Soul Tracks - Tracking the World's Greatest Soul Music

Final Results! Greatest Songs of the 80s


Over the course of several weeks, thousands of SoulTrackers nominated and then voted on the Greatest Soul Songs of the 1980s. The results were a great selection of essential albums for Soul Music lovers. We hope you like it!  



AnitaBaker_Best_of.jpg Luther Vandross
Marvin Gaye Anita Baker Luther Vandross Prince



1 Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye 61%
2 Sweet Love - Anita Baker 57%
3 A House Is Not a Home - Luther Vandross 53%
4 Purple Rain - Prince 49%
5 Billie Jean - Michael Jackson 49%
6 Smooth Operator - Sade 49%
7 Love T.K.O. - Teddy Pendergrass 49%
8 Never too Much - Luther Vandross 48%
9 When Doves Cry - Prince 48%
10 Thriller - Michael Jackson 47%
11 Giving You the Best I've Got - Anita Baker 46%
12 The Sweetest Taboo - Sade 45%
13 Joy and Pain - Maze Feat. Frankie Beverly 45%
14 I Feel For You - Chaka Khan 43%
15 After the Love Has Gone - Earth Wind & Fire 42%
16 Fire and Desire - Rick James and Teena Marie 42%
17 Treat Her Like a Lady - Temptations 41%
18 Ain't Nobody - Rufus feat. Chaka Khan 41%
19 You Give Good Love - Whitney Houston 40%
20 Between the Sheets - Isley Brothers 40%
21 If You Think You're Lonely Now - Bobby Womack 40%
22 Just the Two of Us - Grover Washington with Bill Withers 39%
23 Wanna Be Startin' Something - Michael Jackson 39%
24 Forget Me Nots - Patrice Rushen 39%
25 PYT - Michael Jackson 38%
26 Take Your Time (Do It Right) - S.O.S. Band 38%
27 Rock Me Tonight - Freddie Jackson 38%
28 Saturday Love - Alexander O'Neal and Cherelle 37%
29 Let's Groove - Earth, Wind and Fire 37%
30 Give Me the Night - George Benson 37%
31 Love Come Down - Evelyn Champagne King 37%
32 Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson 37%
33 This is for the Lover in You - Shalamar 37%
34 Through the Fire - Chaka Khan 37%
35 You Are My Lady - Freddie Jackson 37%
36 Whip Appeal - Babyface 37%
37 Juicy Fruit - Mtume 37%
38 Secret Garden - Quincy Jones 37%
39 1999 - Prince 36%
40 One in a Million - Larry Graham 36%
41 Human Nature - Michael Jackson 36%
42 Give Me the Reason - Luther Vandross 35%
43 Never Knew Love Like This Before - Stephanie Mills 35%
44 On My Own - Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald 35%
45 Word Up! - Cameo 35%
46 Super Freak - Rick James 35%
47 And the Beat Goes On - Whispers 35%
48 On the Wings of Love - Jeffrey Osborne 35%
49 Outstanding - The Gap Band 34%
50 Beat It - Michael Jackson 34%
51 I Can't Go for That - Hall and Oates 34%
52 Make it Last Forever - Keith Sweat 34%
53 You Dropped A Bomb On Me - The Gap Band 33%
54 Superwoman - Karyn White 33%
55 Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson 33%
56 Fantastic Voyage - Lakeside 33%
57 Let It Whip - Dazz Band 33%
58 Rock Steady - Whispers 33%
59 And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going - Jennifer Holliday 33%
60 Square Biz - Teena Marie 33%
61 When I Think of You - Janet Jackson 32%
62 Solid - Ashford and Simpson 32%
63 Can't Get Over You - Maze feat. Frankie Beverly 32%
64 My Prerogative - Bobby Brown 32%
65 She's A Bad Mama Jama - Carl Carlton 32%
66 Upside Down - Diana Ross 32%
67 Back II Life - Soul II Soul 31%
68 I Keep Forgettin' - Michael McDonald 31%
69 Master Blaster (Jammin') - Stevie Wonder 31%
70 Tender Love - Force MDs 31%
71 Just Got Paid - Johnny Kemp 31%
72 Overjoyed - Stevie Wonder 30%
73 Somebody Else's Guy - Jocelyn Brown 30%
74 Yearning For Your Love - The Gap Band 30%
75 Baby Come to Me - Patti Austin and James Ingram 30%
76 Just Once - Quincy Jones / James Ingram 30%
77 Send for Me - Atlantic Starr 30%
78 Yah Mo Be There - James Ingram and Michael McDonald 30%
79 A Night to Remember - Shalamar 30%
80 Can You Stand the Rain - New Edition 30%
81 Give It To Me Baby - Rick James 30%
82 Celebration - Kool and The Gang 30%
83 I'm Coming Out - Diana Ross 30%
84 Lady - Whispers 30%
85 Computer Love - Zapp 29%
86 Living All Alone - Phyllis Hyman 29%
87 Always - Atlantic Starr 29%
88 Don't Disturb This Groove - The System 29%
89 The Message - Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five 29%
90 I Like It - Debarge 29%
91 The Glamorous Life - Sheila E. 29%
92 Endless Love - Diana Ross & Lionel Richie 29%
93 Careless Whisper - Wham 29%
94 Shining Star - Manhattans 29%
95 Sign Your Name - Terence Trent D'Arby 29%
96 It's Gonna Take a Miracle - Deniece Williams 29%
97 Joy - Teddy Pendergrass 28%
98 Stomp - Brothers Johnson 28%
99 Two Occasions - The Deele 28%
100T If You Were Here Tonight - Alexander O'Neal 28%
100T Jesus Is Love - The Commodores 28%




