1987 in British music

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List of years in British music

This is a summary of 1987 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.


The start of the year saw an important milestone in electronic dance music, when Steve "Silk" Hurley's song "Jack Your Body" became the first house music track to reach number 1 in the UK charts. This was despite Hurley refusing to promote the song, and the 12-inch single technically breaking chart rules as it was longer than the allowed 25-minute play time. House music had been steadily growing in popularity since it started underground in the early 1980s, and another number 1 would follow in September, the huge selling "Pump Up The Volume" by British act M|A|R|R|S which was one of the top ten biggest selling songs of the year.

For most of the 1980s, the main musical format in the charts was the gramophone record, with songs being released on both 7-inch and 12-inch vinyl singles. However, in 1987 two new formats started to appear. The first was the digital CD single, where songs are put on a Compact Disc. These were first made eligible for the UK Singles Chart this year, and the first number 1 to be released as a CD single was Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" released in May. The second was the cassette single where the song is released on an audio tape - the BPI began recording their sales this year, but they would not become eligible until 1989. Both formats would dominate the chart throughout the 1990s.

Synthpop bands Pet Shop Boys and Erasure continued their success from their breakthrough year in 1986, with the Pet Shop Boys achieving their second number 1 single ("It's a Sin") in the summer, and two more top ten singles with "What Have I Done to Deserve This?", a collaboration with Dusty Springfield, which peaked at number 2, and "Rent", which peaked at number 8. Their album "Actually" also sold well and peaked at number 2. Erasure's album The Circus was their first charting album and peaked at number 6, and had two top 10 hits this year with the eponymous title track and "Victim of Love", as well as the number 12 charting "It Doesn't Have to Be" and their big hit from the previous year, "Sometimes". Both bands would continue to have huge success into the early 1990s.

The sound of producers Stock Aitken Waterman continued to grow in popularity, as they moved from their previous Hi-NRG sound to one more pop-based. It gave them big hits with girl group Bananarama, with their song "Love in the First Degree" becoming their biggest hit ever when it peaked at number 3, and American singer Sinitta with "Toy Boy", the successful No.4 followup to the big selling song "So Macho" from 1986. They also achieved two number one's, one being girl duo Mel and Kim's "Respectable", and created a huge star with the baritone-voiced singer Rick Astley. In 1987 he had a number one album with "Whenever You Need Somebody", and several high charting singles including the title track and the biggest selling single of the year, his number 1 breakthrough song "Never Gonna Give You Up".

Madonna continued her long run of Top Ten hits throughout the year, scoring two number one's, "La Isla Bonita" in April and "Who's That Girl" in July; the former was her third number one single from the multi-million selling album True Blue and the latter was taken from the film of the same name in which Madonna herself starred. Although the film was critically panned, the soundtrack album hit a respectable No.4 and generated two more Top 10 hits for Madonna; "Causing a Commotion" (No.4, September) and "The Look of Love" (No.9, December).

Soul singer Ben E. King got a surprise number 1 with a re-release of 1961's "Stand by Me", which was used in an advert for Levi Jeans. Long running band The Bee Gees also got their first number 1 of the decade with "You Win Again", their fifth overall in a 20-year career, and Michael Jackson released the multi-million selling "Bad" which as of 2008 is one of the top ten highest selling albums in UK chart history. It spawned the number 1 single "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (a duet with Siedah Garrett), the number 3 title track and the number 3 "The Way You Make Me Feel". The year also saw George Michael launch his solo career post-Wham! with the album "Faith" and its title track, which reached number 2.

The race for the Christmas number one single had many contenders this year. Rick Astley released a cover of "When I Fall In Love", and the 1956 Nat King Cole version was re-released at the same time, while 'Mel & Kim' released a cover of "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree" - however, this referred to comedian Mel Smith and singer Kim Wilde rather than the girl group of the same name, proceeds went to the charity Comic Relief. A very popular Christmas song released this year was a collaboration with Irish band The Pogues and singer Kirsty MacColl, with the song "Fairytale of New York". With its bitter tale about the breakup of two lovers, it was very different from other Christmas songs around.

In the end, it was the Pet Shop Boys who had the Christmas number one of 1987, with their cover of Elvis Presley's "Always on My Mind". The Pogues peaked at number 2 and has been re-issued several times since, reaching the top 10 in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

In the world of classical music, Nicholas Maw's new work Odyssey made an impact, and veteran composer Malcolm Arnold produced his Salute to Thomas Merritt, Op. 98, whilst Michael Nyman and Judith Weir both brought new operas to the stage. The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition was won by Italian soprano Valeria Esposito, and the Lieder prize was introduced into the competition for the first time.



