Top 50 Greatest Albums Of 1987
In a year that could certainly be argued as music's best, we take a look at the greatest albums and the enormous range of genres they covered, from soul and the end of gothic rock to the birth of conscious hip hop and the introduction of shoegaze.
50. Midnight Oil - Diesel And Dust
Along with INXS, Crowded House and AC/DC, Midnight Oil are heralded as one of Australia's finest musical exports, and the record that brought them to that status is Diesel And Dust. The main single and opener, 'Beds Are Burning' is a protest track written in support of giving Australian land back to its rightful owners, the Pintupi people, after they were forcibly removed from their homes. Other tracks such as 'Put Down That Weapon' and 'Bullroarer' cement both Midnight Oil's scorching, bluesy sound and their passionate political stance in Australian music.
49. Sodom - Persecution Mania
The years 1986 and 1987 saw an abundance of thrilling thrash metal releases which challenged the United States' 'Big Four' (Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer). While fantastic records from those groups rocked the metal world, bands like Kreator, Sodom and Destruction showed that Europe held its own when it came to thrash, particularly in Germany. Persecution Mania is a prime albeit haunting example of German apocalyptic thrash, featuring plenty of tempo changes, face-melting riffs and relentless percussion.
48. Flag Of Convenience - Northwest Skyline
Flag Of Convenience were fronted by Steve Diggle, an ex-Buzzcocks member. While Northwest Skyline lacks lyrical quality in some aspects, the concept and songwriting as a whole is marvellously crafted, such as the pensive nigh melancholy outro to 'Pictures In My Mind', the blistering riff on 'Just Like Mr. Trendy Said' and the largely memorable uttering of "not a sound to be found in your heartache" in 'Drowned In Your Heartache'. Fans of the great Manchester acts like The Smiths, Joy Division and Magazine should enjoy this obscure little record.
47. Debbie Gibson - Out Of The Blue
Debbie Gibson's Out Of The Blue is the first pop LP to feature on this list. Admittedly, what makes this album so successful is its booming production - a likely necessary touch to rival other production-heavy works also released in 1987. Gibson's innocent vocal style keeps Out Of The Blue bouncy and light-hearted - tracks like 'Staying Together' and 'Shake Your Love' are massive singles but don't ever feel as provocative or edgy as Madonna or Cyndi Lauper. The highlight of the record is undoubtedly 'Only In My Dreams', a sun-soaked, jangly anthem with a great chorus.
46. Richard Marx - Richard Marx
Richard Marx is often overlooked when it comes to solo artists capable of writing huge rock ballads. As has been previously discussed in Decade.'s Top 30 Greatest Summer Songs, Marx is a commendable songwriter, evidenced by his assistance on Luther Vandross' beautiful 'Dance With My Father'. Tracks on his self-titled debut like 'Should've Known Better' and 'Don't Mean Nothing' show that Marx can write and perform just as well as Kenny Loggins or Bryan Adams.
45. T'Pau - Bridge Of Spies
If there is only one thing to take from T'Pau's Bridge Of Spies, it's the essential 'China In Your Hand' - one of the most triumphant tracks of the 1980s. However, Bridge Of Spies is not a record containing a one-hit wonder accompanied by filler; 'Heart And Soul' is a hypnotic, feelgood anthem, 'I Will Be With You' oozes determination and longing and the live recording of 'Sex Talk' shows off frontwoman Carol Decker as a confident and entertaining singer.
44. Target - Mission Executed
Mission Executed is the second thrash metal and the only Belgian album to appear on this list. Target are largely overlooked (as are 99% of the hundreds of thrash metal groups) but Mission Executed is a riveting collection of technical thrash, with practically every track opening with blinding guitar work. Album opener 'Mission To The Andes' displays catchy riffs before flowing into the slightly faster 'Hordes Of Insanity'. No thrash album would be fully complete without a wailing intro written to instil dread in the listener, and 'They Walk In Front' ticks that box assuredly.
43. Circle Jerks - VI
Although this record pales in comparison to Circle Jerks' earlier material, VI is a fitting farewell to the era of hardcore punk. The LP is relatively short (under 30 minutes) but lurking inside are twelve snarling punk tracks and an amusing cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'Fortunate Son'. Tracks like 'Protection' and 'Casualty Vampire' show off guitarist Greg Hetson's ability to write tantalising riffs, pushing Circle Jerk's penultimate album as a musically impressive yet thoroughly enjoyable punk record.
