The 25 best Indie songs of 1984

3 May 2024, 17:16 | Updated: 3 May 2024, 18:27

Stars of 1984: The Cure, Depeche Mode and Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen
Stars of 1984: The Cure, Depeche Mode and Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen. Picture: Fin Costello/Redferns/Michael Putland/Steve Rapport/Getty Images

Take a trip back to the year that indie began in earnest with huge songs from New Order, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Smiths and more...

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  1. Talk Talk - It's My Life: release date 3rd January 1984

    The title track from Mark Hollis and co's second album, this tune went to Number 20 in the UK charts and was later covered by No Doubt.

    Talk Talk - It's My Life (Official Video)

  2. Echo & The Bunnymen - The Killing Moon: release date 20th January 1984

    This evocative track later appeared in the film Donnie Darko and was taken from the Liverpool band's acclaimed fourth album Ocean Rain.

    Echo & The Bunnymen - The Killing Moon (Official Music Video)

  3. The Pretenders - Middle Of The Road: release date 30th January 1984

    This single appeared alongside its parent album Learning To Crawl in January 1984, which was the first Pretenders album with the new line up of Chrissie Hynde, Martin Chambers, Robbie McIntosh and Malcolm Foster.

    Pretenders - Middle Of The Road HD

  4. Simple Minds - Up On The Catwalk: release date 12th March 1984

    The third single from the Scottish band's album Sparkle In The Rain made Number 27 in the UK charts.

    Simple Minds - Up On The Catwalk

  5. Depeche Mode - People Are People: release date 12th March 1984

    The electronica band embraced sampling on their fourth album Some Great Reward and this single was a Top 5 hit in the Spring of 1984.

    Depeche Mode - People Are People (Official Video)

  6. The Cure - The Caterpillar: release date 30th March 1984

    The follow-up to the hit single The Love Cats, this was a taster of Robert Smith's psychedelic Cure album The Top, released on 4th May 1984.

    The Cure - The Caterpillar

  7. Killing Joke - Eighties: released 30th March 1984

    Jaz Coleman's post punk outfit issued one of their most enduring songs, taken from the album Night Time. They later had a legal beef with Nirvana over their track Come As You Are which shares a similar riff, but dropped any action after Kurt Cobain's death.

    Killing Joke - Eighties

  8. New Order - Thieves Like Us: released 20th April 1984

    A one-off single between the albums Power Corruption And Lies and Low-Life, which made Number 18. The title is taken from a 1974 album by Robert Altman, which was listed on a poster that hung in the band's rehearsal room.

    Thieves like Us (2020 Digital Master)

  9. Blancmange - Don't Tell Me: release date 6th April 1984

    The fifth Top 40 hit in a row for the synth-pop duo of Stephen Luscombe and Laurence Stevens, following the popular Living On The Ceiling.

    Blancmange - Don't Tell Me (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

  10. Sandie Shaw & The Smiths - Hand In Glove: release date 9th April 1984

    The 60s pop star and the 80s Manchester indie band joined forces for a cover of the group's debut single. It became Shaw's first hit in over a decade, making Number 27.

    sandie shaw - the smiths- hand in glove

  11. The Human League - The Lebanon: release date 24th April 1984

    Three years after their ground-breaking album Dare, the Sheffield band put down the synths and picked up the guitars. It reached Number 11 in the UK charts which was incredibly seen as something of a failure for the band at that stage!

    The Human League - The Lebanon (Remastered 2003)

  12. Lloyd Cole & The Commotions - Perfect Skin: release date 11th May 1984

    The first single to be taken from th acclaimed debut album Rattlesnakes have Cole a Top 30 hit first time out.

    Lloyd Cole And The Commotions - Perfect Skin

  13. R.E.M. - So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry): release date 15th May 1984

    Still a relatively obscure indie band from the US at this stage, this was the lead single from R.E.M.'s second album Reckoning and failed to chart in Britain.

    R.E.M. - So. Central Rain (Official Music Video)

  14. The Style Council - You're The Best Thing: release date 18th May 1984

    Taken from Paul Weller's first post-Jam album Cafe Bleu, this slick production went all the way to Number 5 in the UK charts.

    The Style Council - You're The Best Thing (Official Video)

  15. The Cult - Spiritwalker: release date 18th May 1984

    Having finally changed their name from Death Cult, this was the first glimpse of Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy's new incarnation via their Dreamtime album, an key entry in the gothic rock discography.


  16. The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now: release date 21st May 1984

    One of three hits for the Manchester band in 1984, alongside What Difference Does It Make and William It Was Really Nothing, this was Morrissey and Marr's first Top 10 single.

    The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now (Official Music Video)

  17. Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy: release date 25th May 1984

    One of the few mainstream pop records of the era to disuss homophobia, this song featured a moving vocal from singer Jimmy Somerville and broke the UK Top 3 in the Spring of '84.

    Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy (Official Video)

  18. Siouxsie & The Banshees - Dazzle: release date 25th May 1984

    From Siouxsie's sixth album Hyaena, which featured Robert Smith on guitar - recorded while he was also holding down a job with his own band The Cure. This was the Banshees' 11th Top 40 hit in the UK.

    Siouxsie And The Banshees - Dazzle (Official Music Video)

  19. Alphaville - Big In Japan: released May 1984

    A huge European hit from this German synth-rock band, named after the 1965 sci-fi film by Jean-Luc Godard.

    Alphaville - Big In Japan (Official Music Video)

  20. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Talking Loud & Clear: release date 4th June 1984

    Taken from the band's fifth album Junk Culture, this was one of three Top 40 hits in 1984 from Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys - the others being Locomotion and Tesla Girls.

    Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Talking Loud And Clear

  21. The Bluebells - Young At Heart: release date 11th June 1984

    Written and originally recorded by the female trio Bananarama, Scottish band The Bluebells took the song into the Top 10 in 1984 and again in 1993, when the track was used in a TV car ad.

    The Bluebells - Young At Heart (Official Video)

  22. U2 - Pride (In The Name Of Love): release date 3rd September 1984

    After the huge success of 1983's War, U2 consolidated their success with the follow-up, The Unforgettable Fire. This massive hit was a tribute to the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

    U2 - Pride (In The Name Of Love) (Official Music Video)

  23. Prefab Sprout - When Love Breaks Down: release date 22nd October 1984

    A classic ballad from Paddy McAloon and taken from the band's second album Steve McQueen.

    Prefab Sprout - When Love Breaks Down (Official Video)

  24. The Jesus and Mary Chain - Upside Down: release date 9th November 1984

    The debut single from William and Jim Reid, issued on Alan McGee's Creation label. It was accompanied by a series of raucous live shows that often ended in chaos.

    Upside Down

  25. Art Of Noise - Close (To The Edit): release date 9th November 1984

    Trevor Horn's label ZTT had huge success in 1984 with Frankie Goes To Hollywood, but Art Of Noise were his own collabroation with engineers JJ Jeczalik and Gary Langan, arranger Anne Dudley and writer and promo man Paul Morley. This startling single crashed the Top 10 in late 1984.

    Art of Noise - Close (To The Edit) version 1 (AI upscale)