Number one singles[edit]


Chart date
(week ending)
Song Artist(s) Weeks
3 January "Reet Petite" Jackie Wilson 3
10 January
17 January
24 January "Jack Your Body" Steve "Silk" Hurley 2
31 January
7 February "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" Aretha Franklin and George Michael 2
14 February
21 February "Stand by Me" Ben E. King 3
28 February
7 March
14 March "Everything I Own" Boy George 2
21 March
28 March "Respectable" Mel and Kim 1
4 April "Let It Be" Ferry Aid 3
11 April
18 April
25 April "La Isla Bonita" Madonna 2
2 May
9 May "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" Starship 4
16 May
23 May
30 May
6 June "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" Whitney Houston 2
13 June
20 June "Star Trekkin'" The Firm 2
27 June
4 July "It's a Sin" Pet Shop Boys 3
11 July
18 July
25 July "Who's That Girl" Madonna 1
1 August "La Bamba" Los Lobos 2
8 August
15 August "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett 2
22 August
29 August "Never Gonna Give You Up" Rick Astley 5
5 September
12 September
19 September
26 September
3 October "Pump Up the Volume" MARRS 2
10 October
17 October "You Win Again" Bee Gees 4
24 October
31 October
7 November
14 November "China in Your Hand" T'Pau 5
21 November
28 November
5 December
12 December
19 December "Always on My Mind" Pet Shop Boys 2
26 December

Number one albums[edit]


Chart date
(week ending)
Album Artist(s) Weeks
3 January Now 8 Various Artists 2
10 January
17 January The Whole Story Kate Bush 2
24 January
31 January Graceland Paul Simon 3
7 February
14 February
21 February The Phantom of the Opera Original London Cast 3
28 February
7 March
14 March The Very Best of Hot Chocolate Hot Chocolate 1
21 March The Joshua Tree U2 2
28 March
4 April Now 9 Various Artists 5
11 April
18 April
25 April
2 May
9 May Keep Your Distance Curiosity Killed the Cat 2
16 May
23 May It's Better to Travel Swing Out Sister 2
30 May
6 June Live in the City of Light Simple Minds 1
13 June Whitney Whitney Houston 6
20 June
27 June
4 July
11 July
18 July
25 July Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby Terence Trent D'Arby 1
1 August Hits 6 Various Artists 4
8 August
15 August
22 August
29 August Hysteria Def Leppard 1
5 September Hits 6 Various Artists 1
12 September Bad Michael Jackson 5
19 September
26 September
3 October
10 October
17 October Tunnel of Love Bruce Springsteen 1
24 October ...Nothing Like the Sun Sting 1
31 October Tango In the Night Fleetwood Mac 2
7 November
14 November Faith George Michael 1
21 November Bridge of Spies T'Pau 1
28 November Whenever You Need Somebody Rick Astley 1
5 December Now 10 Various Artists 4
12 December
19 December
26 December

Year-end charts[edit]

Best-selling singles[edit]


No. Title Artist Peak
1 "Never Gonna Give You Up" Astley, RickRick Astley 1 810,000
2 "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" Starship 1 740,000
3 "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" Houston, WhitneyWhitney Houston 1 640,000
4 "You Win Again" Bee Gees 1 590,000
5 "China in Your Hand" T'Pau 1 570,000
6 "Respectable" Mel and Kim 1 570,000
7 "Stand by Me" King, Ben E.Ben E. King 1 530,000
8 "It's a Sin" Pet Shop Boys 1 475,000
9 "Star Trekkin'" Firm, TheThe Firm 1 470,000
10 "Pump Up the Volume" M/A/R/R/S 1 450,000
11 "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" Michael, GeorgeGeorge Michael and Aretha Franklin 1
12 "Under the Boardwalk" Willis, BruceBruce Willis 2
13 "Let It Be" Ferry Aid 1
14 "Always on My Mind" Pet Shop Boys 1 430,000
15 "Got My Mind Set on You" Harrison, GeorgeGeorge Harrison 2
16 "Can't Be with You Tonight" Boucher, JudyJudy Boucher 2
17 "La Isla Bonita" Madonna 1
18 "La Bamba" Los Lobos 1
19 "Hold Me Now" Logan, JohnnyJohnny Logan 2
20 "Who's That Girl" Madonna 1
21 "Everything I Own" George, BoyBoy George 1
22 "Down to Earth" Curiosity Killed the Cat 3
23 "When a Man Loves a Woman" Sledge, PercyPercy Sledge 2
24 "Heartache" Pepsi & Shirlie 2
25 "Always" Atlantic Starr 3
26 "Whenever You Need Somebody" Astley, RickRick Astley 3
27 "Toy Boy" Sinitta 4
28 "I Get the Sweetest Feeling" Wilson, JackieJackie Wilson 3
29 "Faith" Michael, GeorgeGeorge Michael 2
30 "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" Jackson, MichaelMichael Jackson featuring Siedah Garrett 1
31 "Live It Up" Mental As Anything 3
32 "Love in the First Degree" Bananarama 3
33 "Crockett's Theme Hammer, JanJan Hammer 2
34 "Alone" Heart 3
35 "Wipe Out" Fat Boys, TheThe Fat Boys and The Beach Boys 2
36 "Call Me" Spagna 2
37 "Let's Wait Awhile" Jackson, JanetJanet Jackson 3
38 "Jack Your Body" Hurley, Steve 'Silk'Steve 'Silk' Hurley 1
39 "The Great Pretender" Mercury, FreddieFreddie Mercury 4
40 "Male Stripper" Man 2 Man meets Man Parrish 4
41 "Lean on Me" Club Nouveau 3
42 "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield 2
43 "Is This Love?" Moyet, AlisonAlison Moyet 3
44 "A Boy from Nowhere" Jones, TomTom Jones 2
45 "With or Without You" U2 4
46 "Wishing Well" D'Arby, Terence TrentTerence Trent D'Arby 4
47 "Heart and Soul" T'Pau 4
48 "Fairytale of New York" Pogues, TheThe Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl 2
49 "Full Metal Jacket (I Wanna Be Your Drill Instructor)" Mead, AbigailAbigail Mead and Nigel Goulding 2
50 "When I Fall in Love"/"My Arms Keep Missing You" Astley, RickRick Astley 2

