1987 – The Greatest Year in Music?

Is 1987 the greatest year in music?  Well, probably not, but I am going to make an argument for it to be the greatest.  For me personally, 1987 was a great year.  I graduated high school and started college in that year.  I also had a fabulous Senior Trip with some of the best people in the world.  Life was really great at that time (fyi…life is really great now as well).

Musically, some of the greatest rock albums and pop albums were released during 1987.  After this list, you let me know if you think it wasn’t the greatest or at least one of the most memorable years in music.

614V+0U9a8L._AC_US160_Def Leppard – ‘Hysteria’:  This is one of my all time favorite albums.  It was released on August 3 and spawned 7 singles (that is right 7).  The album has gone on to sale over 25 million copies and has one of the most iconic rock songs of all time…”Pour Some Sugar On Me”.  Go to mikeladano.com and check out a great review on the album (Then look around at his site, great reviews and great stories).  With other hits like “Hysteria”, “Love Bites”, “Animal”, “Women” and “Rocket”, it is one of the greatest rock albums of all times.

51d+2LervpL._AC_US160_Guns & Roses – ‘Appetite for Destruction’: Not only was Def Leppard huge, Guns & Roses broke on to the scene with “Welcome to the Jungle” when their album was released on July 27.  Axel Rose’s antics and Slash with his top hat and guitar playing made them one of the biggest bands of the time and are still loved today now that they are back together and touring.  Some of their big hits off the album were “Paradise City” and the incredible song “Sweet Child O’ Mine” plus “Night Train” and “Mr. Brownstone”.

51yRP+xR43L._AC_US160_Motley Crue – ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’:  After the success of ‘Theatre of Pain’, Motley Crue came back with a masterpiece of the debauchery of the ’80’s with “Girls, Girls, Girls”.  The album was released on May 27 and took Crue to another level.  Rock was alive and well in 1987 and Crue lived it up and rocked out.  The other singles off the album were “Wild Side” and “You’re All I Need” which catapulted the album to #2 on the charts. It was beat out of the #1 spot by another artist in this list that will come later.

61WtO2RPr8L._AC_US160_Whitesnake – ‘Whitesnake’:  With the moderate success of ‘Slide it In’, Whitesnake took that moment and turned it in to magic with the self-titled album that was released on April 7.  David Coverdale and John Sykes put together a collection of solid rocks songs including “Here I Go Again”, “Is This Love”, “Still of the Night”, and “Crying in the Rain”.  Their videos were memorable for the beautiful Tawny Kitaen dancing around on the cars.

41mHaMon-sL._AC_US160_U2 – ‘The Joshua Tree’:  On March 9th, U2 released ‘The Joshua Tree’ which turned them into Superstars and a worldwide phenomenom.  With each song they released, Bono and company just kept getting bigger and bigger.  I remember clearly when the videos for “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For” were released as they became MTV staples.  “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “Bullet the Blue Sky” are personal favorites.

51JkrcFq4DL._AC_US160_Michael Jackson – ‘Bad’:  August 31 saw the much anticipated follow-up to the biggest selling album of all time, ‘Thriller’.  ‘Bad’ lived up to the hype and sold over 30 million copies worldwide.  The album is packed with so many classic Michael Jackson songs and the videos were major MTV events.  Songs like “Bad”, “Man in the Mirror”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Dirty Diana” and “Smooth Criminal” are amazing and he was still at the top of his game.  This was also the last album before thing started getting weird.

61MZDe3RNaL._AC_US160_Prince – ‘Sign O’ the Times’: March 31st was the release date for the first Prince album after the disbanding of The Revolution.  This was just Prince baby!!  This was a double album and had 16 songs, which was unusual back in the day.  Such classics as “Sign O’ the Times”, “U Got the Look (with Sheena Easton)”, “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” and “If I Was Your Girlfriend” make this a must have album for your Prince collection.  Can you ever get enough of the man in Purple?  I don’t think so.

5144O2stiaL._AC_US160_Whitney Houston – ‘Whitney’:  The follow-up to her debut album ‘Whitney Houston’, Whitney Houston deliver another gem on June 2nd.  Her Superstar status was now in place as she gave us more songs that highlighted that special talent called her voice.  It was also before her relationship with Bobby Brown ruined her gift.  This is another album in a list of great albums so far that has gone on to sell more than 25 million copies worldwide.  It also kept Motley Crue out of the #1 spot. She gave us such memorable songs such as “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” as well as two other singles.

51qwD4zbJnL._AC_US160_INXS – ‘Kick’:  My favorite INXS album was released on October 19th.  This in my opinion is the pinnacle of their career.  The late, great Michael Hutchinson is what you want in a frontman of a band.  His great voice, good looks and charm just drew crowds in and propelled them to great heights.  The list of great songs on this album is endless (well not really) – “New Sensation”, “Devil Inside”, “Never Tear Us Apart”, “Need You Tonight”, “Mediate”, “Kick”, “Mystify”, and “The Loved Ones” (I almost listed every song on the album as it is that good).

61BQP6uT8rL._AC_US160_Aerosmith – ‘Permanent Vacation’:  This wasn’t their best album, but it was a huge turnaround for the band’s career which makes it an important album in their career.  When released on August 31st (same day as ‘Bad’), their career took a major upswing and brought them back in the public eye.  Their popularity went into the stratosphere with songs like “Dude (Looks Likes A Lady)”, “Rag Doll”, and “Angel”.   For the next few years, they were unstoppable.

