19 Best 80s Pop Duos

19 Best 80s Pop Duos
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Pop duos were big during the 80s – and what’s more is that many who were around then are still making music today. The most successful 80s pop duos comprised male pairings, all-female teams, sisters, brothers, and even married couples.

This list of the top 80s music duos showcases some of the finest bands the decade had to offer. Some of the biggest hits of the era came courtesy of the following pairs. Most of these female, mixed, and male singing duos from the 80s are from the UK, but there are some American and European pairings that simply couldn’t be left out.

From some of the decade’s most seminal – and serious – singers to happy Europop stars, here are 19 of the best pop duos of the 80s.

19 Top 80s Pop Duos

The Communards

Biggest hit: Don’t Leave Me This Way (1986)

Covering 1970s disco tracks was something of a speciality for The Communards. Future vicar Richard Coles and high-pitched singer Jimmy Somerville hit pop gold with their version of Don’t Leave Me This Way, and Never Can Say Goodbye, originally by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and The Jackson 5 respectively.

Hall and Oates

Biggest hit: Maneater (1982)

This duo from Philadelphia were bigger stateside, though here in the UK we did catch up eventually. I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), You Make My Dreams and of course Maneater have stood the test of time, too, and remain popular downloads. One of the stalwarts of blue-eyed soul – eat your heart out, Paul Young.

Womack and Womack

Biggest hit: Teardrops (1988)

Womack and Womack have an interesting family tree. Cecil Womack married to soul star Sam Cooke’s daughter Linda, making her Linda Womack. His brother Bobby, meawhile, married Barbara Campbell, Sam Cooke’s widow.

Cecil and Linda wed in 1978. Their biggest hit, Teardrops, was released a decade later, in 1988.

Soft Cell

Biggest hit: Tainted Love (1981)

Soft Cell – Marc Almond and Dave Ball – were one British duo of the 80s who really revelled in pushing boundaries. The title of Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, their debut album, pretty much tells you all you should know. Tainted Love is undoubtedly among the decade’s most iconic songs.


Biggest hit: Only You (1982)

Alison Moyet’s seemingly effortlessly and very powerful voice has to be among the stand-out ones of the 80s. In partnership with Vince Clarke, she belted out the likes of Only You, which was later covered by The Flying Pickets in 1983. Their a cappella version was a surprise smash hit.

For Vince Clarke, the Yazoo years where sandwiched between spells in Depeche Mode and Erasure.


Biggest hit: Sometimes (1987)

After Yazoo, Vince Clarke teamed up with Andy Bell to create the ultimate hetero-meets-homo duo. The result was seamless synth-pop, creating a hat-trick of band successes for Clarke during the decade. Stop, Sometimes, and A Little Respect are all 80s favourites, guaranteed to fill floors and get everyone reaching for the karaoke mike.

The Proclaimers

Biggest hit: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) (1988)

The Proclaimers will always be associated with I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – but is that a bad thing? It’s an absolute anthem. Dexter Fletcher’s 2013 film Sunshine on Leith saw a cameo appearance by the duo, who first released the album of the same name back in 1988.

Tears for Fears

Biggest hit: Everybody Wants To Rule The World (1985)

Tears for Fears are a typical example of famous singing duos from the 80s who are still touring today. Hits like Shout and Everybody Wants To Rule The World ensured that Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith went down a storm in chart history.

Hue and Cry

Biggest hit: Labour of Love (1987)

It’s the anti-Conservative track Labour of Love that gets the most attention when it comes to Hue and Cry. But I have a soft spot for Looking for Linda (at Leeds Central). The pair are brothers, fronted by Pat Kane, who was as fond of appearing suited and booted as Rick Astley.

Pepsi and Shirlie

Biggest hit: Heartache (1987)

After the demise of Wham, the boys’ backing singers made their own way into the charts. They scored a number two with Heartache, and made a couple of albums before disbanding. Shirlie Holliman is one half of one of 80s pop’s most successful marriages, having got hitched to Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet in 1988.

