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Top 1981 Songs

Giving birth to MTV, 1981 made important contributions to the history of music. The channel dedicated to music videos created an entire new arena for artists to express themselves, creating a new genre of "music video stars," many of which topped the charts throughout 1981. From Rick Springfield's lovelorn 'Jessie's Girl' to AC/DC's party-starter 'For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)', the following 10 Best Songs of 1981 were the highest rated by AOL Radio listeners.
'Our Lips Are Sealed'
This song's music video was one of the first to play on MTV after it launched in 1981. Featuring the Go-Go's riding around in a convertible, splashing in a fountain and stopping at a lingerie shop, the video featured the girls' carefree attitudes.
The Go Gos Our Lips Are Sealed
'Jesse's Girl'
The story behind this 1981 tale of unrequited love comes from when Rick Springfield was taking a stained glass class along with his friend Gary and Gary's girlfriend and Springfield fell for the girlfriend "from afar." He says he changed the name to "Jessie" after seeing the name on another girl's softball jersey.
Rick Springfield Jesse's Girl
'Just Can't Get Enough'
This 1981 song has been featured everywhere from a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie to a Viagra commercial; its vague lyrics lend themselves nicely to a love for anyone, anything and any product.
Depeche Mode Just Cant Get Enough
'Bette Davis Eyes'
Even though 'Bette Davis Eyes' is only No.7 on this list, the song was the highest seller in 1981 and won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Bette Davis herself even admitted to being a fan of the track.
Kim Carnes Bette Davis Eyes
'Don't You Want Me'
This song's story originates from lead singer Philip Oakey's inspiration after reading a tabloid story and deciding to turn it into a dramatic duet between the band's two teenage female singers.
The Human League Don't You Want Me
'Tainted Love'
Tainted Love' was originally written by Ed Cobb of The Four Preps and recorded by Gloria Jones. It didn't hit the charts until being covered by Soft Cell in 1981. The song was covered again in 2001 by Marilyn Manson.
Soft Cell Tainted Love
'Waiting For A Girl Like You'
Spending 10 weeks at No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart without ever reaching #1, 'Waiting For A Girl Like You' was blocked from the top spot at first by Olivia Newton-John's 'Physical' and then by Hall & Oates' 'I Can't Go for That (No Can Do).'
Foreigner Waiting For A Girl Like You
'For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)'
If the title sounds familiar, it's because it originates from an ancient salute used by Roman gladiators: "Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant" ("Hail Caesar, we who are about to die, salute you.")
AC/DC For Those About To Rock We Salute You
'In The Air Tonight'
One of the first music videos to air on MTV, 'In The Air Tonight' is a dark song that Collins wrote in the "wake of a failing relationship with his then-wife."
Phil Collins In The Air Tonight
'Don't Stop Believing'
Covers of the karaoke standard 'Don't Stop Believing' can be heard in bars across the nation. In 1981, the song was also Journey's biggest hit to date, reaching No.8 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and No.9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Even more impressive? It's the most downloaded song not released in the 21st century on iTunes.
Journey Don't Stop Believing
Filed under: Top 10 Lists, Best Songs

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