorrow would cover the song, which I've used for prelude music during wedding ceremonies. But it was Steve Winwood who would have one of the biggest years in his career in 1986 when he released the Back In The Highlife album.  "Higher Love" was released in June of 1986 and would peak at #1 on the Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock charts.

"Sledgehammer" | Peter Gabriel
 If you are a fan of modern rock of the 80s, you probably have Peter Gabriel in your collection.  With lyrics like "I wanna be your sledgehammer, you might add this 80s classic into your cocktail hour.  "Sledgehammer" was released in the spring of 1986, and would make it all the way to #1 on the Hot 100 and Album charts. Should you be interested in an 80s Alternative Cocktail hour. <---Click HERE

"Sara" | Starship
For those brides named "Sara", this song is an obvious choice and also appears on my Best 80s Soft Rock songs for wedding playlists. "Sara" would peak at #1 on the Hot 100 in March of  1986.

"Human" | Human League
Even though Human League reached the top of the Hot 100 in the early 80s with their signature song "Don't You Want Me", they would release new music and be a part of another British invasion that would be featured on my Sophisti-Pop Cocktail Hour Playlist.  "Human" would be released in August of 1986 and  would peak at #1 on the Hot 100, and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

"Take My Breath Away" | Berlin
Berlin, in my opinion was one of the integral bands of the Los Angeles New Wave scene in the early 80s. Their career would take a different turn when they would record "Take My Breath Away" for the Top Gun movie soundtrack.  While the song would  become the biggest song of their career, it would cause a fission in the band that would never recover in the 80s. "Take My Breath Away" would be released in the summer of 1986 and make it to #1 on the Hot 100.

"Venus" | Bananarama
Originally recorded and released in 1969 by the band Shocking Blue, Bananarama would release their cover of the song in the spring of 1986, the song would be a huge hit in the summer of 1986 and peak at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Dancing On The Ceiling" | Lionel Richie
If I am sounding like a broken record when it comes to the biggest hits of the summer of 1986, I am sorry, but everyone had the radio on at the beach in 1986.  Take it from the great Lionel Richie, this title track to his 1986 album might be the song to thrown to get you and your guests dancing all night long.  Released in July of 1986, "Dancing On The Ceiling" would peak at #2 on the Hot 100. Be sure to click on the link in the title to watch the video.

"Conga" | Miami Sound Machine
Adding "Conga" into this playlist of the biggest songs from 1986 has reminded me that I still need to put together a post of musicians from Miami.  Before she'd have a very successful solo in the late 80s and early 90s, Gloria Estefan would be the lead singer for the Miami Sound Machine.  Do not let a tacky You Tube video circulating around with a cheesy wedding DJ in it keep you from doing a Conga line at your wedding.  "Conga" would be released in the fall of 1985 and would peak at #10 on the Hot 100 in 1986.

"Danger Zone" | Kenny Loggins
One of the many signature songs of Kenny Loggins' career, you couldn't turn the radio on in (dare I say, the summer of 1986) without hearing "Danger Zone".  Part of the Top Gun movie soundtrack, "Danger Zone" would be released in May 1986 and would peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the summer.

"Amanda" | Boston
In 1986, Boston would release the third album of their careers. Third Stage would be the title of their 3rd album released in 1986.  "Amanda" would be a great departure from their hard-rocking 70s albums, but it would become their most successful song on the Billboard chart peaking at #1.  You can find "Amanda", as well as some of the Most Requested 80s and 90s Power Ballads by <---Clicking HERE.

"Take Me Home Tonight" | Eddie Money
Thinking about a great song of the 80s to end your wedding reception? "Take Me Home Tonight" is very popular for the last song of the night.  <---Click HERE for more popular last songs of the night. "Take Me Home Tonight" was released in the summer of 1986 and 
would peak at #4 on the Hot 100 in the fall.

"Your Love" | The Outfield
You'll find this song on my 50 Best Songs From The 80s For Your Wedding Playlist. <---Click HERE.  The song was released in February of 1986 and would peak at #6 on the Hot 100 chart. 

"Word Up" | Cameo
And so it continues, the theme that music during the summe rof 1986 was pretty awesome. Cameo would release this funky song in May of 1986 and would become one of the song of the summer by peaking at #6 on the Hot 100.  "Word Up" also appears on my Funky Cocktail Hour Playlist. <----Check it out by clicking this link.

