My Favorite Songs of 1987

Some of the best slow songs in history were released this year, and we also had Guns N’Roses Appetite For Destruction and Def Leppard’s Hysteria albums.

I guess I’m no different than anyone else in that my wheelhouse of music was between the ages of 13 and 30. Yes, I appreciated music before and after that window, as did anyone else. But those were the years where I was on top of everything in new music. For me, that window is between 1987 and 2004.

The biggest hit song in 1987 in the USA was Livin’ on a Prayer (I have it on my 1986 list, when it was released), U2 released The Joshua Tree and Aretha Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock’n Roll Hall of Fame. 

Unlike most rankings, I haven’t been simply tossing these up in a numerical order. Because I know better than anybody that on some days, some songs kick more ass than other songs. A song that is ranked 14th today could very well rank 1st tomorrow, if it suddenly comes on the radio during the perfect moment and I start singing along. You understand. So I group them instead of presenting a hard-and-fast order:

Awesome
Great
Solid
Not Bad
…with inter-group splitting.

First, videos of the best from that year…

31 Great Songs from 1987

Smooth Criminal  – Michael Jackson

Sweetest Thing  – U2

This one got onto my radar in the late 90s when it was re-released. But I have included in the 1987 rundown instead…

Posse In Effect – Beastie Boys

Rooty Toot Toot – John Mellencamp

Cherry Bomb – John Mellencamp

What Have I Done To Deserve This?  – Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield

The One I Love  – R.E.M.

Love Removal Machine  – The Cult

Fairytale of New York  – The Pogues

Everywhere  – Fleetwood Mac

Dude (Looks Like A Lady)  – Aerosmith

Armageddon It  – Def Leppard

A Hazy Shade of Winter  – Bangles

Last of the Red Hot Fools – The Jitters

Catchy song. And it would have to be, given the band’s look. The Jitters were a bunch of middle-aged guys who probably liked their beer. Not unlike myself and my friends today…

Small Town Bringdown – The Tragically Hip

Before The Hip became Canadian legends. Before they even had an album out. They put out an EP. And frankly, the EP was better than any of their later stuff. Here was one of their best ones from that EP.

Faith  – George Michael

Sign Your Name  – Terence Trent D’Arby

Bamboleo – Gipsy Kings

Seven Wonders  – Fleetwood Mac

Welcome To The Jungle  – Guns N’ Roses

Paper in Fire  – John Mellencamp

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For  – U2

Dirty Diana  – Michael Jackson

Bad  – Michael Jackson

Animal  – Def Leppard

Together (the new wedding song) – Joey Gregorash

A staple at wedding receptions. And for good reason…

Try – Blue Rodeo

Pop Goes the World – Men Without Hats

Call it a guilty pleasure…a Canadian band with this fun song

Highway Girl – The Tragically Hip

Another great, albeit lesser-known Hip song from their self-titled EP…

Lil’ Devil – The Cult

The Cult was huge in my high school among my circle of friends… and for good reason!

Fishin’ in the Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Ah, the “Buck and Doe”. Better known as the “Stag and Doe” elsewhere. This song was a staple at them back in the day. And although I haven’t been to one in my hometown in over 25 years, I bet this song is still played at every one of them…

20 Truly Awesome Tunes released or popularized in 1987

One Gun – 54-40

An underrated Canadian band. Everybody likes at least a few of their songs – I happen to like well over a dozen songs spanning a long career. This one is the first song I ever heard by them…

Last American Exit – The Tragically Hip

For my money, the best song from the Hip’s EP…

Touch Of Grey  – Grateful Dead

The Way You Make Me Feel  – Michael Jackson

Rag Doll  – Aerosmith

Push It  – Salt N Pepa

The staple of any Grade 8 dance back in 1987, when I was in…well, Grade 8.

