WatchMojo

Login Now!

OR   Sign in with Google   Sign in with Facebook
advertisememt
VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
These 80s anthems rock! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the 80s rock songs that make us raise our fists and yell! Our countdown of the greatest 80s rock anthems includes “Ace of Spades”, “Paradise City”, “Run to the Hills”, and more!

#10: “Dr. Feelgood” (1989)

Also in:

Top 10 Hard Rock Anthems

Mötley Crüe Kings of the Sunset Strip Mötley Crüe have no shortage of heavy metal anthems. However, it’s seriously impressive that the band was able to craft songs this excellent. Both “Dr. Feelgood” and fellow banger “Kickstart My Heart” are heavy, high-octane affairs, the sort of songs that immediately evoke a memorable time and place. Specifically, “Dr. Feelgood” chugs along at a sinister mid-pace, achieving heaviness without skimping on major hooks and sleaze. Meanwhile, the music video is a mini-epic, with front man Vince Neil commanding listeners’ attention as the song’s cautionary tale ends in bullets, fire and lots of explosions.

#9: “Ace of Spades” (1980)

Also in:

Top 10 Rock Anthems

Motörhead Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” may just squeeze into our criteria in the year 1980, but the song’s e influence as an iconic hard rock and heavy metal anthem remains secure. There’s an electricity to “Ace of Spades” that takes hold right from Lemmy Kilmister’s over-blown bass tone to that sandpaper guitar riff from “Fast” Eddie Clarke. Add to this sonic stew the maniacal drums of Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, and you have a recipe for a take-no-prisoners sonic assault. Lemmy’s fatalistic lyrics about gambling and wild west danger lend “Ace of Spades” a conceptual atmosphere that’s analogous to hard rock’s unpredictability as the seventies gave way to a new decade. What remained constant, you may ask? Well, Motörhead, and their no-BS brand of rock ‘n roll.

#8: “You Shook Me All Night Long” (1980)

Also in:

Top 20 Heavy Metal Anthems

AC/DC If Motörhead was leading the heavy charge in 1980, then consider AC/DC’s “Back in Black” LP as a reenergized statement of intent. The Australian legends were still reeling from their loss of their inimitable front man, Bon Scott, yet it was “Back in Black” and songs like “You Shook Me All Night Long” that helped prove AC/DC could soldier on with a new singer, Brian Johnson, at the helm. If that album’s opening track, “Hells Bells,” possessed demonic intentions, then “You Shook Me All Night Long” is the party-time respite that helped AC/DC re-enter the charts with a vengeance. It’s a duck-walking, fist-pumping exercise in radio-friendly, anthemic rock that continues to get AC/DC fans all riled up.

#7: “Youth Gone Wild” (1989)

Skid Row A good song is a good song, regardless of era, style or extraneous trappings. “Youth Gone Wild” is truly one of the all-time greats, too, a heavy metal anthem from one of the 1980s’ most influential groups, Skid Row. Much of the attention paid to “Youth Gone Wild,” deservedly so, falls to singer Sebastian Bach. He is, quite simply, THE MAN, and possesses a voice that embodies power, emotion, grace, and humor. However, the songwriting of Skid members Dave “Snake” Sabo and Rachel Bolan also can’t be denied as the glue that helps make “Youth Gone Wild” work so well. The textured arrangements and attention to detail are 100% there, and “Youth Gone Wild,” as a result, transcends “the ‘80s” to last forever.

#6: “Paradise City” (1987)

Also in:

Citysol - Rhythm In Paradise

Guns N’ Roses Here’s a question: does it matter that the main riff from Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City” sounds remarkably similar to “Zero the Hero” by Black Sabbath? [1] Maybe, but we also doubt that this revelation will hurt this G N’R classic from ruling radio roosts for decades to come. That’s because it’s a song that’s become synonymous with Guns N’ Roses as a brand; a song they almost always have to play, and one that always gets a rabid reaction. That aforementioned riff (heisted or not) keeps “Paradise City” going for the most part, but the REAL kicker is during the final act, when the pace is sped up and G N’R go for broke. It’s classic stuff.

