Top 50 New Wave Songs Of All Time

So, I was doing some web surfing and stumbled upon this article that was posted in 2009 on NPR. The Top 50 New Wave songs were compiled by New York’s WFDU (Fairleigh Dickinson University’s radio station).

1. Joy Division – Love Will tear Us Apart
2. Siouxsie & The Banshees – Christine
3. The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
4. Ultravox – Vienna
5. Romeo Void – Never Say Never
6. The Smiths – Bigmouth Strikes Again
7. Echo And The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
8. Gary Numan – Cars
9. New Order – Blue Monday
10. The B-52’s – Rock Lobster
11. Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
12. Peter Godwin – Images Of Heaven
13. New Order – Temptation
14. Icicle Works – Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)
15. Gang Of Four – To Hell With Poverty
16. The Stranglers – Skin Deep
17. John Foxx – Underpass
18. Martha And The Muffins – Echo Beach
19. The Only Ones – Another Girl, Another Planet
20. Yaz – Don’t Go
21. The Specials – Ghost Town
22. The Psychedelic Furs – Heaven
23. Split Enz – I Got You
24. The Chameleons U.K. – Swamp Thing
25. Tom Tom Club – Wordy Rappinghood
26. Depeche Mode – Shake The Disease
27. Visage – Fade To Grey
28. Berlin – The Metro
29. Alphaville – Forever Young
30. Blondie – Heart Of Glass
31. The English Beat – Mirror In The Bathroom
32. Duran Duran – Rio
33. The Flying Lizards – Money
34. XTC – Dear God
35. ABC – The Look Of Love (Part 1)
36. Q Feel – Dancing In Heaven (Orbital Bebop)
37. Altered Images – I Could Be Happy
38. The Boomtown Rats – Rat Trap
39. B-Movie – Nowhere Girl
40. Squeeze – Cool For Cats
41. The Cure – In Between Days
42. Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough
43. Devo – Whip It
44. Public Image Ltd. – Public Image
45. Erasure – Oh Lamour
46. Fruer – Doot Doot
47. Lene Lovich – Lucky Number
48. Bow Wow Wow – Do You Wanna Hold Me?
49. Heaven 17 – Let Me Go
50. China Crisis – Working With Fire And Steel

I have to say, I’m rather impressed with some of the selections on the list. Ultravox so high? Peter Godwin? Icicle Works? Q-Feel? Altered Images? B-Movie? China Crisis?! Awesome!

While I like every song on this list, I do have a few replacements:

Siouxsie – Spellbound
B-52’s – 52 Girls
Blondie – Hanging on the Telephone
Duran Duran – Planet Earth
XTC – Life Begins at the Hop
Erasure – Blue Savannah
Heaven 17 – Penthouse & Pavement

Where is The Human League? Adam Ant? Soft Cell? OMD? Thompson Twins? The Jam?

Anyways, what are your thoughts about this list? Would you add, replace, or remove any?


About Marilyn

Gastronomic Hedonist, Tiki Lifestyle Dreamer, Digital Marketing Professional, Former Nightclub DJ, Happy Homemaker Wannabe, Cat Mommy, etc.

Posted on July 17, 2011, in new wave. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I wonder what makes them the “Top”? station plays? listener requests? DJ preferences? A couple of them the average 80’s fan wouldn’t even know (J Foxx, Only Ones). I remember when all these songs were released. The Bands & their labels were trying to make a dent in the market, & songs like “Shake the Disease” & “Do you Wanna Hold me” were comparatively flops when they came out. Hmmm – this sounds like someone’s collection of mix tapes, not New Wave history. Quest

    • I agree Quest. It’s suspect; the criteria is never mentioned. I wish New Wave Blog Log would chime in. He says he has enough data to make an all-time “top 500 New Wave songs” list. Would love to see that!

  2. Impressed as all hell that “Nowhere Girl” by B Movie made the list,classic 80’s tune and a little on the obscure side….luv it!!!

  3. I agree Kevin! I like a few of their other songs, too. “Marilyn Dreams” (of course!), “Remembrance Day”, etc.

  4. I must confess the only B Movie song I know and own is “Nowhere Girl” on trusty 12” vinyl but will check out your “theme tune” ”Marilyn Dreams”
    I guess my theme tune would either be “Sweet & Tender Hooligan” by The Smiths or “English Blood,Irish Heart” by Morrissey!!
    Good to see The Chameleons UK on the top 50,very overlooked and underated band……on the subject of which Japan,Icehouse and ah what the heck I’ll throw in That Petrol Emotion should be in there but I digress…..see what happens when you get me started on the 80’s….,time to lay down in a dark room and listen to Japan’s “Tin Drum”…….

  5. Hi, I’m the host of said program “That Modern Rock Show”. The Top 50 was compiled by our listeners. My show is essentially a New Wave/Classic Alternative program and if those were my picks I would’ve substituted something else for “Dear God” by XTC (at least a half dozen songs actually) but that’s what they voted on. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Daria’s Cheat Sheet – DJ Marilyn – Greatest New Wave | CodeBass Radio

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