The 1980s were awash with massive rock bands who changed the face of music with their ground-breaking sounds. One test you can give to music is to play it several years, sometimes a couple of decades later, and see if it is still relevant or if you can’t help bobbing your head, tapping your foot or playing air guitar to it. There were some iconic rock tunes stemming from the 1980s, so many that we could easily compile a list of 100 or more, but that would create a monster-sized article so we have decided to profile five of the biggest rock hits of the 80s.
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Released in the United States of America in August 1988 and then the United Kingdom in May 1989, Sweet Child O’ Mine featured on the debut album of Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction. The song was the third released from the album and it went on to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the band’s first and only number one single in the United States of America; it reached number six in the UK Singles Chart. Rolling Stone ranked Sweet Child O’ Mine 198th in its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and it has sold more than 2.6 million digital copies in the U.S.A alone.
Livin’ On a Prayer – Bon Jovi
Livin’ On a Prayer was Bon Jovi’s second number-one selling single from the 1986 album Slippery When Wet. The song has since become the band’s signature song and is massively popular with Bon Jovi fans, so much so that is has been viewed on YouTube more than 390 million times. Amazingly, Jon Bon Jovi initially didn’t like the song, but Richie Sambora, the band’s lead guitarist, convinced him it was good and they reworked it with a new bass guitar line and it became one of the best-selling songs of all-time.
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Another iconic hit from the 1980s is Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. The song was the theme tune to the film Rocky III and has since become synonymous with the boxing film series. Some people do not know that Survivor only wrote this song for the Rocky III film because Queen refused permission to use their hit “Another One Bites the Dust.” Several politicians have attempted to use Eye of the Tiger for their presidential campaigns, but Frankie Sullivan, the songwriter and producer of the song, sued them to prevent them from doing so.
Back in Black – AC/DC
Back in Black appeared on side two of the AC/DC album of the same name and went on to become arguably the band’s biggest hit. It is famous for the opening guitar rift and the song is a tribute t the band’s former singer Bon Scott. Rolling Stone ranks Back in Black as 187th in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and number 29 in the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.
Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
Welcome to the Jungle was initially released in September 1987 and featured on Guns N’ Roses’ debut album, Appetite for Destruction. Despite only reaching 24 in the UK Singles Chart, the song is widely regarded as one of the greatest hard rock songs of all time. Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses claims he was inspired to write the lyrics for the song after an encounter with a homeless man who yelled at them “You know where you are? You’re in the jungle baby; you’re gonna die1.”