Top Songs of the ’80s with a Question as the Title

The French philosopher Voltaire said the following back in the 1700’s, “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” How about songs that ask questions with their titles over 200 years later? Elvis asked “Are You Lonseome Tonight?” back in 1960 and The Beach Boys asked “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” in 1966. The Bee Gees asked “How Deep is Your Love?” in their 1977 song from Saturday Night Fever, Marvin Gaye asked “What’s Going On?” in his 1971 classic and Rod Stewart asked “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” in his 1978 hit as well. As you might expect, the ’80s had its fair share of song titles that asked questions, too. If you are asking yourself whether you can think of some awesome examples, well, you are in luck because we’ve compiled a list of our favorites right here.

The list can include any song released from 1980-1989 that has a title which is in the form of a question. My rankings will be based on a combination of perceived quality of work and pop culture significance, but mostly just my personal taste level both then and now (which admittedly can change daily). Don’t question why we put together this list, just enjoy the TOP SONGS OF THE ’80s WITH A QUESTION AS THE TITLE:

Honorable Mentions:

“Do You Remember Rock n Roll Radio?” by Ramones (1980)

“Why Do Fools Fall in Love” by Diana Ross (1981)

“Why Can’t I Be You?” by The Cure (1987)

“What About Me?” by Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes & James Ingram (1984)

“Can You Rock It Like This” by Run-DMC (1985)

“How Ya Like Me Now” by Kool Moe Dee (1987)

“How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths (1985) 

“Did Ye Get Healed” by Van Morrison (1987)

“Can You Feel It” by The Jacksons (1981)

“Where Is My Mind?” by The Pixies (1988)

“Don’t You Know What the Night Can Do?” by Steve Winwood (1988)

“Who’s Holding Donna Now” by DeBarge (1985)

“Who Wants to Live Forever” by Queen (1986)

“Wot’s It To Ya” by Robbie Nevil (1987)

“Who’s Zoomin’ Who” by Aretha Franklin (1985)

“Who Made Who” by AC/DC (1986)

40. “What Does It Take” by Honeymoon Suite (1986) – Featured on the soundtrack for the film One Crazy Summer

39. “My Secret (Didja Gitit Yet?)” by New Edition (1985) – The guys perform this song at a talent show in the film Krush Groove

38. “Who’s Johnny” by El DeBarge (1986) – Featured on the soundtrack for the film Short Circuit

37. “How ‘Bout Us?” by Champaign (1981) – Find out more in my interview with Paul Carman 

36. “What Kind of Man Would I Be” by Chicago (1989) – This is the most recent Chicago single to reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100

35. “Don’t You Want Me” by Jody Watley (1987) – Find out more in my interview with co-writer of the song Franne Golde

34. “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid (1984) – Find out all about it in this feature on The Retro Network

33. “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” by Whitney Houston (1987) –  Became Houston’s record-setting 7th consecutive #1 single 

32. “How Do You Keep the Music Playing” by James Ingram with Patti Austin (1983) – Featured on the soundtrack for the 1982 film Best Friends

31. “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” by Michael Bolton (1989) – Song was co-written by Bolton and originally released as a hit single by Laura Branigan in 1982

30. “Who Will You Run To” by Heart (1987) – Written by Diane Warren, this was the band’s last Top 10 hit of the decade

29. “Could You Be Loved” by Bob Marley and the Wailers (1980) – Marley wrote this song with intent of it becoming a hit in the U.S. and it did become the first reggae song to get prominent airplay on major American radio stations

28. “Is This Love” by Survivor (1986) – This was the band’s fifth and most recent Top 10 single

27. “How Can I Fall” by Breathe (1988) – Strong second single peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 after “Hands to Heaven” made it to #2

26. “What Have You Done For Me Lately” by Janet Jackson (1986) –  The last song recorded for the album, it was the first song to be released as a single from Control.

25. “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)” by Information Society (1988) – The “Pure Energy” subtitle comes from a sample of Leonard Nimoy’s voice as “Mr. Spock” from the 1967 episode of Star Trek titled “Errand of Mercy”

24. “Is It Love” by Mr. Mister (1986) – Featured during the end credits of the 1987 film Stakeout

23. “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston (1985) – Find out more in my interview with the song’s co-writers George Merrill & Shannon Rubicam

22. “Where Are You Now?” by Jimmy Harnen with Synch (1986, 1989) – Originally released in 1986 it had minimal success, but when re-recorded and re-released in 1989 it reached #10 on the Hot 100

21. “Why Can’t This Be Love” by Van Halen (1986) – The lead single from 5150 and the first to feature Sammy Hagar on lead vocals

