There were so many songs from 1987 that were popular and had everyone singing along, with tracks about social and political issues becoming mainstream. We’re going to give you a list of the 35 best songs of 1987, so read below to find out what we’ve put on our list!
1. With Or Without You – U2
First on our list is U2 with the hit song With Or Without You from their album The Joshua Tree. This track is their most popular and well-known song, and it topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the RPM Canadian chart. It is a track Bono wrote that deals with his life both as a normal man and musician and the conflicts between the two.
2. Here I Go Again – Whitesnake
Next is Here I Go Again by Whitesnake, which was released and re-recorded for their self-titled album. This version was a radio mix, and it quickly made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is ranked as one of the best power ballads of all time and is considered one of the best tracks of the 80s.
3. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses make our list with their hit Sweet Child O’ Mine from their first album Appetite For Destruction. This song would be the only number-one track they would have on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It can be found in movies such as Step Brothers and Bad Dreams.
4. I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston was everywhere in the 80s, and her song I Wanna Dance With Somebody comes in next. This track was an international hit and made it to number one in America and 17 other countries such as Australia and Germany. It won a Grammy Award in the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category.
5. Alone – Heart
Female rock group Heart had a massive hit with Alone from their album Bad Animals. This song starts off with a piano, and it’s one of the most popular power ballads from the 80s that features a heavy rock chorus and harmonic vocals. The vocals of Ann and Nancy Wilson helped propel this track to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and in Canada too. This is one of their most popular songs and a fan favorite.
6. Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles
Another song that reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts we wanted to mention is Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles. The song comes from the album Different Light and was the first time that the girl group topped the charts. To this day, it is their most successful single. If you’ve seen the music video, then you know how iconic the side-eye look is in it and why it’s considered one of the best videos of the 80s.
7. Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
Rock group Bon Jovi makes this list with their incredibly popular song Livin’ On A Prayer from their album Slippery When Wet. You couldn’t turn on MTV without seeing this music video, which helped it hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock chart. It is a fan favorite and also has become their signature track. Today, this song is used as an anthem when tragedy happens, such as when the terrorist attack occurred on 9/11.
8. I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany
On our list next is Tiffany with I Think We’re Alone Now, which comes from her first self-titled album. She decided to cover this track when she was just 15 years old, and it was turned into a dance song by her producer to make it more palpable for younger people. The track went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and UK Singles chart.
9. Man In The Mirror – Michael Jackson
The King of Pop had another chart-topper in 1987 with Man In The Mirror from his album Bad. For Michael Jackson, this was the 10th time one of his songs went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and it quickly became triple-platinum. While he didn’t win, it was nominated for a Grammy in the Record of the Year category.
10. Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – Starship
Starship is next with Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us from their album No Protection. You may remember this song from the movie Mannequin. The power ballad made it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and this was the first for Diane Warren. Not only was it a hit in America, but it topped the charts in countries such as Ireland and Canada too.
11. Lady In Red – Chris De Burgh
Coming up next is Lady In Red by Chris De Burgh, which is on his album Into The Light. This was his breakthrough hit and thought to be his signature song, which is about his wife and what she was wearing the first time he saw her. It made it to two on the Adult Contemporary chart and three on the Billboard Hot 100. In his home country of the UK, it went to number one on the UK Singles chart.
12. Everybody Have Fun Tonight – Wang Chung
A fun song on our list that everyone from the 80s knows is Everybody Have Fun Tonight by Wang Chung. This track landed at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and hit number one on the Canadian RPM chart. While some people may not like this song, it has always been thought of as one of the most fun tracks of the 80s.
13. Mony Mony – Billy Idol
Rock star Billy Idol had a hit with Mony Mony, and he covered this song because of the fond memories he had of it playing in the background while he was engaged in a sexual situation as a teenager. While he released the original cover in 1981, it was the live version released in 1987 that became a hit and made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
14. The Way It Is – Bruce Hornsby
While a lot of people don’t know the name Bruce Hornsby, you’ll probably recognize the song The Way It Is. This track hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and in the Netherlands and Canada. It’s a song that goes into detail about the Poverty Act of 1964 and has been sampled by several artists over the years to make a statement.
15. The One I Love – R.E.M.
Rock band R.E.M. makes the list with The One I Love from their album Document. The song went to nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and it was their first single to do so. It made it to 14 on the Canadian chart when it was re-released four years later. This is thought to be one of their signature tracks, and it’s one of the fan favorites that they often play live.
16. Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses make our list with Paradise City from the popular album Appetite For Destruction. It landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number five and hit number one on the Irish Singles chart.
17. Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson once again is on this list with his other hit song Smooth Criminal from his album Bad. This track is all about a woman who was brutally attacked while in her apartment by a man dubbed a smooth criminal. This music video is famous for the part where Jackson and the dancers do the lean which defies gravity.
