You're Living All Over Me Introducing the Hardline Happy Nightmare Baby The Young Gods
Appetite for Destruction Pump Up the Volume Paid in Full Seize the Rainbow

James Christopher Monger
1987 was bad (ask Michael Jackson), but somewhere between all of the gated drums, punk icons morphing into sleazy, populist lounge singers (Buster Poindexter), and vanity albums from Don Johnson and Bruce Willis, something was happening. Reagan and Gorbachev's Cold War had been replaced by a lesser feud between Roger Waters (Radio K.A.O.S.) and David Gilmour's version of Pink Floyd (A Momentary Lapse of Reason), and hair metal had peaked (both literally and figuratively) with huge albums from Europe, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, and Guns N' Roses.

'80s excess was alive and well -- George Michael still had Faith (as did his many female fans) -- but its inevitable backlash ripped open a hole in the underground, releasing bands like U2, R.E.M., the Cult, the Smiths, Sonic Youth, the Cure, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Replacements, and the Pixies into the mainstream, generously sowing the seeds for the '90s alternative rock movement. Even metal revolted, spewing out soon-to-be classics from Anthrax, King Diamond, Helloween, and Death -- Metallica even made an EP of punk covers. The Two Coreys may have been safe in Santa Carla fighting off Kiefer Sutherland and his lame, bloodsucking friends, but it was just a matter of time before they became Lost Boys themselves.

Love and Rockets - Earth, Sun, Moon
The Dukes of Stratosphear - Chips from the Chocolate Fireball
Men Without Hats - Pop Goes the World
The Sisters of Mercy - Floodland
Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1
The Cult - Electric
The Horseflies - Human Fly
Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction
R.E.M. - Document
Opal - Happy Nightmare Baby
Fields of the Nephilim - Dawnrazor
Tom Waits - Franks Wild Years
The Tannahill Weavers - Dancing Feet
Pixies - Come on Pilgrim
Roger Waters - Radio K.A.O.S.
U2 - The Joshua Tree
Julian Cope - Saint Julian
Manowar - Fighting the World
Prince - Sign 'O' the Times
The Dead Milkmen - Bucky Fellini

Guadalcanal Diary - "Litany (Life Goes On)"
INXS - "Devil Inside"
World Party - "Ship of Fools"
Lou Gramm - "Midnight Blue"
The Saints - "Temple of the Lord"
Bourgeois Tagg - "Don't Mind at All"
The Proclaimers - "Over and Done With"
T'Pau - "Heart and Soul"
Figures on a Beach - "Elvis' House"
Psychedelic Furs - "All of the Law"
Sinéad O'Connor - "Jerusalem"
The Hooters - "Sattelite"
Twisted Sister - "Wake Up the Sleeping Giant"
Depeche Mode - "Never Let Me Down Again"
Terence Trent d'Arby - "Wishing Well"
Pet Shop Boys - "It's a Sin"
The Replacements - "Can't Hardly Wait"

John Bush
The Cult - Electric
The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
Echo & the Bunnymen - Echo & the Bunnymen
Front 242 - Official Version
Hoodoo Gurus - Blow Your Cool!
INXS - Kick
Love and Rockets - Earth, Sun, Moon
Nitzer Ebb - That Total Age
Pixies - Come on Pilgrim
R.E.M. - Document
The Sisters of Mercy - Floodland
The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We Come

ABC - "When Smokey Sings"
Biz Markie - "Make the Music with Your Mouth, Biz"
The Cult - "Wild Flower"
The Cure - "Just Like Heaven"
Cutting Crew - "(I Just) Died in Your Arms"
Echo & the Bunnymen - "Lips Like Sugar"
INXS - "New Sensation"
Love and Rockets - "No New Tale to Tell"
New Order - "True Faith"
New Order - "Touched by the Hand of God"
Nitzer Ebb - "Join in the Chant"
Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield - "What Have I Done to Deserve This?"
Psychedelic Furs - "Heartbreak Beat"
R.E.M. - "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
The Sisters of Mercy - "This Corrosion"
The Smiths - "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"
Squeeze - "Hourglass"
The Stone Roses - "Sally Cinnamon"
U2 - "With or Without You"
XTC - "Dear God"