20. “What About Me” by Moving Pictures (1982, 1989) – Had some success when originally released in 1982 spending 26 weeks on the Hot 100 chart and again when re-released in 1989 spending another 17 weeks

19. “Will You Still Love Me?” by Chicago (1986) – This was Chicago’s first Top 10 hit following the departure of Peter Cetera featuring Jason Scheff on lead vocals

18. “What About Love” by Heart (1985) – Find out a little more in my interview with the song’s co-writer Jim Vallance

17. “Who’s That Girl?” by Madonna (1987) – The song was featured on the soundtrack to the film of the same name which Madonna starred in and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August making it her sixth single to top the chart in the decade

16. “Is This Love?” by Whitesnake (1987) – Originally written for Tina Turner, co-writer David Coverdale decided to record it himself and had another huge hit after “Here I Go Again”

15. “Who’s Crying Now” by Journey (1981) – This was the first single released from their now-Diamond certified Escape album 

14. “What Is Love?” by Howard Jones (1983) – Find out a little more in my interview with the song’s producer Rupert Hine

13. “Wouldn’t It Be Good” by Nik Kershaw (1984) – Find out about a little more about the song and its music video in this Flashback Video article

12. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” by Culture Club (1982) – This was the band’s first single released in the U.S. and it achieved worldwide success

11. “Don’t You Want Me” by Human League (1981) – This was actually their fourth single from their third album, but was their breakthrough hit spending three weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 in 1982

10. “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” by Prince (1980) – This was the second single from his second studio album released in January of 1980 making it the earliest song qualifying for this list. It did not make the Top 40 of the pop charts, but it did make it to #13 on the Billboard R&B Chart.

9. “Can’t We Try” by Dan Hill with Vonda Shepard (1987) – One of the great ’80s duets was featured on the soap opera Santa Barbara, this single peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was Billboard’s #1 Adult Contemporary Song of the Year for 1987

8. “Who Can It Be Now” by Men at Work (1982) – The band’s first hit song was originally released in 1981 in Australia, but after a 1982 release in the U.S. it went to #1 on the Hot 100 in October of that year

7. “Would I Lie to You” by Eurythmics (1985) – This was the band’s third and most recent single to reach the Top 10 on the Hot 100

6. “What Have I Done to Deserve This” by Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield (1987) – Find out more in my interview with the song’s co-writer Allee Willis

5. “Do You Believe in Love” by Huey Lewis & the News (1982) – This was from the band’s second studio album and became their first Top 10 hit on the Hot 100

4. “Is There Something I Should Know?” by Duran Duran (1983) – It was released as a stand-alone single and became the band’s first UK #1 record while peaking at #4 on the U.S. Hot 100

3. “Have I Told You Lately (That I Love You)” by Van Morrison (1989) – One of the best love songs of the decade, it did not make the Top 40 of the pop charts, but it did make it to #12 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart. The song has been covered many times by other artists with Rod Stewart having great success with his version released in 1993. Van Morrison won a Grammy in 1996 for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for a version he recorded with The Chieftains.

2. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash (1982) – This song features an unusual technique with Spanish lyrics echoing the English words in the verses. The single was re-released in 1991 after it was used in a Levi’s jeans commercial.

1. “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” by Tina Turner (1984) – This was Turner’s only song to reach #1 on the Hot 100 and she was at the time at age 44 the oldest solo female artist to top the U.S. pop chart (that record has since been taken by Cher). The song won three Grammy awards in 1985 including Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

There’s my list. As usual and as I mentioned earlier, 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. Are there any songs from the ’80s that you feel I have overlooked? If so or if you’d rank any differently, please leave them in the comments section below. There were many in the decades before and many more in the decades that followed, but the ’80s sure had some great question songs. Don’t you agree?

More ’80s Music Nostalgia on TRN

About OldSchool80s 87 Articles
Old School Tim has an adoring devotion to the awesome '80s decade. He loves to relive and share that nostalgia on a regular basis. The Kickin' it Old School blog site has been retired, but you can still get daily doses of '80s goodness on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and anywhere else they let him.

1 Comment

  1. I’d add Where’s Captain Kirk? by Athletic Spizz, Do You Wanna Hold Me? and What’s the Time (Hey Buddy)? by Bow Wow Wow, Is That All There Is? and What’s a Girl to Do? by Cristina, Who Needs Love Like That? by Erasure, Do You Wanna Touch Me There? by Joan Jett, Ain’t This the Life? by Oingo Boingo, and Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful? by The Waitresses,

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