51sjUmj-B7L._AC_US160_George Michael – ‘Faith’:  George Michael released his first solo album after the breakup of Wham on October 30th.  This album made him bigger than anyone who saw Wham thought possible.  This album really was incredible and I still catch myself playing it almost every year.  The hits were many and some controversial such as “I Want Your Sex”.  The rest were just great – “Faith”, “Father Figure”, “One More Try”, “Monkey” and “Kissing A Fool”.  Oh yeah, this one has also sold more than 25 million.

Those were some of the biggest and best, but these are were some of my personal favorites as well.

617ynIe5OkL._AC_US160_  Joe Satriani – ‘Surfing with the Aliens’ – October 15th

51YGGNeh+bL._AC_US160_  Ace Frehley – ‘Frehley’s Comet’ – April 27th

510AUl1sDHL._AC_US160_  Richard Marx – ‘Richard Marx’ – June 1987

41qdcTGgDcL._AC_US160_  Heart – ‘Bad Animals’ – June 6th

61OteTYL-xL._AC_US160_  Rush – ‘Hold Your Fire’ – September 8th

51GgRbBiSbL._AC_US160_  Loverboy – ‘Wildside’ -September 1987

51cyMXs2R5L._AC_US160_  R.E.M. – ‘Document’ – September 1st

51X8j6zj4dL._AC_US160_  Midnight Oil – ‘Diesel & Dust’ – August of 87

61iIrUOHWRL._AC_US160_  Dokken – ‘Back for the Attack’ – November 27th

61QnQpwJdzL._AC_US160_  Andy Taylor – ‘Thunder’ – 1987 (don’t know the month)

51YGUzvBBFL._AC_US160_  Jane’s Addiction – ‘Jane’s Addition’ – May 15th

51tF+J6MD9L._AC_US160_  The Alarm – ‘The Eye of the Hurricane’ – 1987 (don’t know the month)

515Hx1U3geL._AC_US160_  Night Ranger – ‘Big Life’ – March 1987

All these albums are why I think 1987 was the best or one of the best years in music.  Such great albums and most I still listen to today (those that stood up over time).  Do you agree, disagree or let me know what year you think is the best or most memorable for you.


35 thoughts on “1987 – The Greatest Year in Music?

  1. Based on your evidence, one would have to say 1987 ranks right up there. Like you and sonofabeach96, I too was in college, but I was almost on the way out. The end of my junior year at the beginning and the start of my senior year towards the end. 1987 had some good albums in R&B and hip-hop also. New Jack Swing was beginning to come into vogue with Keith Sweat’s album released late in the year, and Public Enemy’s debut album was released in the spring. The PE album was just ok, but it prepared everyone for It Take A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, which is one of the most important, influential hip-hop albums of all time.

    I remember racing to get Bad the day it was released and Prince’s Sign “O” The Times basically got me through that year. That was an amazing album, just about as good as Purple Rain in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some great albums in there for sure. I have a couple of them in the collection – Appetite for Destruction, Kick, Joshua Tree, Thunder, and Jane’s Addiction are albums that still sound great today. I couldn’t really comment on the best year in music, though. I tend to think it would be linked to your own musical discovery and what connects you to certain artists and albums. For me, that would likely be any of the 4 years between 1994 and 1998. I was into a lot of music before then, but so many of my big impact albums were released …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you. It is one of the greatest years for me, but that was because it was a time when music became extremely influential in my life. I am sure everyone has their favorite years. What were some of your favorites from 94-98?


      1. Where to begin!? There was Stone Temple Pilots’ Purple and Tiny Music, Pear Jam’s No Code, Screaming Trees’ Dust, Weezer’s Pinkerton, Richard Bickner’s Bloomed, Devotion And Doubt and Since, The Afghan Whigs’ Black Love and 1965, Buena Vista Social Club, Mark Lanegan’s Scraps At Midnight, Johnny Cash’s Unchained, Beck’s Odelay, Radiohead’s Bends and OK Computer, Whiskeytown’s Strangers Almanac, Joe Henry’s Trampoline, and Scott Weiland’s 12 Bar Blues! All had a huge influence on me …

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I knew we were >>>>here<<<<<for some reason!
    "All the way to heaven…Class of '87!" That was my class too!
    You've made a really good case; though I had my doubts when I read the title 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic post! I agree 1987 is one of the greatest years ever for music. I’m older than you, so my perspective will likely be a bit different. I actually think the best years for music are 1965-1972, 1983-88, and 2012 to the present.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I would agree with those years. The 90’s had some great bands and albums, but I didn’t enjoy music overall during that decade. It started picking back up in the 2000’s, but since 2010 I have really enjoyed music again.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I just remembered a couple more great albums that were released in 1987 – at least I think they’re great: Fleetwood Mac’s “Tango In the Night” and Pet Shop Boys’ “Actually.” (I was a huge Pet Shop Boys fan in the late 80s)


  6. Not a big fan of the whole hair metal thing, but I do like the Michael Jackson album, GnR and U2. Aerosmith started to suck for me with this album. Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid in Full was also 1987 — pivotal album in the formation of hip-hop. Also Sonic Youth’s Sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great read..I can’t believe how much cash i blew back in 1987….1988 was another stellar year of course as many of these albums still sold well right into 1988 and we all know which ones

    Liked by 1 person

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