1987: U2 become superstars, George Michael has some “Faith”

Popular music continues moving in a rockier, grungier direction in 1987.

If you look at lists of 1987’s best albums, you’ll see a shift in the paradigm of popular artists. Mixed in with the dance-pop artists that topped the charts earlier in the decade are bands like The Smiths, Dinosaur Jr., R.E.M. And while Michael Jackson is still at the peak of his career with Bad, Irish rockers U2 steal the show with their international breakthrough The Joshua Tree.

It wasn’t all rock in 1987, though. George Michael’s single “Faith” became a mega-hit that has reached cult status, and Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” transcended its original significance with the recent meme of “rickrolling” infiltrating popular internet culture.

Was 1987 the Greatest Year in Music? Let us know what you think in the comments and across social media with #XPNGreatestYear.


Bad Animals – Heart
Trio – Dolly Parton, Linsa Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris
Whitney – Whitney Houston
The Joshua Tree – U2
Sign o’ the Times – Prince
Faith – George Michael
Buster Poindexter – Buster Poindexter
Solitude Standing – Suzanne Vega
Rock the House – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Warehouse: Songs and Stories – Husker Du
Exposure – Exposé
Life as We Know It – REO Speedwagon
By the Light of the Moon – Los Lobos
Midnight to Midnight – Psychedelic Furs
Saint Julian – Julian Cope
Bad – Michael Jackson
Into the Fire – Bryan Adams
Locust Abortion Technician – Butthole Surfers
Meet Danny Wilson – Danny Wilson
Whitesnake – Whitesnake
Tango in the Night – Fleetwood Mac
Pleased to Meet Me – The Replacements
Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Introduce Yourself – Faith No More
Tunnel of Love – Bruce Springsteen
Yo! Bum Rush the Show – Public Enemy
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me – The Cure
Poetic Champions Compose – Van Morrison
Exit 0 – Steve Earle & The Dukes
Bigger and Deffer – LL Cool J
Radio K.A.O.S. – Roger Waters
King’s Record Shop – Rosanne Cash
Pop Goes the World – Men Without Hats
Sold – Boy George
In the Dark – Grateful Dead
No Protection – Starship
One Way Home – The Hooters
Strange Weather – Marianne Faithfull
Hysteria – Def Leppard
Out of the Blue – Debbie Gibson
The Lonesome Jubilee – John Cougar Mellencamp
Sentimental Hygiene – Warren Zevon
Darklands – The Jesus and Mary Chain
Document – REM
Actually – Pet Shop Boys
Tiffany – Tiffany
Music for the Masses – Depeche Mode
Strangeways, Here We Come – Smiths
Cloud Nine – George Harrison
Babylon and On – Squeeze
Wow! – Bananarama
Heaven Is a Place on Earth – Belinda Carlisle
…Nothing Like the Sun – Sting
Robbie Robertson – Robbie Robertson
The Lion and the Cobra – Sinead O’Connor
Whenever You Need Somebody – Rick Astley
You’re Living All Over Me – Dinosaur Jr.

Category: 80sFEATURED


Article by: Julie Miller