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80s Top 10 Songs Not on Spotify

80s Top 10 Songs Not on Spotify

With the arrival of Def Leppard, that leaves Peter Gabriel as the only major 80s pop artist to still hold out on putting his back catalog on Spotify (and since he has acted like a tremendous douche on the subject, I doubt we'll see him cave anytime soon).  Anyway, I decided to take the occasion to post all 1980s Hot 100 Top 10 songs that remain unavailable on Spotify.  This is for reference and perhaps to put pressure on artists and labels for release.  Because my interest lies in the 1980s decade, the list is restricted to that decade.  An asterisk (*) indicates that the song spent a significant amount of time on Spotify since late 2015 or so, but has been removed for an unexplained reason.  Artist-authorized re-recordings will be noted.  If the only thing available is a dubious re-recording with a suspicious label indication, the song is listed as not available.  The list is sorted by peak position.  I may follow up this list by continuing through the rest of the Top 20 or Top 40.  Anyway, here you go:

#1 songs:
"I Love Rock n' Roll"--Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
"Mickey"--Toni Basil* (again unavailable as of summer 2020.  Basil has put up a rerecording with a slightly different title, which bodes ill for the original coming back again anytime soon).
"Flashdance...What a Feeling"--Irene Cara* (recently sourced from a compilation; the parent album is still unavailable and fakes abound--don't count on its stability)
"Sledgehammer"--Peter Gabriel
"Rock On"--Michael Damian (a very good 2009 rerecording by Damian himself is available)

#2 songs:
"Electric Avenue"--Eddy Grant*
"All I Need"--Jack Wagner
"I Want Your $ex"--George Michael (available, but the charting song is not available in a separate track from its "Part 2" B-side, "Brass in Love")

#3 songs:
All are available, but take Anita Baker's "Giving You the Best That I Got" with a grain of salt.  Most of her hits appear to be available again, but as parts of compilations that may or may not be dubious or authorized by her.  They never play as part of her own albums, and the album art itself does not really show up.  "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" by The S.O.S. Band is sourcing from a compilation (including the compilation album art) with a cut-off fade out as of March 2020.  The parent album has been greyed out with the exception of the hit.

#4 songs:
"For Your Eyes Only"--Sheena Easton

All apparently available

#5 songs:
All apparently available

"Lookin' for Love"--Johnny Lee* (tends to periodically reappear via compliation, then disappear again after a short time--UPDATE March 2020: as of Summer 2019, seems to FINALLY be stable and sourcing from the original album

"Make a Move on Me"--Olivia Newton-John*

"She Blinded Me with Science"--Thomas Dolby*--UPDATE March 2020: now appears to be available and sourcing properly from the original parent album, hopefully stable.

#6 songs:
All apparently available

#7 songs:
"Crimson and Clover"--Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
"Spies Like Us"--Paul McCartney
"Sweet Freedom"--Michael McDonald

#8 songs:
"They Don't Know"--Tracey Ullman
"Breakdance"--Irene Cara*
"Big Time"--Peter Gabriel
"I Remember Holding You"--Boys Club--UPDATE March 2020: the song in its original recording has been made available as a single with a b/w image of the two band members as cover art.  The full album is not available nor is it in the database.  Stability questionable.

#9 songs:
"Don't Shed a Tear"--Paul Carrack* (available again as of March 2020)
"The Doctor"--Doobie Brothers* (has reappeared via compilation, then been removed again.  UPDATE March 2020: now sourcing from the original parent album and available)

Note that "Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner and Garcia has been available in the same version from several different sources, apparently an authorized re-recording.  Recently, a source showed up with an entire B&G album and good album art (unlike the typical "fake compilation" album art that is so ubiquitous on Spotify), but it is still unclear if the recording is the original.  It sounds authentic.