Shakespears Sister

Biggest hit: Stay (1992)

After leaving Bananarama, it might have seemed unlikely that Siobhan Fahey would move in this musical direction. Apparently teaming up with American artist Marcella Detroit had something to do with her then-husband, Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics.

Their smash hit Stay remained at number one for eight weeks – though that wasn’t until 1992. Before that, You’re History made waves in 1989.

Mel And Kim

Biggest hit: Respectable (1987)

Sadly, Mel and Kim are known for the former’s tragic passing at the age of 23, after developing terminal liver cancer and then penumonia. Their hit Respectable topped the UK charts, and still gets lots of airtime on 80s radio stations. Incidentally, Kim was in a relationship with Craig Logan of Bros for some time.


Biggest hit: When Will I Be Famous (1987)

Do Bros really belong on this list? That’s debatable, as they had their biggest success as a trio rather than a duo. But when Craig Logan left twins Matt and Luke Goss behind, they did become one of the most famous 80s duos.

Screaming fans followed the boys for some time, and they swept the board at the Smash Hits Poll Winners’ Party in 1988 by winning a clutch of awards. Including both best and worst band! Though I was a huge fan for a while, I must admit that’s pretty accurate 😉


Biggest hit: Last Christmas (1984, and UK Christmas number one in 2023)

When you listen to George Michael’s soulful ballads of the 90s, it’s sometimes hard to believe that he first churned out light, sunny pop hits as part of Wham! Along with school chum Andrew Ridgely, the self-professed shy boy became Britain’s most wanted for a while.

Careless Whisper paved the way for George Michael’s solo career, while Last Christmas finally made it to number one in 2023. It originally lost out on the top slot to Band Aid, back in 1984.


Biggest hit: It Must Have Been Love (1987)

Duo Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle were music’s biggest Swedish thing since ABBA. The Look, Joyride, and It Must Have Been Love are among the pair’s greatest hits. In the UK, Roxette had no less than 19 top 40 chart successes.


Biggest hit: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (1983)

Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart produced some of the best tracks of the 80s, featuring Lennox’s silky smooth, perfectly-pitched vocals. The likes of Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) and There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) simply cannot be disagreed with.

Once a couple, I read that they used to spend all their time in bed when they weren’t writing songs. Then later, in 1987, Dave Stewart married Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama.

Everything But The Girl 

Biggest hit: Missing (1996)

Though they didn’t score their biggest hit until the mid 1990s, Everything But The Girl’s spine-tingling cover of I Don’t Want To Talk About It was one of the most memorable songs of 1988. Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt are still wed, having battled and beaten his serious and rare illness – Churg-Strauss Syndrome – together.

Pet Shop Boys

Biggest hit: West End Girls (1986)

West End Girls is an absolute masterpiece, and since then Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have barely stopped churning out the hits. As I write, Dancing Star is constantly being played on the radio.

Of all 80s duo bands, they are the most successful of all. They were listed as such in The Guinness Book of Records in 1999, and have kept going strong since then. Not bad for a pair of boys from Blackpool (Lowe) and Newcastle (Tennant) – the latter being close to my own home town.

Tennant was also on the Smash Hits editorial team before hitting the big time. Back in the day, I used to buy every single issue!

Modern Talking

Biggest hit: Brother Louie (1986)

At least one European duo other than Roxette proved worthy of mention here. Modern Talking’s Brother Louie is a flawless example of Europop at its uplifting best.

Germany’s most successful pop music duo comprises vocalist Thomas Anders and songwriter Dieter Bohlen. Their songs have reached the top five in various countries.

Which 80s pop duos do you still listen to?

From one hit wonders to those making their nth studio album, which 80s pop duo – or duos – do you still listen to? Mostly I hear their tracks on 80s radio stations, but I do give my Wham: The Final album a spin now and then. Push by Bros, however, is one for nostalgic purposes only – well, that and gathering dust…

Marcy x

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