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Top 25 Soundtracks of the 1980’s

The ’80s had their fair share of movie blockbusters, cheesy films and of course great soundtracks. We have compiled our top 25 soundtracks of this most awesome decade. However, instead of rating each ’80s movie soundtrack, they are listed by the year they were released. You wouldn’t want us to play favorites would you?

1.) Fame, 1980

Fame - Original Motion Picture SoundtrackFame is the original soundtrack of the 1980 Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning film Fame starring Irene Cara, Lee Curreri, Paul McCrane and Laura Dean. The original score was composed by Michael Gore.

The score won the Academy Award for Best Music – Original Score. It was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music and a Grammy Award.

The songs “Out Here On My Own” and “Fame” were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, with the latter one winning the award.

2.) Fast Times At Ridgemont High, 1982

Fast Times At Ridgemont High Original SoundtrackThe soundtrack album, Fast Times at Ridgemont High: Music from the Motion Picture, peaked at #54 on the Billboard album chart. The soundtrack contains many quintessential 1980s rock artists.

Several of the movie’s songs were released as singles, including Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby”, which reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Other singles were the title track by Sammy Hagar, “So Much in Love” by Timothy B. Schmit and “Waffle Stomp” by Joe Walsh. In addition to Schmit and Walsh, the album features solo tracks by two other members of the Eagles, Don Henley and Don Felder. The soundtrack also included “I Don’t Know (Spicoli’s Theme)” by Jimmy Buffett.

3.) Flashdance, 1983

FlashdanceThe film’s two singles feature on the album, “Flashdance…What a Feeling” by Irene Cara and “Maniac” by Michael Sembello. Both these singles peaked at #1 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

The track “Romeo” by Donna Summer was released as a promo video to MTV  prior to the film’s release, composed only of outtakes from the film. However, the song was not released to radio as Summer was on the verge of releasing her 1983 album, She Works Hard for the Money, and the title track was already becoming a major hit.

The Flashdance LP was massively successful, selling over 6 million copies in the U.S. and 1 million in Japan.

4.) Valley Girl, 1983

Valley Girl SoundtrackMany of the songs were minor chart hits in 1982–1983. Josie Cotton’s “Johnny, Are You Queer?” was a regional hit in Southern California in 1981, reaching #5 on KROQ’s Top 106 of the year and “He Could Be the One” from her album Convertible Music had reached #74 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982. The song heard over the opening credits is “Girls Like Me” from Bonnie Hayes’ 1982 album Good Clean Fun, which “bubbled under” the Billboard 200 album chart at #206. The Plimsouls’ “A Million Miles Away” and the Payolas’ “Eyes of a Stranger” were moderate hits in 1982, reaching #11 and #22, respectively, on Billboard’s Top Tracks chart. “I Melt with You” by Modern English reached #78 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983.

The end credits show songs by The Clash, Culture Club, Bananarama and The Jam, however, those songs aren’t heard in the film. After the film was completed, problems arose in acquiring the music rights and substitute songs had to be dubbed in. Altogether, the music rights cost $250,000 on top of the film’s original $350,000 budget.

5.) Sixteen Candles, 1984

Sixteen Candles SoundtrackSixteen Candles is a coming-of-age film starring Molly Ringwald, Michael Schoeffling and Anthony Michael Hall. The film was written and directed by John Hughes.

The original soundtrack was released as a specially priced mini album containing only 5 songs. However, the movie actually featured an extensive selection of over 30 songs.

In 2005, Ringwald was reported to be producing a sequel to the film, however as of March 2010, Ringwald stated that she thought it was not a good idea to do remakes of great classic films. As much as a sequel sounds interesting, we’re glad they won’t be making a sequel!

6.) Purple Rain, 1984

Purple Rain SoundtrackPurple Rain is a musical film directed by Albert Magnoli and written by Magnoli and William Blinn. Prince  makes his film debut in this movie, which was developed to showcase his particular talents. The film grossed over $80 million at the box office and became a cult classic.

