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. 

Michael Jackson made his long-awaited return in 1987

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 "Spotlight" by Madonna
I justify this song's inclusion due to the fact that it was a single in Japan. Until 2008, I was very strict about what songs could make my year-end lists, with only bona fide singles being permitted. Of course, I wasn't so strict about where the song was released as a single. This track was the only new song on Madonna's You Can Dance remix album and would have fit in perfectly on either the Who's That Girl soundtrack or the True Blue album, being a classic Madonna/Stephen Bray collaboration.

Number 74 "I Surrender (To The Spirit Of The Night)" by Samantha Fox
Another song that missed the Australian top 100 altogether is a lesser known single by the woman behind one of 1986's biggest songs, "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)". Apart from that Australian chart-topper and the SAW-produced hits "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now" and "I Only Want To Be With You", Sam actually had a number of other good pop tunes, like this second single from her self-titled album.

Number 73 "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 72 "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 71 "Somewhere Out There" by Linda Ronstadt / James Ingram
Previously featured here

Number 70 "Causing A Commotion" by Madonna
Previously featured here

Number 69 "Faith" by George Michael
The title track from his long-awaited debut solo album was another worldwide number 1 for the former Wham! frontman - and after the controversy surrounding previous single "I Want Your Sex", "Faith" was an uncomplicated pop song perfectly suited to radio and TV airplay. George would go on to literally destroy his image from this video, with the guitar, leather jacket and jukebox which featured prominently going up in flames in 1990's "Freedom '90" clip.

Number 68 "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 67 "Livin' On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi
Previously featured here

Number 66 "Lean On Me" by Club Nouveau
Previously featured here

Number 65 "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 64 "The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson
Another American artist who had a great year in 1987 is comeback king Michael Jackson, whose Bad album provided him with three top 10 hits before the year was out. This was the third of those, and would peak at number 5 in Australia. Although another six singles would reach the top 50 over the next two years, none of those would crack the top 20.

Number 63 "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 62 "One And One (Ain't I Good Enough)" by Wa Wa Nee
Previously featured here

Number 61 "Hymn To Her" by The Pretenders
Previously featured here

Number 60 "Her Charity" by Boom Crash Opera
Previously featured here

Number 59 "I Want Your Sex" by George Michael
Previously featured here

Number 58 "Why Can't I Be You?" by The Cure
Previously featured here

Number 57 "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" by Michael Jackson / Siedah Garrett
Previously featured here

Number 56 "Running In The Family" by Level 42
Previously featured here

Number 55 "Slice Of Heaven" by Dave Dobbyn with The Herbs
Previously featured here

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

Number 53 "Let Me Be The One" by Exposé
Latin freestyle music never took off in Australia, but in the US, girl group Exposé were one of the genre's biggest acts, scoring eight top 10 hits between 1987 and 1993. "Let Me Be The One" was their third smash single - and my favourite of the lot.

Number 52 "Fascinated" by Company B
Here's another freestyle girl group with a song that was one of the first top 40 hits from the genre in the US. Unlike Exposé, 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 51 "Shattered Glass" by Laura Branigan
Previously featured here

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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