Wow, there were a lot of

Wow, there were a lot of choices. Tough deciding which ones to choose!

Michael Jackson is all over

Michael Jackson is all over the place! Good choices. Also a few good ones I didn't expect, like "Send For Me."

Sorry to see that: Candy by

Sorry to see that:

Candy by Cameo
Just Call My Name by Alyson Williams
Encore by Cheryl Lynn
Ebony Eyes by Rick James & Smokey Robinson

didn't make the list.

ain't nothing like a lil soul

Yeah, it was tough. We had

Yeah, it was tough. We had over 700 songs nominated!

My Opinion These Omissions

My Opinion These Omissions below Outclass most of the songs listed (They have all the ingredients of the Best Soul Songs: Great Singing, Great Lyrics, Great Intruments & Orchestra, i.e. They Cause Nostalgia - Soul):





Special Lady,
Celebrate Our Love,




George Benson
Kisses In The Moonlight

Phil Collins was also missed by us all - Two Hearts, Just One Night, etc.

(Songs like Beat It & Thriller Is Rock Music Sang By A Black Man! Its Not Soul Music)

But Generally Speaking - Great List Chris - Much Better Than Voting for Politicians - Any Time!

Gee Caver There were so many

Gee Caver

There were so many good songs to choose from the 80s. "Treat Her Like A Lady" with Ali Woodson on lead for the Temptations
Anything by Anita Baker, Frankie Berverly or Lionel Ritchie, or Teddy - wow

@ Gavin Von Meyer :

@ Gavin Von Meyer : Christopher Cross and Phil Collins are anything but soul

Jazzy Funky Cool -

Jazzy Funky Cool - Christopher Cross's Arthur is certainly a Soulful Song & give it to the guy he sings great. Phil Collins also sang Soulfuly, love ballads. Whats closer to the soul, Beat It or these songs???

Infact, there is a new R&B Cover by a black R&B singer, of one of Christopher Cross's songs, Sailing (Away).

Ps, Another Great omission, George Bensons' Nothings Gonna Change My Love For You.

A pitty Most of Our South African Artists never made it overseas, we had great Soul Music in The Eighties - Ricardo & Friends, 'Daddy' & A Lady Called Judie Boucher - You can catch them on Youtube. Also check recent Sensation JAMALI. Peace

Incredibly happy to see the

Incredibly happy to see the Commodores represented by "Night Shift" and "Jesus Is Love"!


