1987 Classic Rock Reviews
1987 Music
1987 was a kind of an oasis of strong album releases within the otherwise weak era of the late 1980s. The year saw the commercial comebacks of Aerosmith and George Harrison, long awaited studio releases by Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and U2, and a powerful debut by Guns n Roses.

We featured albums from the year 1987 during September and October 2012. During this 25th anniversary celebration of this music, we have originally reviewed these albums:

*1987 Album of the Year

Below are further descriptions of each album, in the order that we reviewed them.

September 3, 2012
Hysteria by Def LeppardDef Leppard wanted to write an album made of “greatest hits” when they started Hysteria and wanted to chart at least seven singles. Amazingly, they pretty much achieved these goals. But in doing so, they may have produced the most expensive record ever made in the UK, due to a toxic mixture of bad decisions and personal tragedy.

Review of Hysteria

September 7, 2012
In The Dark by Grateful Dead In the Dark was the first studio album by the Grateful Dead in over seven years and a “comeback” album on several levels. It was the most popular album in the band’s long career, but proved to be a mixed blessing for longtime fans as a whole new generation of “deadheads” entered the scene.

Review of In the Dark

September 12, 2012
A Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink FloydThe first Pink Floyd album not to feature founder and bassist Roger Waters, A Momentary Lapse of Reason represented a definite transition into a new phase for the band and came in the midst of a turmultuous period of lawsuits and name calling between Waters and his former bandmates.

Review of A Momentary Lapse of Reasons

September 17, 2012
Whitesnake, 1987Whitesnakes‘s eponymous 1987 bears the dual distinction of being the moment where a rock band finally reaches its full commercial promise and assures its own rapid demise. Both of these achievements could be placed on the lap of the group’s founder, lead vocalist, and all-powerful decision maker David Coverdale.

Review of Whitesnake

September 21, 2012
Kick by INXSKick, the 1987 blockbuster by Australian band INXS, did just about everything you can expect from a high-end pop/rock album of the 1980s. It forged incredibly catchy and modern sounding songs, while not giving way to the mind-numbing, formulaic trends on many contemporary artists of the time.

Review of Kick

September 24, 2012
Tango In the Night by Fleetwood MacTango In the Night is the fifth and final studio album by successful quintet that brought sustained stardom for Fleetwood Mac. Like their previous four albums, it found popular success driven by the angst and inner turmoil of the band and resulted in the parting of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham soon after its release.

Review of Tango In the Night

September 27, 2012
Cloud Nine by George HarrisonAfter a long hiatus form the regular recording process, former Beatle George Harrison released Cloud Nine. This was Harrison’s tenth solo studio album and last to be released in his lifetime. The album was a surprise, re-establishing Harrison as a radio pop artists as well as a receipient of much critical acclaim.

Review of Cloud Nine

October 1, 2012
Appetite for Destruction by Guns n RosesGuns n’ Roses arrived like a tsunami on the rock scene with their strong 1987 debut Appetite for Destruction, a hard rock album which blew the glam out of the hair-band dominated scene. The album was born out of a created spurt unlike anything the band would replicate in the future.

Review of Appetite for Destruction

October 5, 2012
Big Generator by YesBig Generator by Yes was recorded in three different countries and took four years to make due mainly to creative differences and shifting band personnel. Still, the album was the apex of the band’s fine and unique work during the 1980s.

Review of Big Generator

October 9, 2012
The House of Blue Light by Deep PurpleThe famous “Mark II” linep of Deep Purple had three separate phases. The middle “reunion” period from 1984 to 1988 included The House of Blue Light in 1987, which added a strong dose of classic rock legitimacy to an area dominated by modern trends and hair bands.

Review of The House of Blue Light

October 13, 2012
One Way Home by The HootersAfter two years of extensive touring, the Philadelphia based group The Hooters returned to the studio to record One Way Home. Unlike their breakthreough predecessor, this album was heavily folk and Americana influenced and a testament to the band’s desire to put the music first.

Review of One Way Home

October 17, 2012
Tunnel of Love by Bruce SpringsteenIn one way, Tunnel of Love marked a return to the simple folk/Americana form that predated the phenominal mid 1980s success of Bruce Springsteen. In a contrasting other way, it also marked a severing point from the most mucically lucrative years of his career.

Review of Tunnel of Love

October 20, 2012
The Lonesome Jubilee byJohn MellancampSong for song, The Lonesome Jubilee may be John Mellencamp‘s strongest album and it solidified his signature sound of midwestern folk in the rock n roll era. Although he continued to have commercial success for many subsequent years, this 1987 album marked the peak of Mellencamp’s career.

Review of The Lonesome Jubilee

October 23, 2012
Permanent Vacation by AerosmithPermanent Vacation is considered Aerosmith’s true “comeback” album after their turmultuous era of the early 1980s. It went on to sell over five million copies in the U.S. alone and would reinvent the band through the rest of the 1980s and throughout the 1990s, as they pretty followed the same formula and found continued commercial success.

Review of Permanent Vacation

October 28, 2012
The Joshua Tree by U2, 1987 Album of the Year
One of the most anticipated albums of the 1980s, The Joshua Tree was inspired by U2‘s American tour experiences. The band forged a “cinematic” quality for the record which evoked a sense of location and landscape and pushed the band over the top from popular to legendary.

Review of The Joshua Tree

Final 1987 Poll Results
Q: What is the best album of 1987?

1 Appetite For Destruction
by Guns n Roses
37.5%
2 The Joshua Tree by U2 32.5%
3 Tunnel of Love by Bruce Springsteen 12.5%
4 Permanent Vacation by Aerosmith 10.0%
5 Hysteria by Def Leppard 7.5%

Conducted on our site, September-October, 2012

Other 1987 Albums of Note

1987 was a transitional year in rock n roll with hard rock reaching a crossroads that lead either down the short road of “hair” bands and the more promising road towards the alternative genre. There were many albums by artists who would make a big splash in future years, such as R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Jane’s Addiction, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was also the year which saw albums by established acts like David Bowie, Neil Young, Prince, and Van Morrison, along with rare debuts by Bruce Willis and Mick Jagger.

Diesel and Dust by Midnight Oil Girls, Girls, Girls by Motley Crue Randy Rhodes Tribute by Ozzy Osbourne Sign O' the Times by Prince Never Let Me Down by David Bowie Jane's Addiction Primitive Cool by Mick Jagger Bad Animals by Heart Echo and the Bunnymen Life As We Know It by REO Speedwagon Hold Your Fire by Rush Pleased to Meet Me by The Replacements Inside Information by Foreigner Sister by Sonic Youth Poetic Champions Compose by Van Morrison No Protection by Starship Whitney by Whitney Houston Document by REM Wild Frontier by Gary Moore Free As a Bird by Supertramp Crest of a Knave by Jethro Tull Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me by The Cure Johnny Cash is Coming to Town Characters by Stevie Wonder Uplift Mofo Party Plan by Red Hot Chili Peppers Once Bitten by Great White Door to Door by The Cars  Faith by George Michael
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