The 10 Top Covers of the #1 Hits of 1980
You remember the 80’s. Big hair, John Hughes movies, Knight Rider and Members Only jackets to name just a few highlights.
Oh, and music. So much great music.
Well, we’ve decided to pay tribute to some of the biggest hits of the 80’s by featuring covers of 10 number 1 hits from each year in the 80’s. We’ll start with 1980 and work our way up!
So don’t be afraid to dust off that Depeche Mode poster, bust out the Duran Duran t-shirt you’ve been hiding in the back of your closet, and dance around while you read this. We promise we won’t judge you.
In chronological order of when the original songs peaked, here are some great covers of the #1 hits of 1980!
Michael Jackson – Rock With You (By Duwende)
We decided to start with this song just because it peaked at the beginning f the year in January of 1980, but Michael Jackson really is the perfect start to this list. It can sometimes be, how to put this nicely, less than pleasant to listen to covers of Michael Jackson. It’s just so tough to mimic such an impeccable voice. So we decided to go with a cover that brings something entirely new to the table.
Enter Duwende. A 6 piece a capella group from New York City, Duwende has received wide acclaim for their vocals only covers of some of Jackson’s greatest hits. It’s seriously amazing that these guys (and gal) are able to produce such flawless instrumental sounds. Who needs a band anyways? Clearly not these guys (and gal!).
Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love (By Randler Music)
Transitioning from one legendary singer to another, we bring to you this cover of Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” Like Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury is an extraordinarily talented singer. A pretty solid case can be made for him being one of the greatest male vocalists of all time. That said, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” isn’t actually one of his more vocally challenging songs, which is why we weren’t too hesitant to find a cover.
This cover of the song by Randler Music captures the essence of the song perfectly. The cover doesn’t stray from the original, but has been finely recreated by these two gentlemen. (You get that? Only two guys playing every role in the band!) Plus, we think there’s a bit of old-school cool to the guys.
Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall (By Orla Gartland)
Good lord can Orla Gartland sing. While there are a million guitar covers of the Pink Floyd classic, there are surprisingly few renditions with vocals. This led us to momentarily consider posting the version that metal band Korn created, but we think we might have made the better choice. That’s for you to decide.
Only 18 years old, the Irish songstress has an immense amount of talent. We considered just stopping the list right here and playing this cover over and over again, but we don’t think you’d appreciate that too much. Of course, not much needs to be said about Pink Floyd. I mean come on, you don’t live under a rock, do you? Oh. You do? So do these guys.
Blondie – Call Me (By Charlie Parra & Pellek)
These two guys were born a little bit too late. They’re about as 80’s as it gets. Except it’s 2013 and they uploaded this video just last year. That makes them pretty damn cool. You’ve got 1 guy who, if he wears a top hat, you could easily mistake for Slash if you come across him in a dark alley. On the other hand, you have a guy with some Justin Hawkins (of 80’s inspired band The Darkness) high notes.
We get the feeling Debbie Harry would actually like this rocked out version of her hit, “Call Me.” “Call Me” was hardly Blondie’s first hit. You might remember another chart-topping hit of hers, “Heart of Glass.” Whatever Debbie Harry thinks (and if you read this Debbie, please do let us know. PLEASE.) we thoroughly enjoy this take on the #1 hit of April-May 1980.
Lipps Inc. – Funky Town (By JustLeroy)
First things first. If you’ve never seen the music video for “Funky Town,” please go watch it now. It’s like this weird wonderful sometimes sexy and sometimes terrifying acid trip trapped in a disco ball. One of the hold-overs from the 1970s disco movement, “Funky Town” momentarily pulled 1980 back into the 70’s groove.
On to our featured cover, which is fantastic. JustLeroy, who shall henceforth be known as Leroy, doesn’t need a huge studio to produce a great cover. Apparently all he needs are some pots and pans, keyboard, guitar and mic. Oh yeah, and a fork. Leroy’s video is also much easier on the eyes, although there is a distinct lack of background dancers. All jokes aside, Leroy is incredibly talented, even adding a bit of his own remix touch to the song at about the 2:00 mark. This might be one of our favorites on this list.