The film is tied into the album of the same name, which spawned three chart-topping singles: the opening number “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Purple Rain”, and “When Doves Cry”. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score, the last time this award has been given. The soundtrack sold over 10 million copies in America alone, and 20 million worldwide.

7.) Footloose, 1984

Footloose SoundtrackFootloose is an American musical-drama film that tells the story of Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon), an upbeat Chicago teen who moves to a small town where, thanks to the town’s uptight reverend (John Lithgow), dancing and rock music have been banned.

The film is loosely based on events that took place in the small, rural, and religious community of Elmore City, Oklahoma.

The soundtrack was released in cassette, 8-track tape, vinyl, and CD  format. The soundtrack was also re-released on CD for the 15th anniversary of the film in 1999. The re-release included four new songs: “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” by Quiet Riot, “Hurts So Good” by John Mellencamp, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner, and the extended 12″ remix of “Dancing in the Sheets”.

8.) Beverly Hills Cop, 1984

Beverly Hills Cop SoundtrackBeverly Hills Cop is an American action-comedy film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy, Lisa Eilbacher, John Ashton, Judge Reinhold, and Ronny Cox. Murphy stars as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who heads to Beverly Hills, California, to solve the death of his best friend.

The soundtrack won a Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special (1986). The instrumental-only title tune “Axel F” is very recognizable and has since been covered by numerous artists. The soundtrack was mastered by Greg Fulginiti, and would feature different artists plus electronic style music.

9.) Ghostbusters, 1984

Ghostbusters SoundtrackThe film’s theme song, “Ghostbusters”, written and performed by Ray Parker Jr, sparked the catchphrases “Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” and “I ain’t afraid of no ghost.” The song was a huge hit, staying #1 for three weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and #1 for two weeks on the Black Singles chart. The song earned Parker an Academy Award nomination for “Best Original Song”. According to Bruce A. Austin (in 1989), this theme “purportedly added $20 million to the box office take of the film”.

The music video produced for the song became a #1 MTV video. Directed by Ivan Reitman, produced by Jeffrey Abelson, and conceptualized by Keith Williams, the video integrated footage of the film intercut with a humorous performance by Parker. The video also featured cameo appearances by celebrities who joined in the call-and-response chorus, including Chevy Chase, Irene Cara, John Candy, Nickolas Ashford, Melissa Gilbert, Jeffrey Tambor, George Wendt, Al Franken, Danny DeVito, Carly Simon, Peter Falk, and Teri Garr. The video ends with footage of the four main Ghostbusters actors in costume and character, dancing in Times Square behind Parker, joining in the singing.

10.) The Breakfast Club, 1985

The Breakfast Club SoundtrackFew could challenge John Hughes in 1980s teen coming-of-age flicks. This brat-pack extravaganza boasts the anthemic “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds, a hit so large it vaulted them into the collective consciousness.

The rest of it is more disposable. Elizabeth Daily (aka E.G.) was a kindred spirit of Pia Zadora in that people kept trying to make her famous, although in retrospect it’s hard to figure out why. The Karla DeVito track “We Are Not Alone” still wears well, although it may be because it’s synonymous with some great imagery from the movie. Producer Keith Forsey went on to work with Billy Idol and Charlie Sexton with mixed results.

11.) St. Elmo’s Fire, 1985

St. Elmo's Fire SoundtrackThe song “Give Her a Little Drop More,” which plays during the movie when the characters enter St. Elmo’s Bar & Restaurant, was written by British jazz trumpeter John Chilton.

“St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for two weeks in September 1985, and “Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire” (the instrumental theme to the movie by David Foster) reached #15. Another version of the “Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire” with lyrics, titled For Just a Moment was performed by Amy Holland and Donny Gerrard, and was included as the final song on the soundtrack album.

12.) Vision Quest, 1985

Vision Quest SoundtrackVision Quest is another ’80s coming of age drama starring Matthew Modine, Linda Fiorentino and Ronny Cox. It is based on the novel of the same name by author Terry Davis. In some countries it was released as Crazy For You to market on Madonna’s emerging fame and the popularity of the song. The movie was filmed in Spokane, Washington, in 1984.

