23 Best Songs From 1987

Best Songs From 1987

There have been changes in styles and sounds throughout the history of music. Starting in the 1950s, the music style was doo-wop and rock n roll. In the 60s, the musical influence came from the British invasion and the rise of psychedelic rock. In the 1970s, it was soft rock, hard rock, and disco.

Here is a list of some of the best songs in 1987 from various genres that will delight your soul.

1. I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston

Song year: 1987

Whitney Houston was known as “the Voice.” Her voice was exceptional, and she used it to climb her way to superstardom in the 1980s with hit after hit song. This song was one of her more uptempo ones.

The sound was typical 1980s percussion-based music. The lyrics spoke about being with someone who made her feel special. Whitney sings about wanting to dance with somebody who loves her. Her vocals and the song's catchy tune made this song a number-one hit in 1987.

2. Faith by George Michael

Song year: 1987

George Michael was the lead singer of a British musical group called Wham. The band became a hit in the music industry. In 1987, Michael stepped out on his own with this simple but catchy tune.

The tune is catchy and danceable, and gives you a feeling that all will be well. Like most songs, it's about having faith regarding a relationship working out for the best. George Michael was popular for his pop and soulful sounds. The song was a huge hit based on George Michael's previous success with Wham and his looks.

3. La Bamba by Los Lobos

Song year: 1987

A huge hit by one of the few Mexican bands to make it big in the music industry. Los Lobos came out strong with this fun-loving and catchy song. Although the lyrics were in Spanish, many people could repeat the lyrics with no problem.

The popularity of this song wasn't so much about the lyrics as it was about the music. If you were having a bad day or enjoying yourself, this song picked you up and made you feel good, made you feel like getting on the dance floor and having a great time. The guitar parts also help make this song a winner.

4. With or Without You by U2

Song year: 1987

U2 became one of the most popular rock bands in the late 1980s and 1990s. The group hails from Ireland and exploded on the music scene in the 1980s. Their sound came from grunge and punk rock, but they mixed it with Pop and solid rock, which made them a success.

The vocals of Bono (Paul David Hewson) are exceptional. What made this group a huge success was Bono's vocals and the group's thoughtful lyrics.

This song speaks about someone in a complicated relationship who's in love with someone, but at the same time, having to wait for that person to fall in love with them. The conflict in their soul over this weighs heavy on them. The fact is they can't live with or without that person.

5. I’ve Had the Time Of My Life by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes

Song year: 1987

This song starts with a slow tempo. It may remind you of two people in a relationship whispering vows of love to each other. It's a great slow dance song or wedding song. You can dance the night away together – singing this song to each other.

The song starts slow but picks up the beat. The overall message is I've had the time of my life with the love of my life, and I wouldn't want it any other way. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes do a fantastic job as a duo on this song.

6. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2

Song year: 1987

Another major hit by this popular rock band that hails from Ireland, U2 starts this song with percussion that ascends to a pitch. Bono breaks forth with his melodic voice, powerfully singing lyrics about searching high and low for that special someone.

Beyond a relationship, Bono gives these lyrics a deeper meaning. People search for solutions to their problems in many different things and many different ways, but to no avail. Unfortunately, many still haven't found what they're looking for.

7.  Push It by Salt N Pepa

Song year: 1987

One of the most popular female rap groups in the industry, Salt N Pepa hit it big again with this hit. The trio consists of MCs or rappers Salt (Cheryl James), Pepa (Sandra Denton), and DJ Spinderalla (Deidra Roper), showcasing their ability to rap, dance, and spin the records.

Like most rap songs, this song is upbeat and has a definite dance tune. The lyrics can be considered racy, or you can listen to it as a motivation to push harder doing what you love doing. Salt N Pepa would often use their songs to help women “push” through the stereotypes they would encounter in society.

8.  Bad by Michael Jackson

Song year: 1987

Nobody can dispute the impact Michael Jackson had not only on music but on music in the 1980s. After he stepped out on his own to pursue a solo career, Michael never looked back, and his success as a solo artist took off like a meteorite.

