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A great deal of today's music looks to the '80s for inspiration, but there are so many different ideas of what "'80s" as a descriptor can mean. Here we return to the source material.

As we did for the 1960s, the 1990s, and the 2000s, as well as our 2010-2014 list, we polled our staff and contributing writers for their favorite songs of the era and tabulated the results. Every time we do one of these lists we learn something about how perceptions of decades change over time, and how the musical ideas from a given era filter through to later generations. For many selections, we provide some of our favorite related tracks for further exploration. Thanks for reading and listening.

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