Fall Fundraising Drive: KCMU’s Top 90.3 of 1987 Revisited

Every year KEXP counts down the Top 90.3 records of the year, as voted on by listeners. But if you’ve ever poked around the Charts tab of KEXP.ORG and clicked through the Top 90.3 archives, you’ve probably noticed that our posted lists only go back to 1994.

Surprise, surprise! While digging in the vaults last week, I unearthed a complete playlist for the Top 90.3 of 1987, as voted on by KCMU listeners and aired on December 31, 1987. Aside from my joy at seeing many of my favorite artists represented (Yello! Cocteau Twins! Nurse With Wound?), what struck me was the diversity represented -- blues, reggae, music from Africa, and even minimalist composer Philip Glass all cropped up on the list. The commitment to championing new sounds that drives KEXP today was just as evident on 90.3 FM twenty-five years ago. Ditto local music -- Girltrouble, Melvins, U-Men, the Wipers, and Young Fresh Fellows were only some of the great PNW artists that KCMU listeners voted for that year.

Now get ready to step back in time: tonight from 9:00pm to 1:00am I’ll be playing nothing but highlights from KCMU’s Top 90.3 of 1987. You can check out a list of all 91 records I’ll be drawing from below. I won’t have time to get to all of them in a single four-hour show, and I don’t promise I’ll play the exact same songs that were originally selected, but you get the idea. If you’re even a fraction as fired up about this special program as I am, I hope you’ll show your enthusiasm with a gift of support to help power KEXP for many more years to come.

