The Best Of: 80s Compilations

Originally posted in 2017. Updated in 2020.
 

When I was coming up with something special to do for the fifth anniversary of Chart Beats in 2017, I thought it might be fun to take a look at a chart staple from the '80s (until they got moved into their own chart in July 1989): the various artists compilation.

Why? It's not like I owned many. As part of my mother's continued efforts to get me to stop buying music, she warned that compilations were a waste of money since there were always lots of songs you didn't like among the two or three you did. But I did always covet them, especially when significantly more than two or three songs I liked all appeared on one album.

heaps of hits 85 front and back.jpg

Well, it's easy to have heaps of hits when you're a double album, now isn't it?

I thought about ranking the albums according to their chart performance or how well the songs they contained performed individually, but in the end I've come up with a highly subjective countdown. I'm going to rank the top 30 (according to me) various artists compilations released in the '80s by the major record labels (as opposed to dodgy collections from Dino, J&B, etc.).

For an album to do well on this list, it has to contain a high proportion of songs I like versus songs I don't like. The more I like the "good" songs, the better it will fare. Obviously, since this blog is subtitled A Journey Through Pop, there's a bias towards albums with a high pop content. Honourable mention must go to Heaps Of Hits '85, which will not appear on this list. It easily has the highest number of songs I like — but then it was a double album, so I've stuck to single albums to be fair. Oh, and I'm only including tracks on the LP versions, not cassette or CD bonus tracks.

A great compilation, but it doesn't qualify

I also didn't include year-end or decade-end compilations. Only the regular three- or four-monthly collections qualified. Sorry, Smash Hits 87.


Judging by the number of times '80s compilations get mentioned on my posts and the Chart Beats Facebook page, plenty of you have fond memories and strong opinions about these albums as well, so be sure to get in touch with your own favourites or to tell me how I've got it all wrong. I can't guarantee I'll agree with you...

Chart debut: June 29, 1987
Peak: number 3
Biggest hit: "Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room)" by Paul Lekakis (number 1 for five weeks)
Smallest hit: "Rock The Night" by Europe (number 22)
Best song: "Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room)" by Paul Lekakis
Worst song: "At This Moment" by Billy Vera And The Beaters

 

What makes '87 Right On Track the best compilation album of the '80s? 
1) I can listen to it from beginning to end without wanting to skip a song — something that was especially important when skipping a song meant having to get up and move the needle (or fast forward the appropriate amount). That's right, every single track meets my definition of a good song. Every. Single. Track.
2) It features the 1987 Eurodance trinity of "Boom Boom", "Love And Devotion" and "Male Stripper".
3) It contains awesome pop hits by Mel & Kim, Wang Chung, The Pretenders and Wa Wa Nee that are often overshadowed by their other, better known singles.
4) Even the rock songs — "What's My Scene?", "Rock The Night" and "Midnight Blue" — are good.
5) It has amazing one-hit wonders Club Nouveau, Jody Watley and Breakfast Club.
6) And two movie soundtrack smashes, courtesy of Dave Dobbyn with Herbs and Starship. I rest my case.

Chart debut: May 9, 1983
Peak: number 1 (four weeks)
Biggest hit: "Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker/Jennifer Warnes (number 1 for two weeks)
Smallest hits: "Steppin' Out" by Joe Jackson and "Wot" by Captain Sensible (number 30)
Best song: "Our House" by Madness
Worst song: "Hooked On Hooks" by Skyhooks

There are a few contenders for worst song on this collection — with the tracks by Monte Video And The Cassettes, Thomas Dolby and Chas & Dave all marginally less annoying than the Skyhooks medley. Despite all that dross, there are plenty of great tunes from the summer of '82-'83 — thank goodness for the 20-song tracklisting. Typically, for this era, it's the British stuff that's the best — hits by Billy Idol, Madness, Kajagoogoo and Joe Jackson.

