Author Topic: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?  (Read 3328 times)

What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« on: January 14, 2019, 04:21:27 PM »
Thread inspired by the 1987 TOTP docu on BBC4, and how absolutely awful the music of the time seemed.

Youth culture subgenres, very loosely:

1977: punk
1978: post-punk, arty new wave etc
1980: Rough Trade proto-indie
1983: The Smiths, 4AD, indie comes of age
1985: J+MC's "Psychocandy"

...but by 1987, what was the great new sound in this country? Late-80s alt-rock and shoegaze (Pixies, MbV etc) hadn't hit big yet, and nor had raving it up at an acid house dancing party. So what fresh business was the cool underground teenager listening to in their bedroom?

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2019, 04:27:56 PM »
Addendum: I don't mean super-obscure music - I mean the '87 equivalent of the bigger underground acts I mentioned.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2019, 04:29:15 PM »
Well here's a list, here:

http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/1987.html

Although I was 16/17 in 1987, I think the only up to date stuff I listened to at the time off that list was the Beastie Boys, Prince, a bit of JaMC and the Housemartins. Otherwise I was stuck on a Beatles/Stones/Bowie/Zeppelin diet, I'm afraid.

It wasn't until the year (or two) after I can honestly say I caught up with Sonic Youth, Dinosaur, fIREHOSE, Loop etc.

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2019, 04:29:35 PM »
This is NMEs end of year list. Some on there were big faves with me.

http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/1987.html

Crabwalk

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Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2019, 04:29:56 PM »
 Hip-hop? Paid in Full and Yo! Bum Rush the Show both came out that year.

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2019, 04:30:20 PM »
All those C86 style bands were still riding fairly high a few months later.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2019, 04:38:42 PM »
Yeah, Bogshed, Mighty Mighty...

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 04:41:48 PM »
All those C86 style bands were still riding fairly high a few months later.

Were they really, though? Only a tiny handful of the c86 bands actually shifted any proper units and therefore made a proper dent on youth culture at the time. The Primals, Weddoes, Primitives - and the Primals didn't actually get big until a few years later.

Hip-hop is a good shout. 3 Feet High And Rising hadn't come out yet, but PE and Beasties were reason enough to be excited about growth and mutation in the genre.

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 04:45:22 PM »
Well, considering how many members of the subsequent Britpop and Baggy groups had a toe in that scene, the dent must have been at least noticeable.

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2019, 04:45:42 PM »
Happy Mondays. Freaky Dancin' had been released and sounded like very little else that was around at the time.

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2019, 04:51:07 PM »
Yes, they released some bits and excited the critics, but they weren't the soundtrack to '87, were they? '89-'90 was their time in the sun.

Same with c86 - it's what this tiny scene inspired later that made it into teenage bedrooms.

dr beat

  • You're dealing with loved ones, I won't have it
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2019, 04:52:07 PM »
1987 saw M/A/R/R/S 'Pump up the volume' being released, and the following year came Coldcut, Bomb the Bass, S'Express.  Loved all that stuff.

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2019, 04:52:22 PM »
Here's the Melody Maker one.

http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/mmpage.html#1987

Confirming my personal preference for NME. Best album of the year The Young Gods, number 2 single AR Kane. Fucking hell lads.

And that years Festive Fifty.

http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/festive50lists.htm#1987

Birthday by The Sugarcubes was definitely big with the floppy fringe set. Not much C86 there either, Smiths and Wedding Present all the way (I know that WP were on C86, but they were kind of a bigger name than the Close Lobsters)

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2019, 04:55:54 PM »
1987 saw M/A/R/R/S 'Pump up the volume' being released, and the following year came Coldcut, Bomb the Bass, S'Express.  Loved all that stuff.

Coldcut's Beats and Pieces is in the NME list and their remix of Paid In Full contributed a lot to its sales.

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2019, 04:58:19 PM »
Quote
And that years Festive Fifty.

Eleven entries by The Smiths! If that doesn't suggest a paucity of alternatives I don't know what does!

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2019, 05:06:03 PM »
Eleven entries by The Smiths! If that doesn't suggest a paucity of alternatives I don't know what does!

It kind of reflects the reality of Peel and his audience in those days - he would play a relatively diverse selection of music and then the Festive 50 would be the most obvious studenty indie ever. Ten different Cocteaus tracks.

Norton Canes

  • The leper heart will see you for what you are
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2019, 05:12:22 PM »
Font 242's Official Version, Nitzer Ebb's That Total Age, Skinny Puppy's Cleanse Fold and Manipulate, not to mention Depeche Mode's Music for the Masses. Classic year.

Oh yeah, and The Young Gods, bien sûr.   

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2019, 05:13:38 PM »
Font 242's Official Version, Nitzer Ebb's That Total Age

These two were big ones for me, definitely.

Norton Canes

  • The leper heart will see you for what you are
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2019, 05:16:48 PM »
This may be the most-played 12" single in my collection: Front 242 - Masterhit

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2019, 05:23:02 PM »
Most good indeed. Mark Stewart's self titled album was a biggy for me in that year.

