1987 is now 30 years ago. I was 18 in 1987, so should love it, but I don’t usually consider myself a big fan. Too much Hair Metal, Stock Aitken & Waterman, Stadium Rock and Karel Fialka. However, I may have to change my opinion a bit because if you look at the singles released in this year, it may have a claim to be great.
I’ve always preferred Minor Key PSB (Being Boring, Left to my Devices) over hi-NRG PSB (most of the other ones), and I think Rent is their best song. I recall that when Melody Maker did their end of the year review, Andrew Eldritch listed it as his Single of the Year by virtue of the fact that it was the only single he bought that year. “Really. With your money” sniffed the MM.
Rebel Without a Pause
It’s on It Takes a Nation of Millions, but it was recorded and released between their first two albums in 1987. This might well be the group at their peak, and it was easily the most exciting thing I heard that year, far more so than any of the rock or indie records released. What a bloody racket! The genius of Public Enemy was the combination of Chuck D and Flavor Flav, and it’s at its best here. E.F.F.E.C.T otherwise known as effect, you understand what I’m saying?
Paid in Full
Big year for Hip Hop, 1987. The album version is good, but to be honest it’s the Coldcut remix that really takes this song to the next level, particularly the Ofra Haza sample. Great rhymes too: “a pen and a paper, a stereo, a taper”.
Fairytale of New York
It’s getting overexposed now, and a Xmas when I don’t hear it counts as a success, but it’s still a great song. Didn’t make the no. 1 spot of course; when I saw them at the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1988, Shane McGowan introduced the song as “Here’s one you liked almost as much as the Pet Shop Boys…”
Pump Up the Volume
I actually think that 1987 was another 1965. We’re living in an era defined by dance music and hip hop and 1987 was the year that both really broke through. I’d never heard anything like this before when it hit the charts. Ofra Haza there again.
Fight For Your Right
The album came out in late 1986, so it’s cheating a little bit, but believe it or not it was the 3rd single from the album and didn’t come out till 87. Like most of the first record, it has more to do with Rick Rubin than Ad Rock & co, but who cares? It’s great fun. May have been responsible for Limp Bizkit.
It’s So Easy
The bigger hits would come out the next year, but it all started here, and unlike a lot of other stuff from the album, this one still sounds fresh, probably because it’s so sweary that it never gets played anywhere where sweariness may cause offence.
I’m sure I’m missed stuff. I was hoping to include The Mercy Seat, but that was 1988 apparently, so I may have to reassess that wretched year too. What do you think? Dog of a Year? Or a year of innovation?