#5: “Peace Sells” (1986)

Also in:

Interview with Our Lady Peace on 'Curve'

Megadeth Thrash fans know this one right from that iconic bass line. Heck, people who’ve never even heard of Megadeth might know “Peace Sells” from its long-time use during MTV’s music news briefs. Beyond this bit of trivia, this title track from Megadeth’s sophomore album, “Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying?” hangs its creative hat on something we’re calling “The Mustaine Shuffle.” It’s an approach Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine historically uses often for his riffs, and there are few who chug ‘n crunch in quite the same way. “Peace Sells” really hits a stride when it breaks away from this shuffling rhythm, however, hitting the thrash gas for some lightning-fast solos and a chorus that still kills, so many years later.

#4: “Rock You Like a Hurricane” (1984)

Also in:

Top 10 Best Punk Rock Guitar Riffs of All Time

Scorpions Germany’s Scorpions were actually doing just fine for themselves prior to the 1980s, enjoying a reputation as one of their country’s finest progressive Krautrock exports. However, heavy metal came calling in a BIG way for the group as the seventies headed into the creative rear view. “Rock You Like a Hurricane” is very much indicative of the musical path Scorpions have trod from that point to the modern day: a muscular and riff-focused metallic assault. Twin harmony leads, anthemic choruses, savage riffing…it’s all there and laser focused to its most commercial potential for a decade that liked things LOUD and HEAVY. Sure, Scorpions weren’t really a prog band anymore, but that mattered little to their new legions of headbanging faithful.

#3: “Crazy Train” (1980)

Also in:

Izzo Blues Coalition The Messiah Will Come Again Shine On You Crazy Diamond Intro

Ozzy Osbourne Put those pitchforks away for the time being: we know that “Crazy Train” isn’t Ozzy Osbourne’s best song. Not by a longshot, in fact. However, its status as an anthem and calling card for the former Black Sabbath singer is undeniable. There’s a hookiness to that opening riff that’s immediately recognizable by even those completely unfamiliar with hard rock and heavy metal. The creative flowers here definitely need to be laid at the feet of the dear and departed Randy Rhoads, whose axe-slinging skills laid the groundwork for Ozzy to become the icon he is today. Rhoads may be gone, but the contributions he made on songs like “Crazy Train” live forever.

#2: “Run to the Hills” (1982)

Also in:

Top 20 Greatest Summer Anthems

Iron Maiden We’re on a similar line of thinking as Ozzy with this one, a tried-and-true heavy metal anthem that’s most definitely NOT a deep track. Still, Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” was, for many, a gateway drug for the intoxicating bliss that was heavy metal back in the 1980s, so that’s got to count for something, right? Bassist and songwriter Steve Harris leans into his trademarked gallop for all its worth as “Run to the Hills” makes its presence felt. It’s the then-freshly acquired singer Bruce Dickinson that really steals the show here, however, howling with abandon and ferocity as if his life depended on it. Love it or hate it, “Run to the Hills” is an undeniable rocker. Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions. “Dream Warriors” (1987), Dokken A Hair Metal Horror Anthem “Transformers” (1986), Lion The Most Epic Animated Intro EVER “Nothin’ But a Good Time” (1988), Poison The United States of Pop Metal “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)” (1983), Quiet Riot Heavy Metal Enters the Charts “Round and Round” (1984), Ratt Sleaze & Style Collide on the Sunset Strip

#1: “Master of Puppets” (1986)

Also in:

Stereo Riots Master Of Tomorrow

Metallica Who said an anthem needs to compromise ANYTHING in order to connect with the masses? If someone did, nobody told Metallica, because worldwide dominance and success came to THEM, not the other way around. How else can we explain a world where a song as heavy, complex and brazenly metallic can enter the pop culture zeitgeist of a show like “Stranger Things?” It speaks largely to how closely Metallica’s songwriting reflected a perfectionist desire and an almost maddening attention to detail. This is meticulous thrash metal composed with an ear for classical-based structures and arrangements that always service the song, as opposed to any personal indulgences of the musicians involved. In other words, it’s perfect. What 1980s rock song pumps YOU up? Let us know in the comments!

Comments
advertisememt