THEY’RE SOME OF THE MOST MEMORABLE SONGS OF THE ’80S, BUT THEY NEVER FOUND SUCCESS ON THE BILLBOARD TOP 40 CHARTS.
Normally, when a song goes mainstream, it also does really well on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and ends up in the top 40. But, in the ’80s many of the most popular songs of the decade never even made it into the top 40. Whether it was poor album sales, lack of radio airplay, or the song became popular years after its release, these 10 songs never made it into the top 40 on the Hot 100 charts, but they’re all considered huge hits from the ’80s.
- It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) from R.E.M.
R.E.M. are considered one of the greatest alternative rock bands of all time, and in the ’80s, they released some of the greatest alt rock songs of the decade. One of those songs, ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’ never made it past #69 on the Hot 100 charts in 1988.
2. Home Sweet Home from Motley Crue
This has always baffled me. In 1985, due to the video’s popularity on MTV, Motley Crue’s ‘Smokin’ in the Boys Room’ received a lot of radio airplay, and the song became their first top 20 hit on the Hot 100 charts when it peaked at #16. So, it makes no sense that their next single ‘Home Sweet Home’ never even came close to the top 40 peaking at #89 on the Hot 100 charts in ’85. It’s even more perplexing considering the music video below for ‘Home Sweet Home’ is considered one of the most popular music videos of all time.
3. Gypsy Road from Cinderella
If you’ve been following us for a while, you know how much we love Cinderella. They are definitely one of the most underrated rock bands of the ’80s. I mean, ‘Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)’ is considered one of the greatest rock ballads of the ’80s, and it didn’t even make it into the top 10 on the Hot 100 charts. It peaked at #12, which is just insane.
Gypsy Road was released as the first single from Cinderella’s 1988 Long Cold Winter album. The video received heavy airplay on MTV, and there was no way it wasn’t going to be a huge hit… Well, I guess there was a way because it peaked at #51 on the Hot 100 charts, and even more surprisingly, it only made it to #20 on the Billboard Rock charts. What?
4. Solsbury Hill from Peter Gabriel
‘Solsbury Hill’ is one of Peter Gabriel’s greatest songs, but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at the charts. He first released it as his debut single back in 1977, and it peaked at #68 on the Hot 100 charts. He then re-released it as a single in the ’80s in 1983 with the live version, but it did even worse on the charts only making it to #84 on the Hot 100 charts. One year later, he would scored one of the biggest hits of the ’80s with Sledgehammer.
5. Goodbye to You from Scandal
To us, Goodbye to You is a better song than The Warrior, and helped pave the way for The Warrior’s success on the charts (#7 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Rock charts), but it’s still surprising to us that Goodbye to You from Scandal only made it to #65 on the Hot 100 charts. It was a top five rock song, but it certainly deserved to be in the top 40 on the Hot 100 charts as well.
6. I Want Candy from Bow Wow Wow
I would have never guessed that I Want Candy from Bow Wow Wow wasn’t a top 40 hit. It’s Bow Wow Wow’s biggest and most remembered song, but in the U.S. it peaked at #62 on the Hot 100 charts in 1982. Wow, Wow, Wow!
7. Centerfield from John Fogerty
This one probably surprises me the most. For decades this song has been synonymous with baseball games, and it’s still played at one time or another in every major leagues baseball stadium. But, in 1985, it wasn’t that popular, and it struck out at #44 on the Hot 100 charts. This one would be a great trivia question as almost no one would think this song wasn’t a hit back in the ’80s.
8. Tempted from Squeeze
How in the world could Hall & Oates score hit after hit in the early ’80s, but Tempted by Squeeze, which to us sounds very much like a Hall & Oates classic, didn’t even crack the top 40 peaking at #49 on the Hot 100 charts in 1981. However, I’m sure Squeeze aren’t complaining since Tempted has been played in so many movies, TV shows, video games, and commercials. It’s now one of the most recognizable songs from the early ’80s and their most memorable song.
9. For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) from AC/DC
For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) is one of the most memorable rock songs of all time from AC/DC. But for whatever reason, the Hot 100 just didn’t like AC/DC much. In our opinion, their songs were better than almost any other rock band on the charts during the ’80s and ’90s, but the Hot 100 charts never gave them much love. This song didn’t even chart on the Hot 100 charts, but at least it did peak at #4 on the Rock charts. Probably even more surprising than this song not charting at all on the Hot 100 charts is the fact they’ve only had three songs make it into the top 40 on the Hot 100 charts. In 1980, You Shook Me All Night Long peaked at number 35 and Back in Black peaked at number 37. Moneytalks peaked at #23 on the Hot 100 charts in 1990. That my friends is ridiculous considering how many great songs they have!
10. Should I Stay or Should I Go from The Clash
Last, but not least, can you believe that The Clash released Should I Stay or Should I Go twice as a single, and both times it failed to reach the top 40. The first time was in 1982 when it peaked at #45 on the Hot 100 charts and #13 on the Rock charts. The second release was even more surprising. In 1991, they re-released the song, and it went to #1 in the UK and was a top five hit all over the world… except for the U.S., where it failed to reach the top 100 on the Hot 100 charts. Looks like hair bands weren’t the only bands that Kurt Cobain and his flannel-laden minions knocked off the charts in the early ’90s, huh?