Old Dude School of Rock- Part 1-1987

Well, Well, Well

When you think of Hard Rock back in 87 what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? 

Rock Mags? CDs? Cassette Tapes?  Strippers? Vinyl? 

For myself, it would be the Whitesnake album that everyone calls 1987. Actually, 3 things come to my mind when I think of this album

1-John Sykes laid down some supersonic guitar firepower on this album as well as co-writing most of the tracks and the thanks he gets along with everyone’s involvement with 1987  is they all get their asses canned.

2- The video of Here I Go Again with a cougar known as Tawny slipping n sliding while Davey tries to keep both hands on the wheel. (cue the stripper comment from above) 

3- Coverdale has never come close in sales of the 1987 album even though Dave has put out a bunch of Post Sykes albums. Last year’s Flesh and Blood album I think is the best thing Old Cov has released since the shred infested Slip of the Tongue release(1990) as SOTT took me about 30 years to come around on it. 

Make no mistake folk’s Dave and John hit one out of the ballpark. A few years back in 2017 Coverdale put out a brilliant box set of the 1987 album featuring the demos that are just sonic Gold.  Seek it out.

Great White released a pretty decent album in the form of Once Bitten that featured the cool 7 minute plus version of Rock Me. Other tunes that I played non stop on my cassette tape of Once Bitten were Lady Red Light and All Over Now. Jack Russell has a great bluesy voice and Jack did not try to go down falsetto avenue on this stuff which is an added plus. 

I took the plunge and like many others bought White Lion who released Pride in 87. White Lion was getting a ton of press and why not. They had a Blond Frontman and a dark-haired guitarist. Who does that remind you all of?  Pride featured the big ballad When The Children Cry which pushed Pride up the charts. I bought the next 2 White Lion records after Pride as well so I guess for a time I dug there sound as when they decided to rock it up White Lion was pretty good. 

Donnie and Curious George released the brilliant Back For The Attack which was jammed with an hours worth of music that had us all Rockin With Dokken. This is one killer record that I still put on now and then. Actually, I purchased this originally of cassette than CD and finally picked it up used on vinyl a few months back. Prisoner was a great track. The whole damn album is one fine record. Too bad they couldn’t keep the ego’s n coke in check.

Heart released an album called Crazy Nights. Sorry I meant KISS. Genie and Paulie hired Ron Nevison(Heart, Ozzy) who was coming off the huge self-titled Heart release of 1986 and KISS went about wanting hits. Didn’t really go that way as no big singles really took off except for the tune Crazy Nights which was huge in England so there ya go.  Crazy Nights is an Ok album. Nothing Great. Nothing Bad. It’s just kinda there.


Just like KISS with Crazy Nights Motley Crue pumped out Girls Girls Girls and even though I hoped aboard the Crue express right way with this record just like I did with 85’s Theatre of Pain it fell by the wayside a little quicker. Some cool stuff like Sumthin For Nuthin and the wicked Wild Side are stellar tracks. Your All I Need was the big ballad but Vince was singing way out of his range and a sappy live cover of Jailhouse Rock kinda tanked the album from respectability. Over time though I like Theatre of Pain better than the Girls album. Did I just type that?

RUSH came at us with the crisp n guitar clean sound of  Hold Your Fire which had some really great tracks on it. Opener Force 10 is a great track and Time Stand Still (featuring Aimee Mann) was a great single. I will add that Prime Mover which ends Side 1 is such a brilliant piece of RUSH Music. Peart drives that cymbal like the GOD he is on Prime Mover. RUSH though you have to hand it to them they just kept putting out albums during the 80s and kept doing what they were doing. Meaning doing it their own way and going Platinum in the process.

Aerosmith released on the same day as RUSH, Permanent Vacation which was the comeback of comebacks. Fairbairn and Rock dialed in the sonics while Jim Vallance/Desmond Child pushed the singles up the charts. This was a lean mean clean version of Aerosmith. In other words, the Record Company wanted money. They got it with this album. If you ever meet Tyler don’t ask him about Holly Knight whose contribution to Rag Doll was changing the title originally from Rag Time to Rag Doll and she got a full writing credit to which this day still drives Tyler crazy! I was with Tbone that day at the record shop as we both each left with RUSH and Aero products. That was a good day record shopping and money well spent.

Def Leppard released Hysteria in August 87 and it was a mad dash to the record shop to hear what Lep had been cooking up since there last release was Pyromania from 83.  When I got to our local A&A Records Hysteria was already sold out on vinyl. So cassette tape it was. Leppard to there credit included all the album info inside the tape so all was good as far as keeping me happy! lol. Hysteria I liked and still do. Sure there’s the sweet goop of the Sugar tune but Leppard could still bunker down and write some brilliant slabs of rock.  Isn’t it crazy that all of Side 1 was released as singles? Side 2 though for me has some stellar stuff like Gods of War, Run Riot, Don’t Shoot Shotgun. Yeah man, the under the radar stuff. Great album.