Al Campbell
Dave Alvin - Romeo's Escape
Jello Biafra - No More Cocoons
Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician
Camper Van Beethoven - Vampire Can Mating Oven
Descendents - All
Dinosaur Jr. - You're Living All Over Me
Hüsker Dü - Warehouse: Songs and Stories
Lydia Lunch - Honeymoon in Red
Meat Puppets - Huevos
Meat Puppets - Mirage
Necros - Tangled Up
Negativland - Escape from Noise
Mojo Nixon - Bo-Day-Shus!!!
Opal - Happy Nightmare Baby
Pianosaurus - Groovy Neighborhood
Plasticland - Salon
Pussy Galore - Right Now!
Redd Kross - Neurotica
Henry Rollins - Hot Animal Machine
Sonic Youth - Sister

Stephen Thomas Erlewine
1987 was one of the pivotal years of the '80s. It was the year U2 turned into superstars and R.E.M. cracked the Top 10, the year the Smiths and Hüsker Dü broke up, hip-hop turned into an album-oriented art form, Guns N' Roses had their debut LP and the Pixies had their debut EP, Prince delivered his fourth or fifth masterpiece (maybe even his sixth, if The Black Album is added into the equation), Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. brought the noise a year before Public Enemy did, John Hiatt went roots rock with the help of Ry Cooder and Nick Lowe, and Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson followed up on career-defining blockbusters.

Heady stuff, but as I assemble my own 1987 lists -- which, by their nature, are incomplete; there's only so much you can fit in on these things and you're bound to forget something -- I find myself drawn to the singles, particularly the three that I've placed near the top of my list. (By the way, neither list is truly ordered in terms of preference.) Whenever "What Have I Done to Deserve This," "Vanishing Girl," and "Midnight Blue" are playing, I swear there never was a better single than what's playing right now. At this moment, it's "What Have I Done to Deserve This," which has been on repeat as I've finalized the lists.

An interesting footnote: Steve Winwood was such a sensation in 1987 that the 1982 single "Valerie" was re-released and charted in the Top 10! As it deserved to! (Not quite as interesting, both Pretenders and Sting charted on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart with Jimi Hendrix covers: "Room Full of Mirrors" and "Little Wing," respectively).

Prince - Sign 'O' the Times
Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction
Hüsker Dü - Warehouse: Songs & Stories
The Replacements - Pleased to Meet Me
The Dukes of Stratosphear - Chips from the Chocolate Fireball
Pixies - Come on Pilgrim
R.E.M. - Document
Def Leppard - Hysteria
John Hiatt - Bring the Family
The Smiths - Louder Than Bombs
Prince - The Black Album
Sonic Youth - Sister
Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush the Show
Dinosaur Jr. - You're Livin' All Over Me
Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
Terence Trent d'Arby - Introducing the Hardline
U2 - The Joshua Tree
Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
Los Lobos - By the Light of the Moon
The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
INXS - Kick
World Party - Private Revolution
Pet Shop Boys - Actually
R.E.M. - Dead Letter Office

Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield - "What Have I Done to Deserve This?"
The Dukes of Stratosphear - "Vanishing Girl"
Lou Gramm - "Midnight Blue"
Georgia Satellites - "Keep Your Hands to Yourself"
George Michael - "Faith"
Terence Trent d'Arby - "Wishing Well"
Eric B. & Rakim - "I Know You Got Soul"
Prince - "U Got the Look"
Georgia Satellites - "Battleship Chains"
Bruce Springsteen - "Tunnel of Love"
Whitesnake - "Here I Go Again"
The Grateful Dead - "Touch of Grey"
R.E.M. - "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
Los Lobos - "Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)"
The Sugarcubes - "Birthday"
Public Enemy - "You're Gonna Get Yours"
Crowded House - "Don't Dream It's Over"
INXS - "Need You Tonight"
Love and Rockets - "No New Tale to Tell"
The Cure - "Why Can't I Be You?"
Peter Wolf - "Come as You Are"
Julian Cope - "World Shut Your Mouth"
Hoodoo Gurus - "What's My Scene"