@ Gavin Von Meyer : it is a

@ Gavin Von Meyer : it is a thing to sing soulfully (what Christopher Cross and Phil Collins may certainly do) but it doesn't mean they sing soul music. Make no mistake, I love Christopher Cross but it's not because Avant covered Sailing and P. Diddy sampled it that it is automatically a soul song.

I agree Beat Is is not a R&B song (after all, Michael Jackson was not limited to black music, they don't called him King of Pop for no reason), but neither is George Benson's Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, which is plain adult contemporary

Btw, I was quite shocked that some pop singers such as Irene Cara made the list

Question: what's 'black

Question: what's 'black music'??

ain't nothing like a lil soul

Jazzy Funky Cool, you are

Jazzy Funky Cool, you are just making my point even more solid. There are Songs on the list, that are not 'Soul Music' at the expense of Real Soul Music, like the Blue Magic list - 'The Oscar' & 'Land of Make Believe'. Honestly, 'Ready to Love You Again' of the Manhhattans - how can that not make the cut??? Why do you think it was on one of the "Soul Balad" CD'S. Thanks, I did not even know Avant 's name & that P Diddy had anything to do with Sailing Production. Peace. Gavin

Ah, I see the definition of

Ah, I see the definition of soul music and whether a song is truely a soul song is being discussed. We didn't see much argument during the 60's and 70's vote. Wait til the voting for the 90's and first decade of 2000. I believe that 'true' soul music had its supremecy in the 60's and 70's. Starting with the 80's, its depth and breadth is starting to sink. That is especially true for us that grew up and spent our early adulthood during that period. We will never have that gift and vault of music again. So sad, no more Marvin Gaye, Temps, Spinners, Blue Magic, Al Green, Manhattans, Chi-Lites, Temprees, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Barry White, Aretha Franklin etc. Shall I go on?

Daaaamn five star made it

Daaaamn five star made it onto the charts, now aint that something. Surprised that Gwen Gutherie's 'Nothin goin on but the rent' is not on there, I thought every woman in the 80s loved that song and had it as their anthem

@ Gavin Von Meyer, I can

@ Gavin Von Meyer, I can understand your admiration for both Phil Collins and Christopher Cross and they are both POP singers, not soul artists. You will never find any of their albums/cds or whatever form of music you want to call it in any soul music bin or shelf under the Soul/R&B section or on a music purchasing site listed under "Soul/R&B Music". There are many Anglo-saxon singers who are "soul artists", such as Teena Marie and Robin Thicke, that have a HUGE soul music fan base...unlike Collins and Cross, who have more of a pop music following. I would not consider any of their songs as the "best soul songs of all time." Yes, Avant has covered Cross' song, but many white artist have covered black artists songs going back to the 20's and I wouldn't considered Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" a more soulful song than Big Mama Thornton's version. I personally wouldn't consider Collins or Cross songs among the GREATEST SOUL SONGS OF THE '80s, Pop songs ... maybe. I don't see where Irene Cara is listed on this list.

Great choice of

Great choice of many of which I have in my great soul albums collection. Thumbs up, to Soul Tracks, for giving us this opportunity to choose the best of the best. Chris and rock!

Peace, Matti Kniva Spencer, Brave Warrior...Boston, MA and # 1 soul fan!

Martha Lakatos-Johnson Once

Martha Lakatos-Johnson

Once again, my main man, Marvin wins!!! But who else could have won...

I often wonder if he had gotten his demons in check how much more of a legacy he could have left us with.

RIP Marvin!

Quite the contrary Mr.Von

Quite the contrary Mr.Von Meyer: Having soul is a state of heart & mind. If I can feel what David Bowie might be singing & it touches my heart, same as Micheal Jackson or the Doobie Brothers then it's got soul. We tend to want to always to know the color of the singer to determine what catergory a song should be in everyone has soul; it's how you bring it to the table & share it with others.