How Good Was The Year (in music) - 1987?

1995 soared into 4th place last time out, now HGWTY skips back a further 8 years to the year I started school, 1987.

A reminder of the premise of the thread

After a number of days of posting and reminiscing, we’ll be rating the music of the year out of ten, based on the albums, singles, gigs, whatever that stand out for you that year, and voting for our favourite nominated albums and songs.

Everyone can nominate one album and one song from the year which will then be collated into side-polls two days before the thread closes - please make it clear when you post a nomination for the poll (as opposed to just posting clips or lists of songs and albums you like, which are very welcome).

Rank Year Rating Top Album Top Song
1 1991 8.98 Slint - Spiderland Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy
2 1997 8.6 Radiohead - OK Computer The Beta Band - Dry The Rain
3 1967 8.48 Love - Forever Changes Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - Some Velvet Morning
4 1977 8.41 Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express Donna Summer - I Feel Love
5 1992 8.29 Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted Pulp - Babies
5 2013 8.29 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street
7 2019 8.14 Self Esteem - Compliments Please Big Thief - Not
8 1975 8.13 Neil Young - Tonight’s the Night / Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Cortez the Killer
8 2007 8.13 LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver / Radiohead - In Rainbows LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends / M.I.A. - Paper Planes
10 2004 8.1 Madvillain - Madvillainy / Arcade Fire - Funeral The Walkmen - The Rat
10 2001 8.1 The Strokes - Is This It Roots Manuva - Witness (1 Hope) / Mogwai - My Father My King
12 1981 8.06 The Cure - Faith New Order - Ceremony
12 2002 8.06 Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge
14 1979 7.96 Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures Joy Division - Transmission
15 1982 7.76 The Cure - Pornography / Kate Bush - The Dreaming Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding / The Associates - Party Fears Two
16 2014 7.69 FKA Twigs - LP1 FKA Twigs - Two Weeks
17 2010 7.66 Kanye West - MBDTF / Joanna Newsom - Have One One Me / Beach House - Teen Dream Robyn - Dancing On My Own
18 1970 7.61 Neil Young - After the Goldrush Curtis Mayfield - Move on Up
19 1970 7.53 Can - Ege Bamyasi Stevie Wonder - Superstition
20 1990 7.47 Sonic Youth - Goo The Cure - Pictures of You
20 1976 7.47 David Bowie - Station to Station Bob Dylan - Hurricane
22 1986 7.42 Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle
23 2005 7.39 Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Amerie - 1 Thing
24 1965 7.38 The Beatles - Rubber Soul Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)
25 2017 7.36 Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent Kendrick Lamar - Humble
26 1999 7.3 Mogwai - Come On Die Young Björk - All Is Full Of Love
27 2009 7.1 Fever Ray - Fever Ray Animal Collective - My Girls
28 1974 6.95 Neil Young - On The Beach Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - The Bottle
29 1985 6.53 Tom Waits - Rain Dogs Prince and the Revolution - Raspberry Beret
30 1962 6 Howlin’ Wolf - Howlin’ Wolf Dick Dale - Misirlou
31 1961 5.16 John Coltrane - My Favourite Things Roy Orbison - Crying




1987 was the year the Simpsons debuted on the Tracy Ullman show, 19 year old West German Mathias Rust landed a small Cessna plane in the Red Square in Moscow to “bring peace between the Soviets and the West” (and was promptly taken to a labour camp), 193 lives were lost when a cross-channel ferry capsized outside the harbour of Zeebrugge, Belgium, the SN 1987A supernova became the first observable by the naked-eye supernova to be seen from Earth since 1604 and Final Fantasy was released for the NES in Japan.

We said goodbye to Andy Warhol, Rita Hayworth, Fred Astaire, Liberace, Buddy Rich and Jaco Pastorius, and hello to Lionel Messi, Kendrick Lamar, @daggers, Frank Ocean, Elliott Page, Michael B Jordan, Evan Rachel Wood, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

But how good was the music?

You have roughly ten days to nominate one album and one song which will then go into a poll along with a number rating poll for year overall out of 10, which will close a few days later.

Some lists for inspiration:

Best Albums of 1987 : Best Ever Albums
100 Greatest Albums of 1987
1987 Best Albums And Tracks Of The Year - NME
100 Greatest Songs From 1987

Nominations will be tallied here as the week goes on:

Album Nominations

Song Nominations


Who’s going to nominate this?


