Take our ink-stained hands and join us at the OldStand, where Jon McMillan goes to remind everyone what an honest-to-goodness music magazine is supposed to look like.

Not sure why it took Rolling Stone until March 10th, 1988 to release the results of the 1987 Music Poll when basically all they had to do was take the same batch of index cards they use to choose their covers (Springsteen, R.E.M., U2, David Bowie, any Beatle, something from 1968, male white actor etc.), throw them on the floor, and let David Fricke (“the critic”), and an intern (“the reader”) pick them up in a different order. Which is to say: no surprises here. U2 picks up most of the coveted non-awards, and are rewarded for their trouble with a super-pretentious four-page spread of their heads juxtaposed with U2 lyrics. Oh, and a profile of The Edge (known, at this point in his career, as “the guy who isn’t Bono”).

Here’s a vote: This is the most half-assed “poll” ever. Many of the categories have multiple winners, and the “artists” section is just a list of stuff, with no explanation or qualifications whatsoever (for example, Michael Stipe’s “list” includes the following quote: “I didn’t listen to anything in a year, but I know these came out and are the best. Of what they are. Next year will be Downey Mildew and Hetchy Hetchy. You watch.” Um, thanks big fella. Why don’t you sit the next few plays out?). And how can Belinda Carlisle, of all people, be the only person (critic, fan, artist) to include “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me”? This whole thing just makes me mad. At least the guys from Crowded House have the good sense to name check “Strangeways Here We Come.”

Elsewhere there’s a huge article about the Rock ’N’ Roll HOF inductions (a six-page list of names, basically, but some of the pictures are hilarious), a PJ O’Rourke piece about post-Marcos Manila, and Kurt Loder’s four-star review of Robert Plant’s Now And Zen (“Even Jimmy Page, who is a guest guitarist on two of the tracks, flourishes in this hot new context”). Fred Goodman checks in with an insightful report on how the record industry is (was) dealing with the death of vinyl (if you guessed “by charging hubristic prices for CDs,” give yourself a twist of the arm).

Also: Spuds Mackenzie, Richard Marx, and the most wonderfully eclectic dance chart of all time.




Nothing androgynous about that unibrow, sir.


Caption contest: What is Bob Dylan thinking?


Heart(break) city!


Part of the “Critics List.” Not sure how anybody could name Whitney Houston “Worst Female Singer” with a straight face. At least they nailed that “That Petrol Emotion” pick.


This is what happens when you let Bono write your high school yearbook blurb.


Richard Marx!


Can somebody Muxtape these dance tracks? Looks like a pretty awesome mix.


Fuck you, Bud Light.


Sorry Justin from Manassas, too late to take this back.


Ironically, it looks like vinyl is going to outlive the CD.

Comments (11)
  1. I really like this feature. Since most of these magazines were printed before I was born, it’s like a nice history lesson.

    • History lesson? Sigh.

      I owned that exact would-be Muxtape, except it was on a 120 minute Maxell clear cassette tape and Rob Base/DJ E-Z Rock’s It takes two got cut off after the 2nd verse. Totally jacks my flow at karaoke.

  2. tngregory  |   Posted on Mar 31st, 2008 0

    i like it too and i bought most of these issues.

  3. The Dude  |   Posted on Mar 31st, 2008 0

    I totally remember owning that issue. ’88 was a good year: graduated high school & went to college. Lots and lots and lots of music for me that year.

  4. Paul Ramon  |   Posted on Mar 31st, 2008 0

    Why was the Cure only included once? Because they are now and have been since well before “Kiss Me…” a terrible, terrible band who could only possibly appeal to morbid, self-important 16-year-old girls. And now those girls and the nerds who loved them are all growed up and, like R.E.M., we are forced to hear about how incredibly important they were, well after they were any good. Amazing that this has become the hipster narrative.

    • @ Paul Ramon
      Whether you’re way off on The Cure or not (hint: you are), check out some of the bands and albums that appeared somewhere on those reader/artist/critic picks and tell me that an album that contains a single as monstrous and influential as “Just Like Heaven” has no place on any of these lists:

      Best Album:
      Whitesnake, Whitesnake
      Bad Animals, Heart
      A Momentary Lapse of Reason, Pink Floyd
      Tunnel of Love, Springsteen (had some good songs, but miles from his best)
      Babble, That Petrol Emotion
      Look What the Cat Dragged in, Poison

      I’m awarding all of your points to Belinda Carlisle (and Suzanne Vega — she had KMx3 on her list too).

  5. Paul Ramon  |   Posted on Mar 31st, 2008 0

    Why was the Cure only included once? Because they are now and have been since well before “Kiss Me…” a terrible, terrible band who could only possibly appeal to morbid, self-important 16-year-old girls. And now those girls and the nerds who loved them are all growed up and, like R.E.M., we are forced to hear about how incredibly important they were, well after they were any good. Amazing that this has become the hipster narrative.

  6. bookwibble  |   Posted on Mar 31st, 2008 0

    Spuds!

  7. grace6697  |   Posted on Apr 1st, 2008 0

    you can always count on the guys from Crowded House to do the right thing.

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