Michael Jackson single handedly became the biggest and most popular music artist the world has known. His attraction was his creativity, musical style, dance moves, voice, and talent. No one could compare to Michael.

When music videos appeared on the scene, he took full advantage of them, which increased his superstar status even more. His first video, Billie Jean, was a major success. His next video, “Thriller,” experienced out-of-this-world success, and Bad was successful as well.

The song depicts the West Side Story movie about two gangs fighting each other. The video for this song is a description or replay of the movie, West Side Story. However, the song also is a way for the singer to combat his naysayers and critics.

9.  I Knew You Were Waiting For Me by Aretha Franklin and George Michael

Song year: 1987

The Queen of Soul meets the Prince of British Pop with this song. Although this duo may have seemed like an odd collaboration, it turned out to be a successful hit song in 1987.

Franklin's soulful voice and powerful vocals matched perfectly with Michael's sexy sound to make a beautiful love song. The song became a popular wedding song and a lovely ballad for all who find true love.

10.  Livin On a Prayer by Bon Jovi

Song year: 1987

One of the most successful rock bands of the 1980s, Bon Jovi, led by singer Jon Bon Jovi, made a statement in the pop music world with this song. Although they stayed true to their punk rock roots, they mixed in pop to make this song. There is still a strong presence of punk rock with the drums banging and the guitar strumming.

11.  Wishing Well by Terence Trent D’Arby

Song year: 1987

Terence Trent D’Arby was a newcomer on the scene but quickly became famous with this catchy tune. The song is laidback and easy to listen to and enjoy. It gives you a sense of well-being and is also a danceable song.

Terence's raspy voice also stands out and brings a unique sound to his song. The song is about a love relationship. D'Arby copied a lot from Michael Jackson with his dance moves, but the song was still a good song to enjoy.

12.  Candy by Cameo

Candy by Cameo

Song year: 1987

One of the best R&B dance songs ever, this catchy tune by one of the best R&B bands around is a definite winner. The title alone made it popular – Candy. Who wouldn't like candy? The lyrics are easy to follow and remember, and the beat is strong and will make you want to dance.

Cameo was an R&B band that made its debut in the 1970s. Their music was mainly R&B funk-style music, but when rap and hip-hop exploded on the scene in the 1980s, the group changed their music somewhat to keep up with the changing times and sounds.

They hit it big with the younger generation with this song and another popular song from 1986, Word Up. Cameo showed they were hip and cool too. They could dance and rap.

The song is, of course, about a guy's infatuation with ladies of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Turn this song on and show everyone your dance moves.

13. Lean On Me by Club Nouveau

Song year: 1987

Club Nouveau was a group in the 1980s that made it big with this single hit. Just listening to the lyrics, one can tell why it was a big hit. Despite everything going on, the song is positive and uplifting.

The lyrics speak about leaning on each other and helping others keep going on, encouraging others to lend a hand to somebody else because we’ll need to lean on someone else eventually.

The group used a good deal of hip-hop influence in their music. The strong beats throughout the song and the spiritual-like intro provided a positive influence on those who live in the inner city.

14. Where the Streets Have No Name by U2

Song year: 1987

One thing that brought superstar success to the rock group U2 was their political stance during a time when politics were changing and becoming more divisive and controversial.

The song begins with talk about where the group would travel to perform in the Los Angeles area and the disruption this would cause. It soon breaks into a rapid guitar succession with lyrics from Bono, the lead singer, reminding us that the streets people live on often determine their income levels and religious beliefs, especially in Belfast.

Bono compared this perception and reality to life in Ethiopia where there is no such division. The message is that we need to stop labeling others based on where they live and remove things that divide us.