David Jeffries
Big Black - Sound of Impact
Blind Idiot God - Blind Idiot God
Coil - Gold Is the Metal (With the Broadest Shoulders)
Danny Wilson - Meet Danny Wilson
Dead Kennedys - Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death
The Durutti Column - The Guitar and Other Machines
Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
Front 242 - Official Version
Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction
John Zorn - News for Lulu
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Time Boom X De Devil Dead
Loop - Heaven's End
Midnight Oil - Diesel and Dust
Schoolly D - Saturday Night! The Album
Swans - Children of God
Gary Clail's Tackhead Sound System - Tackhead Tape Time
The Tear Garden - Tired Eyes Slowly Burning
Wire - The Ideal Copy
Warren Zevon - Sentimental Hygiene
The Young Gods - The Young Gods

Aisha - "Prophecy"
Big Stick - "Crack Attack"
Cabaret Voltaire - "Don't Argue"
Chalice - "Good to Be There"
Cocoa Tea - "Come Again"
Eric B. & Rakim - "I Know You Got Soul"
Fleetwood Mac - "Big Love"
LL Cool J - "Going Back to Cali"
M/A/R/R/S - "Pump Up the Volume"
Pet Shop Boys - "Rent"
Prince - "Sign 'O' the Times"
Public Enemy - "Bring the Noise"
Single Gun Theory - "Exorcise This Wasteland"
Skinny Puppy - "Addiction"
Steve "Silk" Hurley - "Jack Your Body"
Thrashing Doves - "Beautiful Imbalance"
Tiger - "Me Name Tiger"
Wendy & Lisa - "Waterfall"
Yello - "The Rhythm Divine"
Yellowman - "Yellow Like Cheese"

Thom Jurek
Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
Rosanne Cash - King’s Record Shop
Ry Cooder - Get Rhythm
The Cult - Electric
Terence Trent d'Arby - Introducing the Hardline
Depeche Mode - Music for the Masses
Steve Earle & the Dukes - Exit 0
Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
Marianne Faithfull - Strange Weather
Fields of the Nephilim - Dawnrazor
The Go-Betweens - Tallulah
Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction
The Jesus and Mary Chain - Darklands
Loop - Heaven's End
Teena Marie - Naked to the World
John Mellencamp - The Lonesome Jubilee
Pat Metheny Group - Still Life (Talking)
George Michael - Faith
Opal - Happy Nightmare Baby
Courtney Pine - Destiny's Song + The Image of Pursuance
Prince - Sign 'O' the Times
Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush the Show
Don Pullen/George Adams Quartet - Song Everlasting
Pharoah Sanders - Africa
Sonny Sharrock Band - Seize the Rainbow
Billy Joe Shaver - Salt of the Earth
Sonic Youth - Sister
Napalm Death - Scum
Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love
Joe Strummer - Walker
David Sylvian - Secrets of the Beehive
The James Taylor Quartet - The Money Spyder
Henry Threadgill Sextet - Easily Slip into Another World
David Torn - Cloud About Mercury
Trouble Funk - Trouble Over Here, Trouble Over There
U2 - Joshua Tree
Tom Waits - Franks Wild Years
Dwight Yoakam - Hillbilly Deluxe
John Zorn - Spillane
The Young Gods - The Young Gods

Andy Kellman
Prince - Sign 'O' the Times
Big Black - Songs About Fucking
Keith Sweat - Make It Last Forever
Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush the Show
Alexander O'Neal - Hearsay
Sonic Youth - Sister
Depeche Mode - Music for the Masses
The Young Gods - The Young Gods
Loop - Heaven's End
For Against - Echelons
Sinéad O'Connor - The Lion and the Cobra
David Sylvian - Secrets of the Beehive
Dinosaur Jr. - You're Living All Over Me
Swans - Children of God
Fleetwood Mac - Tango in the Night
R.E.M. - Document
Spahn Ranch - Thickly Settled
Terence Trent d'Arby - Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent d'Arby

M/A/R/R/S - "Pump Up the Volume"
Phuture - "Acid Tracks"
Public Enemy - "Rebel Without a Pause"
Audio Two - "Top Billin'"
EPMD - "It's My Thing"
Big Daddy Kane - "Raw"
Eric B. & Rakim - "I Ain't No Joke"
Keith Sweat - "I Want Her"
The System - "Don't Disturb This Groove"
Surface - "Happy"
Janet Jackson - "The Pleasure Principle"
Swing Out Sister - "Breakout"
Rhythim Is Rhythim - "Nude Photo"
The Sugarcubes - "Birthday"
Depeche Mode - "Never Let Me Down Again"
Vesta - "Don't Blow a Good Thing"
Cameo - "Back and Forth"
The Whispers - "Rock Steady"
Prince - "If I Was Your Girlfriend"
Jody Watley - "Still a Thrill"

Andrew Leahey
My memories of 1987 are relatively hazy, seeing as I was still a young boy at the time, but several images remained seared into my brain: Richard Marx’s poofy hair, Belinda Carlisle’s svelte makeover, the Cosby Show logo, and -- perhaps the goofiest of them all -- Tim Cappello's saxophone solo during the bonfire scene of The Lost Boys ("I still believe!"). None of those memories made it onto this list, but Belinda is still gorgeous and Tim Cappello is still hilarious.

