The Top 50 New Wave Songs

Listen, listen good

It was Punk Rock that dominated the late 1970s with iconic bands like The Ramones, The Clash, The Stooges, The Misfits and The Dead Kennedys, that is until New Wave began to emerge. Although new wave shared punk’s DIY philosophy, the artists were more influenced by the lighter strains of 1960s pop while opposed to mainstream “corporate” rock, which they considered creatively stagnant, and the generally abrasive and political bents of punk rock. Also, instead of the hard hitting guitars and drums, new wave music included the use of synthesizers and electronic productions. New Wave music hit the mainstream thanks to the help of MTV with the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” broadcast as the first music video to promote the channel’s launch in 1981. Throughout the 80s, New Wave really hit its stride. In a December 1982 Gallup poll, 14% of teenagers rated new wave as their favorite type of music, making it the third most popular and Urban Contemporary radio stations were the first to play dance-oriented new wave artists such as the B-52’s, Culture Club, Duran Duran and ABC. Plus, these artists were included in the soundtracks to the biggest films of the decade Valley Girl, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. While New Wave has a few resurgences in the 90s and the 2000s, nothing can compare to the original songs from the late 70s and 80s. To celebrate the genre, we’ve compiled a list of the top 50 New Wave songs for you to enjoy until we dive deeper into the genre this Sunday on Rock Legends.

Want to learn more about New Wave? Tune in to Rock Legends this Sunday, June 21st at 8:30/7:30c.


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