Chart debut: August 25, 1980
Peak: number 7
Biggest hit: "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen (number 1 for seven weeks)
Smallest hit: "Geno" by Dexy's Midnight Runners (number 44)
Best song: "All Out Of Love" by Air Supply
Worst song: "Cheap Wine" by Cold Chisel


The earliest album on this list is also the only entry from 1980, a turning point in the history of compilations. 1980... The Music became the first non-soundtrack various artists collection to reach the top 10 since Explosive Hits '75. From hereon in, the major labels seemed to take more control of their chart hits instead of just leaving them to K-Tel to package up and the era of chart-hogging compilations was born. Were it not for the glut of dreary ballads as well as the pub rock double of Australian Crawl and Cold Chisel, this would have done better on this list.   

Chart debut: December 5, 1983
Peak: number 1 (five weeks)
Biggest hit: "Australiana" by Austen Tayshus (number 1 for eight weeks)
Smallest hit: "Some People (Have All The Fun)" by Jon English (number 50)
Best song: "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club
Worst song: "Australiana" by Austen Tayshus

 

It's a testament to how competitive a list this is when an album that features 1983 megastars Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Culture Club and Elton John, and a track from Flashdance is this low — but blame it on the second half of Side Two, with four songs I'm not a fan of (Jon English, Cold Chisel, Austen Tayshus and The Blues Brothers). I've also never been that keen on the Malcolm McLaren, UB40 and Paul Young songs.  

Chart debut: April 20, 1987
Peak: number 1 (one week)
Biggest hit: "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" by Aretha Franklin/George Michael (number 1 for four weeks)
Smallest hit: "Graceland" by Paul Simon (number 62)
Best song: "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by Kim Wilde
Worst song: "Graceland" by Paul Simon

 

I really thought this would be higher, but that's what happens when you choose Paul Simon over Wa Wa Nee, whose "Sugar Free" was relegated to the CD version (which I own) despite being a top 10 hit. I also don't love the inclusions from Boris Gardiner, The Style Council or Michael Hutchence. But from Kim Wilde to Dead Or Alive, Berlin to New Order, Europe to Bon Jovi, Cameo to Gregory Abbott and, of course, the George and Aretha duet, there's plenty of gold.

Chart debut: November 20, 1989
Peak: number 1 of the compilations chart (12 weeks)
Biggest hit: "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher (number 1 for seven weeks)
Smallest hit: "Don't Look Back" by Fine Young Cannibals (number 38)
Best song: "Cherish" by Madonna
Worst song: "Dr Feelgood" by Mötley Crüe

 

As with 1980, we only have one entry from the final year of the decade — there were some awful compilations in 1989! Featuring a rare post-1985 licensing of a Madonna song, Let's Do It... Summer 1990 boasted a pretty strong tracklisting overall. Mötley Crüe aside, I liked the rock inclusions from Alice Cooper, Boom Crash Opera and The Hummingbirds, but could live without "Hangin' Tough", "The World Seems Difficult" and "Communication".

Chart debut: August 31, 1981
Peak: number 5
Biggest hit: "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes (number 1 for five weeks)
Smallest hit: "I Don't Wanna Dance" by Split Enz (number 65)
Best song: "Kids In America" by Kim Wilde
Worst song: "They Won't Let My Girlfriend Talk To Me" by Jimmy And The Boys

Just look at those first four songs on Side Two — the best the Brits had to offer in 1981. Points also for tracks by Rupert Hines, Rick Springfield, Mondo Rock and The Church. Bizarrely for me, I'm not into the Split Enz track, but I don't mind the Australian Crawl one.

Chart debut: November 21, 1983
Peak: number 1 (three weeks)
Biggest hit: "Reckless (Don't Be So)" by Australian Crawl (number 1 for one week)
Smallest hit: "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All" by Air Supply (number 45)
Best song: "IOU" by Freeez
Worst song: "(She's) Sexy & 17" by Stray Cats

The real highlight of this collection from late 1983 is the presence of one-hit wonders Men Without Hats, Taco, Freeez, F.R. David and JoBoxers. They're exactly the types of songs you want on a compilation — who wanted to shell out for a full album by any of them?

