Best of the '80s Redux, Poll — May 26, 2020 at 7:53 am

Top 100 Songs of 1987: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s Redux — Part 8

In what amounts to a shockingly quick turnaround for us — less than a month! — we’re back with the eighth installment of our Best of the ’80s Redux series, the sporadic Slicing Up Eyeballs poll in which our readers have now ranked the Top 100 songs of 1987.

A quick refresher: The Best of the ’80s Redux song polls were launched five years ago following our wildly popular Best of the ’80s year-by-year album polls, but slowly petered out after we conducted the Top 100 songs of 1980 and 1981 surveys. (This whole site went dormant for nearly two years.)

RELATED: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Top 100 songs of 1987 playlist on Spotify

We resurrected the polls in 2018, and have since completed balloting on the 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986 surveys. Now comes the results for 1987.

For the ’87 poll, readers were asked to vote for up to 25 of their favorite songs that first were released in some form — as a single, B-side, on an album, etc. — during that calendar year.

We received 7,420 total votes, and, after weeding out songs from the wrong year — including six that got a good number of votes despite having appeared on the 1986 list, including “Dear God,” “The Dead Heart,” “Ship of Fools” and “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!),” and one that should have appeared on the ’86 list (The Damned’s cover of “Alone Again Or”) — and flipping a coin to break ties, we created this list.

And, invoking the so-called “Radio Free Europe” rule, we’ve included at least one song that previously charted: Faith No More’s “We Care A Lot.” The original version made our 1985 list, and the band’s 1987 re-recording is included on this new Top 100 as well.

As you can see below, 1987 was a year dominated by big albums, from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Document and Music For the Masses to The Joshua Tree, Kick and Strangeways, Here We Come, with back-to-back R.E.M. songs sandwiched between two Depeche Mode tracks in the Top 10.

And the two songs that came in at No. 1 and No. 2 may be separated by one of the slimmest margins we’ve seen in a Slicing Up Eyeballs poll: just four votes.

So thank you all for voting and sharing your thoughts. Take a look at the Top 100 list below — and feel free to offer your own take on the results, good or bad, in the comments below.





1. New Order, “True Faith”
2. The Cure, “Just Like Heaven”
3. Echo & The Bunnymen, “Lips Like Sugar”
4. Depeche Mode, “Never Let Me Down Again”
5. R.E.M., “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
6. R.E.M., “The One I Love”
7. Depeche Mode, “Strangelove”
8. The Replacements, “Alex Chilton”
9. The Smiths, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”
10. The Sisters of Mercy, “This Corrosion”


11. Love and Rockets, “No New Tale to Tell”
12. The Sugarcubes, “Birthday”
13. U2, “With or Without You”
14. Sinead O’Connor, “Mandinka”
15. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “April Skies”
16. Pet Shop Boys, “It’s a Sin”
17. The Church, “Under the Milky Way”
18. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Happy When it Rains”
19. The Smiths, “Girlfriend in a Coma”
20. INXS, “Need You Tonight”


21. U2, “Where the Streets Have No Name”
22. The Cult, “Love Removal Machine”
23. Midnight Oil, “Beds Are Burning”
24. Siouxsie and the Banshees, “The Passenger”
25. New Order, “Touched by the Hand of God”
26. The Cure, “Why Can’t I Be You?”
27. The Pogues, “Fairytale of New York”
28. Depeche Mode, “Behind The Wheel”
29. 10,000 Maniacs, “Like the Weather”
30. Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield, “What Have I Done To Deserve This”


31. The Replacements, “Can’t Hardly Wait”
32. INXS, “Never Tear Us Apart”
33. The Alarm, “Rain in the Summertime”
34. The Sisters of Mercy, “Lucretia My Reflection”
35. The Bangles, “Hazy Shade of Winter”
36. Flesh For Lulu, “I Go Crazy”
37. Public Image Ltd., “Seattle”
38. Prince, “Sign O’ The Times”
39. Suzanne Vega, “Luka”
40. New Order, “1963”