Christopher Cross – Sailing (By Inhyeok Yeo)
This 80’s cover is notable for two reasons. First, it’s an a capella cover, kind of like the Michael Jackson cover we posted. One major difference though. All of the parts are done by just ONE person. To add on top of that, the second defining feature is that English isn’t even this guy’s native language. If you want an example of music crossing cultural and language barriers, here it is.
The song itself is a classic, having won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Arrangement of the Year, and helping Cross win Best New Artist. Aside from Inhyeok Yeo’s version, which is amazing, there are a ton of other fantastic covers of this song by lesser known and major artists alike. You might want to check out the version by R&B crooner Avant.
Diana Ross – Upside Down (By Alex Griggs)
Not too surprisingly, it was incredibly hard to find an outstanding cover of “Upside Down” by Diana Ross. It’s not really much of a surprise considering how impressive of a singer she is. So what did we decide to do? We decided to pick a cover that sounds nothing like the original. Aside from the lyrics, you pretty much have a new version with Alex Griggs’ version of “Upside Down,” but we don’t care because we actually thoroughly enjoy his take on it.
His layered guitar composition gives the song a melancholy vibe that’s in stark contrast to the song’s original tone. Take a listen to the Griggs version and let us know how you feel about it. Also, someone feel free to buy the man the full version of Video Edit Magic, we’d like to hear more from him.
Queen – Another One Bites The Dust (By Sabrina Antoinette)
If Pat Benatar and Metallica were the best of friends and decided to do a cover of this Queen classic, we imagine it’d come out something like this. Sabrina Antoinette has quite the set of pipes, with equal parts range, grit, and precision. It’s tough for any man not named Adam Lambert to consistently display the range shown by Freddy Mercury, so perhaps it’s best that we selected a female vocal version of the song.
The song, which topped the charts in early October of 1980, was nominated for a Grammy that year and also peaked at number 2 on the Disco and R&B charts. Who cares if the song isn’t actually Disco or R&B? Apparently the people in charge of those charts don’t give a single shit. They just love this song.
Barbara Streisand – Woman In Love (By Dini & Elliot Kimmel)
Written by Barry & Robin Gibb, 2/3 of disco superstars the BeeGees, it’s no surprise that this song became a hit. Hitting the top of the charts in late October and staying there through November 14th, the song was the last (though Babs is still alive and kicking) number 1 hit Barbara Streisand produced. You would think that an artist would love their chart topping songs, but Streisand has claimed that she’s not a fan of “Woman In Love,” stating that she doesn’t relate to it.
Well, at least Dini and Elliot Kimmel seem to enjoy the song. The duo, who boast well over 500,000 views on their channel, posted up this cover of the Streisand song about 3 years ago. Dini & Elliot both have amazing voices, although the parts where Elliot sings seem to stand out due to the gender flip of the songs original vocalist. Plus, he just happens to sing a little louder, which is a pretty good way to stand out when singing alongside someone as talented as Dini.
Kenny Rogers – Lady (By Bryan Magsayo)
You can feel free to cry. It’s ok. Hopefully you aren’t at work or in the middle of a party, but if you are you should still watch this. It’s great (Plus you might win some brownie points with that cute guy/girl at the party/your work for being so deeply in tune with your emotions).
Surely you remember this Kenny Rogers classic that topped the charts back in November and December of 1980. If you’re thinking it’s practically impossible to write a song this beautiful, you should take a look at who wrote it. Lionel Richie, the guy who made his career off of making us feel our feelings. Bryan Magsayo performs a wonderful rendition that largely stays faithful to the original. The guy has some serious talent.
There you have it! 10 of the Best Covers of the #1 Hits of 1980. Check back each week as we work our way through the 80’s, discovering the best covers of the hits that defined a decade.
Let us know what you think! Is there a cover you think we missed? Have a favorite on this list? Let us know in the comments below!