42. The Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Uplift Mofo Party Plan
The Uplift Mofo Party Plan is something of a madhouse. Where even the most hectic records wind down towards their climaxes, this one ends with the hard-hitting, funk-fuelled mosh 'Organic Anti-Beat Box Band' after eleven bass-heavy tracks doused in reggae, hard rock and heroin. Songs like 'Behind The Sun' hint at the sunnier side of rock 'n' roll mayhem, whereas 'Fight Like A 'Brave' opens the record with brash gang vocals and persistent drumming courtesy of original drummer Jack Irons.
41. Suicidal Tendencies - Join The Army
Join The Army is a pivotal connection between hardcore punk and thrash metal - genres who are undoubtedly cousins. While traditional metal takes its influence from classic rock acts and power groups like Mercyful Fate and Diamond Head, thrash metal's roots can be found in Bad Brains and Black Flag entwined with Queen's 'Stone Cold Crazy'. What Suicidal Tendencies did in 1987 was secure this relationship with fantastic riff-laden tracks like 'War Inside My Head' and 'You Got, I Want', many of which later inspired grand metal acts such as Children Of Bodom.
40. Marillion - Clutching At Straws
Prog rockers Marillion's Clutching At Straws is a concept album that follows the story of Torch, a down and out drunkard who struggles with relationships and the debilitation of alcohol dependency. Despite the sombre setting, the record shines with magnificent musicianship, possessing all the trademarks of progressive rock. Introductions (especially the one which opens the record on 'Hotel Hobbies') never fail to disappoint and reveal some of frontman Fish's finest songwriting.
39. Skinny Puppy - Cleanse Fold And Manipulate
For those who are familiar with the video game franchise System Shock, Skinny Puppy's Cleanse Fold And Manipulate could be described as an alternative soundtrack option - the LP is essentially three quarters of an hour of mechanical, synth-soaked beats spelling impending doom. Singer Nivek Ogre's harsh vocals only add to the aggressive nature of the album, fully strengthening its robotic approach backed by cut and paste samples. While perhaps not as accessible (if that is even a term available to use when referring to Skinny Puppy) as their other works, Cleanse Fold And Manipulate is a marvel of 1980s industrial.
38. Public Image Limited - Happy?
Happy? opens in spectacular fashion with 'Seattle', an infectiously uplifting anthem which maintains Public Image Limited's punk roots thanks to Johnny Rotten's recognisable calls. Some fans joke that Rotten kept songs too complex for the Sex Pistols for later (and by complex they of course mean consisting of more than three chords) and it would make sense, as a lot of the group's material excels due to guitarist John McGeoch's brilliant playing. Public Image Limited's sixth effort is thundering and defiant, but the flickers of hopeful melodies keep it fresh and away from post-punk's fatalist stereotypes.
37. Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel Of Love
Music critic Steve Hyden once said Tunnel Of Love is Bruce Springsteen's most underrated record, yet his best lyrical venture in his entire discography. The Boss' eighth entry is full of clever imagery sung over traditional yet heavy blues, with some optimistic fluctuations thrown in for good measure ('All That Heaven Will Allow', 'Ain't Got You' etc.). Springsteen still keeps his cool with songs like 'Spare Parts' and 'When You're Alone' showing off his classic rock 'n' roll vocal style, and the unforgettable single that is 'Brilliant Disguise' is undeniably among the New Jersey singer's best work.
36. The Replacements - Pleased To Meet Me
Many hold The Replacements and this album in high regard. Perhaps the most notable fanatic is the self-proclaimed 'Dean of American Rock Critics', Robert Christgau, who gave Pleased To Meet Me a commendable A- rating. The Replacements' fifth effort is the first without guitarist Bob Stinson and the only recorded as a trio, yet it does not feel thin at any stage. In fact, tracks, like 'Alex Chilton' are gigantic, blazing rock anthems designed for car stereos. It's also interesting to note how far the Minneapolis rockers brushed up since their rough yet satisfying 1981 punk debut, Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash.
35. The Cult - Electric
After shedding their 'goth' roots, Ian Astbury's Cult released Love in 1985 - an album which contains the iconic 'She Sells Sanctuary'. Electric continued that departure from darker music two years later, with more emphasis on hard rock riffs and heavy metal revival. Astbury's vocal style more than suits the change in sound; 'Peace Dog' and 'Bad Fun' are both booming rock songs holding little snippets of Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones. Although not their original sound, Electric was a relatively smooth transition and still holds up well today, when many stadium rock and hair metal albums of the 1980s now sound dated and cliché.