Chart debut: November 30, 1981
Peak: number 4
Biggest hit: "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John (number 1 for five weeks)
Smallest hit: "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted" by Dave Stewart (number 34)
Best song: "Chequered Love" by Kim Wilde (sorry, but she had a lot of great singles)
Worst song: "The Stroke" by Billy Squier


I have a bit of a soft spot for this album since we had it on cassette in my house — a rarity! I was only six at the time, but I have pretty strong memories of many of these songs, like "Queen Of Hearts", "Louise (We Get It Right)" and, of course, "Physical". Even though there aren't many duds at all on here, the songs by most of the local acts are ones I like but don't love — and so it doesn't rank as high as it could.

Chart debut: August 18, 1986
Peak: number 1 (four weeks)
Biggest hit: "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" by Samantha Fox (number 1 for three weeks)
Smallest hit: "Hyperactive" by Robert Palmer (number 72)
Best song: "If You Leave" by OMD
Worst song: "Who Made Who" by AC/DC


Although it features what is possibly the worst ever start to a compilation, thanks to the disastrous Side One opening trio of Queen, AC/DC and Robert Palmer, the rest of 1986... Just For Kicks more than makes up for it, especially the flawless Side Two. 

Chart debut: April 4, 1988

Peak: number 4

Biggest hit: "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley (number 1 for seven weeks)

Smallest hit: "Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac (number 45)

Best song: "Love In The First Degree" by Bananarama

Worst song: "Unchain My Heart" by Joe Cocker

And you know, I don't actually mind that Joe Cocker song — it's just the worst of a pretty decent bunch. A bunch that includes Rick Astley's mega-hit, some of my favourite songs from the tail end of 1987 by Communards, Tiffany, Cher, Dragon, Bananarama and Foreigner, and The Bangles' early-'88 soundtrack smash. I even like the David Lee Roth song.

Chart debut: September 28, 1987

Peak: number 8
Biggest hit: "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" by Whitney Houston (number 1 for five weeks)
Smallest hit: "Good Times" by Hoodoo Gurus (number 36)
Best song: "Respectable" by Mel & Kim
Worst song: I'm torn between "Star Trekkin'" by The Firm (which I kind of liked as a 12-year-old but despise now) and "First We Take Manhattan" by Jennifer Warnes (which has always bored me).


Whitney. Swing Out Sister. The Cure. Three Stock Aitken Waterman tracks. Rockmelons. Noiseworks. Jenny Morris. ABC. This is why 1987 was such a great year for music. I even like the Gino Vannelli song.

Chart debut: February 25, 1985
Peak: number 1 (four weeks)
Biggest hit: "One Night In Bangkok" by Murray Head (number 1 for one week)
Smallest hits: "Singing In The Shower" by Solid Citizens and "The Unforgettable Fire" by U2 (number 59)
Best song: "Cruel Summer" by Bananarama, although that was a re-release from 1983, so I'll go with "The NeverEnding Story" by Limahl
Worst song: "I'm Tuff" by George Smilovici


Pop bands didn't get much bigger in early 1985 than Duran Duran, Eurythmics and Frankie Goes To Hollywood — and all three are present and accounted for here. Throw in some of the biggest female singers in the world (Pat Benatar, Sheena Easton, a resurgent Tina Turner) and a smattering of local talent (Models and The Radiators' best song), and you have a well-rounded release.

Chart debut: August 26, 1985
Peak: number 2
Biggest hits: "Live It Up" by Mental As Anything and "One More Night" by Phil Collins (number 2 for three weeks)
Smallest hit: "Everything I Need" by Men At Work (number 37)
Best song: "Walls Come Tumbling Down!" by The Style Council
Worst song: "Baby U Left Me (In The Cold)" by Marilyn

 

There were no chart-topping singles, but no less than five number 2 hits on this pretty unobjectionable compilation from later in 1985. I even don't mind "Walk Of Life", which was here thanks to its appearance as the double A-side of "So Far Away" and would show up again on an album we'll see higher up the list once it had been a single in its own right.

