OldStand: Rolling Stone, March 10, 1988

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.