Modine plays a Spokane high school wrestler who falls in love with an older woman, an aspiring artist from New Jersey on her way to San Francisco.

The film includes an appearance by Madonna, her first in a major motion picture, playing a singer at a local bar, where she performs the songs “Crazy for You” and “Gambler”.

13.) Back To The Future, 1985

Back to the Future SoundtrackThe original 1985 soundtrack album only included two tracks culled from Silvestri’s compositions for the film, both Huey Lewis tracks, the songs played in the film by Marvin Berry and the Starlighters (and Marty McFly), one of the vintage 1950s songs in the movie, and two pop songs that are only very briefly heard in the background of the film. On November 24, 2009, an authorized, limited-edition 2-CD set of the entire score was released by Intrada Records.

The movie features an Eddie Van Halen guitar track which Marty uses to convince George to ask Lorraine to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.

14.) Rocky 4, 1985

Rocky IV SoundtrackThe soundtrack for the movie included “Living in America” by James Brown; the film’s music was composed by Vince DiCola (who also composed the soundtrack for The Transformers: The Movie that same year), and also included songs by John Cafferty (featuring Vince DiCola), Survivor, Kenny Loggins, and Robert Tepper.

Go West wrote “One Way Street” for the movie by request of Sylvester Stallone. Europe’s hit “The Final Countdown”, written earlier in the decade by lead singer Joey Tempest, is often falsely stated as being featured in the film – no doubt due to its similarity to DiCola’s “Training Montage.” However, Europe’s track was not released as a single until late 1986.

15.) Top Gun, 1986

Top Gun SoundtrackThe Top Gun soundtrack is one of the most popular soundtracks to date, reaching #1 on The Billboard Top Pop Albums chart for five weeks. Harold Faltermeyer, who previously worked with both Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson on the films Flashdance and Beverly Hills Cop, was sent the script of Top Gun by Bruckheimer before filming began.

Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock worked on numerous songs including the Oscar winning #1 “Take My Breath Away” and “Danger Zone”. Kenny Loggins performed two songs on the soundtrack, “Playing With the Boys”, and “Danger Zone”. Berlin recorded the song “Take My Breath Away”, which would later win numerous awards, sending Berlin to international acclaim.

16.) Pretty In Pink, 1986

Pretty In Pink SoundtrackThe first track, “If You Leave” by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, was written in 1985 in advance specifically for the movie. In addition to their song “Shellshock”, New Order also had the “Thieves Like Us” instrumental and “Elegia” appear in the movie but not on the soundtrack. The Rave-Ups, who do appear in the movie performing “Positively Lost Me” and “Rave-Up/Shut-Up” from their Town and Country, do not have any songs on the soundtrack. Nik Kershaw’s “Wouldn’t It Be Good” appears as re-recorded by former Three Dog Night vocalist Danny Hutton’s band, Danny Hutton Hitters.

The movie also includes the Otis Redding song, “Try a Little Tenderness,” which actor Jon Cryer’s character “Duckie” lipsyncs to in the film, and The Association song, “Cherish,” though the songs do not appear on the official soundtrack.

17.) Down And Out In Beverly Hills, 1986

Down and Out in Beverly Hills SoundtrackDown and Out in Beverly Hills is based on the French play Boudu sauvé des eaux, which had previously been adapted on film in 1932 by Jean Renoir. Down and Out in Beverly Hills was directed by Paul Mazursky, and starred Nick Nolte, Bette Midler and Richard Dreyfuss.

The film is about a rich but dysfunctional couple who save the life of a suicidal bum.

Flamboyant musician Little Richard  also makes an appearance, and contributed the song “Great Gosh a’Mighty” to the soundtrack. The song’s success led to a revitalization of his career.

18.) Dirty Dancing, 1987

Dirty Dancing SoundtrackDirty Dancing is the original soundtrack of the 1987 film Dirty Dancing. The album became a huge commercial success in the USA.

It spent 18 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 album sales charts and went multi-platinum.