#10 songs:
"Hold on to My Love"--Jimmy Ruffin (it looks like all the available versions of this are re-recordings, even though they are not all indicated as such and they sound very good)

"Nothin' At All"--Heart* (1985 album removed as of 8/20/20--the other three Top 10 singles are playing from other sources).
"Baby Love"--Regina* (was available, but removed again as of March 2020)
"Where Are You Now"--Jimmy Harnen and Synch
"Cry"--Waterfront--UPDATE March 2020: available and sourcing from the original album

So...all things considered, that's a pretty short list.  Good job, Spotify!  Hopefully someone looks at this to know where work is needed.  All top 10 songs should be available.  In fairness, the entire "What a Feelin'" album from Irene Cara was recently removed without explanation.  Would be nice if someone from Spotify could find out why or work on it.  Gabriel...sigh.  Who knows if he will cave?  Nobody thought Prince's heirs, Seger or Def Leppard would [UPDATE: It happened!].  Some of the albums that have long been unavailable with no explanation, such as Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n Roll," deserve some effort [UPDATE: Finally, Joan Jett's catalog is fully available!].  And so do the really obscure tracks like Boys Club "I Remember Holding You" (half of that act was a member of the Jets, so the song, as a Top 10 hit, should have been included on one of those Jets compilations).  Jack Wagner's "All I Need" is the highest charting song of the decade to not be available in any digital format, including download.  Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue" is also unavailable for download at iTunes or Amazon, but it was there at one point and then removed.

Pay attention to this list, Spotify, and get the job done!  The labels and artists (where applicable) need to be "persuaded."

As I said, I may follow up with Top 20 and Top 40 songs.

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Edited the list above to reflect recent changes.  Good news: Sheena Easton's "For Your Eyes Only" is finally available, part of a recent release of her entire album catalog (formerly, most of her hit singles were only available through a "Greatest Hits" compilation that did not include "For Your Eyes Only," which was listed as a track on a James Bond compilation, but was greyed out--it's fully available now).


Bad news: "She Blinded Me with Science" is now greyed out in all sources, along with most of Thomas Dolby's catalog.  Dolby is known to be active on the internet and has personally created his own Spotify playlist, so it is to be hoped that he is working on whatever licensing issue caused his catalog's removal.


I'm shortly going to continue the list with unavailable 1980s songs that peaked at Hot 100 #11-#20.

Continuation through 80s Top 20 Songs


#11 songs:

All apparently available, but Sheila E's "A Love Bizarre" is only available in the album version, which lasts over 12 minutes (!)  Because of that great length, the single version should be available.  A similar issue exists for the #7 "The Glamorous Life," which is only available in a 9:00 original version or a 6.5 minute "Club Edit" (which is not the same as the familiar single version).


#12 songs:

"Beach Boys Medley"--The Beach Boys (not as hopeless as it might seem; it shows up as a greyed out track on the 2004 "Platinum Edition" compilation and could presumably be added).

"Beatles Movie Medley" (This, on the other hand, probably is pretty hopeless; it was only ever released on vinyl and has been long buried--Ringo, Paul and the heirs of John and George would surely like to keep it that way [it's not even available on YouTube]--nonetheless, it was a #12 hit and should be available in some form).

"Lights Out"--Peter Wolf

"Just Another Night"--Mick Jagger*

"Thinking of You"--Sa-Fire


#13 songs:

"Pilot of the Airwaves"--Charlie Dore*

"Why Me?"--Irene Cara*

"Another Lover"--Giant Steps


#14 songs:

"Love the World Away"--Kenny Rogers* (reappeared Summer 2019)

"It's Now or Never"--John Schneider


#15 songs:

"Come As You Are"--Peter Wolf


#16 songs:

"Cry"--Godley & Creme (available as of March 2020)


#17 songs:

"Goin' Down"--Greg Guidry


#18 songs:

"Why Not Me"--Fred Knoblock"

"Hey Baby" by Henry Lee Summer is only available in a live version, not the studio recording.


#19 songs:

"All Night Long"--Joe Walsh


#20 songs:

"Without Your Love"--Roger Daltrey

"Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)"--Joan Jett

"Run Runaway"--Slade

"Soul Kiss"--Olivia Newton-John*


Interesting that #15-#19 have one unavailable song each (although Henry Lee Summer's "Hey Baby" actually isn't really available, only existing in a live version--strange because his other hit, "I Wish I Had a Girl" [which actually peaked lower] is available in the original version).


Will possibly continue through the rest of the Top 40 at some point.

What the heck is Slade holding out for? They don’t seem like the pretentious types at all. (No offense TOOL)

Another edit at #5.  Johnny Lee's "Lookin' for Love" has been unstable on Spotify for a while.  It briefly vanished for about a day a few months ago, but when it returned, it had really weird album art from obscure compilations (which changed over the course of the weeks).  It now appears to have been greyed out again from all sources.  Obviously his biggest hit.  Available on iTunes.  Work on it, Spotify, get it right.  Source it from the "Greatest Hits" album, which is otherwise composed of available tracks.

