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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Top 75 Songs of 1987

Let's see, for 1987, the rock mama gave birth to Guns N Roses and Public Enemy.  U2 stunned the world with The Joshua Tree … okay, maybe not the world, but at least one person was stunned I'm sure.  The Grateful Dead made their first video which scored them their first top 10 hit ever, so naturally Deadfan turned on the song even though it was quite good.  Also, arguably the best Christmas song was ever written.  Here's the list:

75.  Do Wa Ditty – 2 Live Crew (Rap)87

This is arguably the most offensive song ever.   Manfred Mann giving up to the rights of this song to these guys should always be considered one of the most shocking moments in rock ‘n roll history.  Maybe we should've let Tipper Gore win this battle. 

74.  La Isla Bonita – Madonna (Latin)87

I always loved this song back then, so why not. 

73.  Doing It All For My Baby – Huey Lewis & The News (Pop Rock)87
72.  Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson (Pop)87

This song became a brand new song after Michael’s death in 2009.  For some reason, this was the song that attached to his legacy in all those reviews of his life that were on TV and what not.  They should've used "PYT."  

71.  Point of No Return – Expose (Pop)87
70.  Rent – Pet Shop Boys (Synthpop)87
69.  Speed Demon – Michael Jackson (Funk)87
68.  Too Much Posse – Public Enemy (Rap)87

It’s not as dynamic as the rest of the album, but it’s pure Flavor Flav.  Before there was “Cold Lampin” or “911 is a Joke” or “Can’t Do Nothin’ For Ya Man”, Flavor Flav had too much posse.  It's too bad his reality TV career was all about banging skanks when he could've had his own version of "Entourage."    

67.  It’ll All Work Out – Tom Petty (Alt-Country)87
66.  Caught In a Mosh – Anthrax (Heavy Metal)87
65.  Alex Chilton – The Replacements (Alternative Rock)87
64.  Never Let Me Down Again – Depeche Mode (Synthpop)87
63.  As the Rhyme Goes On – Eric B. and Rakim (Rap)87
62.  Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson (Pop)87
61.  Nobody Beats the Biz – Biz Markie (Rap)87
60.  The Bridge is Over – Boogie Down Productions (Rap)87
59.  Love Removal Machine – The Cult (Hard Rock)87
58.  Fairy Tale of New York – The Pogues (Celtic)87

It’s a little too theatrical for me, but hey, without this, you may not have the Decemberists.

57.  The One I Love – REM (Alternative Rock)87

Once I really got into music, Michael Stipe became one of the first “annoying voice guys” for me along with that bald guy from Midnight Oil (still haven't recovered from that).  Now that my musical palette has expanded past mere hair bands, it’s not as bad as it used to be, though I can’t shake those memories of hatred so easily. 

56.  Heart and Soul – T’Pau (Pop)87
55.  New Sensation – INXS (Pop Rock)87
54.  The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson (Rhythm & Blues)87

MJ does too many of his weird “ooohooos” and “eehees” on this album.  That combined with his over-production is why his career took a downturn.  Why no one in the studio said, “Hey Michael, easy on the “eeehees” is beyond me.  At the very least, why not edit them out of the final mix?  Is he freaking Reed Rothchild in the studio and calling all the shots?   Also, by now, it’s hard to take him seriously when he’s “macking” on a girl in a video.  He’s the R&B opposite of Marvin Gaye.  Al Green, who didn’t want to promote sex due to religious reasons is freaking John Holmes compared to MJ in 1987. 

53.  Dude (Looks Like a Lady) – Aerosmith (Butt Rock)87
52.  Bad – Michael Jackson (Pop) 87

This album was kind of like The Phantom Menace.  There’s no way it could’ve lived up to the hype even if it was good, but it sucked, so it reaches the depths of the phrase colossal disappointment. 

51.  Hell in a Bucket – Grateful Dead (Jam Rock)87
50.  I’m the Man – Anthrax (Rap Metal)87

Long before there was Green Jello and Rage Against the Machine, there was this silly song. 

49.  Wait – White Lion (Butt Rock)87

There was actually a time where I thought White Lion was a little bit better than GNR. 

48.  My Michelle – Guns N Roses (Hard Rock)87
47.  Birthday – Bjork (Alternative Rock)87
46.  Sign O The Times – Prince (Rhythm & Blues)87
45.  (I Just) Died In Your Arms – Cutting Crew (Pop)87
44.  Throwing Stones – Grateful Dead (Jam Rock)87

It’s great to have them back.  In the Dark is a good bridge between the jam bands of the early 70s and what Phish is about to unleash in a couple years. 

43.  Rightstarter (Message to a Black Man) – Public Enemy (Rap)87

Chuck D is pretty serious.  He brings it up a notch from the shenanigans of the Beastie Boys and Run DMC.  Also, I watched Malcolm X last night (part of it anyway).  He and Elijah Muhammed weren't the biggest fans of white people because of the color of our skin.  Yikes.  I hope this doesn't effect my Public Enemy enjoyment. 

42.  You’re Crazy – Guns N Roses (Hard Rock)87
41.  Just Like Heaven – The Cure (Alternative Rock)87
40.  Angel – Aerosmith (Piano Ballad)87
39.  The Godfather – Spoonie Gee (Rap)87
38.  Here I Go Again – Whitesnake (Butt Rock)87

Tawny Ketaen kind of undid old Whitesnake videos during the reality TV craze, so now I’d rank her behind the “Cherry Pie” girl AND the “Cradle of Love” girl, when it comes to my list of “The Best Hot Skanks in Hair Band Videos”

37.  I’m Bad – LL Cool J (Rap)87
36.  It’s a Sin – Pet Shop Boys (Synthpop)87
35.  It’s So Easy – Guns N Roses (Hard Rock)87
34.  Bullet the Blue Sky – U2(Alternative Rock)87
33.  Public Enemy No. 1 – Public Enemy (Rap)87
32.  How Many More Days – Tom Petty (Rock)87

Here’s another hidden Tom Petty jam. 

