For those who experienced the 1980’s you may remember how weird and wild they could be, for those who didn’t, don’t worry the music tells the story! The advent of MTV helped push music into new genres and strange formats. There was powerful arena rock, absurd New Wave, and of course plenty of bubbly pop.
We reached out to Shawn Leonhardt for 30 Day Singer and Guitar Tricks for his view on the 15 best karaoke songs from the 80’s that capture the era and are fun to sing even if you’re still learning how to sing!
1. Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cydni Lauper
This song was written by a male artist but was covered by Cyndi Lauper in 1983, and her version is better! It has classic 80’s drum machines, synths, a heavy backbeat, and lots of fun. Cyndi Lauper has a high voice so if you want to pull this song off right you need to copy that perky style. Might need to sing this one in falsetto!
Sing Girls Just Want To Have Fun karaoke.
2. Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
This arena rock song from Def Leppard will definitely get the party started, this hit used to be played often on jukeboxes in bars and bowling alleys back in the 80’s. If you can sing in a gritty rocking way then this lyrically fun song shouldn’t be too hard. It’s hard rock with a little metal, but not too much for the average audience.
Sing Pour Some Sugar On Me karaoke here.
3. I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston
This Whitney Houston song was one of her earlier hits that brought her to national attention. It has a classic 808 drum machine and great R&B singing. Whitney has a very powerful voice so if you want to pull this song off make sure you add a touch of soul to your vocals.
Sing I Wanna Dance With Somebody karaoke here.
4. Faith – George Michael
George Michael sang this simple but funky 80’s classic that starts out slow and then jumps up with the guitar riff. The key to singing this song is to get the vocal syncopation right to make it as funky as possible. He had a very soulful voice so the better you can sing, the easier this tune will be.
Sing Faith karaoke here.
5. The Power of Love – Huey Lewis and The News
Not only is this popular song by Huey Lewis and the News it was associated with the 80’s movie Back to the Future, so it is full of nostalgia. Huey had a mix of pop rock, jazz, and blues in his vocals so you can sing this in a gritty rocking way if you want.
Sing The Power of Love karaoke here.
6. I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany
Tiffany was a teen idol, which there were plenty of in the 1980’s, and this song was a cover of an earlier classic. It also has a lot of 80’s drum machines and synthesizers and shouldn’t be too hard to sing for those with moderate skills. If you sing it just right it may even open a portal to an 80’s mall in New Jersey!
Sing I Think We're Alone Now karaoke here.
7. What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner
If you want a song that’s got powerful vocals but is more serious try this Tina Turner hit. If you have a knack for soul and R&B singing this tune is great for showcasing your skills. She also has a bit of a gravely and gritty approach to her vocals if you want to add that in.
Sing What’s Love Got To Do With It karaoke here.
8. Don’t Worry Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin is a Grammy award winning jazz vocalist, but most of this song is easy enough for the average person to sing. The whistling and extra vocal elements may be tough for some but the rest isn’t too hard. This hit also perfectly encapsulates the attitude of much of the 1980’s. It’s also a great song to use as a vocal warm up.
Sing Don't Worry Be Happy karaoke here.
9. Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor
This harder rocking song was featured on Rocky III, and while this may seem heavy it isn’t too difficult to sing. If you want a callback to a fighting 80’s soundtrack this tune definitely fits the bill. It is a great song to kick off a night of karaoke from that decade.
Sing Eye Of The Tiger karaoke here.
10. We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel
This hit by Billy Joel won’t push your vocal range, it’s just spoken fast. If you think you can make it through American history from the 40’s to the 80’s then this is the song for you. For those that can pull it off it can be impressive!
Sing We Didn't Start The Fire karaoke here.
11. Material Girl – Madonna
Madonna has a lot of worthy karaoke hits from the 1980’s and this is one of the more fun songs to pick. If you want something slower by her try “Borderline.” Otherwise this hit is heavy on synths, drum machines, and a strong backbeat contrasting with her higher pitch vocals. You can probably find some vocal fry in her recordings as well.
Sing Material Girl karaoke here.
12. Call Me – Blondie
Blondie was a part of the New Wave and early punk music so her songs are often not too difficult to sing. However, this one has a strong drive and a chorus that is yelled as much as it is sung. If you want an early 80’s hit with 70’s vibes this song is perfect.
Sing Call Me karaoke here.
13. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
If you don’t have the best singing voice this Tom Petty hit is great to try. And that’s not to imply he had a bad voice; he was an all-American songwriter that kept his guitar riffs and vocals as simple and catchy as possible. This makes it easier for those who struggle with karaoke. You won’t need crazy vibrato, or other technical vocal ability for this one.
Sing Free Fallin' karaoke here.
14. Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
Pat Benatar is perfect for singers that have a powerful and rocking voice, there is nothing too complicated to sing, it just requires the energy put into it. This song is fun to perform and will get the party started.
Sing Pat Benatar karaoke here.
15. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
Even the younger generations know this song as it is a part of Internet meme culture and known as “Rickrolling.” This is a trick where somebody will lead you down a path that ends in the lyrics of this song. So if you want to have some fun you can rickroll your audience with a rendition of Rick Astley’s hit. It’s a great tune where a singer can showcase their skills along with having some fun!
Sing Never Gonna Give You Up karaoke here.
So there you have the 15 best karaoke songs of the 1980’s, of course there are many more out there to sing. 80’s and 90’s hits are often standard fare for karaoke as most generations are familiar with the more popular songs. Some are hard to sing, but for the most part it was an over-the-top decade so it’s fine to let loose and party when it comes to singing tunes from the 80’s!
Needing some more nostalgia? Check out our list of the the best 90's karaoke songs.