Dirty Dancing’s soundtrack spawned a follow-up album entitled More Dirty Dancing (1988). Produced by Jeff McCullough, the album went on to sell 42 million copies worldwide and is one of the best-selling albums of all time.

19.) Less Than Zero, 1987

Less Than Zero SoundtrackLess Than Zero soundtrack was released through Def Jam Recordings and consisted of a variety of music genres, including hard rock, pop rock, hip hop, heavy metal and contemporary R&B, with most of the album being produced by Rick Rubin. The soundtrack found success, peaking at #31 on the Billboard 200 and #22 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and was certified gold on February 8, 1988.

Four singles made it to the Billboard charts. The Black Flames cover of “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)” and Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” were minor hits on the R&B charts, but LL Cool J’s “Going Back to Cali” and The Bangles cover of “A Hazy Shade of Winter” fared better, making it to #31 and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively.

20.) Some Kind Of Wonderful, 1987

Some Kind Of Wonderful SoundtrackUnlike most ’80s soundtracks offer collections of radio-friendly hits from haircut bands, the Some Kind of Wonderful  soundtrack features quirky non-hits from bands like the Jesus & Mary Chain, Flesh for Lulu, and the Apartments.

This delightfully non-mainstream soundtrack features Stephen Duffy’s “Lonesome,” the March Violets’ unforgettable cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Miss Amanda Jones,” and Pete Shelley’s “Do Anything.” The highlight of the CD is unquestionably Lick the Tins’ gravel-voiced, tin-whistle-driven cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Just listening to this CD can throw you into a John Hughes nostalgia tailspin that you may not want to come out of.

21.) Beverly Hills Cop 2, 1987

Beverly Hills Cop 2 SoundtrackThe film’s soundtrack CD released by MCA Records includes only a different song entitled “Hold On,” sung by Corey Hart. This song has different music and slightly altered lyrics. The movie introduced George Michael’s controversial song “I Want Your Sex”. It also includes “Cross My Broken Heart” by The Jets and “Shakedown” by Bob Seger which became a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as “Better Way” performed by James Ingram.

The soundtrack debuted #8 on the Billboard charts and spent 26 weeks on the charts, a far cry compared to the 49 weeks the soundtrack for the first Beverly Hills Cop. Despite this, one song from the album, “Shakedown” was nominated for on Oscar and the Golden Globe for Best Original Song. However, another song from the album “I Want Your Sex” was nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Song.

22.) The Lost Boys, 1987

The Lost Boys SoundtrackThomas Newman wrote the original score as an eerie blend of orchestra and organ arrangements, while the music soundtrack contains a number of notable songs and several covers, including “Good Times”, a duet between INXS and former Cold Chisel lead singer Jimmy Barnes which reached No. 1 on the Australian charts in early 1987.

The soundtrack also features a cover version of The Doors’ song “People are Strange” by Echo & the Bunnymen. The song as it featured in the movie is an alternate, shortened version with a slightly different music arrangement.

Lou Gramm, the famed lead singer of Foreigner, also recorded “Lost in the Shadows” for the soundtrack, along with a video which featured clips from the film.

23.) La Bamba, 1987

La Bamba SoundtrackBecause the movie is a celebration of 1950s rock & roller Ritchie Valens, his music, and the music of his contemporaries play a central part in the film.

An original motion picture soundtrack album was released on June 30, 1987 on Warner Bros. Records. The album contained 12 tracks. The first six songs consist of Los Lobos covers of Ritchie Valens’ songs: “La Bamba”, “Come On Let’s Go”, “Ooh My Head”, “We Belong Together”, “Framed”, and “Donna”.

Other performers include: Howard Huntsberry, Marshall Crenshaw, Brian Setzer, and Bo Diddley performing a new version of his blues classic “Who Do You Love?”

24.) Cocktail, 1988

Cocktail SoundtrackThe four-million-selling summer party album of 1988, featuring the #1 hits “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin and “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys, plus radio hits by Starship, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Georgia Satellites, and John Cougar Mellencamp.