41. Squeeze, “Hourglass”
42. The Stone Roses, “Sally Cinnamon”
43. The Sisters of Mercy, “Dominion/Mother Russia”
44. U2, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
45. M|A|R|R|S, “Pump Up The Volume”
46. Sinead O’Connor, “Troy”
47. Happy Mondays, “24 Hour Party People”
48. Echo & The Bunnymen, “The Game”
49. The Smiths, “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me”
50. Echo & The Bunnymen, “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo”


51. The Smiths, “Shoplifters Of The World Unite”
52. Men Without Hats, “Pop Goes the World”
53. INXS, “New Sensation”
54. R.E.M., “Finest Worksong”
55. The Cure, “Catch”
56. X, “4th of July”
57. Pixies, “Caribou”
58. The Godfathers, “Birth, School, Work, Death”
59. Hüsker Dü, “Could You Be The One?”
60. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Darklands”


61. Hoodoo Gurus, “Whats My Scene”
62. Icehouse, “Crazy”
63. ABC, “When Smokey Sings”
64. Camouflage, “The Great Commandment”
65. Bryan Ferry, “Kiss and Tell”
66. The Cure, “Hot Hot Hot!!!”
67. Sinead O’Connor, “I Want Your (Hands On Me)”
68. Nitzer Ebb, “Join in the Chant”
69. Terence Trent D’Arby, “Wishing Well”
70. 10,000 Maniacs, “Don’t Talk”


71. Eric B. & Rakim, “Paid in Full”
72. Pet Shop Boys, “Rent”
73. Echo & The Bunnymen, “People are Strange”
74. The Smiths. “Shella Take A Bow”
75. The Dukes Of Stratosphear, “Vanishing Girl”
76. Guadalcanal Diary, “Litany (Life Goes On)”
77. Siouxsie and the Banshees, “This Wheel’s On Fire”
78. INXS, “Devil Inside”
79. Pet Shop Boys, “Always On My Mind”
80. Prince, “U Got The Look”


81. Wire, “Ahead”
82. Faith No More, “We Care A Lot”
83. Guns N’ Roses, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
84. Prince, “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”
85. U2, “In God’s Country”
86. The Cult, “Wild Flower”
87. The House of Love, “Shine On”
88. INXS, “Mystify”
89. Sonic Youth, “Schizophrenia”
90. The Cure, “How Beautiful You Are”


91. Erasure, “Victim of Love”
92. Danny Wilson, “Mary’s Prayer”
93. Gene Loves Jezebel, “The Motion Of Love”
94. U2, “Bullet the Blue Sky”
95. Guns N’ Roses, “Welcome to the Jungle”
96. Rodney Allen, “Come Around Suzy”
97. Suzanne Vega, “Tom’s Diner”
98. Oingo Boingo, “We Close Our Eyes”
99. That Petrol Emotion, “Big Decision”
100. The Fall, “Hit The North”






  1. Neil Carver

    Oh… man… this appeared so quickly… I’m dizzy. I fell over and now have to collect myself and read through this.

    Great to see! Enjoying the hell out of these lists.

    • Neil Carver

      16 of my 25 made the list. I’m glad to see the Alarm scored so high with “Rain in Summertime”. They’ve been sorely missed on earlier lists.

    • Neil Carver

      And as far as the big albums dominating… it really is reflective of the year. ’87 was my Sophomore into Junior year in college, listening to 89X “The Future of Rock & Roll” out of Oxford, Ohio… and this list is absolutely reflective of the heavy rotation for that year.

      It misses Lloyd Cole, Bougeouis Tagg and Drivin’& Cryin’ which were big as well… but this list is as close to recreating that year in my memory as any I’ve seen.

      • Bougeouis Tagg’s “I Don’t Mind At All” is a gem. I admit it missed my list largely because the competition was so great, but it is a shame that it has been forgotten in the years since.

