The Best Instrumental Music from the 80s

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Looking for some great 80s instrumental music? Check out our top picks! From synth-pop to hair metal, we’ve got something for everyone.


Instrumental music in the 80s was some of the best ever made. It was a decade of great experimentation and creativity, and many of the instrumentals that were created during this time have gone on to become classics.

There are a wide variety of instrumentals from the 80s to choose from, and no two people will have the same favorites. However, there are a few that stand out above the rest. Here are ten of the best instrumental pieces from the 1980s:

The Best of the 80s

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the best instrumental music from the 80s. This was a decade that saw the rise of synths and electronic music. From the hauntingly beautiful melodies of Vangelis to the pulsing beats of Harold Faltermeyer, the 80s had it all. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the sounds of the 80s.

“In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins

“In the Air Tonight” is a song by English drummer and singer Phil Collins. It was released as the lead single from his 1981 debut album, Face Value. The song was an instant hit, reaching number two in the UK and number one in several other countries. It has since become one of Collins’ most iconic songs, and has been used in numerous films and TV shows.

“Every Breath You Take” by The Police

“Every Breath You Take” by The Police was released in 1983 and topped the charts in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. The song was written by Sting and is about the complicated relationship between a man and a woman. The song has a catchy melody and a powerful bassline that makes it one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s.

“Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

“Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin is one of the most popular and well-known songs of the 1980s. The song was released in 1971, but it became an instant classic and went on to become one of the most played songs on radio stations around the world. The song is an instrumental piece that features a number of different instruments, including a guitar solo by Jimmy Page that is often cited as one of the greatest guitar solos of all time.

The Worst of the 80s

The 80s were a great decade for music, but there were also some truly terrible songs that were released. Here are the worst of the worst when it comes to 80s music.

“We Built This City” by Starship

“We Built This City” is a 1985 single by American rock group Starship. The song was written by Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, Dennis Lambert, and Peter Wolf. It was released as a single from the album Knee Deep in the Hoopla and reached number one on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock and Hot 100 charts in November 1985. Despite its success, the song has been derided by critics and has appeared on several worst songs of the 1980s lists.

“You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi

“You Give Love a Bad Name” is an absolute classic of 80s rock music, and one of the most iconic songs of the decade. However, it is also one of the worst offenders when it comes to lyrics about love and relationships. The song is full of cliches and empty promises, and its portrayal of love as something that is always perfect and never falters is completely unrealistic.

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston

Released in 1987, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” was an instant hit, becoming one of the decade’s most iconic songs. The synth-pop track was composed by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, with production from Narada Michael Walden. The song topped the charts in multiple countries, including the US, UK, and Canada.


In conclusion, the 80s was an excellent decade for instrumental music. Many different genres and styles emerged, and there were some truly exceptional instrumental tracks released during this time. While it is impossible to narrow down the best of the best, these 20 songs are certainly a great starting point for anyone looking to explore the phenomenal instrumental music that came out of the 80s.

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