34. Terence Trent D'Arby - Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby
Terence Trent D'Arby (or Sananda Maitreya as he is now known) is the artist behind one of the most solid soul/rock debuts of the 1980s. With huge hits like 'If You Let Me Stay' and 'Sign Your Name', it's no wonder he got to number one on both the UK and Australian album charts. The record displays a multitude of fantastic hooks and impressive vocal melodies that push D'Arby's voice to the max. Some of the high notes reached on the former single are outstanding, and paired with the singer's multi-instrumentalism, Introducing The Hardline... is a remarkable example of grand artistry.
33. Pet Shop Boys - Actually
Actually houses production that delivers some of the truest sounds of the 1980s. Take the essential 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?' - lively keys, booming synths and brilliant British monologues. Other hits like 'Rent' and 'It's A Sin' remain synthpop staples; cleverly orchestrated dance tunes that loosely critique the wave of Thatcherism surrounding UK politics at the time. Actually could be described as a thinking man's pop album, and as the Pet Shop Boys sophomore effort between the stunning debut, Please, and arguably their best work, Introspective, it's a brilliant one at that.
32. Happy Mondays - Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)
An unstoppable, funky yet pushy avalanche, Squirrel and G-Man... shows off the Madchester pioneers at their most raw and hungry. Opener 'Kuff Damm' oozes swagger and irresponsibility helped along by frontman Shaun Ryder's audacious, slurred vocal style. The record holds slivers of guitar work and tones that would later become signature Manchester sounds utilised by the likes of The Stone Roses and Oasis - speaking of which - perhaps the track 'Oasis' on this very record urged the Gallagher brothers to decide on their final band name...
31. Level 42 - Running In The Family
Top Of The Pops regulars Level 42 probably created their best work in 1987 with Running In The Family. With the incredible Mark King fronting the group along with his slap bass style, Running In The Family consistently grooves, from the infectious chorus on 'Lessons In Love', to the jiving introduction on 'Children Say' to the wound down bass on 'Two Solitudes'. The group's seventh record shows them at their most able, not only in terms of writing solid pop tracks but also in organising them well. Fans of the big shots like Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and Tears For Fears may have overlooked Level 42, but did so at their own peril.
30. Eric B. & Rakim - Paid In Full
Perhaps 1987 was a little early for heavyweight hip hop records to come through, but Eric B. & Rakim's Paid In Full is nothing short of a triumph and an exciting indicator in what was to become of rap. Compelling basslines like those on the title track set the bar high for producers and changed the game for MCs looking to make a statement in the hip hop world. Tracks like 'Move The Crowd' stay true to the Chevrolet-cruising bassheads of the time and 'My Melody' provides an almost eerie intro not dissimilar from the contemporary dark trap scene which is taking Youtube by storm. Not to mention, the latter track was sampled by Limp Bizkit for what is arguably their best work, 'My Way'...
29. Fields Of The Nephilim - Dawnrazor
The gothic Spaghetti Westerners released their stirring debut in 1987 to a warm yet sceptical audience; though the record features fantastically spectral, original material, their overall similarity in sound to The Sisters Of Mercy and The Mission is undeniable. Still, the scepticism proved creative, as Melody Maker began publishing satirical articles on the group following the underground success of their first two LPs. Considering that many took the 'goth' moniker too seriously - mainly the fans - and even the mighty Sisters began as a kind of musical joke, it is fitting that Fields Of The Nephilim got the apt comical recognition they deserved.
28. Big Black - Songs About Fucking
Big Black's controversial second album is incontestably influential. The noise rock outfit fused together a whole host of concepts and methods - their brilliant cover of Kraftwerk's seminal 'The Model' utilises the grating guitar sound made famous by The Jesus And Mary Chain, and the percussion sounds identical to Stephen Morris of Joy Division's drum kit on the Manchester group's iconic debut, Unknown Pleasures. Songs like 'Colombian Necktie' and 'I, Dopa' could set one's teeth on edge due to their sheer explosive audacity; definitely the result intended by frontman turned producer Steve Albini's no-nonsense trio.