Continuation through 80s Top 30 Songs


#21 songs:

"Earth Angel"--New Edition*

"Serious"--Donna Allen*

"Strange But True"--Times Two


#22 songs:

"Modern Day Delilah"--Van Stephenson


#23 songs:

"This Woman:--Kenny Rogers

"Fishnet"--Morris Day (a really terrible live version is available)

All now apparently available


#24 songs:

"Love You Like I Never Loved Before"--John O'Banion

"Take It Easy"--Andy Taylor


#25 songs:

"Fool in Love with You"--Jim Photoglo

"Steal the Night"--Stevie Woods

"Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk"--Dr. Hook

I'm not sure about Jim Photoglo's "Fool in Love with You."  It links from a VERY dubious source, but it sounds like the original recording.  NOTE: Clearly NOT the original recording!


#26 songs:

"In Your Eyes"--Peter Gabriel

"Not Just Another Girl"--Ivan Neville

All now apparently available


#27 songs:

"I'm Happy That Love Has Found You"--Jimmy Hall (available via compilation as of Fall 2019)

"Say It Again"--Jermaine Stewart (this one should be fixable--his earlier album is available and the "Say It Again" album was recently reissued on CD).


#28 songs:

"Killin' Time"--Fred Knoblock and Susan Anton

"Guitar Man"--Elvis Presley (not available in the remixed version that charted at this point--the original version is available).

"All Our Tomorrows"--Eddie Schwartz

"That's Love"--Jim Capaldi* (returned via compilation, but still greyed out on the more trustworthy "Dear Mr. Fantasy" source)


#29 songs:

"Shock the Monkey"--Peter Gabriel

"What About Me?"--Moving Pictures*

"Holiday"--The Other Ones*

All now apparently available


#30 songs:

All apparently available


They pulled “What About Me?” I had that one saved. 


I know this falls outside the date range but John Stewart ‘s  “Gold” was a big hit in 1979 and has gone missing. For some reason I always hear it playing when I’m at Home Depot.

Yeah, if it has an asterisk, that means it had been available at some
point since late 2015.

Regarding John Stewart, the whole Bombs Away Dream Babies album had been
available in what appeared to have been an unauthorized needle-drop. The
sound quality was awful and the album "art" laughable. And the "label" was
not recognizable. Not surprised it's gone, but hopefully a legit release
might be coming. I was going to get to "Lost Her in the Sun" at #34, as it
did hit its peak in early 1980. Stewart did a new version in 2005 or so,
but the original is not there.

What a handy list! And thank you for keeping it updated — sure is nice to know when one of these songs shows back up!


Thanks so much for your kind words!  It's gratifying that somebody finds the compilation useful.  I'll soon finish up the Top 40 songs with songs that peaked at #31-#40.

I should give a bit of a caveat on two songs.  "Pilot of the Airwaves" (#13) and "Take a Little Rhythm" (#15), both one-hit wonder songs from 1980, have been available in some pretty terrible re-recordings from various sources.  I have no idea if Charlie Dore or Ali Thomson were actually involved in these re-recordings, but it's obvious that they are not the originals.  For one thing, they are in totally different keys!

Recently, both songs appeared, along with their complete parent albums, in the original versions from "Enterprise Music."  My research showed that this is connected to "Renaissance Music" (formerly Rdeg), which is an independent label that sometimes will re-release out-of-print material.  In any case, these are not remasters, and appear to be vinyl transfers.  The sound isn't terrible, but occasionally a telling vinyl "pop" sneaks through.  But they are the originals, and the authentic, original album art is displayed.  At any rate, they are far better than the re-recordings.  Let's hope that they stay there unless and until an actual fully remastered version of the parent albums is undertaken.

Thomas Dolby's back catalogue was acquired by BMG Rights Management (The Echo Label, to be exact) a few months ago, which might explain why "She Blinded Me" is unavailable.


This is related to Warner Music's divestments to indie labels, after acquiring Parlophone in 2013 (Dolby's songs were transferred from EMI to Parlophone, then finally Echo/BMG).

The Anita Baker songs on Spotify are legitimate compilations. All those albums are credited to Warner Music (which owns her catalogue).