31.  April Skies – The Jesus and Mary Chain (Alternative Rock)87
30.  I Ain’t No Joke – Eric B. and Rakim (Rap)87
29.  It’s the End of the World As We Know It – REM (Alternative Rock)87
28.  Wishing Well – Terence Trent D’Arby (Rhythm & Blues)87

This guy actually has a good amount of soul while he’s singing, which is pretty rare for this era. 

27.  Need You Tonight – INXS (New Wave)87
26.  Keep Your Hands to Yourself – Georgia Satellites (Rock)87

Do the Black Crows exist without this song?

25.  Nightrain – Guns N Roses (Hard Rock)87
24.  Brilliant Disguise – Bruce Springsteen (Rock)87

This song was a huge letdown for me in 1987, but it has aged pretty well.  I remember after the whole “Born in the USA” thing, The Tunnel of Love came out with too much hype and this was its first video.  Bruce came in, picked up an acoustic guitar, sat on a chair and sang it … and that was the video.  I was pissed.  Now it seems kind of cool that he did that. 

23.  West LA Fadeaway – Grateful Dead (Jam Rock)87
22.  U Got the Look – Prince (Funk)87
21.  Hazy Shade of Winter – The Bangles (Rock)87
20.  Wild Side – Motley Crue (Butt Rock)87

Why exactly do they misspell “Crue”, is it another one of those “Great Moments of Hair Band Ignorance?”  I feel guilty ranking this song so high. 

19.  Fascinated – Company B (Synthpop)87

Orgasm song! Orgasm song!  Obviously I don’t keep track of songs with orgasms in them for a future “Best Songs With Orgasms in them” list, but I probably should. 

18.  Route 66 – Depeche Mode (New Wave)87

I love these old 80’s songs that sound like they could’ve been played by LCD Soundsystem. 

17.  Mr. Brownstone – Guns N Roses (Hard Rock)87

A great tour in 1987 would’ve been Guns N Roses with the Beastie Boys.  These two acts cared more about drugs than any two bands yet … or at least their lyrics did in the parlance of the times. 

16.  Pour Some Sugar on Me – Def Leppard (Butt Rock)87
15.  Paradise City – Guns N Roses (Hard Rock)87

I know all the words to this song. 

14.  Push It – Salt ‘n Pepa (Rap)87
13.  Saturday Night – Schoolly D (Rap)87
12.  Hang on St. Christopher – Tom Waits (Alternative Rock)87

This is a pretty skanky song, like nothing else going on in 1987, and that’s when an artist transcends music. 

11.  I Know You Got Soul – Eric B. and Rakim (Rap)87

These guys are ahead of the curve in 1987 when it comes to rap.  They never got the accolades of LL Cool J per say, but the only two bands in front of them would be Run DMC, and the Beastie Boys, and that’s just because those two have better gimmicks.  These guys hold their own with any other rappers until Public Enemy releases their next album.  

10.  Where the Streets Have No Name – U2 (Rock)87

Even when I hated Bono’s “I’m only going to hold this guitar around my back to swing it wildly when the song picks up” attitude during The Joshua Tree era, I always loved this song.  It’s a classic. 

9.  I Want You Sex – George Michael (Synthpop)87
8.  Still of the Night – Whitesnake (Butt Rock)87

“Here I Go Again” may be the Whitesnake song that got the pub back in the day, but this song is actually good.  The guitar riffage here is Top Notch Deli. 

7.  Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC (Rap)87

This is basically my generation’s Bing Crosby sings “White Christmas” moment.  There’s no better holiday song out there with the possible exception of Darlene Love’s “Christmas Baby, Please Come Home.” 

6.  Sweet Child Of Mine – Guns N Roses (Hard Rock)87

The melody of this song is so perfect, this song almost sounds like a remake. 

5.  Touch of Grey – Grateful Dead (Pop Rock)87

Sure it may have been the Dead completely selling out, but this is a great freaking tune now that it’s over 20 years later and “A cowards given kerosene” is a much better lyric than “cows are giving kerosene.” 

4.  Girls, Girls, Girls – Motley Crue (Butt Rock)87

I don’t know why I feel this way, but for some reason I think there’s something to be said for having the best Strip Club song ever. 

3.  You’re Gonna Get Yours – Public Enemy (Rap)87

A serious man, who’s one helluva rapper, teams up with a joker and a great DJ, and you have “the next great rap act”.  I still have no idea what Professor Griff was there for. 

2.  With or Without You – U2 (Slow Rock)87

I have to get over the fact the Bono brought a guitar to the video shoot just to twirl it around his head.  This is a magical song, and I can finally appreciate it some 20 years later. 

1.  Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N Roses (Hard Rock)87

Somehow GNR stands above the butt rock bands of this era.  Axel came out with a lot of hairspray in this video so the classification is there, but he stopped using the hair spray.  Later on, he’d become one of the biggest douches ever, making people like Bret Michaels and Vince Neil look cool, but you know what saved him in the end?  Slash.  Slash transcends butt rock.  If Axel ever wants to be taken seriously again, he needs Slash next to him, otherwise his musical career is pointless. 

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