RIFF Rewind 1987: Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard and Michael Jackson

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U2, The Joshua Tree, The Joshua Tree Tour 2017, Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Adam Clayton

Courtesy: U2, Anton Corbijn

The year 1987 is another banner year! It marks the release of one of the most-viewed songs on YouTube: Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

Turns out that was actually a song before it was a joke.

It also marks the release of a song so bad I’ve made fun of it in a previous edition in Bruce Willis’ cover of “Respect Yourself.” Because in the 1980s everyone thought they could have a music career.

Oh, and there were some good songs too, like…

U2 — “With or Without You”

RIFF co-founder, editor-in-chief, and guy probably editing this column Roman Gokhman is a bit of a U2 fan. And by “a bit” I mean “has traveled the world to see them.” Dude likes U2 as much as Kanye likes himself.

What I’m saying is, if I didn’t include a song off The Joshua Tree, this would probably be the last edition of RIFF Rewind.

Eric B. & Rakim — “I Ain’t No Joke”

Our Bay Area readers, or at least the ones with proper taste in baseball, may recognize this as Coco Crisp’s walkup song in 2014. That’s not why I picked it. Of course, it’s a great song and a classic, and I just can’t pass up a chance to reference the A’s.

Guns N’ Roses — “Paradise City”

Speaking of albums I have to include, how can I not represent Appetite for Destruction? It’s so good even Guns N’ Roses has never lived up to it. The question is just which great song to include.

Def Leppard — “Pour Some Sugar On Me”

If you don’t like this song, you’re lying. It’s as simple as that. It’s so catchy and so cheesy and so great. Don’t deny your feelings.

Michael Jackson — “Smooth Criminal”

Bad was the first record I ever owned … and I mean literal record; it was an actual vinyl record. Because I’m old. And I wore it out. Literally; back then you could play a record so much it wore out.

I said I’m old, OK?

Anyway, while I accept that Thriller is the best Michael Jackson album, and one of the best albums of all time, my nostalgia says Bad is my favorite, so it was hard to choose the best song. Until I remembered that “Smooth Criminal” was my favorite back then and remains my favorite now.

Honorable Mentions

Whitney Houston — “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”
Bill Medley — “(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life”
Aerosmith — “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”
REM — “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
Belinda Carlisle — “Heaven is a Place On Earth”
George Michael — “Father Figure”
George Harrison — “Got My Mind Set On You”
Rick Astley — “Never Gonna Give You Up”

Follow editor Daniel J. Willis at Twitter.com/BayAreaData

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