      • Andrew Fischer

        I believe the radio station you were listening to was 97X “The Future of Rock and Roll.” I grew up in neighboring Hamilton, OH and was a sophomore/junior in high school in 1987 and listened to 97X constantly. It was the best radio station EVER!

        • Neil Carver

          Shit… yes! 97X… 89X was up here in Michigan when I moved up here in the mid-90s. Totally got them mixed up. Thanks!

      • Bougeouis Tagg was on my maybe list but ultimately didn’t make the cut because of the other super strong contenders that year. Really loved them though.

    • All true. Thank you very much for continuing to do this, Matt.

  2. 14 of the songs I voted for made the cut.

    So, just giving a shoutout to those that didn’t:

    A Campfire Song – 10,000 Maniacs
    One Tree Hill – U2
    Dreamworld – Midnight Oil
    Welcome To The Occupation – R.E.M.
    Put Down That Weapon – Midnight Oil
    Driving Away From Home – It’s Immaterial
    Beethoven (I Love To Listen To) – Eurythmics
    Build – The Housemartins
    Pick Up The Pieces – The BoDeans
    Gypsy – Suzanne Vega
    A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours – The Smiths

    The highest ranked on the list that got a vote from me:
    #1 True Faith – New Order

    The lowest ranked on the list that got a vote from me:
    #99 Big Decision – That Petrol Emotion

    1987 was a really important one for me personally, so the music from that year still resonates powerfully which made limiting the list to 25 especially difficult.

    Great list. Great year.

    • Neil Carver

      “Driving Away From Home” was actually ’86. I think it got a lot of votes this year, but was disqualified (just guessing.) Do love that song.

      Also, noting your U2 pick… Joshua Tree put five songs in the top 100, but none in the Top 10… the strength of the album split the votes.

      • Weird. I could have sworn that I did my meticulous research but another quick look online shows that you are right. “Driving Away From Home” was indeed 1986. I think it wasn’t until 1987 that it made its way to the US, because it was getting heavy rotation here in the fall of that year. The first few times I heard it was assumed it was The Smiths. Oh well, there is a vote of mine that could have gone to something else.

        You are probably right about JT. Eleven great songs, about half of which made the cut, but split votes prevented any from even the top 20.

        Interesting though that only two songs from R.E.M.’s big break trough “Document” made the cut, but both finished next to each other at #5 and #6.

        • Neil Carver

          re: R.E.M.

          I have this very vivid memory, late August of ’87, everyone just returning to school (probably the first week of classes) and a sunny, warm Fall day as I walked the mile and a half from campus to my apartment. I passed no less than five houses… a full on kegger, two house parties and just a couple of places with their windows open… and all of them were playing Document. It was everywhere upon release.

          Just a year before, I’d been with a girlfriend and put on “Murmur.” She’d never even heard of R.E.M. at that point, more of a Top 40 listener… but by the next year, she and everyone else was into them.

          That was the thing about these huge albums in ’87… they crossed over to nearly everyone (at least in the college crowd)… Joshua Tree, Kick, Document, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me… everyone knew them.

          • Excellent memories and great reflections. Thanks for sharing!

          • Other albums that fit that bill:

            In My Tribe
            The Lion and the Cobra
            Music For The Masses
            Strangeways, Here We Come

            So many more!

            And oh, correction to my post on that — there were three songs from Document that made the list, the third being “Finest Worksong” at #54.

  3. David Grossklaus

    An amazing list, and so quickly back to the masses. I am sad to see “Wheels on Fire” placed so low on the list. It is one of my favorite cover versions done by Siouxsie and the Banshees. On the other hand, to see “Never Let Me Down Again” so high on the list makes my heart sing! This (and all)list really opens up my memories and nostalgia for the 80’s. I do miss that time in my life. I miss all the friends I had then, most are gone now. Anyway, Thank you Slicing Up Eyeballs, you’re the best!