Cocktail is a romantic drama film released by Touchstone Pictures in 1988. Directed by Roger Donaldson, the film is based on the book of the same name by Heywood Gould, who also wrote the screenplay. It stars Tom Cruise as a talented and ambitious bartender who aspires to working in business and finds love with Elisabeth Shue while working at a bar in Jamaica. The original music score was composed by Maurice Jarre.

25.) Say Anything…, 1989

Say Anything... SoundtrackSay Anything… is a 1989 romance film written and directed by Cameron Crowe. It was Crowe’s directorial debut. In 2002, Entertainment Weekly ranked Say Anything… as the greatest modern movie romance, and it was ranked number 11 on Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 50 best high-school movies.

The Say Anything… soundtrack includes tracks “All for Love” by Nancy Wilson, “Cult Of Personality” by Living Colour, “One Big Rush” by Joe Satriani, “You Want It” by Cheap Trick, “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, “Stripped” by Depeche Mode among others.

Roger Ebert called the movie “one of the best films of the year — a film that is really about something, that cares deeply about the issues it contains — and yet it also works wonderfully as a funny, warmhearted romantic comedy.”

Other 80’s movie soundtracks worth mentioning but didn’t make the cut were: The Karate Kid (1984) — Because we think Bananarama were hot, A Nightmare On Elm Street: Dream Warriors (1987) — Because Dokken is awesome, For Your Eyes Only (1981) — Because Sheena Easton is also hot, The Big Chill (1983) — Because it has many 60’s & 70’s R&B classics. However, sadly … no 80’s songs so it didn’t make our top 25, Stand By Me (1986) — Another one with a bunch of classic songs (the 50’s this time), Good Morning Vietnam (1987) — One more with another great classic (pre-80’s) soundtrack. Ok, ok. So this list can go on and on but we’re going to stop it here and leave you with our favorite 80’s soundtrack song.

Eighties music artists turned actors & 80’s actors turned singers

It seems quite a few actors picked up the microphone (some of which maybe shouldn’t have) back in the 80’s and vice-versa, with many music artists plunging into the world of lights, camera and action!  There were some huge names as you may recall such as Madonna, Cher and Prince, however, there may be a few you didn’t know about or possibly forgotten. This is by no means an entire list of ALL famous actors turned singers and singers turned actors in the 80’s, but does feature most of the more famous entertainers.


We’ll begin with the artists I mentioned above; Madonna, who had a couple of hit albums (her debut album Madonna & her sophomore album, Like a Virgin) under her belt before she jumped onto the big screen. She had a brief appearance as a club singer in Vision Quest and also appeared in the comedy Desperately Seeking Susan (1985). She later went on to act in movies such as Who’s That Girl, Dick Tracy, Madonna: Truth or Dare, A League of Their Own and Evita among other appearances in film and television.


Cher MoonstruckCher began her career back in the early 60’s as a session and backup singer as well as performing on television shows including the Sonny & Cher Show but didn’t break out into the movies until the 1980’s when she was next cast alongside Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell in the drama Silkwood which she received her first Academy Award nomination. Cher’s next film was a starring role in Mask in 1985. In 1987 Cher starred in three films; The Witches of Eastwick, Suspect and the romantic comedy Moonstruck. Cher returned to her musical success in 1987 with her album Cher and in 1989 with her album Heart of Stone proving she could cross-over from television to film to music with equal success.


Prince in Purple RainPrince had his beginnings in the late 70’s early 80’s in music. Prince was pretty much in the only hit movie for him (and soundtrack) Purple Rain where Prince played a young man with a talent for music and has begun a career with much promise. Purple Rain won an Academy Award and grossed more than $80 million in the U.S. In 1986 Prince starred in Under the Cherry Moon where plays a self-styled gigolo and musician in the south of France. Although Prince did not star in many movies, being an actor only enhanced his musical career.

Bette Midler

Midler released her debut album The Divine Miss M in December 1972. In 1979, Bette made her first motion picture, starring in the 1960s-era rock and roll tragedy The Rose, and in 1980, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Comedy or Musical). The film’s acclaimed soundtrack album sold over two million copies in the United States alone, earning a Double Platinum certification. It earned Midler her first Gold single and won the Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.