I haven't thoroughly scanned for any updates.  I'm really wanting to hear what's going on with Paul Carrack "Don't Shed a Tear" and Doobie Brothers "The Doctor," two #9 hit singles that went unavailable last year while all or most of their parent albums remained available.  In Carrack's case, that includes another Top 40 hit, "One Good Reason" (also the title track of the album).  Making the big hit single unavailable while the rest of the album is available is stupid, counterproductive, and ignores the fact that these very songs were the SINGLES, which should be available.  It's about the most disgusting and onerous practice I can even imagine from a label.  Tracey Ullman's "They Don't Know" is another example where the parent album is otherwise available but the hit single is not.  So any updates on "Don't Shed a Tear" or "The Doctor" would be much appreciated.

But in the meantime, I would like to finish out the Top 40 with the songs that peaked at Nos. 31-40.  Sorry for the delay.

#31 songs:

"We Were Meant to Be Lovers"--Jim Photoglo (unlike "Fool in Love with You" at #25, the version of this on the dubious Japanese source "Cafe Drive Standard-2" is CLEARLY not the original recording)

"Livin' in Desperate Times"--Olivia Newton-John*

"Kiss and Tell"*--Bryan Ferry

"Sayin' Sorry (Don't Make it Right)"--Denise Lopez

"Cover of Love"--Michael Damian (the other hits from the album, including the #1 "Rock On", were made available in an excellent 2009 re-recording from Damian--but for some reason this Top 40 hit was not included on that)


#32 songs:

"I Couldn't Say No"--Robert Ellis Orrall and Carlene Carter*

"Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"--Judson Spence

"License to Chill"--Billy Ocean (surprising--most of his catalog is available)

"Thanks for My Child" by Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley recently became available with its parent album, in both album and single versions! 


#33 songs:

"General Hospi-Tale"--The Afternoon Delights

"Sea of Love"--Del Shannon

"Light of Day"--The Barbusters (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)


#34 songs:

"Lost Her in the Sun"--John Stewart (the parent album, Bombs Away Dream Babies, was until recently available in an obviously pirated version from an extremely suspicious "label" with awful sound and even worse "album art"--this is a significant album, and its unavailability is truly inexplicable.  A very different re-recording by Stewart from 2005 or so, several years before his passing, is available)

"Girls Can Get It"--Dr. Hook

"More Than Just the Two of Us"--Sneaker

"Paranoimia"--Art of Noise featuring Max Headroom*

"Me, Myself & I"--De La Soul*

"Let Go"--Sharon Bryant

"Savannah Nights" by Tom Johnston recently became available!


#35 songs:

"Pop Goes the Movies"--Meco (never released on CD or any other digital format)

"Fake Friends"--Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

"Obscene Phone Caller"--Rockwell

"I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips"--Eric Carmen

"When Your Heart Is Weak"--C*ck Robin (a live version is available--and the forum censor doesn't like the name of the group)

"Sugar Free"--Wa Wa Nee


#36 songs:

"Only a Lonely Heart Sees"--Felix Cavaliere

"The Clapping Song"--Pia Zadora

"The Salt in My Tears"--Martin Briley* (a re-recording seems to be available)

"I Need You Tonight"--Peter Wolf"

"Motortown"--The Kane Gang

"Birthday Suit"--Johnny Kemp


#37 songs:

"I Want You, I Need You"--Chris Christian*

"Everyday People"--Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

"The Dream - Hold On to Your Dream"--Irene Cara*

"Boys Do Fall In Love"--Robin Gibb* (this was available until a couple of months ago--but it was still licensed to Warner--Barry Gibb recently signed the Bee Gees catalog over to UMG.  After that, brother Andy's material was removed by Warner.  It took a while, but Andy's catalog later made it back under the UMG banner.  I'm assuming the same thing will happen with Robin's and Barry's solo work, but it took a long time for Warner to make it unavailable, and since their solo work was not particularly popular, it's hard to know if UMG has any intention of making it available again anytime soon)

"My Oh My"--Slade

"Shine Shine"--Barry Gibb* (see above)

"Downtown"--One 2 Many

Note that Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture" is available on some Warner compilations, but the longer original album version is not available.