    • Yes. As I said earlier 1987 was such a milestone year from me and I miss so much about that era. But I am so glade that Slicing Up Eyeballs is here and is back!

      December 7, 1987. Ovens Auditorium on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore, Maryland. 10,000 Maniacs in concert. (Opening act Miracle Legion.) I was there.

      The band’s second major label album “In My Tribe” had been released the previous summer. At that point it had failed to find an audience outside college and alternative radio, but the label had made a decision to put a big hefty push behind it, one that would pay off in early 1988 when MTV gave rotation to “Like The Weather” and slowly the album began to sell.

      It wasn’t in your face, but there was a vague sense that night that the audience was seeing a band just on the verge of a bit break through.

      Still vivid memories.

  4. haunted when the minutes drag

    Wow. What an incredible year of music. 100 songs, and at least 90 or them or more are still amazing. A few quick thoughts: (1) Love and Rockets should have cracked the top 10 over Sisters of Mrecy (who were also good, just not as good); (2) Eric B. and Rakim’s “paid in full” is the greatest hip hop song of all time and, therefore, should be much higher; and (3) I don’t know who you are, but thank you to whoever voted for Sally Cinnamon — because, until her, I was never happy . . .

  5. Brilliant list in a great year! It was very hard to vote for just 25 songs. Glad to see True Faith take top spot and the word get out on Under The Milky Way.

    Shame some of my faves didn’t make it – Figures On A Beach ‘No Stars’, The Railway Children ‘Brighter’, Mighty Lemon Drop ‘Out Of Hand’ shout out – and clearly no love for David Bowie’ Never Let Me Down album despite some really good singles including the brilliant ‘Time Will Crawl’.

    So no Bowie…but Rodney Allen ‘Come Around Suzie’???? That’s a headscratcher.

    Well done again SUE for keeping the polls going and on to 1988!

    • I’m surprised that that The Mighty Lemon Drops didn’t make the list as well, but not surprised about Bowie since that was not one of his more well-regarded albums. And as far as Rodney Allen – I have to wonder whether there might have been a little ballot stuffing for that one.

      • Neil Carver

        Seriously… I looked up Rodney all on All Music and Wikipedia. He isn’t on Wikipedia though his name is tied to Subway Organization… the song “Come Around Suzy” isn’t listed. Discogs lists him as releasing Happysad, an album with the song on it in 1987… but seeing as very few even have a clue who he is, I’m not sure how this song got on here.

  6. Nice to see nine Aussie songs in the final cut! :)

    “Under The Milky Way” by The Church still sounds timeless. Lead singer/songwriter/bass guitarist/creative-force Steve Kilbey has been recreating large chunks of his songbook, (including whole albums by The Church) on his 12-string guitar from his home in Sydney while in lockdown and broadcasting them on Instagram, YouTube, etc.

    Well worth tracking down!

  7. 27. The Pogues, “Fairytale of New York”

    Technically, that should be The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl.

    Great band. Great album. Great song.

  8. The Passenger should switch spots with one of the R.E.M. songs in the top 10.

  9. Delighted to see that so many of the songs I voted for making the Top 100 list. 1987 was a great year of high school for me and a great year of music.

    Votes that didn’t make the cut:

    Aztec Camera, “Somewhere in My Heart”

    The Communards, “Never Can Say Goodbye”

    Terence Trent D’Arby, “Sign Your Name” (too mainstream for this group, perhaps?)

    The Smiths, “I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish”

    10,000 Maniacs, “What’s the Matter Here?”

  10. Awesome playlist. All but 4 of my personal top 25 picks made the list. Missing:
    -Shame (Eurythmics)
    -Only Happy When it Rains (Jesus and the Mary Chain)
    -Radio Heart (Gary Numan)
    -In a Jar (Dinosaur Jr.)

  11. Haunted when the minutes drag

    Couldn’t agree with you more on happy when it rains.

