The Number One Hits Of 1985
|December 22, 1984 – February 1, 1985
Like a Virgin
The album “Like a Virgin” (1984) was her first to top the charts in the United States and featured iconic hits such as Material Girl and Like a Virgin.
Like a Virgin is widely recognized for its provocative lyrics and became a defining moment in Madonna’s career, solidifying her image as a daring and groundbreaking artist.
|February 2, 1985 – February 15, 1985
I Want to Know What Love Is
Foreigner is a British-American rock band formed in 1976, known for their fusion of hard rock and pop balladry.
I Want to Know What Love Is is a powerful and emotional ballad that became one of the band’s biggest hits, featuring the New Jersey Mass Choir in the song’s climactic chorus.
|February 16, 1985 – March 8, 1985
Wham! featuring George Michael
Before Wham!, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley played together in a ska band called The Executive.
Careless Whisper is a smooth and sultry ballad showcasing George Michael’s soulful voice and mature songwriting, becoming one of his most enduring solo hits.
|March 9, 1985 – March 29, 1985
Can’t Fight This Feeling
REO Speedwagon is an American rock band formed in 1967, known for their catchy pop-infused rock anthems.
Can’t Fight This Feeling is a heartfelt power ballad that became one of the band’s most successful singles, with its anthemic chorus and emotive lyrics.
|March 30, 1985 – April 12, 1985
One More Night
Phil Collins, born Philip David Charles Collins on January 30, 1951, in Chiswick, London, England, is a renowned English musician, singer-songwriter, drummer, and actor. He gained recognition as the drummer and lead vocalist for the iconic rock band Genesis before launching a successful solo career.
One More Night is a slow, romantic ballad that showcases Phil Collins’ ability to write heartfelt and memorable songs, and its soft, melodic sound became a staple of his solo career.
|April 13, 1985 – May 10, 1985
USA for Africa
We Are the World
USA for Africa was a supergroup formed by Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and producer Quincy Jones to raise funds for African famine relief.
We Are the World is a charity single featuring a star-studded lineup of artists, and its uplifting message and memorable melody made it an iconic song of the 1980s.
|May 11, 1985 – May 17, 1985
Crazy for You
Madonna’s 2008 “Sticky & Sweet Tour” was, at the time, the highest-grossing tour by a female artist, earning over $400 million.
Crazy for You is a romantic slow-dance ballad featured in the film “Vision Quest” and showcases a softer, more introspective side of Madonna’s music.
|May 18, 1985 – May 24, 1985
Don’t You (Forget About Me)
Simple Minds is a Scottish rock band formed in 1977, known for its anthemic sound and introspective lyrics.
Don’t You (Forget About Me) was featured in the iconic coming-of-age film “The Breakfast Club” and became one of the band’s most enduring hits.
|May 25, 1985 – June 7, 1985
Everything She Wants
The band’s backing singers, Pepsi & Shirlie, went on to have their own successful music careers after Wham!’s breakup.
Everything She Wants is a catchy, danceable pop song that explores themes of materialism and relationship struggles, showcasing the duo’s versatility as songwriters.
|June 8, 1985 – June 21, 1985
Tears for Fears
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Tears for Fears is an English pop-rock band formed in 1981, known for its introspective lyrics and synth-driven sound.
Everybody Wants to Rule the World is an uplifting and catchy tune that captures the spirit of the 1980s and discusses themes of ambition and the desire for power.
|June 22, 1985 – July 5, 1985
Bryan Adams is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist known for his distinctive raspy voice and heartfelt rock ballads.
Heaven is a tender love song that has become one of Bryan Adams’ signature hits, featuring a memorable melody and emotionally charged lyrics.
|July 6, 1985 – July 12, 1985
Phil is one of the world’s best-selling artists, having sold over 150 million records worldwide as a solo artist and over 100 million records as part of Genesis.
Sussudio is an upbeat and infectious dance-pop song with a memorable and catchy hook, showcasing Phil Collins’ versatility as a performer.
|July 13, 1985 – July 26, 1985
A View to a Kill
Duran Duran’s involvement with the James Bond film “A View to a Kill” (1985) started when bassist John Taylor approached Bond film producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli at a party. Taylor, a fan of the Bond films, expressed his band’s interest in creating the theme song for the upcoming movie. Broccoli, considering ways to refresh the Bond franchise and appeal to a younger audience, saw this as an opportunity.
A View to a Kill is the theme song for the James Bond film of the same name and features the band’s signature blend of new wave and pop-rock.
|July 27, 1985 – August 2, 1985
Everytime You Go Away
Paul Young is an English pop singer known for his soulful voice and heartfelt ballads.
Everytime You Go Away is a romantic and emotive song originally written by Daryl Hall, and Paul Young’s version became a major hit in the mid-1980s.
|August 3, 1985 – August 23, 1985
Tears for Fears
Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith in Bath, England, founded the band, and the name was inspired by Arthur Janov’s primal therapy, popularized by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Shout is a powerful and anthemic song that deals with protest and emotional release themes, showcasing the band’s ability to create impactful and thought-provoking music.
|August 24, 1985 – September 6, 1985
Huey Lewis and the News
The Power of Love
Huey Lewis made a cameo in “Back to the Future” as a high school teacher criticizing Marty McFly’s band for being “too darn loud.”
The Power of Love is an energetic and infectious song featured in the film “Back to the Future,” and became one of the band’s most successful hits.
|September 7, 1985 – September 20, 1985
St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)
Initially, John Parr was asked to write and record a song for the film, but he was not given any specific instructions about the theme or content of the song. While working on the song, Parr was inspired by Rick Hansen, a Canadian Paralympian who embarked on a wheelchair journey around the world to raise awareness and funds for spinal cord injuries. Hansen’s journey was called the “Man in Motion” tour.