Chart debut: August 30, 1982
Peak: number 3
Biggest hit: "I've Never Been To Me" by Charlene (number 1 for six weeks)
Smallest hit: "Without You" by Eurogliders (number 34)
Best song: "Don't You Want Me" by The Human League
Worst song: "Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk" by Dr Hook

 

It's a bit of an odd name for a compilation that features new wave (The Human League, Simple Minds, The Waitresses, Eurogliders and ABC), funk (Prince!), cheesy ballads (Bertie Higgins and Charlene) and the solo debut of Adam Ant, but whatever. And what rock was included was of the good variety — Mondo Rock, John Cougar, Tommy Tutone... even the Cold Chisel song wasn't my least favourite track on the album.

Chart debut: June 20, 1988
Peak: number 1 (four weeks)
Biggest hit: "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" by Billy Ocean (number 1 for five weeks)
Smallest hit: "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" by Whitney Houston (number 48)
Best song: "I Want You Back" by Bananarama
Worst song: "The Flame" by Cheap Trick


An excellent selection from music's best year is marred by the presence of MOR tracks by Cheap Trick, Little River Band and Michael Bolton (I'll let Whitney slide). Otherwise, it's wall-to-wall pop with teen queens Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, dance-pop gems by Taylor Dayne and Sabrina, some SAW courtesy of Bananarama and Rick Astley (thankfully "My Arms Keep Missing You" not "When I Fall In Love"), and A-grade tracks from an array of groups: Underworld. Bros, Eurogliders and Wet Wet Wet.

Chart debut: December 6, 1982
Peak: number 9
Biggest hit: "Shy Boy" by Bananarama (number 2)
Smallest hit: "Sweet Little Woman" by Joe Cocker (number 42)
Best song: "Shy Boy" by Bananarama closely followed by "Don't Go" by Yazoo
Worst song: "We Can't Be Beaten" by Rose Tattoo


1982 is pretty well-represented in the second half of this list. It was the year ABBA's Frida resumed her solo career (with a little help from Phil Collins), John Farnham was lead singer of Little River Band and The Pointer Sisters went all-out pop. Besides the obvious big names (Moving Pictures, Hall & Oates, Madness, Olivia Newton-John), there were also some brilliant inclusions from Rough Trade, Melissa Manchester and Missing Persons that you don't really hear anymore.

Chart debut: May 10, 1982
Peak: number 1 (five weeks)
Biggest hit: "What About Me?" by Moving Pictures (number 1 for six weeks)
Smallest hit: "Beserk Warriors" by Mental As Anything (number 30)
Best song: "Just Can't Get Enough" by Depeche Mode
Worst song: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by Tight Fit, but Bill Wyman's "Come Back Suzanne" is a close second.

 

Here's another one from 1982, the year "Centrefold", "Mickey", "Just Can't Get Enough" and "What About Me?" were all massive in Australia. 1982 With A Bullet also featured fantastic but now over-looked hits by Duran Duran, ONJ, Jo Kennedy, Barry Manilow and The Church, and had the good sense to stick "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" on the end of Side One so you could take the album off before having to endure it.

Chart debut: October 14, 1985
Peak: number 3
Biggest hit: "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" by Tina Turner (number 1 for three weeks)
Smallest hit: "Home For My Heart" by Tim Finn (number 87)
Best song: "Out Of Mind Out Of Sight" by Models
Worst song: "Idiot Grin" by Do-Re-Mi

 

Hottest on record? It does contain some of the best songs of mid-1985, but there are random inclusions by DeBarge, Tim Finn and Do-Re-Mi that the compilers must have thought would perform better. They're the only things preventing this album from living up to its title, with excellent tracks from Huey Lewis And The News, Models, Eurythmics, The Pointer Sisters, Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder, Go West and The Motels providing an accurate snapshot of what I was trying to tape off the radio at that point in time.

Chart debut: December 9, 1985
Peak: number 2
Biggest hit: "I Got You Babe" by UB40 with Chrissie Hynde (number 1 for three weeks)
Smallest hit: "Cold Fever" by Models (number 36)
Best song: "Current Stand" by Kids In The Kitchen
Worst song: "I'd Die To Be With You Tonight" by Jimmy Barnes


What is it with starting compilations with minor Queen hits (see also: 1986... Just For Kicks)? That sequencing issue aside, this album (which slots in appropriately between the ones either side) is notable for including the only hits for a solo Midge Ure and the Duran Duran spin-off project Arcadia. Plus, there was the power ballad return of Heart, Pseudo Echo's best single and the feminist anthem from Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin.