27. The Jesus And Mary Chain - Darklands
Following on from their satisfyingly abrasive debut in 1985, Psychocandy, The Jesus And Mary Chain took a more accessible direction when recording Darklands. Tracks like 'Happy When It Rains' sound like Simple Minds songs with distortion and angst, and 'April Skies' prove that the group are just as capable performing dramatic, overcast ballads as they are recording hectic, jarring noise anthems. Jack Black's character in the marvellous 2000 film High Fidelity mentions that The Jesus And Mary Chain picked up where Echo & The Bunnymen left off, and with this album, the connection is crystal clear.
26. Hüsker Dü - Warehouse: Songs And Stories
Warehouse: Songs And Stories is the final LP of legendary alt-punk outfit Hüsker Dü, and the end to their career is most certainly on a high note. Album opener 'These Important Years' is a defiant start which touches on the group's noisiness on previous essential releases Zen Arcade and New Day Rising. It seems that with Hüsker Dü's last effort, they began shaping the alternative and post-hardcore movement that would later see bands like Fugazi take the reigns, but with a double album with 68 minutes worth of material, they were still kings in 1987.
25. 10,000 Maniacs - In My Tribe
10,000 Maniacs beautifully fused the jangly, college rock made great by R.E.M. and paired it with frontwoman Natalie Merchant's Chrissie Hynde-like vocals, and their 1987 album In My Tribe saw them come into their own. Opener 'What's The Matter Here' marvellously converts into 'Hey Jack Kerouac', with both songs maintaining atmospheric jangle pop over careful percussion. 'Don't Talk' shows off 10,000 Maniacs at perhaps their most conventional, but it's Merchant's belting vocal performance that drives In My Tribe as nothing short of a success.
24. Tom Waits - Franks Wild Years
Franks Wild Years opens with the unprecedented, demented bass track that is 'Hang On St. Christopher' - a maelstrom of poetic hubris and unrelenting groove. Waits' final entry in the unofficial trilogy containing the iconic Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs (the latter of which holds overwhelming universal acclaim) is an experimental, determined record full of hooks, influences and a little bit of eccentricity that comes so natural to the Californian poet. The record travels from droning blues ('Blow Wind Blow') to trumpeting music one might expect to hear on a black and white TV show ('Please Wake Me Up'); concept album lovers, this one's for you.
23. The Smiths - Strangeways Here We Come
Strangeways Here We Come marks the beginning of the end of the great British band The Smiths. By 1992, guitarist Johnny Marr had exhausted his tolerance for Morrissey and his persistence in altering the band's direction, with Marr stating, "I didn't form a group to perform Cilla Black songs." Nevertheless, their last studio effort holds a few treasures in the Salford boys' back catalogue, including the manic 'I Started Something I Couldn't Finish' and fan favourite 'Girlfriend In A Coma', a song that is particularly morbid lyrically yet juxtaposed by light-hearted, twangy guitars and orchestral percussion.
22. Spacemen 3 - The Perfect Prescription
"Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to" is the phrase most warmly recalled when discussing cult band Spacemen 3. Although this record is not the birth of this notion (that would come with the unofficial 1990 release of their 1986 demos of the same name), The Perfect Prescription expertly fuses the neo-psychedelica sounds that The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays became famous for with clattering, aggressive guitar music. Opener 'Take Me To The Other Side' features guitar work not dissimilar to The Stooges' Raw Power material, before flowing into 'Walkin' With Jesus', an almost Velvet Underground-like piece - fitting then that a tribute to Lou Reed can be found in the track that follows, 'Ode To Street Hassle'.
21. Death - Scream Bloody Gore
1987 saw a lot of progression in the metal world, specifically what is likely the 'invention' of death metal with Florida band Death's debut, Scream Bloody Gore. While some will argue the seeds of death metal were already planted by the likes of Slayer with their 1986 magnum opus, Raining Blood, it was Death who cemented the moniker of 'death' and secured Florida as a hub of darkened metal along with bands like Morbid Angel and later, Obituary, Massacre and Deicide. The title track on this record superseded the ferocity of thrash, turning the genre into a more vicious counterpart. The rest of the album follows suit - Scream Bloody Gore is, for the most part, the genesis of death metal.