"Walk This Way" | Run DMC
1986 would be the year that rock and rap would merge and give life to a song originally released in the 70s. Aerosmith and Run DMC would join forces and release a new version of "Walk This Way" in (you guessed it), the summer of 1986.  "Walk This Way" would peak at #4 on the BBillboard Hot 100.

"Tender Love" | Force MD's
"Tender Love" would be a crossover hit for the Force MD's. If you are into R&B of the 80s, then this song that appeared on the movie soundtrack of Krush Groove is the perfect add. "Tender Love" would peak at #10 on the Hot 100, and #4 on the Hot Black Singles chart.

"Something About You" | Level 42
Level 42 appears on my Sophistipop Cocktail Hour Playlist. "Something About You" would be released in the winter of 1986 and peak at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and would be the band's only Top 10 song.

"We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off" | Jermaine Stewart
You guessed it. The broken record continues. Jermaine Stewart would have one of the top songs of the summer of 1986. I do recall Jermaine Stewart performing this song on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. Released in May of 1986, the song would peak at #5 on the Hot 100 chart.

"I Can't Wait" | Nu Shooz
Spoiler alert. This won't be the only song from Nu Shooz on this playlist! :) "I Can't Wait" was the first single to be released from the album Poolside. The song would peak at #3 on the Hot 100, as well as peak at #2 on the Hot Black singles chart.

"Mad About You" | Belinda Carlisle
In the spring of 1986, this lead singer of the Go-Go's would release her first album titled Belinda.  "Mad About You" would be the first song to be released from this album and peak at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

"Glory Of Love" | Peter Cetera
I should have titled this post, The Best Songs From The Summer of 1986.  "Glory Of Love" was released in the late spring of 1986 and would become one of the biggest songs of Peter Cetera's solo career. The song appeared on the Karate Kid II movie soundtrack and would peak at #1 on the Hot 100, as well as the adult contemporary chart.

"Invisible Touch" | Genesis
Another song of summer in 1986, "Invisible Touch" would catapault Genesis into 80s superstars, and peak at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

"Stuck With You" | Huey Lewis  & The News
Continuing with the greatest songs of the summer of 1986, this classic by Huey Lewis & The News was released in July, and would top out at #1 on the Hot 100, as well as the Adult Contemporary chart.

"Lady In Red" | Chris Deburgh
Moving right along with another song from the summer of 1986, Chris Deburgh would release this song that appears on 25 Soft Rock Songs From The 80s Spotify playlist and peak at #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

"Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone" | Glass Tiger
Here's a song that will forever put a smile on my face when I hear it. Glass Tiger would release their first album The Thin Red Line in early 1986 and this would be the first single.  Released in July of 1986, the song would peak at #2 on the Hot 100 chart.

"The Captain Of Her Heart" | Double
Back in the summer of 1986, "The Captain Of Her Heart" would make it's debut on the Billboard Hot 100.  The song would peak in the Top 20 and is also featured on my Smooth And Sexy Like Silk Jazz Playlist. <--Click Here to check out this playlist.

"In Your Eyes" | Peter Gabriel
In 1986, Peter Gabriel would release the album, So. "In Your Eyes" would be the third song to be released from the album  and peak at #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

"Point Of No Return" | Nu Shooz
And we wrap up this look back at the best songs from 1986 with that second song from Nu Shooz that I mentioned from up above. "Point Of No Return" would be the follow-up song to "I Can't Wait" released in July of 1986.  While the song only broke into the Top 30, it remains one of my favorites of 1986 because of it's quintessential 80s sound.

Interested In Speaking To Mike Bills About Being Your Wedding DJ?
I sure hope you enjoyed this time warp back to the greatest songs from 1986. If you are a big fan of the 80s, you probably can see so many of the most requested songs from the 80s featured on this post. 1986 was an outstanding year in music.  I would love to speak with you about your wedding. One of the big selling points that separates me from all the other wedding DJs is I provide a personalized approach with all of my clients. I like to try to get to know their musical tastes so that we can put together a playlist that will have your guests talking for years.   If you'd like to set up a time to talk, please click the link up above and we'll set up a time at your leisure to discuss your wedding. I look forward to speaking with you. Thank you so much for picking me out of all their other wedding DJs. Talk to you soon!