Parr decided to write a song that would fit the movie and pay tribute to Hansen’s inspiring journey. The resulting song, “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion),” became a tribute to both the movie’s storyline and Rick Hansen’s incredible feat. The song’s lyrics combine themes of self-discovery, determination, and overcoming obstacles.
|September 21, 1985 – October 11, 1985
Money for Nothing
The song’s lyrics were inspired by Mark Knopfler’s experience at a store where he overheard a conversation between two appliance store workers watching MTV. The workers commented about the music videos and the artists, expressing their disdain and suggesting that the musicians were getting “money for nothing.” Knopfler used this idea to create a song that satirized the perception of rock stars and the music industry.
The music video for “Money for Nothing” was groundbreaking for its time, as it was one of the first to feature computer-animated graphics extensively. Directed by Steve Barron, the video combined live-action footage of the band performing with animated sequences that depicted the two store workers from Knopfler’s original experience. The animation was created using a technique called “paintbox,” which allowed artists to paint directly onto the screen, creating a distinctive and innovative look that was cutting-edge for its time.
|October 12, 1985 – October 18, 1985
Ready for the World
Ready for the World is an American R&B band formed in 1982, known for its blend of funk, soul, and new wave influences.
Oh Sheila is a danceable, synth-driven track that became one of the group’s most successful songs, featuring catchy hooks and distinctive vocals.
|October 19, 1985 – October 25, 1985
Take On Me
The music video for “Take On Me” is considered one of the most iconic and memorable videos of the 1980s. Directed by Steve Barron, the video combines live-action footage with rotoscope animation, a technique in which animators trace over live-action film footage frame by frame to create a hand-drawn, pencil-sketch animation style. The result is a visually striking and unique video that seamlessly blends the real world with a comic book-style fantasy world.
The video’s storyline follows a young woman (played by actress Bunty Bailey) who becomes engrossed in a comic book featuring the band’s lead singer, Morten Harket. As she reads the comic, she is magically pulled into the illustrated world, where she meets Harket and the rest of the band. Together, they must evade adversaries and escape the comic book world, ultimately returning to reality.
|October 26, 1985 – November 1, 1985
Saving All My Love for You
Born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, Whitney was raised in a musical family; her mother, Cissy Houston, was a gospel singer, and her cousin, Dionne Warwick, and godmother, Aretha Franklin, were both acclaimed soul artists.
Saving All My Love for You is a powerful and emotional ballad that showcases Whitney Houston’s incredible vocal range and ability to convey deep emotions through her music.
|November 2, 1985 – November 8, 1985
Stevie Wonder is known for his genre-defying music that blends elements of rhythm and blues, soul, funk, pop, and jazz. He is also recognized for his incredible musicianship, playing various instruments such as the piano, harmonica, and drums. His distinctive voice and emotional songwriting have made him a beloved figure in music.
Part-Time Lover is an upbeat, synth-driven pop song that explores themes of infidelity and secret relationships, demonstrating Stevie Wonder’s ability to write catchy and thought-provoking tunes.
|November 9, 1985 – November 15, 1985
Miami Vice Theme
Jan Hammer is a Czech-born composer and musician known for his work in the jazz fusion genre and innovative use of synthesizers.
Miami Vice Theme is an instrumental track composed for the popular television series “Miami Vice,” and its distinctive synth-driven sound became a defining feature of the show.
|November 16, 1985 – November 29, 1985
We Built This City
Starship is an American rock band formed in 1984, evolving from the earlier band Jefferson Starship.
We Built This City is an anthemic song that features a memorable chorus and became one of the band’s most successful hits, despite its polarizing reception.
|November 30, 1985 – December 6, 1985
Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin
Marilyn Martin is an American singer known for her powerful vocals and emotional ballads.
Separate Lives is a duet between Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin featured in the film “White Nights” and explores themes of heartbreak and the end of a relationship.
|December 7, 1985 – December 20, 1985
Mr. Mister is an American pop-rock band formed in 1982, known for their catchy tunes and thoughtful lyrics.
Broken Wings is a heartfelt and emotional song that became one of the band’s signature hits, featuring a memorable melody and introspective lyrics.
|December 21, 1985 – January 17, 1986
Say You, Say Me
In high school, Lionel was an accomplished tennis player and received a tennis scholarship to attend Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University).
Say You, Say Me is a soulful ballad featured in the film “White Nights” and became one of Lionel Richie’s most enduring hits, showcasing his ability to write memorable and heartfelt songs.
|The Biggest Pop Artists of 1985 include:
Aretha Franklin, Atlantic Starr, Billy Ocean, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Cameo, Chaka Kahn, Daryl Hall & John Oates, DeBarge, Don Henley, Duran Duran, Foreigner, Eddie Murphy, Freddie Jackson, Glenn Frey, Huey Lewis & the News, Julian Lennon, Klymaxx, Kool & the Gang, Lionel Richie, Madonna, Mary Jane Girls, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Mr. Mister, New Edition, Paul Young, Phil Collins, Pointer Sisters, Prince, Ready for the World, Rene & Angela, REO Speedwagon, Sade, Sheila E, Simple Minds, Starship, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Tears for Fears, Tina Turner, UTFO, Wham! featuring George Michael, Whitney Houston
(HPS music data is compiled from charts, including Billboard’s Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance, and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)