20. Alexander O'Neal - Hearsay
Daryl Easlea of the BBC said that if Hearsay had been released 20 years earlier, Alexander O'Neal would be compared to the legendary Otis Redding. Time travel isn't quite possible yet, so it's just as well that Hearsay stands brilliantly on its own anyway. Despite an abundance of fantastic pop, soul and R&B records released in 1987 (most of which are further down this list), O'Neal triumphed with a record oozing class and style. 'Criticize', 'Fake' and 'What Can I Say (To Make You Love Me)' are three monumental singles which push O'Neal into Luther Vandross and Lionel Richie territory. The little skits and intros between tracks allow a story to develop, which ultimately helps set it apart from the other gargantuan releases of the time.
19. Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush The Show
Yo! Bum Rush The Show is likely the beginning of political and conscious hip hop - Public Enemy's debut is vulgar, blunt and brilliant, with tracks like 'Miuzi Weighs A Ton', 'Too Much Posse' and 'Public Enemy No. 1' celebrating street charisma, and with 'Rightstarter (Message To A Black Man)' boosting that conscious edge to Chuck D. and co's hip hop. The rap group possess a great influence, going on to inspire the likes of Rage Against The Machine and single-handedly sparking nu-metal, after they teamed up with thrashers Anthrax to cover 'Bring The Noise' in 1991, all of which would not be the case had this record not opened the minds of millions of impressionable African Americans in the late 1980s.
18. Dinosaur Jr. - You're Living All Over Me
You're Living All Over Me opens with 'Little Fury Things', a fuzzy, whooshing guitar that appears to fuse the early beginnings of grunge, the abrasiveness of shoegaze and the delicateness of alternative all in one. With their second effort, Dinosaur Jr. joined the likes of Sonic Youth, Pixies and surprisingly, Neil Young as pioneers paving the way for 'grunge' to skyrocket into the 1990s. Songs like 'Tarpit' encompass all that is good about melancholy fuzzy rock, and the group's fantastic, distortion-fueled cover of The Cure's 'Just Like Heaven' (the original of which was also released in the same year) secure You're Living All Over Me as a guitar pedal fanatic's dream.
17. Anthrax - Among The Living
Among The Living is the epitome of brilliant, incendiary thrash. Joining the likes of Slayer's Raining Blood, Megadeth's Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? and Metallica's Master Of Puppets, Anthrax's 1987 effort is lightning fast and features all the elements required to make a great thrash record; catchy gang vocals, menacing riffs, disgusting basslines and snappy, tinny percussion - not to mention a recognisable album cover to set it apart from all the nuclear holocaust-obsessed metalheads of the 1980s. Tracks like 'Caught In A Mosh' display thrash's connection to hardcore punk, whereas 'A Skeleton In The Closet' opens with a pre-death metal-like riff only to gallop into a ferocious beat.
16. Napalm Death - Scum
Following on from Repulsion's 1986 release, Horrified, Birmingham's Napalm Death truly set the bar for what grindcore is. Taking elements of thrash, hardcore and post-punk, Napalm Death delivered 28 tracks of spine-tingling groove, barbaric vocals and an overall sense of unstoppable destruction. Napalm Death's debut is a startling exhibition of music's diversity in 1987 - at the same time as critically acclaimed works in soul, R&B, punk and hip-hop were released, grindcore became recognised as an explosive sub genre full of potential. Scum's influence today is unignorable, with dozens of acts such as Pig Destroyer, Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus taking notes.
15. Def Leppard - Hysteria
During hair metal's sunset, Def Leppard released what is arguably its peak - Hysteria. Before Guns N' Roses killed off the remaining glam metal bands with their debut, Appetite For Destruction, Def Leppard were looking to make the Thriller of hard rock albums, with as many singles ripe for radio airplay as possible. The result was an astounding success. Hysteria is a collection of a dozen highly listenable rock tracks, with some monumental singles tossed in - this is the record which features 'Animal', 'Love Bites', 'Rocket', 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' and 'Armageddon It'. In short, Def Leppard's follow up to Pyromania can be regarded as a direct, excellent sequel that aptly marks the final days of a now obsolete yet treasured genre.
14. Sonic Youth - Sister
Sister is both a nod to the great punk rock of the 1980s made famous by Hüsker Dü, Minutemen and The Replacements as well as it is the beginning of alternative and 'grunge' that would take the 1990s by storm. Tracks like 'Pipeline/Kill Time' and 'Catholic Block' show off Sonic Youth as more aggressive in their approach, with ascending guitars and their signature uttered vocals. Frontman Thurston Moore and guitarist Lee Ranaldo often seem to battle for dominance, evident on 'Tuff Gnarl'. Sister is the precursor to masterpiece Daydream Nation; it's more than worth a listen.