Best-selling albums[edit]


No. Title Artist Peak
1 Bad Jackson, MichaelMichael Jackson 1 1,650,000
2 The Joshua Tree U2 1 1,450,000
3 Whitney Houston, WhitneyWhitney Houston 1 1,280,000
4 Now 10 Various Artists 1 1,075,000
5 Hits 6 Various Artists 1 1,050,000
6 Tango in the Night Fleetwood Mac 1 920,000
7 Whenever You Need Somebody Astley, RickRick Astley 1 850,000
8 Bridge of Spies T'Pau 1 780,000
9 The Phantom of the Opera Original London Cast 1 735,000
10 Hits 7 Various Artists 2 695,000
11 Running in the Family Level 42 2
12 Now 9 Various Artists 1
13 Raindancing Moyet, AlisonAlison Moyet 2
14 Graceland Simon, PaulPaul Simon 1
15 Actually Pet Shop Boys 2
16 Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby D'Arby, Terence TrentTerence Trent D'Arby 1
17 All the Best! McCartney, PaulPaul McCartney 2
18 Invisible Touch Genesis 2[a]
19 Men and Women Simply Red 2
20 The Best of UB40 – Volume One UB40 3
21 True Blue Madonna 2[b]
22 Live in the City of Light Simple Minds 1
23 The Singles Pretenders, TheThe Pretenders 6
24 Keep Your Distance Curiosity Killed the Cat 1
25 Faith Michael, GeorgeGeorge Michael 1
26 The Cream of Eric Clapton Clapton, EricEric Clapton 3
27 Solitude Standing Vega, SuzanneSuzanne Vega 2
28 Always Guaranteed Richard, CliffCliff Richard 5
29 The Very Best of Hot Chocolate Hot Chocolate 1
30 Sixties Mix Various Artists 3
31 The Circus Erasure 6
32 Give Me the Reason Vandross, LutherLuther Vandross 9[c]
33 Silk & Steel Five Star 5[d]
34 Hysteria Def Leppard 1
35 F.L.M. Mel and Kim 3
36 Brothers in Arms Dire Straits 11[e]
37 Popped In Souled Out Wet Wet Wet 2[f]
38 So Gabriel, PeterPeter Gabriel 6[g]
39 Whitesnake 1987 Whitesnake 8
40 It's Better to Travel Swing Out Sister 1
41 Who's That Girl Original Soundtrack 4
42 Simply Shadows Shadows, TheThe Shadows 7
43 You Can Dance Madonna 5
44 Dancing with Strangers Rea, ChrisChris Rea 2
45 The Return of Bruno Willis, BruceBruce Willis 4
46 Bad Animals Heart 7
47 Hearsay O'Neal, AlexanderAlexander O'Neal 10[h]
48 Move Closer Various Artists 4
49 Tunnel of Love Springsteen, BruceBruce Springsteen 1
50 Licensed to Ill Beastie Boys 7


  1. ^ Reached number 1 in 1986
  2. ^ Reached number 1 in 1986
  3. ^ Reached number 3 in 1988
  4. ^ Reached number 1 in 1986
  5. ^ Reached number 1 in 1985
  6. ^ Reached number 1 in 1988
  7. ^ Reached number 1 in 1986
  8. ^ Reached number 4 in 1988

Classical music[edit]


Musical films[edit]



Music awards[edit]

BRIT Awards[edit]

The 1987 BRIT Awards winners were:

Ivor Novello Awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1987 The Number One Singles". Official Charts Company. 
  2. ^ "1987 The Number One Albums". Official Charts Company. 
  3. ^ "Gallup Year End Charts 1987: Singles". Record Mirror. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 23 January 1988. p. 36. 
  4. ^ a b Jones, Alan (9 January 1988). "Chart File". Record Mirror. p. 28. 
  5. ^ "Gallup Year End Charts 1987: Albums". Record Mirror. 23 January 1988. p. 37. 
  6. ^ Judith Weir, "A Note on a Chinese Opera". The Musical Times, 128(1733), 373-375 (1987).
  7. ^ David Wright , "Weir to Now?". The Musical Times, 134(1806), 432-437 (1993).
  8. ^ Royal Academy of Music: Museum & Collections - Ivor Novello Award
  9. ^ Billboard, 1 June 1996, p 50. Accessed 16 April 2013

External links[edit]