15. Head to Toe by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam

Song year: 1987

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam were a hip-hop group in the 1980s. The lead singer was Lisa Lisa, who didn't rap or MC, but sang with a very melodic voice. The group's sound adopted the hip-hop style, although this song mixed in pop music. The lyrics are about the love a girl has for her man – she loves him from head to toe. The song is simple and catchy, and is a great dance tune.

16. Looking for a New Love by Jody Whatley

Song year: 1987

Jody Whatley was the lead singer of a group called Shalamar in the 1980s, but stepped out on a solo career with this song, and it became a hit. Jody had her own look and style but was influenced by Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, and other mainstream artists.

The song is about a breakup because of infidelity. Her heart is broken, but she is done and looking for a new love. The song is upbeat and will have you dancing despite the lyrics.

17. Sign O the Times by Prince

Song year: 1987

Along with Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Madonna, Prince defined the 1980s. All of these music stars became superstars during this decade, and they all made indelible impacts on the music industry. They all had their own individual styles that appealed to the masses. Prince's style was unique and eccentric.

Just like all of his songs, Prince's musical gift is noticeable in this song. But what stands out the most are the lyrics and the title. The song is a lesson about the state of the world today. With all the problems around us, is anybody noticing them, or are we too busy looking elsewhere? The sign of the times is not good.

18. The Pleasure Principle by Janet Jackson

Song year: 1987

Janet showed us that Michael wasn't the only Jackson sibling who could dance. She displayed her dancing moves in the video of this song which probably made the song a success.

The song is upbeat and will make you run to the dance floor, while copying the moves Janet does in her video. Janet's voice is a match for the song. The song is about having fun – the pleasure principle is to have fun because there are no guarantees or securities in this life.

19. Angel by Angela Winbush

Song year: 1987

If you're interested in listening to a soul-stirring R&B song from the 1980s, this one is it. Angela Winbush is an R&B singer that was popular back in the 1980s. She was a member of the duo Rene & Angela.

She made her solo debut with this beautiful mid-tempo ballad. She puts everything she has in this song with her exceptional, smooth, and powerful vocal range. The song is about finding the right person in your life.

20.  I Feel Good All Over by Stephanie Mills

Song year: 1987

I have to repeat what I said with the song above. If you’re looking for a soul-stirring ballad from the 1980s, you cannot go wrong with this beautiful love song by one of the best R&B singers of all time, Stephanie Mills.

Mills doesn't get as much credit as Whitney Houston, Patti Labelle, or Aretha Franklin, but there is no doubt among many that her voice is a voice to be reckoned with. There is no doubt Stephanie Mills has one of the best voices in the music industry.

Stephanie sings this song with power, soul, conviction, and talent. She brings this song alive, and she does it well. Listening to this song by Mills will make you feel good all over. Enjoy!

21.  Who’s That Girl by Madonna

Song year: 1987

Madonna hit it big in the 1980s with her music, style, and movie parts. This song became popular due to the movie with the same name. While filming for the movie, Madonna asked to sing an uptempo song that portrayed her part in the movie.

The song is about Madonna's part in the film – who's that mysterious girl that impressed everybody in the movie. The song is a great dance song,  and the lyrics are simple and catchy.

22.  Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley

Song year: 1987

Rick Astley was a singer that hailed from England. He made his debut with this hit song. The song is about never giving someone up or leaving them once they found the love of their life. It’s an uptempo song that’ll make you get up and dance.

23. Casanova by Gerald Levert

Song year: 1987

Gerald Levert was the son of Eddie Levert, who was a lead singer of the famous R&B group, the O'Jays. Levert made a name for himself with this hit, especially in the R&B community. The song has an uptempo dance beat. The lyrics are about being a good casanova who deserves a good woman.

Top Songs From 1987, Final Thoughts

There is a mixture of music styles and genres in this list for everyone to enjoy. If you love to dance, there are plenty of dance songs. If you love ballads, there are those too.

1987 brought together unique collaborations, established solo careers for many, witnessed the rise of hip-hop and rap music, and the rise of singers to superstardom status. These were the best songs from 1987.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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