#38 songs:

"First Time Love"--Livingston Taylor (an acoustic re-recording by the artist is available--the original hit version is not)

"Just Can't Win 'Em All"--Stevie Woods

"Oh Julie"--Barry Manilow (he loathes the song and has done everything in his power to bury it--so not much hope)

"Tied Up"--Olivia Newton-John*

"Lucky in Love"--Mick Jagger*

"Sun City"--Artists United Against Apartheid

"I Don't Mind At All"--Bourgeois Tagg


#39 songs:

"Tragedy"--John Hunter

"Second Nature"--Dan Hartman

"Let's Work"--Mick Jagger*


#40 songs:

"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)"--Bonnie Pointer

"Put It in a Magazine"--Sonny Charles

"Invisible Hands"--Kim Carnes (the parent album, Café Racers, is unavailable--but another previously unavailable album, Voyeur, did become available--who knows why this one isn't there)

"Live My Life"--Boy George (for some unfathomable reason, George put the B-side to this solo single--a truly dreadful "soul remix" of the song--on a compilation, but the original Top 40 song in its catchy pop version is not available--bad form, George!)


Peter Gabriel albums have been added today. Us, Up and So as well as compilation albums.

Belatedly, I struck through the Peter Gabriel songs, which are now available.  He has been one of the last major holdouts.  I also removed or struck through some of the bad things I said about him.

I may post on this thread from time to time to note more updates and changes, or to spotlight egregious omissions or removals.

Today, I would like to bring attention to JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS, whose catalog is the most glaring omission now that Gabriel is back on.  Specifically, the albums I Love Rock 'N Roll and Album, along with Bad Reputation from a bit earlier.  Under the pseudonym/movie band name The Barbusters, the track "Light of Day" also remains unavailable.  Oddly, the later Up Your Alley album is and always has been available.


In the list of #1 songs from the 1980s that are unavailable, you fare well until you get to 1982, and then "I Love Rock 'n Roll" is the first #1 song that is not available.  It stands out by its absence.  So lets fix whatever the problem is with the Joan Jett albums, Spotify!

Today's spotlight is on the album What a Feelin' by IRENE CARA.


This album was always available before late last year and then suddenly the whole thing went grey.  I have seen no comments here on the Spotify Community or elsewhere about this, which is very strange.  This is an album with four Top 40 hits.  One of those is Top 20, another is Top 10, and the title track was a MONSTER 6-week #1 hit from a huge movie.


Don't be fooled by the bogus versions of "Flashdance...What a Feeling" you can find on Spotify.  They are not the original.  Only this version (which is also greyed out on the Flashdance soundtrack itself) is real.  I can't find any information whatsoever on why the album was removed.  The licensing information on the greyed out album is to Unidisc, a Canadian label.  This is not the only Unidisc-licensed album to go grey.


It would be nice to have more information on this, including whether or not the album will make a return.  The album IS available on iTunes.  I should also mention that Irene Cara's #4 hit, the title song from Fame, remains available sourced from the soundtrack.  Same with the #19 "Out Here on My Own" from the same soundtrack.

Very nice thread @hansenkd.


It should be worth noting that your list refers to availability in the U.S. (I assume), because I can tell you that most of the asterisk songs on the list are indeed available in Spotify elsewhere.


That means the tracks are right there, it just some sort of licensing thing going on.


One album I've been looking for a long time is the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack. I hope it'll see the light one day. 🙂

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Yes, the list is based on U.S. availability.  Amazing how long it takes to work that out sometimes. 

A couple of updates at opposite ends of the "peak position" lists.  "They Don't Know" by Tracey Ullman has FINALLY been made available (#8).  This was a case of one of the worst label offenses--the entire parent album was available but the hit single was not.  It may have had something to do with the rights regarding the Kristy McColl original, some elements of which are used in Ullman's version.  Who knows?  But it's finally available.


Also, down at #38, the original version of Livingston Taylor's "First Time Love" is now available on a 20th Century Master compilation.


As for a spotlight, it should shine brightly upon ALL I NEED by JACK WAGNER.  Before "Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant was pulled from all digital sources in the U.S. (including download), "All I Need" had the dubious distinction of being the highest-charting Hot 100 song of the 80s to be available in NO digital format (all three unavailable #1 songs can be purchased on iTunes or Amazon).  "All I Need" remains unavailable, and there has been a lot of lobbying for it to be made available.  A reissue label recently put out the parent album on CD, but it was not made available digitally for some reason.  Of course, much of Jack Wagner's later work is available, but not his only hit (another exasperating situation, much like all of Peter Wolf's albums being avaialble--except for "Lights Out" and "Come As You Are," whose title tracks were Top 20 hits).  The unavailability of "All I Need" is truly confounding.  It was ubiquitous on all those CD compilations that were the big rage in the 90s.  I don't know if Spotify and the other platforms, including Apple, have done any work whatsoever on this, but "All I Need's" continued unavailability is unconscionable.  Make it happen.

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