Need You Tonight  – INXS

Hysteria  – Def Leppard

Father Figure  – George Michael

Brilliant Disguise  – Bruce Springsteen

Angel  – Aerosmith

Slow and Low – Beastie Boys

Alone  – Heart

Wild Flower  – The Cult

I love the extended rock mix for this song, so I present it for you here:

With Or Without You  – U2

Sweet Child O’ Mine  – Guns N’ Roses

Pour Some Sugar On Me  – Def Leppard

Paradise City  – Guns N’ Roses

Love Bites  – Def Leppard

Here I Go Again  – Whitesnake

These songs are all on a YouTube playlist that you can find here

Follow me on Spotify for great playlists here

Here is the full list of songs from 1987

Awesome – 1Here I Go Again Whitesnake
Awesome – 1Love Bites Def Leppard
Awesome – 1Paradise City Guns N’ Roses
Awesome – 1Pour Some Sugar On Me Def Leppard
Awesome – 1Sweet Child O’ Mine Guns N’ Roses
Awesome – 1With Or Without You U2
Awesome – 1Wild Flower The Cult
Awesome – 1Alone Heart
Awesome – 9Slow and LowBeastie Boys
Awesome – 9Angel Aerosmith
Awesome – 9Brilliant Disguise Bruce Springsteen
Awesome – 9Father Figure George Michael
Awesome – 9Hysteria Def Leppard
Awesome – 9Need You Tonight INXS
Awesome – 9Push It Salt N Pepa
Awesome – 9Rag Doll Aerosmith
Awesome – 9The Way You Make Me Feel Michael Jackson
Awesome – 9Touch Of Grey Grateful Dead
Awesome – 9Last American ExitThe Tragically Hip
Awesome – 9One Gun54-40
Great – 21Fishin’ in the DarkNitty Gritty Dirt Band
Great – 21Lil’ DevilThe Cult
Great – 21Highway GirlThe Tragically Hip
Great – 21Pop Goes the WorldMen Without Hats
Great – 21TryBlue Rodeo
Great – 21Together (the new wedding song)Joey Gregorash
Great – 21Animal Def Leppard
Great – 21Bad Michael Jackson
Great – 21Dirty Diana Michael Jackson
Great – 21I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For U2
Great – 21Paper in Fire John Mellencamp
Great – 21Welcome To The Jungle Guns N’ Roses
Great – 21Seven Wonders Fleetwood Mac
Great – 21BamboleoGipsy Kings
Great – 21Sign Your Name Terence Trent D’Arby
Great – 21Faith George Michael
Great – 37Small Town BringdownThe Tragically Hip
Great – 37Last of the Red Hot FoolsThe Jitters
Great – 37A Hazy Shade of Winter Bangles
Great – 37Armageddon It Def Leppard
Great – 37Dude (Looks Like A Lady) Aerosmith
Great – 37Everywhere Fleetwood Mac
Great – 37Fairytale of New York The Pogues
Great – 37Love Removal Machine The Cult
Great – 37The One I Love R.E.M.
Great – 37What Have I Done To Deserve This? Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield
Great – 37Cherry BombJohn Mellencamp
Great – 37Rooty Toot TootJohn Mellencamp
Great – 37Posse In EffectBeastie Boys
Great – 37Sweetest Thing U2
Great – 37Smooth Criminal Michael Jackson
Solid – 52Always Atlantic Starr
Solid – 52Check It OutJohn Mellencamp
Solid – 52Killing TimeThe Tragically Hip
Solid – 52Just One NightTriumph
Solid – 52Dirty WaterRock & Hyde
Solid – 52Kiss Him GoodbyeThe Nylons
Solid – 52Can’t Help Falling in LoveCorey Hart
Solid – 52Boyzn the HoodN.W.A
Solid – 52Bring The Noise Public Enemy
Solid – 52It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) R.E.M.
Solid – 52La Bamba Los Lobos
Solid – 52La Isla Bonita Madonna
Solid – 52Little Lies Fleetwood Mac
Solid – 52Man In The Mirror Michael Jackson
Solid – 52Mandinka Sinéad O’Connor
Solid – 52Rocket Def Leppard
Solid – 52U Got the Look Prince
Solid – 52Tom’s Diner Suzanne Vega
Solid – 52The New StyleBeastie Boys
Solid – 52Slow RideBeastie Boys
Solid – 52Wishing Well Terence Trent D’Arby
Solid – 52Heart and Soul T’Pau
Solid – 74Hold It Now, Hit ItBeastie Boys
Solid – 74Easy to TameKim Mitchell
Solid – 74Ordinary PeopleThe Box
Solid – 74Bad Boys Inner Circle
Solid – 74Going Back to Cali LL Cool J
Solid – 74Heat Of The Night Bryan Adams
Solid – 74I Just Can’t Stop Loving You Michael Jackson
