As the saying goes, time sure does fly by. To think, we are entering our fourth decade since our cherished ’80s began and, no matter how much I try to keep it front of mind, it just keeps getting further and further in the rear-view mirror. Many have a daily struggle with not having enough time, wanting more, appreciating or enjoying the time they do have, making the most of it. The clock often rules most people’s lives. It is no surprise then that TIME makes for a natural inspiration or subject matter for songs and often appears in the song titles.
This list will focus on those such songs from the ’80s, but there are some other great ones from other decades. “As Time Goes By” (1942) from Casablanca, “Time is On My Side” (1964) by The Rolling Stones, “Time in a Bottle” (1973) by Jim Croce, “Feels Like the First Time” (1977) by Foreigner, “Time for Me to Fly” (1978) by REO Speedwagon, “Praying for Time” (1990) by George Michael, “All This Time” (1991) by Sting, “Time” (1995) by Hootie & the Blowfish and “Closing Time” (1998) by Semisonic to name a few. My list will include songs released between 1980-1989 with the word “time” in the song title, but not variations of the word. It will not include the plural “times” or “sometimes” or “lifetime” or “everytime” or even “part-time”. With that said, here are my TOP 20 SONGS FROM THE ’80s WITH THE WORD “TIME” IN THE TITLE:
Honorable Mention: “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – It doesn’t technically qualify for this list since it was released in 1979, but it did play a big role in the iconic scene from 1983’s Risky Business with Tom Cruise dancing around in his underwear. So, I felt that was enough to at least get an honorable mention.
20. “If I Could Turn Back Time” (1989) by Cher – The music video was filmed on the USS Missouri battleship and she (43 years old at the time) turned back time by wearing a controversial outfit made up of a fishnet body stocking under a very revealing black v-shaped bathing suit. Many television networks refused to show the video and MTV even banned the original video and later played it only after 9pm.
19. “All This Time” (1988) by Tiffany – From her second studio album, this was her fourth and final U.S. top 10 hit.
18. “Party All the Time” (1985) by Eddie Murphy – Rick James produced, co-wrote and even sang some backing vocals on this song which surprisingly made it all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
17. “This Time I Know It’s For Real” (1989) by Donna Summer – This song made it to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the end of the decade and was her last single to reach the Top 40 in her career.
16. “Time Will Reveal” (1983) by DeBarge – This single would reach #1 on the R&B chart and peak at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
15. “Time to Get Ill” (1986) by Beastie Boys – This was the final track on their debut Licensed to Ill album, but never released as a single.
14. “Time to Chill” (1988) by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – This “rap record that had the pace of a slow song” samples “Breezin’” (1976) by George Benson.
13. “Nothin’ But a Good Time” (1988) by Poison – The first single off the band’s second studio album, Open Up and Say… Ahh! would peak at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
12. “Too Much Time On My Hands” (1981) by Styx – The second single released from their Paradise Theatre album, it peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
11. “This Time” (1983) by Bryan Adams – Check out my interview with the song’s co-writer Jim Vallance for more details.
10. “Time and Tide” (1987) by Basia – From the platinum-selling album of the same name, this is the biggest U.S. hit for the Polish jazz/pop singer-songwriter.
9. “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” (1987) by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – From the soundtrack of the motion picture Dirty Dancing, it went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Song as well as the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.
8. “Time (Clock of the Heart)” (1982) by Culture Club – The second hit single from their debut album, Kissing to be Clever, peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
7. “Back in Time” (1985) by Huey Lewis & the News – From the soundtrack of the motion picture Back to the Future. As a side note, the license plate on the DeLorean read “OUTATIME”.
6. “The Next Time I Fall” (1986) by Peter Cetera & Amy Grant – Co-written by Paul Gordon and Bobby Caldwell, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary charts. Check out our interview with Paul Gordon to find out more.
5. “The Longest Time” (1983) & “This Is the Time” (1986) both by Billy Joel – The first was a tribute to doo-wop and the fourth single released from his hit album An Innocent Man. The other was released on The Bridge and, though it doesn’t have an official music video, this underrated song was used for a cool NBA video which you can see below.
4. “One Moment in Time” (1988) by Whitney Houston – Co-written by Albert Hammond and John Bettis, it was used as the theme song for the 1988 Summer Olympics.
3. “Big Time” (1986) by Peter Gabriel – It became his second Top 10 single from the So album, featured The Police’s Stewart Copeland on drums and, like “Sledgehammer”, has a pretty cool music video directed by Stephen R. Johnson.
2. “Only Time Will Tell” (1982) by Asia – Check out my interview with Asia frontman and the song’s co-writer John Wetton
1. “Time After Time” (1983) by Cyndi Lauper – This awesome ballad, discussed in my interview with The Hooters’ Eric Bazilian, was Lauper’s second single from She’s So Unusual and became her first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June of 1984. You can check out our interview with Eric Bazilian to find out more.
There’s my list. I included music videos for the top 5, but you can easily find the others if you are not familiar with them or just have the urge to listen to them now. As usual, these are based on my personal preferences and the order could very well change a little depending on my mood or nostalgia on a given day. And it doesn’t even include songs by Morris Day and the band named The Time. Are there any songs from the ’80s with the word “time” in the title that you feel I have overlooked? (Remember it is not including versions of the word like times, sometimes, etc.) If so or if you’d rank any differently, please leave them in the comments section below. The ’80s were a great time in pop culture history and a time that I will always remember dearly. Well, it’s about time I wrap this up, so until next time…