Chart debut: April 28, 1986
Peak: number 1 (three weeks)
Biggest hit: "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" by Billy Ocean (number 1 for six weeks)
Smallest hit: "Sanctify Yourself" by Simple Minds (number 46)
Best song: "Chain Reaction" by Diana Ross
Worst song: "Ride The Night Away" by Jimmy Barnes (sorry!)

 

As 1985 moved into 1986, pop music just got better and, the last two tracks of Side Two aside, this collection gathered a lot of my favourites. From Aussie synthpop (Pseudo Echo, Venetians, Jump Incorporated) to Aussie pop/rock (Icehouse, Hoodoo Gurus); British bands (Go West, Pet Shop Boys, Simple Minds) to female singers (Princess, Diana Ross, Stevie Nicks), 1986 Way To Go had it all — even that song that ended up in a Listerine commercial.

Chart debut: August 27, 1984
Peak: number 2
Biggest hit: "Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (number 4 for two weeks)
Smallest hit: "Happy Ending" by Joe Jackson (number 47)
Best song: "The Reflex" by Duran Duran edges out "Sweet And Sour" by The Takeaways
Worst song: "Bird Of Paradise" by Snowy White


Proof that sometimes it was better to err on the side of caution and go with eight tracks a side instead of nine, this would've been close to faultless if it had omitted the final song on both sides. But given it's the compilation with the lowest charting biggest hit (i.e. no singles that reached the top 3), it's done well. Besides the tunes mentioned above, highlights include "Doctor! Doctor", "People Are People", "A Beat For You", "Bitter Desire" and that dance version of "To Sir With Love". I even like the Slade song.

Chart debut: December 3, 1984

Peak: number 1 (nine weeks)

Biggest hit: "What's Love Got To Do With It" by Tina Turner (number 1 for one week)

Smallest hit: "I Walk Away" by Split Enz (number 45)

Best song: "Jump (For My Love)" by The Pointer Sisters

Worst song: I hate "Soul Kind Of Feeling" by Dynamic Hepnotics and "Agadoo" by Black Lace equally.

 

This was always going to be on the list, wasn't it? But it may not be as high as you'd think, especially given it was the '80s compilation that spent the longest at number 1 (pre-compilations chart). But the presence of two tracks I like even less than the included Jimmy Barnes song might explain why I don't rank Choose 1985 so highly. I also never got into "Ghostbusters" as much as everyone else. Bonus points for Machinations, Jermaine Jackson, Split Enz, John Waite, Corey Hart, Hazell Dean and U2 (before they went boring).

Chart debut: December 8, 1986
Peak: number 1 (two weeks)
Biggest hit: "You're The Voice" by John Farnham (number 1 for seven weeks)
Smallest hit: "You Give Love A Bad Name" by Bon Jovi (number 32)
Best song: "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Communards
Worst song: "What's The Colour Of Money" by Hollywood Beyond

 

Summer '87 is an interesting one. It contains some of my favourites from 1986 — "Dancing On The Ceiling", "Two Of Hearts", "Heartache All Over The World", "Dreams Of Ordinary Men' and two of my year-end top 10. Then it spoils it with "Missionary Man" and "What's The Colour Of Money", which both irritate me. Interestingly, the album sneaked in Bon Jovi's breakthrough hit, even though it didn't reach the top 50 until March 1987. Thanks to its premature appearance, it probably didn't end up as big as it could've been.

Chart debut: March 5, 1984

Peak: number 1 (two weeks)

Biggest hit: "Love Is A Battlefield" by Pat Benatar (number 1 for five weeks)

Smallest hit: "Chinese I's (Here Come The Minute Men)" by Venetians (number 63)

Best song: "Twist Of Fate" by Olivia Newton-John

Worst song: "Bon Voyage" by The Little Heroes

Despite having the worst cover art of any compilation not just from the '80s but ever (what even is that?), 1984 Shakin' is a treasure trove of great pop nuggets. Like Pseudo Echo's debut single, ONJ's best song, Real Life's other big hit, long-forgotten tunes by Tim Finn and Cliff Richard, as well as Venetians, QED, Kids In The Kitchen, Hall & Oates... I could list most of the tracklisting, but I won't.