  12. Not a single song from the Wedding Present’s George Best LP? Yikes.

    • Neil Carver

      Purely anecdotal…

      Could be a very American bias to the voting. I’m sure some cool folks in the U.S. knew about The Wedding Present at this point, but C-86 didn’t have the impact over here as it did in the UK, and I never heard of the band until much later. Certainly wasn’t big at the time. Even now I have only a passing familiarity with them.

      I often look at a band’s catalog now, just the cover art, and often remember the images from decades ago in the record stores. At the time I passed over them, spending my limited cash on the bands I knew. Maybe I’d see the albums for years, before I actually decided to look into the band and give it a listen. Nothing in The Wedding Present covers is the least bit reminiscent. I’d remember a cover like George’s Best if I’d seen it before. Whereas Primal Scream, the Mighty Lemon Drops, The Soup Dragons, The Bodines… they all crossed over the pond pretty significantly, I just have no memory of The Wedding Present doing so.

  13. Really quite relieved to see Wire’s “Ahead” on here – was beginning to think I was the only fan of The Ideal Copy. I’m certainly the only one I know.

  14. You’re right. I think Bizarro was their first American release? I voted for My Favourite Dress and A Million Miles though. And for Close Lobsters too…

  15. Happy When It Rains is #18.

  16. I’m completely shocked that New Order’s “Temptation 87” didn’t make it in under the “Radio Free Europe” rule. Am I missing something, or was it just overlooked because of the earlier version?

  17. Matt Thurston

    Great list. Glad to see Wire, The House of Love, and X make the list. Personally, I don’t see how Guns & Roses, Prince, and Eric B and Rakim make this list — nothing wrong with the songs, all good to great — but they belong to a different category/list.

    Songs I would have preferred to see on list:

    The Housemartins – Me and the Farmer
    The Go-Betweens – Bye Bye Pride
    Aztec Camera – How Men Are
    Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – From the Hip
    Close Lobsters – I Kiss the Flowers in Bloom
    The Colourfield – She
    The Lilac Time – Return to Yesterday
    The Lilac Time – Black Velvet
    Shona Laing – (Glad I’m) Not A Kennedy
    Shona Laing – Soviet Snow

  18. 1987 was a really big year for pop music in general. Some of my votes got in, some did not, but regardless this list looks glorious.

  19. I just noticed #1 vs #2 is excellent substance vs excellent fluff and #3 vs #4 is excellent fluff vs excellent substance. Just goes to show we love pop too, just our version of it.

  20. Great list of songs and artists. Takes me back to the days of KITS Live 105 and the One Step Beyond nightclub!

  21. Ummm… Under the Milky Way was released in 1988, same as the Starfish album, in Australia and around the world. Can we vote for it again when the Top Songs of 1988 comes around?

    • Neil Carver

      This was a big discussion in the voting post for this list. The very first release of Under the Milky Way was actually 1987 as a singled, in Australia. By the rules it falls on this list… though many of us do feel it was THE song of ’88. (It had been my #1 song for ’88 until it was made clear in the voting that this was the year it would fall. The same thing is true of “Birthday” by the Sugarcubes and a few others.)

      Check out all the conversation on this very topic in this voting thread.

      • The release of UTMW in 1987 is news to me. The best discography of The Church does not have any releases for that song in ’87.

        I will petition SUE to make the song eligible again for the Best of 1988 list. Wish me luck! :-)

        • Per Discogs, “Under the Milky Way” was first released in 1987 on Mushroom Records in Australia and New Zealand. If you click on the “more images” link, you can see the label on the 12-inch with a 1987 copyright date.

          • Thanks for sharing that link, which I had not seen before.

            I would still argue that very few people heard UTMW until 1988, and it made the biggest impression for the vast majority of fans around the world in 1988. But I’m unlikely to win that argument on technical grounds, I reckon. :-)

    • That issue was discussed when the voting started and it was determined that the song was first released in 1987 per various sources.

