What are the best 80s songs in Stranger Things?

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Strange things turned out to be one of Netflix’s biggest hits, and its success can be attributed to many things. It reminds viewers of some of Spielberg’s best movies, it features a sympathetic cast (many of which have since become household names), and it contains an alluring production design that transports viewers to the 1980s.

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Of course, one of the most undeniably charming aspects of the ’80s was its music. And the producers of Strange things must have gone all out for the music licensing budget, as the show has a staggering list of some of the greatest songs of the decade.

ten “Should I stay or should I go” – The Clash


The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” will never be heard the same afterwards. Strange things. The song was originally released in 1982, having served as the third single from their fifth studio album, Battle rock.

The song is first heard in a flashback, as Jonathan tries to use the song to distract Will from their parents’ fight. He later plays on the stereo as Joyce’s house is bombarded with supernatural events. The show manages to use the classic punk song in many disparate ways, with the results being both touching and incredibly creepy.

9 “Hazy Shade Of Winter” – The Bracelets


Shannon Purser as Barb in Stranger Things

Strange things certainly knows how to end an episode, and their thrilling cliffhanger endings are usually paired with a classic ’80s song. One of the best endings comes from the first season of “The Weirdo on Maple Street,” which ends with the cover of “Hazy Shade of Winter” by The Bangles. This song is a bit anachronistic, since it was released in 1987 on the Less than zero soundtrack.

It’s a great song choice for the episode with its catchy rock guitars that blend in perfectly with the shocking turn of events that ended the episode, and it certainly made viewers want to keep watching.


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8 “I melt with you” – Modern English


Barb trying to open a beer in Stranger Things

“The Weirdo on Maple Street” features an exceptional soundtrack, and that includes “I Melt with You” by Modern English. Released in 1982, the song is on the band’s second studio album, After the snow. In the episode, he can be heard at Steve’s pool party late at night.

It starts in the background, as if the characters themselves are listening to the song. But it starts in earnest after Tommy pushes Carol into the pool, and the song serves as a wonderfully fun and mellow accompaniment to the cute on-screen events.


seven “Girls in the cinema” – Duran Duran


Steve holding sunglasses in Stranger Things

Duran Duran was one of the biggest bands of the ’80s, so it makes sense that they ended up appearing in a Strange things episode. Released in the summer of 1981, “Girls on Film” proved to be one of their most successful UK singles, peaking at No.5.

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The famous song makes an appearance in the second season episode, “Trick or Treat, Freak”, performed at the party which Nancy, Steve and Jonathan all attend. It’s a fun song for a fun party, and it manages to set the rambunctious tone for the stage.


6 “Time after time” – Cyndi Lauper


Children at a dance in Stranger Things

Mike and Eleven are one of the best couples on the show, and their relationship is capped at the beautiful sounds of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” Perhaps one of the most famous singles of the ’80s, “Time After Time” was released in the winter of 1984 and has remained a staple of slow dance ever since.

It’s used perfectly throughout the school dance seen at the end of season two, playing on the beautiful views of the dance and Nancy approaching lonely Dustin. It’s a moving ’80s ballad, and it fits perfectly into the final moments of the season.


5 “Whip it” – Devo


Boys playing in the arcade in Stranger Things

There was no better way to kick off season two than with Devo’s iconic 1980 hit “Whip It”. A new wave classic, “Whip It” can be heard throughout the opening minutes of season two as the boys arrive at the arcade. The hype was undeniably high for the show’s second season, as its premiere was a smash success.

The filmmakers knew the level they needed to reach, so they infused the opening minutes of the season with this fun, fast-paced, and infectious song to uplift energy levels and get fans excited for what was to come. It certainly worked.


4 “Never Surrender” – Corey Hart


stranger-things-mike-eleven

The third season also opens in style with “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart. Released on his album Boy in the box, the song achieved success in the North American charts, peaking at No. 1 in Canada and No. 3 in the United States.

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The song plays as Mike and Eleven kiss in Eleven’s bedroom, but Mike interrupts the process by singing loudly along with the song. It’s a fun little detail, further establishing Mike’s wacky character and the setting for season three – that is, after the album was released in June 1985.




3 “Material Girl” – Madonna


Stranger Things Max and Eleven Shopping

Max is one of the biggest additions to the series thanks to some of her best quotes and the incredible chemistry she shares with the main group. Their relationship with Eleven starts off hard, but ends up turning into a friendship once they go shopping in the big mall.

The cute scene plays on Madonna’s iconic 1985 hit “Material Girl,” and it matches the streak in both its lyrics and pleasing tone. Seeing the two having fun inside the mall was a good breath of fresh air before all the violence and death began.


2 “My Bologna” – Weird Al Yankovic


Stranger Things Mr Clarke Joyce Byers Magnets

Joyce’s obsession with magnets may have been one of the show’s most hated storylines, but it provided Mr. Clarke with a great moment while listening to “My Bologna”. The song was originally released on Christmas Day 1979, but the version everyone knows was reissued in the spring of 1983 for Weird Al Yankovic’s eponymous debut album.

It’s the perfect song to help establish Mr. Clarke’s character: goofy, fun, cheerful, and just a little silly. Of course, he listened to her while fiddling around in his garage.


1 “The Neverending Story” – Limahl


Stranger Things Episode 8 Suzie

The third season ends strangely with “The NeverEnding Story” by Limahl. The song served as the title track for the 1984 film of the same name and was a hit in its own right, reaching No. 1 on the Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish charts (not to mention No.4 in the UK).

The song definitely breaks the tension of the climax, but it’s certainly playful and lends itself well to the weirder, comedic tone of the third season. There are worse songs to end a season.

NEXT: The Main Characters Of Stranger Things, Ranked By Sympathy

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