When coming back to this irregular blog, I always start by seeing what the number ones were, then usually look through the news and other music events and obviously see if there is anything that jumps out at me as a memory of the year. This week I had looked at the music, and that will be detailed below as usual, but then a simple tweet changed my plans for the blog.
Yesterday afternoon UK time came the news, via twitter as is now the norm, a straightforward tweet "RIP Adam Yauch, MCA", quickly verified and then the conversations were all about the Beastie Boys and peoples memories, pictures, gigs they had been to and so on. What the hell has this got to do with 1987 I can hear people asking, well, it was their first tour, and one of those gigs that for me is never forgotten for so many reasons.
The Government had a lot on their hands trying to ban dance music and raves, and then added to the mix was a tour coming from the USA which was also something new and scary for the establishment. Rap music, in this case from Run DMC and the Beastie Boys, on a tour called Raising Hell, with reviews that involved giant inflatable penises, naked women in cages, beer, loud music and a fondness for VW car badges. The tabloids were up in arms, but the tour went ahead, for some reason I think it started in Liverpool, but we were booked in to the newish venue in London, Brixton Academy.
Far from the first gig I had been to, and was going with my best mate Dean, and my new boss Michelle. One of the memories being the T Shirt that I bought as soon as we got there, this was the back of it. I later gave it to Dean, he subsequently gave it to his girlfriend (and later wife) June, and that is all I know about that.
We had been for a drink before heading to Brixton in Moriarty's Bar at Baker Street tube station, a favourite haunt on the way to gigs and football. This was one of the first pubs to be closed as a result of a smoking ban, after the Kings Cross fire (which was also in 1987), smoking was barred on the underground and the bar went from a packed and atmosphere filled place to closed within weeks. The barman there seemed to fall for Michelle instantly, and spent an hour asking her for her number and also, and oddly, her earings. I think we got a free round of drinks as well...
At the venue there were mounted police and searches more reminiscent of a football match at the time than a gig, there had been trouble at some of the earlier dates on the tour, and the tension was high. Inside and no-one seemed to really know what to expect, the musical style was new to almost everyone there, and this was not a normal gig, or so the tabloids had been telling us.
It started, and it was everything that we had been told and more. This was like our "punk" moment, not just a band on a stage, but a show. Chaos and noise mixed with strippers and that giant penis, people back at work on Monday couldn't believe we had gone, it really was big news. The Beastie Boys went on to be one of the most innovative and entertaining bands of the next 20 odd years, and the early "fun" of Fight For Your Right To Party and No Sleep Till Brooklyn moved into the classics of Pauls Boutique and The Hot Sauce Committee. I was best man at Deans wedding, but we have lost touch, but am still best friends with Michelle. As soon as I texted her about the passing of MCA she responded with "Ladies in cages and Dean Bosley". Just one of those nights that stays with you forever.
Other news from the year included Mrs Thatcher getting elected for a third term, oddly on Michelles birthday, the great storm in the UK, stock market collapse on Black Monday, the bombing of Enniskillen on Remembrance Sunday, the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise and the start of The Simpsons. The usual mix of massive global and local stories, but that night in Brixton will be one that stays with me.
In other music news The Smiths broke up, Kylie started, U2 made a video on top of a building and Guns 'n' Roses released Appetite for Destruction which would go on to sell multi millions worldwide. A small release slipped out of Manchester that was also going to change music quite a lot, the first album by Happy Mondays, the snappily named Squirrel and G-man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out). Madchester was just around the corner, music was again in a state of change.
Single: It's A Sin - The Pet Shop Boys
The Pet Shop Boys (is that rumour about their name true?) are one of those bands that many people love, but I just never really got to grips with. They never released anything that I didn't like, but by the same token never released anything that I liked enough to buy. This fits the mould of what I envisage them to be like on all their records.
Very tuneful, but not quite enough to really sing along to, lyrics that hint to something slightly dirty, like Suede would perfect later, and soaring synthesisers throughout it is probably one of their most famous and recognisable tracks, and having listened to it a few times I am tempted to invest in a greatest hits to see how I get on with it.. I will check on ebay I think.
Album: Whitney - Whitney Houston
Well, obviously more recent news concerning her passing has meant that we have probably all heard a lot more from Whitney than we had over the previous decade, a sad end to her life.
Just not a great album for me here, at all. The mix of slow love songs and poppier love songs and the music is very dated now, and wasn't that good at the time. Opening with I Wanna Dance With Somebody the bubblegum pop tune that helped propel her and this album to worldwide success, the tone is set. It then seems to flip between the disco beat and ballad, much of it sounding very similar. The 80s pop synth sound put to good use on almost all of the tracks, it is one of those albums that although I have listened to all of it, all I can remember is the first song and the appalling version of I Know Him So Well that it ends with.
Not one that will be getting another play here, but millions of others clearly enjoyed it, and still do..
Anyway, not only did the Beastie Boys make some cracking tracks, their videos were the stuff of legend, so here is Sabotage.