In story time we’re at 20 years after 20 years after Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. 1987 was a remarkably good year for music, a kind of intersection for the new and old guards. Sixties stalwarts Neil Young, Robbie Robertson, and George Harrison all released meaningful work, and seventies holdovers Peter Gabriel, Bryan Ferry, and Aerosmith all enjoyed chart success.
But 1987 also was the year for Jane’s Addiction’s and Guns ‘N’ Roses’ debut albums, the end of Husker Du, and R.E.M.’s farewell to the small time. The Cult broke out of the new wave/post punk ghetto, Tom Waits released the brilliant Frank’s Wild Years, and a bunch of pop music crap happened, too.
Here’s a deep cut per month from the year of the Yugo:
January: “She’s a Woman (And Now He Is a Man),” Husker Du. I was so excited when Warehouse: Songs and Stories came out. A double album from the Huskers? Forget about it. What a bummer that it ended up being their last record.
February: “Crawl Babies,” The Pastels. Straight outta Scotland, yo.
March: “Strange Fruit,” Siouxsie and the Banshees. Siouxsie does Billie Holiday? Yes, please.
April: “Electric Ocean,” The Cult. The Cult’s previous album, Love, is a new wave classic. When Electric dropped I expected more of the same, but instead got a hard, hook-laden rock record that was a classic in its own right.
May: “Alex Chilton,” The Replacements. Another from one of my all-time favorite bands.
June: “Long Walk Home,” Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Life isn’t one of Young’s better selling records, but I love it and this is one of my favorite cuts.
July: “As Yet Untitled,” Terence Trent D’Arby. He was good looking, cocky, and had a great voice. Terence Trent D’Arby’s label pushed this record hard, and it really did have some brilliant moments, “As Yet Untitled” being one of them.
August: “You’re a Good Man, Albert Brown,” The Dukes of Stratosphear. XTC’s alter ego. No collection is complete without a copy of Psonic Psunspot on colored vinyl. Fun fact: I do not have a copy of Psonic Psunspot on colored vinyl.
September: “Oddfellows Local 151,” R.E.M. One of my all-time favorite R.E.M. songs. Document was the last truly great R.E.M. album.
October: “Hell’s Half Acre,” Robbie Robertson. The Band’s front man kind of limped along after The Last Waltz, his most memorable work during that period probably his soundtrack stuff. But this eponymous 1987 album was a return to form both commercially and artistically, and it spent a lot of time in my power rotation.
November: “We’re the Replacements,” They Might Be Giants. A call back to our May 1987 artists, who were calling back to Big Star’s Alex Chilton.
December: “Little Fury Things,” Dinosaur Jr. From the classic You’re Living All Over Me album.
Aaah… we approach the dreaded time when the music died, and the sampling spoken word hacks flourished.
Sigh. Yes. Yes we do.
I have vague memories of the year 1987. I was knee deep in toddlers, so it is all very fuzzy nowadays. I do know that when I hear The Pastels and the Replacements I am definitely taken back to another place and time. Nice list.
And now you’re knee deep in library toddlers!
The Cult’s ‘Electric’ – one of the greatest rock albums of all time.
It has my vote.
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