Spacemen 3 - The Perfect Presciption



I’ll probably look elsewhere for my nomination, but I was 8 in 1987 and this was my favourite song.


Nominate song: M/A/R/R/S - Pump Up the Volume

Remember when sampling was everywhere? I remember getting pissed off with SAW for the injunction that blocked this from Number 1, which made it all the sweeter when it eventually hit the top of the charts in October.

It was also the first 12" single I bought, aged 13, and started a love affair with 4AD, not that I had a Scooby about anything else on the label at the time. Strange to think Come on Pilgrim was released the very same year…


Nominate song Just Like Heaven by The Cure!

Nominate album Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me by the Cure!



Nominate song Pet Shop Boys - ‘It’s a Sin’

It’s an all timer


Such a great year, spoilt for choice, an easy ten.
My favourite album of all time
Nominate album Big Dipper - Heavens

And one of my favourite songs.
Nominate song The Chills - Wet Blanket

Honourable mentions for Dinosaur Jr, Slovenly, the Verlaines, the Bats, fIREHOSE to name but a few. In fact if I was to embark on a Midnight Punk 100 best albums a good chunk of my top ten would be from 1987.


Lots of good LPs that year from some absolute heavy hitters
The Smiths
Husker Du
Dinosaur Jr
The Wedding Present
The Pixies
Sonic Youth
The Cure


Nominate album:

Miracle Legion - Surprise Surprise Surprise


Nominate album: Prince - Sign “:peace_symbol:” the Times

I enjoyed @midnightpunk’s write up of The Black Album in his top 100 but, much as I love that album and the story behind it, it still doesn’t quite top this on either front.

This is Prince at the top of his game and the album is the product of arguably his most intense and creative period, during which he recorded the double album Dream Factory with The Revolution, then sacked the band (not his finest moment). Then he also recorded the album Camille, with his pitch-shifted vocals, but this was shelved too. Then he reconstituted the tracks from both projects as the planned triple album Crystal Ball but Warner Bros unsurprisingly balked at the idea, so it was slimmed down, U Got the Look was added late on and Sign “:peace_symbol:” the Times was born. And, ultimately, so was The Black Album, with most of the Camille tracks spread across both.

It’s exhausting even thinking about it. Sign “:peace_symbol:” the Times benefits massively from all these left turns, however, and the shifts in style from song to song are thrilling. Sign “:peace_symbol:” the Times - Play In the Sunshine - Housequake - The Ballad of Dorothy Parker is a faultless opening four tracks and my other highlights are Starfish and Coffee, Hot Thing, If I Was Your Girlfriend and I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man.

It’s got to be close to my favourite album of all time. If anyone nominates The Black Album, though, I’ll easily vote for both!


Thanks :smiley:. Agree Sign’ is better than The Black Album, but I love The Black Album’s backstory so much.

So, nominate (album) (ever the joker).

Anthrax - Among The Living.


I don’t have a song yet but my album is Death - Scream Bloody Gore


There are another 2 singles of theirs from that year that I could easily nominate as well (and might yet do), but I might as well go the whole hog and say

nominate album: Pet Shop Boys - Actually


First album I ever got, and still one I come back to regularly - so my longest-standing favourite, by far.

Obviously back then I was oblivious to anything except that they were smashing songs. As I got older it opened out more still, once I started to understand the time they were writing in, and the depth and emotion in some of Neil’s lyrics. Which were set to smashing tunes.


Nominate Song: New Order - True Faith


Album Nomination: U2 - The Joshua Tree

Yeah, the first few songs have been played to death on the radio, but that doesn’t stop it from being an incredible album. Where the Streets Have No Names still gets me 30+ years after hearing it for the first time - what an intro and so much emotion, and probably an influence on possibly my favorite song from my favorite band.

The whole album is great but I especially want to highlight One Tree Hill and Exit, the former being magical and the latter being ridiculously tense.

Live version of Exit, why not:

One of the first albums I fell in love with.


Album nomination: The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We Come

16-17 year old me in the early 90s would have voted for Skinny Puppy’s Cleanse Fold & Manipulate but I’m in a different place. Tossup between The Smiths’ final album and another album that will probably get nominated, went with this one as I might be more likely to throw it on.


Nominate Album: Prince - Sign “:peace_symbol:” the Times

(The best album ever)

1 Like

Nominate - Sisters of Mercy - Floodland


Still untouchable after all these years.


Some other 10/10s

Not a bad year!


Already nominated by JL, do you want to add one of the albums from your next post?