In 1985, Bette was a performer on USA for Africa’s fund-raising single We Are the World, and participated at the ‘Live Aid‘ event at JFK stadium. Also in 1985, she signed a multi-picture deal with Touchstone Pictures. She was subsequently cast by director Paul Mazursky in Down and Out in Beverly Hills, beginning a successful comedic acting career. She followed that with Ruthless People (1986), Outrageous Fortune (1987), and Big Business (1988). She scored a hit with the 1988 tearjerker Beaches, co-starring Barbara Hershey. The accompanying soundtrack remains Bette’s all-time biggest selling disc, reaching #2 on Billboard’s album chart and with US sales of four million copies. It featured her biggest hit, Wind Beneath My Wings, which went to #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, achieved Platinum status, and won her third Grammy Award – for Record of the Year – award at the 1990 Grammy Awards.

From 1990 – 2000 Midler enjoyed continued success in which she played a snobbish poodle in the animated Disney movie Oliver & Company, she co-starred with Woody Allen in Scenes from a Mall, and she earned another Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for 1991’s For the Boys. Other Bette Midler movies include: Stella, Hocus Pocus, The First Wives Club and The Stepford Wives. Bette won an Emmy Award in 1992 for her memorable performance on the second-to-last episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Whitney Houston

In 1986 Whitney was nominated for three awards including Album of the Year. She won her first Grammy award for ‘Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female’ for Saving All My Love for You. At the same award show, she performed that Grammy-winning hit, the performance later winning her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. Houston won seven American Music Awards  in total in 1986 and 1987, and an MTV Video Music Award.

Although Houston enjoyed singing success in the 1980’s and early 90’s, she didn’t get into acting in movies until the 1990’s. Whitney starred in The Bodyguard (1992), Waiting to Exhale (1995), The Preacher’s Wife (1996) and a cameo appearance in Nora’s Hair Salon (2004) which she played herself.

To boost your 1980’s Whitney Houston TV trivia knowledge, here are a few other roles she played on television; In 1983 Whitney appeared in a Canada Dry commercial and in 1986 & 1988 she sang a version of the Diet Coke theme song — one song being “Just for the Taste of It.” In 1984 Whitney played Rita on Gimme a Break! (“Katie’s College” – Season 3, Episode 20) and in 1985, she played herself on an episode of Silver Spoons (“Head Over Heels” – Season 4, Epsidode 1).

Rick Springfield

Believe it or not, Rick Springfield started his musical career in the late 1960’s after dropping out of high school. When Springfield came to California from Australia in 1972 he produced an album called Beginnings, although it didn’t get much air play at the radio stations. Rick then turned his attention to his family and his acting career in the early 80’s starring on General Hospital.

At the same time, he had signed a contract with RCA Records and already recorded the album Working Class Dog, which neither he nor his agent had expected would do very well, which is why Springfield took the soap role. But the song Jessie’s Girl went to #1, and Springfield ended up both playing the role of Dr. Noah Drake from 1981 through 1983, while simultaneously going on tour with his band.

In 1984, Springfield made one full length feature film, Hard to Hold, and in 1998 he played in the film Legion. In 1992, he played the title role in the short-lived ABC series Human Target, based on the DC Comics character of the same name.

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy is probably most well-known for his stand-up comedy, his work on Saturday Night Live and the huge 80’s movie hit Beverly Hills Cop. But what many people don’t know, Eddie is also a singer, musician and has recorded five studio albums, is on two compilation albums and has been on two soundtracks.

Murphy has provided background vocals to songs released by the The Bus Boys. As a solo artist, Murphy had two hit singles, Party All the Time from his album How Could It Be (which was produced by Rick James) and Put Your Mouth on Me from So Happy in the mid-1980s.


Best known for being the front-man to the Police back in the 80’s, then later as a solo artist, Sting has also has an extensive list of movies he has starred and appeared in.

In 1982 Sting played a drifter in Brimstone and Treacle, in 1984 he was Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in the cult classic Dune. In 1985 Sting played Mick in the movie Plenty and Baron Frankenstein in The Bride. In 1988 Sting played three roles, one in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, a nightclub owner in Stormy Monday and a British gentleman in Julia and Julia and just recently played himself in the Bee Movie.