Solid – 74I Want Your Sex George Michael
Solid – 74Luka Suzanne Vega
Solid – 74Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now Starship
Solid – 74Another Part Of Me Michael Jackson
Solid – 74Big Love Fleetwood Mac
Solid – 74Circle In The Sand Belinda Carlisle
Solid – 74(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
Solid – 74Heaven Is A Place On Earth Belinda Carlisle
Solid – 74Time Stand Still Rush
Solid – 74It’s A Sin Pet Shop Boys
Solid – 74Peace DogThe Cult
Solid – 74Showdown At Big SkyRobbie Robertson
Solid – 74Always On My MindPet Shop Boys
Solid – 74New SensationINXS
Not Bad – 95The Finer ThingsSteve Winwood
Not Bad – 95Don’t Dream It’s OverCrowded House
Not Bad – 95On The Turning Away Pink Floyd
Not Bad – 95EvelynThe Tragically Hip
Not Bad – 95I Will Be ThereGlass Tiger
Not Bad – 95ContactPlatinum Blonde
Not Bad – 95TeenlandNorthern Pikes
Not Bad – 95Got My Mind Set On You George Harrison
Not Bad – 95I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) Aretha Franklin and George Michael
Not Bad – 95Is This Love? Whitesnake
Not Bad – 95Meet Me Half Way Kenny Loggins
Not Bad – 95Paid In Full Eric B. & Rakim
Not Bad – 95Where The Streets Have No Name U2
Not Bad – 95She’s CraftyBeastie Boys
Not Bad – 95I Think We’re Alone Now Tiffany
Not Bad – 95Learning To Fly Pink Floyd
Not Bad – 95When The Children Cry White Lion
Not Bad – 95I Heard A RumourBananarama
Not Bad – 95Hearts On FireBryan Adams
Not Bad – 114One Day In Your Life54-40
Not Bad – 114Closer TogetherThe Box
Not Bad – 114You’re What I Look ForGlass Tiger
Not Bad – 114Wild HorsesGino Vannelli
Not Bad – 114123Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Not Bad – 114Can’t We Try Dan Hill
Not Bad – 114Could’ve Been Tiffany
Not Bad – 114Don’t Shed a Tear Paul Carrack
Not Bad – 114Electric Blue Icehouse
Not Bad – 114Hot Hot Hot Buster Poindexter
Not Bad – 114Hourglass Squeeze
Not Bad – 114Hungry Eyes Eric Carmen
Not Bad – 114I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) Whitney Houston
Not Bad – 114In God’s Country U2
Not Bad – 114Jammin’ Me Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Not Bad – 114Just Like Heaven The Cure
Not Bad – 114Learning To Fly Pink Floyd
Not Bad – 114Lessons In Love Level 42
Not Bad – 114Looking For A New Love Jody Watley
Not Bad – 114Midnight Blue Lou Gramm
Not Bad – 114Monkey George Michael
Not Bad – 114Moonlight Desires Gowan
Not Bad – 114Never Gonna Give You Up Rick Astley
Not Bad – 114Pump Up The Volume M/A/R/R/S
Not Bad – 114She’s Like The Wind Patrick Swayze
Not Bad – 114Together Forever Rick Astley
Not Bad – 114Who’s That Girl Madonna
Not Bad – 114One More Try George Michael
Not Bad – 114Rebel Without A Pause Public Enemy
Not Bad – 114Shattered Dreams Johnny Hates Jazz
Not Bad – 114Sign O’ the Times Prince
Not Bad – 114Somewhere Down The Crazy River Robbie Robertson
Not Bad – 114True Faith New Order
Not Bad – 114Tunnel of Love Bruce Springsteen
Not Bad – 114I’m an Adult NowPursuit of Happiness
Not Bad – 114Time To Get IllBeastie Boys
Not Bad – 114ShakedownBob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Not Bad – 114Who Will You Run To?Heart
Not Bad – 114We’ll Be TogetherSting
Not Bad – 114When Smokey SingsABC
Not Bad – 114Don’t Mean Nothin’ Richard Marx
Not Bad – 114Walk the DinosaurWas (Not Was)
Not Bad – 114Head To ToeLisa Lisa & Cult Jam
Not Bad – 114Rhythm Is Gonna Get YouGloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Not Bad – 114CarrieEurope
Not Bad – 114Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My CarBilly Ocean
Not Bad – 114Tell It To My HeartTaylor Dayne
Not Bad – 114Anything For YouGloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Not Bad – 114So EmotionalWhitney Houston

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