U2 - The Joshua Tree
Def Leppard - Hysteria
The Replacements - Pleased to Meet Me
The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
INXS - Kick
R.E.M. - Document
Michael Jackson - Bad
Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction
John Mellencamp - The Lonesome Jubilee
Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet

Uncle Dave Lewis
Ut - In Gut's House
Pussy Galore - Right Now!
Mofungo - End of the World, Pt. 2

Jason Lymangrover
Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction
Spacemen 3 - Perfect Prescription
Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush the Show
The Jesus and Mary Chain - Darklands
Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
Def Leppard - Hysteria
Dinosaur Jr. - You're Livin' All Over Me
Descendents - All
Sonic Youth - Sister
Big Black - Songs About Fucking
Wire - The Ideal Copy

Fishbone - "It's a Wonderful Life (Gonna Have a Good Time)"
Terence Trent d'Arby - "Wishing Well"
M/A/R/R/S - "Pump Up the Volume"
Sinéad O'Connor - "Mandinka"
Prince - "U Got the Look"
LL Cool J - "I'm Bad"
Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Fight Like a Brave"
The Cure - "Just Like Heaven"
The Sugarcubes - "Birthday"
Anthrax - "I'm the Man"
Genesis - "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"
The Smiths - "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"
Love and Rockets - "No New Tale to Tell"
T'Pau - "Heart and Soul"
Cameo - "Candy"
George Michael - "I Want Your Sex"
Mantronix - "Who Is It?"

The following songs are from a mixtape I made as a 13 year-old during my hair metal phase (blame MTV's Heavy Metal Half Hour for that one). I don’t remember the original title because the label melted off the tape, but it could have very well been called Mullet Madness '87 (with little lightning bolts coming off of the Ms). I can still defend "Still of the Night" because, well, it rocks, and "The Final Countdown" will always have a special place in my heart because it was used as the Detroit Pistons' theme song during their "Bad Boys" era. At the same time, "Crazy Nights" is absolutely cringeworthy, showcasing Kiss at their worst, and "Rock Me" is possibly the most generic song ever made. For the record, I canceled my subscription to Hit Parader two years later, right after I caught the Moscow Music Peace Festival on pay-per-view.

Whitesnake - "Still of the Night"
Cinderella - "Nobody's Fool"
Europe - "Final Countdown"
Dokken - "Dream Warriors"
Tesla - "Modern Day Cowboy"
Kiss - "Crazy Nights"
Bon Jovi - "Wanted Dead or Alive"
Def Leppard - "Women"
Poison - "Cry Tough"
Great White - "Rock Me"
Ratt - "Dance"
Mötley Crüe - "Girls, Girls, Girls"

J. Scott McClintock
Anthrax - Among the Living
The Bears - The Bears
The Chills - Brave Words
Close Lobsters - Foxheads Stalk This Land
The Colourfield - Deception
Julian Cope - Saint Julian
The Dukes of Stratosphear - Psonic Psunspot
Fields of the Nephilim - Dawnrazor
The Grapes of Wrath - Treehouse
The Horseflies - Human Fly
Love and Rockets - Earth, Sun, Moon
Meat Puppets - Huevos
Men Without Hats - Pop Goes the World
Metallica - The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited
Opal - Happy Nightmare Baby
Pixies - Come on Pilgrim
Prince - Sign 'O' the Times
The Sisters of Mercy - Floodland
Tom Waits - Franks Wild Years
The Nits - In the Dutch Mountains

