1. Come On Eileen: Dexy's Midnight Runners
The best selling song of the year was Dexy's ninth single and second UK Number 1, following Geno in 1980.
Unlike much of the band's output, Come On Eileen became an international hit, not only reaching the top of the charts at home, but also in the United States during April, 1983.
It remains the group's only hit there, allowing it to top the list of the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.
2. Fame: Irene Cara
Taken from the movie soundtrack of the same name, Fame preceded Dexy's Midnight Runners as the UK Number 1 song during 1982, but could only sell enough copies to put it in the runners-up position.
Released in the UK two years after its American release date, sales were buoyed by the simultaneous transmission of the very successful television spin-off from the movie.
Irene Cara, however, would appear only one more time in the UK charts when she peaked at Number 2 during early 1983 with another movie theme: Flashdance...What A Feeling.
3. Eye of the Tiger: Survivor
Another movie-related song ended up at Number 3 on the countdown of the year, this one courtesy of American rockers, Survivor.
Eye of the Tiger was included in Sylvester Stallone's Rocky lll and four years later in a movie of the same name.
Such has been the popularity of the song - reaching Number 1 in many territories worldwide - it is now in the Top 40 best selling singles of all time.
However, Survivor would only return to the UK Top 10 on one further occasion, when Burning Heart (from the Rocky lV soundtrack) peaked at Number 5 in 1985.
4. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me: Culture Club
For a four-year period during the 1980s, Culture Club was one of the biggest selling and most popular bands on the planet. Their commercial success began with Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?, the first of two Number 1 songs in the UK.
In fact, Culture Club got lucky. If it wasn't for the fact that another act dropped out of appearing on the UK's biggest pop television show, Top of the Pops, the group would never have generated all of the publicity it received from its appearance. Of course, that surrounded the somewhat androgynous image presented by lead singer, Boy George.
America took the band to its heart as well, sending the song to Number 2 when it was released there later in 1982.
5. The Lion Sleeps Tonight: Tight Fit
Originally a hit for The Tokens in 1961, studio group Tight Fit covered The Lion Sleeps Tonight and took it all the way to the top of the British charts for three weeks in March 1982.
Not a hit in the US, the song nevertheless saw chart action across Europe, eventually selling more than a million copies in the UK alone.
While the voices on the track are not supplied by the group, hastily created to promote the song, it seems that the three members reunited in 2008 for performance purposes and went into the studio to record material for an album in 2010.
6. Pass the Dutchie: Musical Youth
Securing the Number 1 position in the UK during October 1982 was British reggae group Musical Youth with the very catchy Pass the Dutchie.
It was the young band's second single and made a major impact worldwide, hitting the Top 10 in the US upon its release there and capturing the Number 1 position across Europe.
Sadly, the boys were not able to replicate the enormous success of this song, even though two more Top 20 singles followed at home. The original group eventually split in 1985.
7. I Don't Wanna Dance: Eddy Grant
Formerly a member of The Equals, a group which took the song Baby Come Back to a UK Number 1 in 1968, Eddy Grant repeated the feat with I Don't Wanna Dance in mid-November 1982.
Staying at the top of the charts for three weeks, it sold sufficient copies to land at Number 7 in the year end countdown. It was also one of three back to back Number 1 hits with a reggae flavouring to top the UK charts during the year, following both Culture Club and Musical Youth.
Eddy Grant would return to the top of the British listing later in the decade with the single Gimme Hope Jo'anna.
8. Seven Tears: Goombay Dance Band
The Goombay Dance Band was one of those acts that occasionally appear in the UK music charts, if not similar charts around the world: record a song that appeals to a substantial number of record buyers and then disappear forever.
This is exactly what happened with this German-based Caribbean vocal group, when it topped the listing towards the end of March for three weeks with Seven Tears. Although they achieved other hits in their homeland and in other territories, little more was heard about them in the UK.
Goombay Dance Band on Video
9. Ebony & Ivory: Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder
The pooling of the talents of two of the biggest names in rock history may have produced one of the most commercially successful songs of all time in Ebony and Ivory, but not all of the accolades were positive.
In some quarters, the track has been described as one of the worst songs of all time, and to enforce that sentiment further, it has also been voted as the worst duet ever.
Nevertheless, a lot of people liked it. Enough to push it to the top of both the British and American charts, selling millions of copies in the process.
10. Town Called Malice/Precious: The Jam
1982 proved to be The Jam's swansong year and in the UK this double A-sided single was the first of two Number 1 songs for them during the year.
Written by lead singer Paul Weller, Town Called Malice is apparently about Woking in Surrey, his hometown, which is only a few miles away from me.
As with most of The Jam's output, it has a chunky bassline provided by guitarist Bruce Foxton and even more of a 1960s funk/soul feel to it than usual.
Just three more chart singles followed this one and then Weller called it a day and the band split.
The 1982 Poll
Meanwhile, in the United States...
1. Olivia Newton-John
Eye Of The Tiger
3. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
I Love Rock 'n' Roll
4. Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
Ebony and Ivory
5. J. Geils Band
6. Human League
Don't You Want Me?
7. John Cougar
Jack And Diane
8. John Cougar
Hurts So Good
9. Steve Miller Band
Hard To Say I'm Sorry
© 2014 Richard
Your Thoughts on the 1980s...
Marshall Fish on February 03, 2020:
Nice Hub, Richard. It's fun to see that list of 1982 hits, along with the videos.
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 01, 2015:
A real walk down memory lane.
Giovanna from UK on September 09, 2014:
Wow I'd forgotten most of these - but I do love the Jam - don't you!!
debW07 on September 08, 2014:
I remember so many of these songs! Boy George and Culture Club was always a favorite. Great list!
Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on August 29, 2014:
The early 80s were a blur for me and I don't really remember many of these songs!
mumsgather on August 28, 2014:
I love 80s music. This hub makes me feel nostalic. :)
oldiesmusic from United States on August 27, 2014:
Haven't heard some of these songs for years. My favorite would be "A Town Called Malice" or "Come on Eileen," but the others are great too. Feeling nostalgic here, thanks for bringing back some of the memories.
Donna Cook on August 23, 2014:
Hard to believe it's over 30 years ago. Everything since Led Zep seems like new music to me.
Brian Stephens from France on August 22, 2014:
Brings back a lot of memories. Some great tracks as well. Nice Hub
Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on August 22, 2014:
Fame would be my favorite
Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on August 20, 2014:
Nice Hub. I remember a few of them but I haven't heard all of them. That was a very busy year for me with 5 teenage children, most likely not enough time to listen to the radio.
Fay Favored from USA on August 20, 2014:
You don't think of these songs as being global, but they are. Haven't heard some of them for years. Thanks for the memories.
Deb Bryan from Chico California on August 19, 2014:
My thoughts about the 1980s... I enjoyed them and had toddlers in the house. Most of the music we listened to was on children's shows.
I do remember Eye of The Tiger! :-)
Paul from Liverpool, England on August 19, 2014:
Nice hub, mixed music :)
Susanna Duffy from Melbourne Australia on August 19, 2014:
It was a strange decade. I've never been attracted to the music produced at that time although I spent many, many hours bopping away in smoky clubs and pubs to that same music
Richard (author) from Surrey, United Kingdom on August 19, 2014:
annmackiemiller from Bingley Yorkshire England on August 19, 2014:
nicely done Richard