Don Johnson

As many people know, in September 1984, Don Johnson landed a starring role as Sonny Crockett in the very popular cop series, Miami Vice. Later Johnson starred in the 1996-2001 drama Nash Bridges with Cheech Martin.

Similar to Eddie Murphy, Johnson was not very well known for his musical abilities. In 1986 he released his first album named Heartbeat with the hit single of the same name. In 1988 he did a duet with Barbara Steisand and title track from her Till I Loved You album. In 1989 he released his second album Let It Roll, that same year he did a duet with Latin singer Yun. Finally, Johnson released The Essential album which is a French compilation which includes his one-hit-wonder Heartbeat.

David Bowie

David Bowie had quite the musical career even before entering the 80’s — going from superstar to megastar in the decade of the eighties. Recording Under Pressure with Queen and his biggest commercial success album Let’s Dance in the early 80’s catapulted him into mega-stardom.

Bowie began his movie career in the late 60’s appearing in a short film as a boy in the movie The Image, the most known movie he appeared in the 1980’s was Labrynth in which he played Jareth the Goblin King. Bowie also appeared in the controversial Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. Another notable film in which he had a cameo appearance in was Zoolander in 2001.

Phil Collins

After Phil Collins’ 1970’s career as drummer and eventually Genesis‘ lead singer/writer when Peter Gabriel left the band, Phil began a successful solo career in the early 80’s. In 1981 he recorded his first solo album Face Value, In 1982 he produced Something’s Going On, a solo album by Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), of ABBA fame. His second album, Hello, I Must Be Going!, released in 1982, included songs such as I Don’t Care Anymore.

From 1985 until 2010, Collins had recorded 6 solo albums including No Jacket Required, But Seriously, Both Sides, Dance Into the Light among others. Collins had 9 number one singles in the UK & US; all of which were released in the 1980’s — although Another Day in Paradise charted in 1990.

Phil’s first film role since becoming a musician came in 1988 with Buster about the Great Train Robbery which took place in England in the 1960s. The movie received good reviews and Collins contributed four songs to the films soundtrack. Collins had cameo appearances in Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991) and the AIDS docudrama And the Band Played On (1993). He starred in 1993’s Frauds, he was considered for the role of the villain in the movie Speed that was later played by Dennis Hopper. He supplied voices to two animated features: Balto (1995) and Disney’s The Jungle Book 2 (2003). On television, he twice hosted the Billboard Music Awards. He also appeared in an episode of the series Miami Vice, entitled “Phil the Shill”, in which he plays a cheating con-man. He also guest starred in several sketches with The Two Ronnies. Most recently, he had a cameo appearance on the television series Whoopi.

Other notable famous 80’s singers turned actors & actors turned singers

Meatloaf (Marvin Lee Aday) actually sought an acting career before he became a singer. Meatloaf had tremendous fame with his 1972 Bat Out Of Hell album. After Bat Out Of Hell, Meat lost much of his fame and fortune throughout the 1980’s, although he did have some success touring and managed to record four albums from 1981 – 1986. Meatloaf returned to popularity with his Bat Out Of Hell II: Back into Hell album and has appeared in over 30 movies including The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Iconic musician/performer Neil Diamond (we won’t go into his entire musical career) starred in a remake of the Al Jolson classic The Jazz Singer in 1980, opposite Laurence Olivier and Lucie Arnaz. Though the movie was not a blockbuster hit at the box office, the soundtrack was a hugely successful album, spawning the 3 Top 10 singles Love on the Rocks, Hello Again, and America. For his role in the film itself, Diamond became the first ever Winner of a Worst Actor Razzie Award, yet he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the same role.

Finally, David Hasselhoff, yes, Mr. Hasselhoff himself recorded quite the collection of albums. Best known for his TV hits Knight Rider and Baywatch, Hasselhoff performed on stage as well as full-featured movies. He recorded over 15 albums and some of which even made the charts.