You might have recently noticed a surge in anniversary stories about albums that came out in 1987: U2’s The Joshua Tree, Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction, Prince’s Sign O’ The Times, Michael Jackson’s Bad, George Michael’s Faith, and Def Leppard’s Hysteria are just some of the iconic blockbusters that came out that year.
1987 was also a memorable year for pivotal albums by many of the most important alt-rock bands of the decade: The Replacements’ Pleased To Meet Me, The Cure’s Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, R.E.M.’s Document, Depeche Mode’s Music For The Masses, Dinosaur Jr.’s You’re Living All Over Me and The Smiths’ Strangeways Here We Come.
What was it about 1987 that allowed for this thriving eco-system, in which superstars and up-and-comers seemed to be peaking at the same time? I called up Brian Hiatt of Rolling Stone to talk about our favorite records of 1987, and determine which albums have proved most influential. What we found was surprising — for a long time, Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night and Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel Of Love were derided for their dated “very ’80s” production, but now they sound practically like contemporary indie-pop records. Also, Steve shares his crackpot theory about how years that end with “7” are always historically great.