Monday, 22 October 2012

The Best Of 1987 - part 2

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1

I'm doing things a little bit differently for 1987, and in this part I'll be looking at numbers 75 to 51 from my top 100 for that year. 

You wouldn't know it from the look on his face,
but 1987 was a great year for Robert Smith and The Cure

1987 marks the last year that my music taste and what did well on the Australian charts were pretty closely matched - which is why 14 of the 25 songs in this part have already been discussed in other posts on this blog. There are links to those and 11 new tunes to talk about...

Number 75 "Don't Shed A Tear" by Paul Carrack
Paul was everywhere in the '80s - a soloist, a lead singer for Mike + The Mechanics and Squeeze, a session musician for any number of other acts... Yep, he was the hardest working man in pop/rock. In Australia, he had a massive hit with his cover of "When You Walk In The Room". I liked that, but I loved this follow-up, which is a classic '80s MOR-style belter.

Number 74 "Say You Will" by Foreigner
Speaking of MOR pop/rock - Foreigner had been making FM radio staples like "Urgent" and "I Want To Know What Love Is" since 1976, and returned following singer Lou Gramm's solo record (which featured another 1987 hit, "Midnight Blue") with this sing-along classic from the Inside Information album.

Number 73 "Somewhere Out There" by Linda Ronstadt / James Ingram
Previously featured here

Number 72 "Causing A Commotion" by Madonna
Previously featured here

Number 71 "Hold On" by Models
They'd had an internationally successful smash with "Out Of Mind Out Of Sight" in 1985, but hadn't been able to follow it up with another big hit since then. This song, which peaked at number 21, was as good as it got ("Evolution" also reached number 21 but hung around for less weeks). For me, it's one of Models' best songs and for some reason always reminds me a little bit of INXS' "Burn For You".

Number 70 "One And One (Ain't I Good Enough)" by Wa Wa Nee
Previously featured here

Number 69 "If You Let Me Stay" by Terence Trent D'Arby
I talked about this song recently when recapping the debut of "Wishing Well" on the ARIA chart. Not a hit in Australia until 1988, it was actually Terence's very first single in 1987 - and one of many diverse highlights from the Introducing The Hardline According To... album.

Number 68 "Hymn To Her" by The Pretenders
Previously featured here

Number 67 "Her Charity" by Boom Crash Opera
Previously featured here

Number 66 "Misfit" by Curiosity Killed The Cat
Aah, Curiosity Killed The Cat was such a great name for a group. And much easier to say that lead singer Ben's surname - I think Smash Hits dubbed him Ben Veryunpronounceablename or something (it was actually Volpeliere-Pierrot). "Misfit" was the UK band's debut single in 1986, but wasn't a hit in the UK until a re-release in 1987 following the success of "Down To Earth" (which we'll come to eventually). CKTC were pretty much unknown in Australia, with this song reaching the dizzy heights of number 97.

Number 65 "Looking For A New Love" by Jody Watley
Previously featured here

Number 64 "Fascinated" by Company B
"Fascinated" is a freestyle classic - in fact, it was one of the first top 40 hits from the genre in the US. Like fellow freestyle girl group Sweet Sensation, Company B had a line-up shuffle between their first and second albums, but to be honest, I wouldn't know any of the members if I fell over them in the street. The only time I heard the song in the late '80s was on radio show Night Tracks (which I mentioned in Part 1) and I don't think I'd even seen the video until looking it up on YouTube for this post.

Number 63 "Lean On Me" by Club Nouveau
Previously featured here

Number 62 "I Want Your Sex" by George Michael
Previously featured here

Number 61 "Why Can't I Be You?" by The Cure
Previously featured here

Number 60 "Shattered Glass" by Laura Branigan
Previously featured here

Number 59 "Criticize" by Alexander O'Neal
Another artist who would have received a good airing on Night Tracks is this soul/funk singer from the US, who was produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the team behind Janet Jackson's Control album (and most of her subsequent ones). Alexander had been in The Time with Jam & Lewis before departing for a solo career and released a string of singles that were surprisingly much more successful in the UK than the US. In fact, the album this single was from, Hearsay, was a multi-platinum smash in Britain, yielding other hits like "Fake", "Never Knew Love Like This" (with Cherrelle) and the title track. In Australia, he pretty much went completely unnoticed.

Number 58 "The Living Daylights" by a-ha
Previously featured here

Number 57 "Something In My House" by Dead Or Alive
Another great song from Pete Burns and co from the Mad Bad And Dangerous To Know album, "Something In My House" has something you can't say for that many songs produced by Stock Aitken Waterman: memorable lyrics. That could be because the producers had no hand in writing them, since the band composed all their music themselves. This song (unliked the last three I've talked about) was actually a hit in Australia, reaching number 19.

Number 56 "Never Let Me Down Again" by Depeche Mode
Another single from the brilliant Music For The Masses album, this track is one of my favourite road trip songs. It sounds brilliant cranked up as you zoom down a highway. By this stage of their career, Depeche Mode were really making the transition from niche synthpop act to pop/rock stadium fillers - and although their music definitely underwent a transformation, it never felt inconsistent with what had come before.

Number 55 "Shattered Dreams" by Johnny Hates Jazz
Previously featured here

Number 54 "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now" by Samantha Fox
Previously featured here and here

Number 53 "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" by Michael Jackson / Siedah Garrett
Previously featured here

Number 52 "We Connect" by Stacey Q
The second of two awesome dance/pop singles (and the second of two number 7 hits here in Australia), "We Connect" was incredibly catchy. Cutesy lyrics and a relatively weak vocal aside, it's a damn good song that could be given a 2012 overhaul and fit right in with the club-based sound dominating the charts at the moment. Interestingly, Stacey was nearly 30 when "We Connect" was a hit - I'd always assumed she was much younger.

Number 51 "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure
I've talked in other posts about the gradual commercialisation of The Cure. In 1987, the band reached a major turning point in their career when they became a top 40 act in the US. In fact, "Just Like Heaven" was the song that saw them break through, and just two years later they'd have a number 2 hit Stateside with "Lovesong".
Both "Just Like Heaven" and "Why Can't I Be You?" were taken from the Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me album (along with another classic, "Catch"), but despite it clearly being a hit-laden album, I don't think I've heard any of the non-singles from it. I've always been a Cure singles fan - and the only two albums of theirs I own are singles collections Standing On A Beach and Galore. I'm sure that means I'm missing out on some undiscovered gems, but with singles this good, I'm more than satisfied.

We'll leave my favourite songs from 1987 there for the time being and, on Thursday, check back in on the ARIA chart from this week in 1987. Then I'll pick back up this list with Part 3 on the weekend. As I said just the other day, "I miss 1987". Thankfully, I get to relive it here!

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