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Top Ten Inspirational 80s Songs

If you know me in real life, there is a good chance you know that in real life I work in the Digital Media Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is also a pretty good chance you know that I have been working on a project for the past 2+ years, and it is set to launch very, very soon. I was in England last month, working on said project, and on my last night there, everyone stayed late at the office to work on stuff. Inexplicably, something magical happened. First, a song from one end of the room, selected to lift everyone out of the doldrums of working late. Then, another, from a different computer across the room. It was an 80s-inspiration-off. I knew then and there that if there was any hope to launching this project on time, the following mix would have to be made (and then listened to on repeat. (Again and again.))

Following are 10 core songs (plus a few key honorable mentions) that provided the soundtrack to when the hero was training for a fight, or was at the big game, or needed the courage to just step up and do what needed to be done. This is the soundtrack that is going to get me to my launch date. There are videos for reference, but you can stream the whole thing at the bottom as well.

Chariots of Fire – Vangelis – Theme from Chariots of Fire
I never actually knew what this movie was about, as I’d never seen it. But now I want to.

Rocky 3 – Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
I almost cut this out of fear it was too cliche, but then I remembered the theme of this mix.

Karate Kid – Joe Esposito – You’re The Best Around
Sweep the leg! (Come on, you know you were thinking it, too.)

St. Elmo’s Fire – John Parr – Man in Motion
I’ll be honest, I really love the other song (For Just A Moment – Love Theme) from this movie way more but it didn’t fit as well.

Short Circuit 2 – Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero
Yeah, this is also from Footloose. Who knew Bonnie Tyler was such an inspirational lightening rod?

Flashdance – Irene Cara – What A Feeling
This won an Academy Award for Best Song, a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and an American Music Awards for Best R&B Female Artist and Best Pop Single of the Year. And yeah, it was also in The Full Monty.

Iron Eagle – King Kobra – Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)
Um, if you only watch one video in this entire list, do your self a favor and make it this one.

Teen Wolf – Mark Safan – Win In The End
100% this is the precursor to the amazingness of the final scenes in High School Musical (any of them.)

Mannequin – Starship – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
I honestly did not remember that this song was from this movie. But I knew it had to have been from some 80s movie. It was too inspirational not to be.

Top Gun – Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone


Honorable Mentions:
These songs were either a) 80’s songs that were not actually in movies as the soundtrack to the training/go-get-’em scenes, or b) 100% fit the criteria, they were just a decade or two behind.

Europe – The Final Countdown
I realize that this is not a movie. It’s not even tv – it’s a bad video of someone’s tv. However, I couldn’t picture this mix without Gob Bluth.

Queen – I Want It All
This was not in any movie. But I do – I want it all. Or at the very least I want to launch this project on time.

Cast of Wet Hot American Summer – Higher and Higher
Okay when I told you earlier to watch the Iron Eagle video, I really meant watch the Wet Hot American Summer one. Chris Meloni has some serious moves.

Cast of High School Musical – We’re All In This Together
I mean, I mentioned it up above, so you had to be somewhat prepared for it. This is the one I send to my co-workers if we are still at our desks and it is after midnight. You’re welcome.

Congratulations! You’ve made it this far – Now you can stream the whole thing! Exclamation point!

8 thoughts on “Top Ten Inspirational 80s Songs”

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