This song hit seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and is thought to be one of his best tracks. Rock group Alien Ant Farm famously covered this song, and it allowed a new generation of music fans to enjoy it.
18. Shakedown – Bob Seger
Calling all fans of Beverly Hills Cop II, next is Shakedown by Bob Seger. The song quickly became a success and rose to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It would be his only number-one track on this chart, and it’s a fan favorite.
19. Dude (Look Like a Lady) – Aerosmith
Aerosmith is up next with Dude (Look Like A Lady) from their album Permanent Vacation. According to Desmond Child, the songwriter, the inspiration for the track comes from Vince Neil the lead singer of Mötley Crüe, and how the band mistook him for a woman since he had long blonde hair. It was a success and landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 14.
20. Girls, Girls, Girls – Mötley Crüe
Speaking of Mötley Crüe, they are up next with Girls, Girls, Girls. The song is all about women and strip clubs and references some of the most famous such as The Tropicana and Crazy Horse. It made it to 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 20 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
21. Bring The Noise – Anthrax & Public Enemy
Hip hop group Public Enemy had a massive hit with Bring The Noise, which also features Anthrax. You can find this song on the Less Than Zero movie soundtrack, and it went to 56 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
22. Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil
Up next is Midnight Oil with Beds Are Burning from the album Diesel And Dust. This song went to number one in multiple countries including Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand. In the US, the track made it to 17, while in the Netherlands, it hit number three. This song is thought to be one of the best of the 80s.
23. Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car – Billy Ocean
Calling all fans of the movie License To Drive, making waves out of Britain in 1987 was Billy Ocean. He had a hit with Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car from the album Tear Down These Walls. There is a famous saxophone solo in the song, and the video used live-action and animated sequences, which was very innovative at that time. This track went to number one on the Hot Black Singles and Billboard Hot 100 charts.
24. I Want Your Sex – George Michael
Attention all fans of Beverly Hills Cop II, I Want Your Sex by George Michael is next, which was from his album Faith. The track hit number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and Dance Club Songs charts and three on the UK Singles chart. The track is all about how sex is a natural thing and we all should partake, and at the time, it was controversial.
25. Heaven Is A Place On Earth – Belinda Carlisle
Belinda Carlisle makes this list with her song Heaven Is A Place On Earth. The track made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was her only song to top the charts. It’s thought of as her signature track and was even nominated for a Grammy Award. You can find it in movies such as Love & Other Drugs.
26. Is This Love – Whitesnake
Rock group Whitesnake is up next with their hit Is This Love? The song made it to two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and nine on the UK Singles chart. Ever since 1987, they have performed this track in concert, and it’s a fan favorite.
27. Going Back To Cali – LL Cool J
Calling all fans of the movie Less Than Zero, you might remember the song Going Back To Cali by LL Cool J. This track hit 12 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart and landed at 31 on the Billboard Hot 100. The lyrics talk about feeling ambivalent at the thought of moving back to California and are based on Rick Rubin’s own feelings.
28. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
If you’ve been on the Internet for a while then you’ve heard of being Rick Rolled. That comes from the next track on our list, which is Rick Astley with his signature song Never Gonna Give You Up. This track was a massive success and landed at number one in 25 countries including his home country of the UK and the US.
29. Somewhere Out There – Linda Ronstadt And James Ingram
James Ingram and Linda Ronstadt are on our list with Somewhere Out There, which comes from the movie soundtrack to An American Tail. The song went to number two in Canada and the US while hitting six on the charts in Ireland.
30. U Got The Look – Prince
Prince makes the list with You Got The Look from his album Sign O’ The Times. This song is one of his most popular tracks and a fan favorite and landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at the number two position.
31. Didn’t We Almost Have It All – Whitney Houston
Next is Whitney Houston with her hit song Didn’t We Almost Have It All. This track hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and lasted for two weeks in the top spot. Outside of America, it was also a hit and ended up in the Top 10 in several countries.
32. Land Of Confusion – Genesis
Rock group Genesis is next with Land Of Confusion, which comes from the album Invisible Touch. The song hit number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and 11 on the Album Rock Tracks chart.
33. Will You Still Love Me? – Chicago
Chicago makes this list with their massive hit Will You Still Love Me? from their album Chicago 18. This song made it to two on the Adult Contemporary chart and three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
34. (I Just) Died In Your Arms – Cutting Crew
You’ll remember the next song since it’s still popular today, which is (I Just) Died In Your Arms by Cutting Crew. The track is referring to having an orgasm, and it is their most well-known song to date. It landed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and hit number one in other countries too, including Ireland and Germany.
35. Control – Janet Jackson
Lastly, Janet Jackson scored a hit with Control, and this track details how she wants to take back control of her life. It landed at one on the Dance Club Songs chart and five on the Billboard Hot 100.
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.