KCMU’s Top 90.3 of 1987

  1. Soundgarden – “Hunted Down” from Screaming Life EP (Sub Pop)
  2. Tom Waits – “The Train Song” from Frank’s Wild Years (Island)
  3. Wire – “Feed Me” from The Ideal Copy (Mute/Enigma)
  4. Big Black – “Things To Do Today” from the “Heartbeat” 7-inch (Touch and Go)
  5. Butthole Surfers – “Sweatloaf” from Locust Abortion Tehnician (Touch and Go)
  6. Pinchers – “Mass Out” from Mass Out (RAS)
  7. The Chills – “Party In My Heart” from House With A Hundred Rooms EP (Flying Nun)
  8. Sonic Youth – “Schizophrenia” from Sister (SST)
  9. Yello – “La Habanera” from One Second (Polydor)
  10. Cocteau Twins – “Those Eyes, That Mouth” from Love’s Easy Tears EP (4AD)
  11. Naná Vasconcelos – “Calmaria” from Bush Dance (Antilles)
  12. Downy Mildew – “The Kitchen” from Broomtree (Texas Hotel)
  13. Nomeansno – “Self Pity” from Sex Mad (Alternative Tentacles)
  14. Holger Czukay – “Sudetenland” from Rome Remains Rome (Virgin UK)
  15. Room Nine – “Don’t Look Back” from Voices… of a Summers Day (C’est la Mort)
  16. Biff Bang Pow! – “Seven Seconds” from Oblivion (Creation)
  17. Screaming Trees – “Transfiguration” from Even If And Especially When (SST)
  18. Skinyard – “Open Fist” from a cassette
  19. Julian Cope – “Pulsar” from Saint Julian (Island)
  20. Lee “Scratch” Perry & Dub Syndicate – “S.D.I.” from De Devil Dead (On-U Sound)
  21. Jeff Greinke – “Centuries Passed” from Places of Mortality (Dossier)
  22. Der Plan – “Bleib Gold!” from Es Ist Eine Fremde Und Seltsame Welt (Ata Tak)
  23. Hank Cephas and Phil Wiggins – “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” from Dog Days of August (Flying Fish)
  24. Green River – “Ozzie” from Dry As A Bone EP (Sub Pop)
  25. Metallica – “Last Caress/Green Hell” from Garage Days Re-Revisited EP (Elektra)
  26. Dead Can Dance – “Windfall” from Within the Realm of the Dying Sun (4AD)
  27. Mantronix – “We Control the Dice” from Music Madness (Sleeping Bag)
  28. Buckwheat Zydeco – “Space Zydeco” from On A Night Like This (Island)
  29. Chris Newman (aka Napalm Beach) – “Monster” from a cassette
  30. Clive Pig – “The Sun in August” from A Sense of the Size of the World (Hopewell)
  31. Coil – “Penetralia” from Horse Rotorvator (Some Bizzare)
  32. Albert Collins – “Light Are On But Nobody’s Home” from Cold Snap (Alligator)
  33. The Wipers – “Against the Wall” from Follow Blind (Restless)
  34. Hasil Adkins – “Pond Fork River” from The Wild Man (Norton)
  35. Young Fresh Fellows – “Two Brothers” from The Men Who Loved Music (PopLlama/Frontier)
  36. King Sunny Ade – “Let Them Say” from Let Them Say (Atom Park)
  37. Bill Pritchard – “Greek Street” from the V/A compilation For Your Ears Only (Third Mind)
  38. Tiger – “Mi Lover Mi Lover” from Me Name Tiger (RAS)
  39. The June Brides – “In The Rain” from the V/A compilation Beauty (The Pink Label)
  40. Thatcher On Acid – “Guess Who’s Running the Show?” from Curdled (All The Madmen)
  41. Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited – “Mhondoro” from the V/A compilation WOMAD Talking Book: Volume 2 – An Introduction to Africa (WOMAD)
  42. Neon Judgment – “Kid Shyleen” from A Man Ain’t No Man… EP (Play It Again Sam)
  43. U-Men – “Solid Action” from the “Solid Action” 7-inch (Dig A Hole)
  44. Snooks Eaglin – “Baby, You Can Get Your Gun!” from Baby, You Can Get Your Gun! (Black Top)
  45. Controlled Bleeding – “The Oven Song” from Core (Subterranean)
  46. Harold Budd – “Olancha Farewell” from Lovely Thunder (Editions EG)
  47. Snakefinger’s Vestal Virgins – “There’s No Justice in Life” from Night of Desirable Objects (Ralph)
  48. Non – “Sunset” from Blood and Flame (Mute)
  49. Ashwin Batish – “New Delhi Vice from Sitar Power (Batish Records)
  50. Killdozer – “Cranberries” from Burl EP (Touch and Go)
  51. Bob Andy – “Too Proud To Beg” from Retrospective (Heartbeat)
  52. The Weathermen – “The Lift” from the V/A compilation The Dice Are Rolling (Play It Again Sam)
  53. Dub Syndicate – “Night Train” from Night Train EP (Industrie Discografiche Lacerba)
  54. Melvins – “Grinding Process” from Melvins EP (C/Z)
  55. Smersh – “The Man Who Ate Steam” from The Beat from 20,000 Fathoms (RRRecords)
  56. Royal Crescent Mob – “Get On the Bus” from Omerta (Moving Target/Celluloid)
  57. Philip Glass – “In the Upper Room: Dance V” from DancePieces (CBS)
  58. Arthur Russell – “She’s the Star/I’ll Take This Time” from World of Echo (Rough Trade)
  59. David Sylvian – “River Man” from Gone To Earth (Virgin)
  60. Einstürzende Neubauten – “Ich Bin’s” from Fuenf Auf Der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala (Relativity)
  61. That Petrol Emotion – “Creeping To The Cross” from Babble (Polydor)
  62. The Mighty Lemon Drops – “Out of Hand” from Out of Hand (Sire)
  63. Scala – “Wiping A Tear From the All Seeing Eye” from Secret Ceremony EP (Cocteau)
  64. Artist Unknown – “The Billy Bee Song” from Potatoes (Ralph)
  65. Half Pint – “One In A Million” from the V/A compilation Taxi Connection – Live in London (Mango)
  66. R.E.M. – “Exhuming McCarthy” from Document (I.R.S.)
  67. Piero Milesi – “Waterfall” from The Nuclear Observatory of Mr. Nanof (Cuneiform)
  68. Redd Kross – “Beautiful Bye Byes” from Neurotica (Big Time)
  69. The Wheel – “Fascination” from a cassette
  70. Laibach – “Transnational” from Opus Dei (Wax Trax!)
  71. Chris and Cosey – “Dr. John (Sleeping Stephen)” from Exotika (Play It Again Sam/Nettwerk)
  72. Joe Jackson – “No Pasaran” from Will Power (A&M)
  73. Opal – “Happy Nightmare Baby” from Happy Nightmare Baby (SST)
  74. Gaye Bykers on Acid – “Nosedive Kharma” from The Nosedive EP (In Tape)
  75. Girl Trouble – “She No Rattle My Cage” from “She No Rattle My Cage” 7-inch (K)
  76. Bruce Gilbert – “There Are” from The Shivering Man (Mute)
  77. Lonesi Chewane and Loni Hetara – “The Talkative Woman” from The Africans soundtrack (Antilles)
  78. Roger Miller Maximum Electric Piano – “Portrait of a Mechanical Dog” from The Big Industry (Ace of Hearts)
  79. Mad Daddys – “Porno King” from Apes Go Wild (New Rose)
  80. The Cure – “One More Time” from Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me (Elektra)
  81. David Van Tieghem – “Galaxy” from Safety In Numbers (Private)
  82. Pixies – “Levitate Me” from Come On Pilgrim (4AD)
  83. Nurse With Wound – excerpt from Spiral Insania (Torso)
  84. Little Milton – “Annie Mae’s Café” from “A Real Good Woman” 7-inch (Malaco)
  85. The Sugarcubes – “Birthday” from “Birthday” 12-inch (One Little Indian)
  86. Head On Sticks – “A Place To Wait” from V/A compilation Profane 9 (Rouska)
  87. New Order – “True Faith” from Substance (Factory/Qwest)
  88. H-Hour – “Overlook” from a cassette
  89. Frazier Chorus – “Storm” from Sloppy Heart EP (4AD)
  90. Fats Comet – “Rockchester” from “Rockchester” 12-inch (World)
  91. Negativland – “Announcement” from Escape From Noise (SST)
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