  22. Neil Carver

    Was just playing around with the list… and if you take the Top 40 and remove all the repeats (more than one song from a particular band/artist)… here is the following, pretty much perfect, Top 25 of all unique artists.

    1. New Order, “True Faith”
    2. The Cure, “Just Like Heaven”
    3. Echo & The Bunnymen, “Lips Like Sugar”
    4. Depeche Mode, “Never Let Me Down Again”
    5. R.E.M., “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
    6. The Replacements, “Alex Chilton”
    7. The Smiths, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”
    8. The Sisters of Mercy, “This Corrosion”
    9. Love and Rockets, “No New Tale to Tell”
    10. The Sugarcubes, “Birthday”
    11. U2, “With or Without You”
    12. Sinead O’Connor, “Mandinka”
    13. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “April Skies”
    14. Pet Shop Boys, “It’s a Sin”
    15. The Church, “Under the Milky Way”
    16. INXS, “Need You Tonight”
    17. The Cult, “Love Removal Machine”
    18. Midnight Oil, “Beds Are Burning”
    19. Siouxsie and the Banshees, “The Passenger”
    20. The Pogues, “Fairytale of New York”
    21. 10,000 Maniacs, “Like the Weather”
    22. The Alarm, “Rain in the Summertime”
    23. The Bangles, “Hazy Shade of Winter”
    24. Flesh For Lulu, “I Go Crazy”
    25. Public Image Ltd., “Seattle”

    That is an incredible slice of ’87 and cross section of the artists that were so influential at the time. (Add in Prince and Suzanne Vega at 26 and 27 and it gets even better.)

  23. Andrew Collins

    Great list this time around. I had 14 of my 25 picks make the list, so I’m pretty happy. A little shocked that New Order beat out “Just Like Heaven” which I thought was a shoo-in for #1.

    Of my picks that didn’t make the list, I am a tiny bit surprised to not see “Living Daylights” from A-Ha, which was their last mainstream hit in the US, or “Preacher Man” from Fields Of The Nephilim…

  24. 18 of my picks made it. Could’ve live without New Order finishing at number 1 again, and Guns N Roses being on the list at all, but a good list. Less outliers. Glad Sonic Youth made it, even though I wish they were higher. They ruled college stations in the late 80’s. Live Schizophrenia even though I vote Catholic Block.

    Here’s what missed from my 25:

    Butthole Surfers – Sweat Loaf
    Danielle Dax – Big Hollow Man
    Dinosaur Jr. – Little Fury Things
    Eurthymics – I Need a Man
    My Bloody Valentine – Strawberry Wine
    Sonic Youth – (I Got A) Catholic Block
    The Vaselines – Son of a Gun

    Also, the songs off my list that made it, seemed to finish in blocks.
    I voted for song numbers 3, 9-12, 14-15, 24, 54-59, 65, 81 and 97. Weird.

    Also, who the heck is Rodney Allen?

  25. Neil Carver

    I did have a question for the music heads on this thread. My #1 for ’87 was “Broken Arrow” by Robbie Robertson. His debut solo album was produced by Daniel Lanois, had U2, Peter Gabriel and the BoDeans on it. Can’t be more alternative.

    While I can see others not voting for the song (the original “Broken Arrow” is brilliant and Rod Stewart deserves a place in hell for his cover) but I saw absolutely NO mention of it in anyone else’s list.

    This album was HUGE for me, my friends… even my English professor. Just wondering why it got no mentions at all. Seemed a shoe-in to me.

  26. Scott Stalcup

    BARF! How in the actual Hell did that Danny Wilson song make the list? A Scottish band worse than The Proclaimers. No mean feat. The embodiment of the sort of limp dick, white, soul jazz that Bobby Rivers back announced on VH-1 between Michael Bolton and Anita Baker videos. Someone rubbing bits of styrofoam together through a Kingston sound system would be more enjoyable. Were there no other Mary Chain tracks that could be added? Maybe a Skids song to annex from earlier in the decade? Please?

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