NPR logo Top 50 New Wave Songs Of All Time

Top 50 New Wave Songs Of All Time

As I was driving home from my Thanksgiving vacation, nearing New York City and its inevitable traffic, already tired from six hours in the car, relief came to me in the form of a local radio station: New Jersey's WFDU.

As I'm sure many of you did, I listened to a lot of radio when I was younger. I recorded Rick Dees' and Case Kasem's shows onto a cassette player, trying to cut off the garrulous DJ intros, so that I'd have nothing but music. I'd listen back to the songs during the week and then tape over them the following weekend. I wasn't very selective in what I recorded; these weren't mixes with an intended sequence or overarching theme. Instead, the tapes were documents of pop culture, of fads, and of my own childhood whims and wishes. Here's one song I remember in particular, by a band called Bourgeois Tagg:

The fact that WFDU was counting down the top 50 new-wave songs of all time made me want to grab an old tape player and record the entire thing. After all, what if I discovered a new band? How could I stand not knowing what the No. 1 song would be? Only a single Cure song on the list? At No. 41? Would I have to sit in my car and listen to the rest of the show?

Luckily, both tuning in and having a document of any given radio show is simple. So, in order to satisfy my curiosity as to whether I correctly guessed the No. 1 song (I did, barely), I listened to a stream of the program when I got home. And you can listen to it here.

If you don't want to listen through the whole show but do want to see the Top 50 list, you can check it out after the jump.

But I really do recommend listening to the program. Not only is it a somewhat surprising group of new-wave songs (i.e. not totally obvious), you'll also get to hear classics such as Squeeze's "Cool for Cats":

Music Videos by VideoCure

Top 50 New Wave Songs Of All Time (as decided on by WFDU listeners):

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