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2019, 06:15:49 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jUs45f5p50

Not as good as Atomiser.


I think I was just going into my Pink Floyd stage myself. Obviously, I was very, very young. :looks around shiftily:

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2019, 06:17:40 PM »

The answer is You Win Again by the Bee Gees. Their best single.

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2019, 06:18:53 PM »
1987 saw M/A/R/R/S 'Pump up the volume' being released, and the following year came Coldcut, Bomb the Bass, S'Express.  Loved all that stuff.

House music was popular in the north of England (and Edinburgh to a degree) but didn't really hit London in a big way till the next year, where the 'cool' clubs in 1987 were more focused on rare groove (a lot of which quickly found itself absorbed into house music via samples).

It was still a bit gothy in Scotland indie-wise from what I remember older kids listening to and wearing.

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2019, 06:19:10 PM »
This may be the most-played 12" single in my collection: Front 242 - Masterhit

I spent years trying to work out what this was I heard in a niteclub in about 1989 once.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osQMG9f0HC0

I wonder if the kwel kidz were into Belgian New Beat? The real cheezie stuff. You know, the good stuff?

Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2019, 06:27:22 PM »
I think I was listening to Wet Wet Wet and Erasure + general chart music.
My ears weren't really opened to anything more left field until 1988.

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2019, 06:28:20 PM »
House music was popular in the north of England (and Edinburgh to a degree) but didn't really hit London in a big way till the next year, where the 'cool' clubs in 1987 were more focused on rare groove (a lot of which quickly found itself absorbed into house music via samples).

It was still a bit gothy in Scotland indie-wise from what I remember older kids listening to and wearing.

What the cool kids were listening to definitely would have been effected to some degree by geography. When i started to meet folks from the Midlands or further North in 88 they were a lot more up on the more melodic end of US alternative rock, like stuff coming out on SST, whereas I was just into the noisy end like Big Black and a bit of Husker Du.

kngen

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Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2019, 06:34:37 PM »
Personally, at the tender age of 14/15 I was listening to Bad Brains (and still trying to get my head round I Against I) The Stupids, Slayer, Metallica, The The, Husker Du, all of whom had released their finest works in the previous year, but it took a little while for them to percolate and find me in my dank little corner of west Scotland.

I'd been a fan of hip-hop for a few years by then, so was well up to speed with the likes of Eric B & Rakim, LL Cool J, Beastie Boys (bought License to Ill on import, so was very much the 'cool kid' among my peers for the seven or so weeks before it got a UK release and the country went insane), Run-DMC and was dipping my toes into stuff like Schoolly D, KRS-One/BDP, Mantronix, Public Enemy and Ultramagnetic MCs. Peel was introducing me to stuff like Scratch Acid, Big Black and other weird, noisy stuff that seemed hugely fascinating to me.

Oh, and I managed to get my hand on a copy of 1987: What the Fuck is Going On by The JAMS, because the record shop owner, who was supposed to be returning all his copies was so tickled by the thought of a cherubic young lad like myself being so determined to buy it before it disappeared from circulation. Didn't think it was much cop, but the idea impressed me enough to follow what those chaps were doing for years afterwards.

The prevailing trends of the time, to me, seemed to be:

Thrash metal/crossover: you could buy Metallica albums and Anthrax singles in Woolworths. Seemed as bizarre to me then as it does to me now.

The weird rise of Napalm Death and Extreme Noise Terror (and the Stupids and Heresy to a lesser extent): thanks to Peel, they were on the cover of music weeklies, and the subject of bemused articles in 'quality publications' like Q and the Sunday supplements and pieces on Radio 4. Years later, I'd meet music journos who, on hearing that I spent most of my adolescence/20s collecting hardcore records, would say 'Oh, I bought Scum on the strength of John Peel raving about it.' It really seemed to be an 'all bets are off' time for new music, and the people seeking it out.


You always think that your time was the most exciting time, but - as indie, hip-hop and dance music (the illicit thrills of Acid House the following year notwithstanding) became more codified the closer we got to the 90s, this period really does seem like a moment where the collective music industry went 'Fuck knows!' and all manner of craziness was pushed to the fore. Skinny Puppy on the cover of Melody Maker; Sounds giving away free singles with Celtic Frost and Kreator on them; NME pushing the likes of genuinely scary bastards like Just-Ice. Wild times!


Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2019, 06:39:33 PM »
It really was an incredible time for music. Soz 2018, not even close.

Pingers

  • With the ill behaviour
Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2019, 06:49:25 PM »
Cocteau Twins for sure. Indie stuff like the Go-Betweens, The Triffids, The Smiths. I see Sister by Sonic Youth is on one of those lists - they were definitely cool and that's a great album despite the awful production.

If you count Goth as being cool in 1987, Sisters of Mercy were very big

kngen

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Re: What were the cool kids listening to in 1987?
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2019, 06:52:54 PM »

If you count Goth as being cool in 1987, Sisters of Mercy were very big

Even the neds at my school liked The Mission.