Rock & Hyde - "Dirty Water"
Bourgeois Tagg - "I Don't Mind at All"
Chick Corea's Elektric Band - "Light Years"
The Cult - "Wildflower"
Terence Trent d'Arby - "Wishing Well"
Frozen Ghost - "Should I See"
John Cougar Mellencamp - "Cherry Bomb"
Sinéad O'Connor - "Jerusalem"
Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield - "What Have I Done to Deserve This?"
Prince - "Hot Thing"
R.E.M. - "Finest Worksong"
The Smiths - "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"
Swing Out Sister - "Breakout"
T'Pau - "Heart and Soul"
Wa Wa Nee - "Sugar Free"
World Party - "Ship of Fools"
Ricky Skaggs - "Love's Gonna Get You Someday"
Crowded House - "Don't Dream It's Over"
Cutting Crew - "I've Been in Love Before"
Company B - "Fascinated"*

*Notable for being the only single in human history to sound exactly like a mash up of Thelma Houston's "Don't Leave Me This Way," Madonna's "Open Your Heart," and "Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer.

Heather Phares
The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
Echo & the Bunnymen - Echo & the Bunnymen
Hüsker Dü - Warehouse: Songs and Stories
INXS - Kick
My Bloody Valentine - Sunny Sundae Smile
Sinéad O'Connor - The Lion and the Cobra
Pet Shop Boys - Actually
Pixies - Come on Pilgrim
Sonic Youth - Sister
Spacemen 3 - The Perfect Prescription
They Might Be Giants - Don't Let's Start
Throwing Muses - Chains Changed
Wire - The Ideal Copy
X - See How We Are

Beastie Boys - "Brass Monkey"
Belinda Carlisle - "Heaven Is a Place on Earth"
Crowded House - "Don't Dream It's Over"
The Cure - "Why Can't I Be You?"
Terence Trent d'Arby - "Wishing Well"
Peter Gabriel - "Big Time"
INXS - "Need You Tonight"
Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam - "Lost in Emotion"
Madonna - "La Isla Bonita"
M/A/R/R/S - "Pump Up the Volume"
Robert Palmer - "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On"
Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield - "What Have I Done to Deserve This?"
Prince - "If I Was Your Girlfriend"
Psychedelic Furs - "Heartbreak Beat"
R.E.M. - "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
Run-D.M.C. - "It's Tricky"
U2 - "With or Without You"
Suzanne Vega - "Luka"
Jody Watley - "Looking for a New Love"
Yello - "Oh Yeah"

Tim Sendra
The Bats - Daddy’s Highway
Biff Bang Pow! - Oblivion
Close Lobsters - Foxheads Stalk This Land
Felt - Poem of the River
The Pastels - Up for a Bit with the Pastels
Primal Scream - Sonic Flower Groove
Sneaky Feelings - Waiting for Touchdown
Verlaines - Bird Dog
Verlaines - Juvenilia
The Wedding Present - George Best

The Dentists - "Just Like Oliver Reed"
The Flatmates - "Happy All the Time"
This Poison! - "Poised Over the Pause Button"
The Primitives - "Stop Killing Me"
My Bloody Valentine - "Strawberry Wine"
The Sea Urchins - "Pristine Christine"
Talulah Gosh - "Bringing Up Baby"
The Vaselines - "Molly's Lips"
The Vaselines - "Son of a Gun"
The Wake - "Gruesome Castle"

Sean Westergaard
The Bevis Frond - Inner Marshland
The Bevis Frond - Triptych
Camper Van Chadbourne - Camper Van Chadbourne
Ornette Coleman - In All Languages
Dinosaur Jr. - You're Living All Over Me
The Dukes of Stratosphear - Psonic Psunspot
8 Bold Souls - 8 Bold Souls
Firehose - If'n
Les 4 Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso Bar - Tournée Mondiale/Été '89
French Frith Kaiser Thompson - Live, Love, Larf & Loaf
Wayne Horvitz/The President - The President
The ICP Orchestra - Two Programs: Performs Herbie Nichols and Thelonious Monk
Ronald Shannon Jackson - Texas
Marc Johnson's Bass Desires - Second Sight
Sonny Sharrock Band - Seize the Rainbow
Steve Tibbetts - Exploded View
Tom Verlaine - Flash Light
Brian Woodbury - All White People Look Alike
Frank Zappa - The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa
John Zorn - Spillane

Although a few songs in these lists were released in 1986, they peaked in the U.S. in 1987.

Previously
AllMusic Loves 1968
AllMusic Loves 1977
AllMusic Loves 1984
AllMusic Loves 1999