I was big into The Cult when they released the Electric album (more on that one in Part 2). I had seen an add-in Music Express that had a bunch of Cult tour dates going across Canada. Opening for The Cult was this crazy bunch of riff-raff calling themselves Gun N Roses.  I filed that name in the back of my noggin and I think it was early December 87 when I was in King’s Stereo and in the cassette section was Guns N Roses and there debut release Apettite For Destruction. I took the plunge and just like The Electric album this was a street rock but with a lot less polish than everyone else that was putting out records at the time. My first reaction was this Axl guy likes the F-bomb but man what a debut. A band that was definitely broke in recording Appetite For Destruction and went for everyone’s throat and made us all tap out before they choked us out! 

Thanks for sticking around and reading this post about 1987. Amazing that when you look at this list that Leppard/Gunners/Aero and Whitesnake had so much chart action with singles and video play that these 4 albums were still selling huge numbers well into 1988! 

Check back in a few days for Part 2.

30 thoughts on “Old Dude School of Rock- Part 1-1987”

  1. Now that is an absolutely monster opening to 1987. It doesn’t get much better than this which is why it is part of my argument for the Greatest Year in Rock! What must Part 2 hold?? I had most of these in my collection and still do today.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a great series, Deke – I’m always excited when I see the next post pop up in the reader. As the years go on, we’re starting to have a lot more overlap too!
    I just had Hysteria on the other day, well said about the side 2 hidden gems – it reminded me a bit of Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet, where side 1 tracks are so huge it almost feels like a greatest hits.
    I don’t recognize that Rush track, but I quite like Aimee Mann, so I bet I’d enjoy.
    And Appetite, debuts don’t come much better than that one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha you were in Grade 8 and I was already working full time for a year bahahaha
      Amazing but Gunners were on a juggernaut fireball of success at that point
      They were anti everything and people including myself and you latched onto that express

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was glad to see Aerosmith come back in a big way at the time. Guns and Roses brought rawness back into the spotlight and I liked it. It was more of a throwback to hard rock.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would have been a great tour back than when Guns opened for Aero back in 88. Man what a show that would have been as you would have the rebooted somewhat polished Aerosmith with the young dirtbags opening. Epic!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have said more than a few times in my posts that Cobain’s Tattered Cardigan snuffed out more than a few bands back than.
        Very true the scene shifted from sunny L.A to rainy Seattle and you can hear it int he music which is wild when you think about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Big year Deke. Biggggg yearrrr. Lol.
    From a guitar point of view I couldn’t go past Whitesnake, Dokken, White Lion And Guns N Roses. Those albums had so much to unpack and learn. Bratta was a new gun and it was wrong how he was called an EVH clone. He was different and musicians like him should have been taken care off better.

    Hysteria didn’t really come into my life until “Love Bites” came out and gave it a new life on the charts. So yeah I was a bit late to the party on that one.
    “Rock Me” made Great White a video band for me as I taped the clip from TV and learnt the song that way as I didn’t have the funds to purchase the album. Same deal with Aerosmith. I actually purchased Permanent Vacation after Pump came out. The videos were enough at that point in time.

    Now Kiss.. I like “Crazy Nights”. It’s Bruce Kulick’s moment. He decorated those songs and standard chord progressions nicely and gave em some life, plus his solos are brilliant.
    I think Paul is singing way too high, especially in songs like “Turn On The Night”, “I’ll Fight Hell To Hold You” and the ball squeezing “My Way”. But still cool to listen to. Nice review. Bring on Part 2

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vito and Tramp got labeled as the blond singer and dark-haired guitarist like we all know who!
      Crazy Nights to me had some good stuff some silly stuff and some hokey stuff. The production on Crazy Nights/ The Ultimate Sin and Heart is all the same.
      I guess if it isn’t broke don’t fix it!
      I missed Aerosmith and Dokken in Dec 87. I wish I would have caught that tour.

      It is true that Hysteria somewhat stiffed on the charts when it first came but the singles after WOMEN kicked it into gear and they never looked back.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jeff. I’m sure she puts on a stellar show. Pretty cool claim to fame singing on a RUSH album. I wonder how many Rush Geeks question her about it. lol

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. By 1987, I was fully invested in the rock! Although it took some time to catch up with all the albums.

    I think Whitesnake I didn’t get until the end of the year, Christmas time. I remember my aunt saying, “Oh, Crying in the Rain and Still of the Night…those sound like nice songs.” LOL.

    Kiss was absolutely the biggest album for me of 87, even though I didn’t think it was that good, I was such a huge Kiss fan I kept playing and playing it.

    Another big one you might get to next time was the Randy Rhoads years which I got for my birthday and changed my world!

    Liked by 1 person

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