Channel 5


Channel 5:

Top ranked songs from the 1980s


Without a doubt the best song of the 1980s is…What song came to mind for you? Chances are most people will have thought of a different one. What about the top ten songs? You could spend a whole night trying to agree on that list.

Well, that’s exactly what the producers of Britain’s Favourite 80’s Songs asked us to help with. Now obviously we’ve got our own views on the best songs of the 80’s (Phil Collins and a set of drums, that’s all we’re saying) but they wanted something a little more collaborative, dare we say, scientific than that.

Our task was to get the definitive view of the Great British Public on the best songs of the 1980’s.
Easy, right?


We knew this show would create a ‘goggle-box’ type reaction in every home up and down the country. So we couldn’t just run a simple poll asking about favourite songs, we had to find a way of capturing people’s preferences a little more subtly than that.

We knew we would never come up with a list that everyone agreed with (because that would be rather boring) but we did want to try and come up with a list that captured most people’s sentiments about their favourite 80’s songs. Something people could broadly agree with and have fun debating.

Working with the production company, we started with a list of the top 170 songs of the 1980s based on current streaming figures, previous sales records and previous market research polls. That way we’d capture the popularity of the time and what people are listening to right now.

We went round in circles to find a simple but effective scoring methodology to come up with a good ranking. Because it wasn’t as easy as just asking people to rank 170 songs themselves – that would take forever.

After some tense discussions we had that ‘Eye of the Tiger’ moment.

We ran a nationally representative poll of 1,200 members of the public. For each song, we gave respondents five simple options to pick from that captured their feelings about it:

This way, we weren’t asking people to rank one song against another (although again, Phil Collins and a drum kit versus anything else is no contest). Instead, we were capturing a range of feelings towards each song, which we could turn into data, code and come up with a logical ranking.

A bit nerdy admittedly, but then we are market researchers.


The results are in *drum roll*…

Disclaimer: While we were able to quickly collect the data, we needed to understand how the public ranked their top songs of the 1980s, although we cannot be held accountable for people’s preferences! (Phil Collins at 11th…. travesty).

The top song of the 1980s according to the Great British Public was:

If your favourite song didn’t make the top five, don’t worry, neither did ours.

We’re Never Gunna Give Up but you can watch the Channel 5 show, Britain’s Favourite 80s Songs to see if your favourite song choice makes the top 10!