Chart debut: August 30, 1982
Peak: number 1 (five weeks)
Biggest hit: "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts (number 1 for five weeks)
Smallest hit: "Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)" by Rocky Sharpe & The Replays (number 39)
Best song: "Hungry Like The Wolf" by Duran Duran
Worst song: "Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)" by Rocky Sharpe & The Replays (ugh)


Deservedly the highest album from 1982 on this list, 1982 Out Of The Blue crams in a lot of great tunes and minimal duds. There's Ray Parker Jr's song that charted higher than "Ghostbusters" and Rick Springfield's other '80s top 10 hit. And from "I Ran" to "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", "It Must Be Love" to "Do You Believe In Love", "Love Plus One" to "One Perfect Day", it's wall-to-wall classics (though I was never keen on Adrian Gurvitz's song of the same name).

Chart debut: April 7, 1986
Peak: number 4
Biggest hit: "We Built This City" by Starship (number 1 for four weeks)
Smallest hit: "It's Alright (Baby's Coming Back)" by Eurythmics (number 32)
Best song: "Hit That Perfect Beat" by Bronski Beat
Worst song: "Face The Face" by Pete Townshend

 

You know when the worst song on a compilation isn't so bad that things are getting serious. Controversially dropping the year from its title, All The Hits also only featured one Australian act (Eurogliders) on its tracklisting. Still, with a-ha, The Cars, The Cure, Fine Young Cannibals and Mr Mister, as well as the friendly double of "You're A Friend Of Mine" and "That's What Friends Are For" all making the cut, I'm not complaining.

Chart debut: April 30, 1984
Peak: number 1 (five weeks)
Biggest hit: "All Night Long (All Night)" by Lionel Richie (number 1 for six weeks)
Smallest hit: "Kiss The Bride" by Elton John (number 25)
Best song: "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper
Worst song: "Sticky Music" by Sandii And The Sunsetz


With every one of its 18 tracks peaking in the top 25 of the ARIA chart, Throbbin' '84 is a masterclass in how to put a compilation together (although not in how to give it a title). Unfortunately, I don't like two of the songs — "Sticky Music" and "Cum On Feel The Noize" — but every other track is fantastic. Besides the obvious tunes you still hear today all the time, shout out to "Just Be Good To Me", "Blue Day", "Talking In Your Sleep" and "In A Big Country".

Chart debut: August 29, 1983
Peak: number 1 (two weeks)
Biggest hit: "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by Bonnie Tyler (number 1 for six weeks)
Smallest hit: "Street Café" by Icehouse (number 57)
Best song: "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)" by Wham!
Worst song: "Buffalo Gals" by Malcolm McLaren


Again, the worst song isn't one I actively hate — I just tire of it quickly. Otherwise, there is little to complain about here, with the better version of "Der Kommissar", under-rated singles by INXS, Icehouse, The Style Council and Tears For Fears, and megastars Michael Jackson, Elton John and Prince. It's curious the top hit is tucked away at the end — something that's not exclusive to this album. Maybe research suggested it's not best to kick off with long-running chart-toppers people are sick of. Or perhaps they just wanted a melodramatic finish.

Chart debut: August 13, 1984
Peak: number 1 (five weeks)
Biggest hit: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham! (number 1 for seven weeks)
Smallest hit: "What Is Love?" by Howard Jones (number 31)
Best song: "What Is Love?" by Howard Jones
Worst song: "I've Been To Bali Too" by Redgum


Coming in to this, I knew what would take out the top spot. But when I went down the tracklisting for Hits Huge '84, I thought I'd have to revise my long-held belief about what the best '80s compilation was. Until I came to that Redgum song — the only blight on an impeccable collection. Featuring landmark hits by Wham!, Madonna, Eurogliders and Cyndi Lauper; a couple of breakdance tracks; Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones; synthpop from Berlin and Wang Chung; great Aussie bands Electric Pandas, INXS, Icehouse and Dragon; and "Oh Sherrie", it's a worthy runner-up.

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