Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Best Of 1987 - part 1

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

Regular readers of this blog will know that 1987 was a big year for me. First year of high school, first year I started collecting and compiling charts, first single released by a certain Ms Minogue... the list of landmark moments goes on.

The Bangles did a lot of walking in 1987 - including onto my list of favourites

You'll also know that I've slowly been working my way through my favourite songs for each year since 1979. We reach 1987 this week - but, since I've also been looking at each week's ARIA chart from 1987, there are going to be quite a few songs I've already talked about in those recaps showing up on my list.

So, here's what we'll do... I'm going to run through my entire top 100 for 1987 across four posts. But, I'll only talk about those songs I haven't already dissected elsewhere. For the rest, I'll link to previous comments and clips.

Number 100 "It Doesn't Have To Be" by Erasure
After struggling to land a hit in the UK from their first album, Erasure were on a roll by 1987 and would release a string of successful singles there until the mid-'90s. In Australia, though, it was a very different story with this follow-up to minor hit "Sometimes" completely missing the top 100 altogether. I do remember seeing the clip played on TV at the time (on a Saturday morning repeat of Rock Arena, perhaps?) but, for the most part, Erasure would go under the radar here for the next few years.

Number 99 "World Where You Live" by Crowded House
"Something So Strong" and "Don't Dream It's Over" were bigger hits, but this was my favourite Crowded House single for the year. Australia didn't agree, only sending this to number 43 on the ARIA chart.

Number 98 "Head To Toe" by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
Previously featured here

Number 97 "Didn't We Almost Have It All" by Whitney Houston
Previously featured here

Number 96 "I Found Someone" by Cher
No one does a comeback quite like Cher. In 1987, the singer born Cheryl Sarkisian hadn't had a hit record in years - in Australia, it had been longer than in other countries, with her last top 20 appearance occuring way back in 1974 when "Dark Lady" got to number 17. Instead, she'd been concentrating on movies for the previous few years, with 1987 also the year she won an Oscar for her role in Moonstruck.
This first single from her self-titled album had previously been recorded by Laura Branigan, but it was Cher's version that would go on to be a hit and would put her back on the world music scene - helped somewhat by the music video, which featured Cher's then-boyfriend, Rob Camilletti, who was 17 years younger than her.
The song, produced by its co-writer, Michael Bolton, was a classic '80s power ballad and the pop/rock style was one she'd stick with for the next few years with even greater success two years and a barely there outfit away.

Number 95 "Another Step (Closer To You)" by Kim Wilde and Junior
She'd had the biggest hit of her career with previous single "You Keep Me Hanging On", but Kim couldn't keep the momentum going in Australia with this follow-up, a duet with UK soul artist Junior Giscombe (of "Mama Used To Say" fame), which failed to make an impression locally.

Number 94 "Strangelove" by Depeche Mode
Just as their former member Vince Clarke was finding success in Australia hard to come by with Erasure, Depeche Mode were also out of luck when it came to scoring hits down under in the late '80s. It's a shame because this track, from their Music For The Masses album, is among their best.

Number 93 "Looking For A New Love" by Jody Watley
Previously featured here

Number 92 "The Pleasure Principle" by Janet Jackson
Previously featured here

Number 91 "When I Fall In Love / My Arms Keep Missing You" by Rick Astley
There were plenty of big male solo artists in 1987 - most of them called George or Michael, or both - but newcomer Rick was right in there amongst them in terms of worldwide success. For his third single, released in time for Christmas in the UK (but not out in Australia until 1988), Rick recorded the Doris Day/Nat King Cole classic and backed it with a new song not available on his Whenever You Need Somebody album. I find "When I Fall In Love" a bit dreary, and so the single's placement on this list is entirely down to "My Arms Keep Missing You".  

Number 90 "Celebration" by Dragon
Another cover version - this time of the Kool & The Gang party favourite from 1980 - released for the holiday season. Dragon's version of "Celebration" came out at the tail end of 1987, just in time for New Year's Eve and Australia's bicentennial, which occured in January 1988, guaranteeing saturation airplay throughout the summer.

Number 89 "Got My Mind Set On You" by George Harrison
I'm not a fan of The Beatles. Never have been, never will be. And apart from "Say Say Say" (which was really down to Michael Jackson's involvement), I'd never liked any solo singles by the band's former members either. That changed in 1987, when George Harrison released this undeniably catchy ditty. There were, inexplicably, two music videos for the song - a link to the one in the living room is the song title, the one set in the amusement arcade is below.

Number 88 "You I Know" by Jenny Morris
Previously featured here

Number 87 "Whenever You're Ready" by Five Star
Five Star had one top 100 appearance in Australia: "System Addict" reached number 66 in 1986. In the UK, it was a different story altogether, as the Pearson siblings notched up a dozen top 20 hits between 1985 and 1988. I was introduced to them by a friend from school as well as a Monday night funk and R&B radio program on Sydney community station 2RDJ called Night Tracks - and this single, the first released from the Between The Lines album, was one of my favourites.

Number 86 "When Smokey Sings" by ABC
Previously featured here

Number 85 "Do To You" by Machinations
Previously featured here

Number 84 "Please Yourself" by The Big Supreme
I know very little about this British band, and for many years had forgotten all about this song, which I heard at the time on one of the many weekend music programs on Australian TV. I stumbled across it on YouTube a couple of years ago and was instantly won over once again by the track's uplifting energy. Since it wasn't on iTunes and I couldn't find a CD by the group, I snapped up the 7" single on eBay... decades after I first heard it. Better late than never!

Number 83 "I'll Save You All My Kisses" by Dead Or Alive
Only Pete Burns could get away with pants that tight! Dead Or Alive released one of my favourite albums of the '80s in 1987 - Mad, Bad And Dangerous To Know, which had already yielded the hits "Brand New Lover", "Something In My House" and "Hooked On Love" by the time this fourth single was released. It was to be the last collaboration between the band and producers Stock Aitken Waterman, with subsequent album Nude being self-produced (and less successful - except in Japan).

Number 82 "Valerie" by Steve Winwood
The original version had just slipped in to the top 100 in the summer of '82/'83, but five years later, the remix of "Valerie" was a much bigger deal as Steve Winwood celebrated a successful few years as a solo artist. 

Number 81 "Mind Over Matter" by E.G. Daily
Previously featured here

Number 80 "Crazy" by Icehouse
Previously featured here

Number 79 "Walking Down Your Street" by The Bangles
They walked like Egyptians to the top of the Australian chart during the summer of '86/'87, but could only get as far as number 56 with this follow-up. We'd seen that pattern of massive single then flop before with "Manic Monday" and its follow-up "If She Knew What She Wants", and would see it again with both "Hazy Shade Of Winter" and "Eternal Flame" being followed by less successful singles. At least they were consistent in their inconsistency. I, for one, liked "Walking Down Your Street", which was one of the highlights of the Different Light album.

Number 78 "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 77 "The Living Daylights" by a-ha
Previously featured here

Number 76 "New Groove" by Rockmelons
I'm always surprised when I look up how Rockmelons' two "big" singles from 1987 (this and "Rhymes") actually fared on the chart. Despite it feeling like both were as successful as their '90s songs like "That Word (L.O.V.E.)", "Rhymes" only reached number 26 and this track got to number 21. Both were taken from the excellent Tales Of The City album, which was probably ahead of its time given the dominance of pub rock music in Australia in 1987. And yes, that is Wendy Matthews in the clip.

In Part 2, we'll look at numbers 75 to 51 - catch you in a few days!

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