13. Prince - Sign O' The Times
Sign O' The Times might just be the most universally acclaimed record of 1987, achieving 10/10s, 5 stars and A-pluses in multiple publications. Prince's ninth effort is his most daring and varied, displaying commendable flickers of rock, pop, soul and R&B, with songs like 'U Got The Look' exemplifying a sweaty nightclub, 'It' challenging Prince's vocal range (with crazed instrumentals to support) and the title track proving to be an indisputable classic. Sign O' The Times legacy is second to none, and is what places Prince's best work with (or above, if you're a 'fam') Thriller, Give Me The Reason, Faith and Like A Virgin.
12. Depeche Mode - Music For The Masses
"I'm taking a ride with my best friend," is the line which opens 'Never Let Me Down Again', the biblical start to Depeche Mode's sixth effort, and a ride it is. After the Basildon boys swayed from the pleasantries of synthpop and diverted themselves to a sinister, darkened electronic approach, Music For The Masses was developed as a step up to their sound, following in the wake of Some Great Reward and Black Celebration. The record is sarcastically named, as many fans were expected not to enjoy it - however, tracks like 'Strangelove' and 'Behind The Wheel' are stratospheric and boost Depeche Mode to that stadium level of sound, whereas 'I Want You Now' beautifully complements their previous obsession-fuelled love songs, like 'New Dress' and 'Somebody'.
11. U2 - The Joshua Tree
U2's The Joshua Tree is monumental and is what turned the Irish group into the world's biggest rock band. Set in the open spaces of America's rural areas, the record investigates dozens of themes all housed under Bono and co's love for the land of the free. The singles alone signify the importance of the album: 'Where The Streets Have No Name', 'With Or Without You', 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' - everything about The Joshua Tree is giant and helped set up the band for their ginormous follow up records like Rattle and Hum and Achtung Baby.
10. Deacon Blue - Raintown
Glaswegians Deacon Blue released their debut effort in this year, Raintown - a glorious concept album that summarises the challenges of working class life in an overcast town. The record opens with 'Born In A Storm', which fades into the title track to kickstart the album in magnificent fashion. The pace is picked up with 'Ragman', before the singles are unveiled later on: 'Chocolate Girl', 'When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring?)' and 'Dignity'. Raintown's album cover falls into the small category of album artworks which look how the album sounds, in this case, the melancholy view of Glasgow representing the twinkly keys, sorrowful vocals from frontman Ricky Ross and the pitter-pattering percussion most evident on 'He Looks Like Spencer Tracy Now'.
9. a-ha - Scoundrel Days
Unfortunately, Norwegian band a-ha were overlooked due to their cheesy yet highly successful hit 'Take On Me', which led many to believe they were merely a one-hit wonder act. However, the album whence the single came from (Hunting High And Low) and their second effort, Scoundrel Days, are extraordinary collections of top quality 1980s pop and rock. Scoundrel Days has a much larger sound than a-ha's first release, with gargantuan presence on 'Cry Wolf' and prominent synths on what is arguably the best song on the LP, 'I've Been Losing You'. Even fans of metal and hard rock can enjoy the massive sound of the record, hinted at by the Limmy sketch 'Benny Harvey RIP' which features the two metalheads enjoying the chorus of 'Manhattan Skyline'.
8. The Cure - Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
Kiss Me... is the sandwich album between The Cure's fantastic The Head On The Door in 1985 and what is largely considered their best work, Disintegration, in 1989. Their 1987 LP features one of the best singles of all time, 'Just Like Heaven', which displays a jangly, dreamy guitar riff and rumbling bass under frontman Robert Smith's voice. Other top tracks include the bouncy 'Why Can't I Be You?' and the moody 'If Only Tonight We Could Sleep', a dark, progressive track which displays a faux sitar generating a murky underworld. Alt-metal act Deftones were clearly influenced as they covered the latter track on MTV Icon - a version which even caught the present Robert Smith smiling.
7. INXS - Kick
Australia's finest produced the epic Kick in 1987, a record teeming with hits which fuse jangle, college and art rock with pop, as well as that defining edge from down under that gives it an undeniable charm. Tracks like 'New Sensation' bring an uplifting quality to the LP, with lyrics penned by the incredible Michael Hutchence such as "Love baby love, it's written all over your face, there's nothing better we could do, than live forever," cementing that notion. Massive rock anthems like 'Need You Tonight' (which London artist Professor Green would later sample to mixed reactions), 'Devil Inside' and 'Mystify' secure Kick as a force to be reckoned with, but it's the goosebump-inducing, top wedding song contender 'Never Tear Us Apart' that set INXS in a league of their own.
6. Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction
Appetite For Destruction requires no introductions. This is the record that holds what is possibly the best album opener of all time, 'Welcome To The Jungle', along with 'Sweet Child O' Mine', 'Paradise City', 'Mr. Brownstone' and 'Nightrain'. The other songs on the album are just as brilliant - 'It's So Easy' is a sleazy, narcissistic take on rockstardom and its somewhat immoral benefits, and 'You're Crazy' is a defining breakup anthem (although the acoustic version on GN'R Lies is superior). The massiveness of the LP is completely justified - Appetite For Destruction is responsible for the death of hair metal, and would be king for a while... at least until Nirvana's Nevermind changed everything in 1991.
5. George Michael - Faith
After 1980s pop's poster boy left Wham! in 1986, George Michael released one of the biggest albums ever, Faith, with a world tour to match demand. The title track (along with it's magnificent video) saw extensive airplay worldwide and propelled Michael to superstardom. Tracks like 'Kissing A Fool' prove Michael's songwriting prowess, but it's the soulful 'Father Figure' that might be the singer's best work, with heartfelt lyrics and beautiful keys, brought in by a minute Middle Eastern touch in the intro. Faith is a grandiose, untainted insight into Michael's mind before he clashed with record label Sony Music over not supporting him and expecting impossible standards during his Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 era.
4. The Sisters Of Mercy - Floodland
By keeping the Sisters name, Andrew Eldritch ensured Floodland didn't go down as a bizarre gothic rock solo effort after Wayne Hussey left to form The Mission. Eldritch hired Patricia Morrison (partly because she looked good on the album cover and in music videos) to play bass guitar, although Eldritch himself composed Floodland in its entirety. The record opens with the colossal 'Dominion/Mother Russia', a 7 minute onslaught of dark rock, before merging into the first 'Flood' track. 'Lucretia My Reflection' binds side 1 together, with addictive, driven bass throughout. 'This Corrosion' kicks off side 2 in a whirlwind of dread and disco, and 'Never Land - A Fragment' closes Floodland as the most fitting track to be called 'goth' (despite the distasteful moniker).
3. R.E.M. - Document
Many R.E.M. fans regard Document as the Athens rockers' magnum opus. It seems unfair to not consider Fables Of The Reconstruction or even their debut, Murmur, but it's easy to see why critics and fans alike cherish R.E.M.'s 1987 release above all. Document holds a trio of songs sitting adjacent to each other which might be the best ever: 'Welcome To The Occupation', 'Exhuming McCarthy' and 'Disturbance At The Heron House'. Document covers capitalism, pop culture, work, banks and businesses, love and life all in one clear, jangly yet punchy record. This is also the record that houses 'It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)' and 'The One I Love' - this is the LP that set up R.E.M. to become stadium giants with later records Green, Out Of Time and Automatic For The People.
2. Michael Jackson - Bad
Like Appetite For Destruction, Bad requires no large announcement. This is the record with 'The Way You Make Me Feel' (which still has the world's best Michael Jackson impersonators struggling to reach the high notes), 'Smooth Criminal' (before it was covered by frat boys turned nu-metal bandwagoners Alien Ant Farm) and 'Dirty Diana', which only touches on the surface of Jackson's international fame and desirability. Jackson's follow up to the best-selling album of all time, Thriller, managed to produce 5 number one singles and sold around 35 million copies - if there was ever any doubt that Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, that doubt was crushed with him exceeding expectations set by his monumental 1982 album.
1. Fleetwood Mac - Tango In The Night
Behind Tango In The Night's captivating album cover is a sort-of concept album of epic proportions, featuring shining keys and synths, murky percussion and glorious singing duties alternating between Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks. The LP takes on a range of musical themes and styles, from dirty rock on opener 'Big Love', reflective, blissful rock on 'Seven Wonders', pop goes rock on 'Little Lies' and the much-beloved 'Everywhere', matching graceful synths with dreamy vocals from McVie. Although many fans will say Rumours is Fleetwood Mac's greatest material, it is apparent that Tango In The Night possesses a richer plethora of songs, pushes the band to a new songwriting level and is not only their best material, but also the greatest album of 1987.