College Countdown: KROQ-FM’s Top 40 Songs of 1987, 8 and 7

8. “True Faith” by New Order
New Order’s 1986 album, Brotherhood, may have still had an impact in 1987 (see #39 below), but it was the two-record set released during the year proper that represented a major turning point for the band. Called Substance or Substance 1987, depending on how deeply one feels the need to accede primacy to the Joy Division collection of the same name released the following year, the album compiled all of New Order’s singles and b-sides up to that point, although some of them in rerecorded or otherwise modified form. To help fill out the track listing, the band recorded two new songs, as well, releasing them as a fresh single to help promote the release. “1963” wound up as the B-side, as the band’s U.S. management decided the other new effort, “True Faith,” was far more likely to help the band break through on this side of the Atlantic. Chalk one up for the suits, as “True Faith” represents New Order’s first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Indeed it was also their first Top 40 song in the U.S., remarkably one of only two times that band managed that achievement (the second instance arrived some six years later, with “Regret,” which is also New Order’s highest charting single in the States). This is the second of two New Order songs on the countdown.

7. “Dear God” by XTC
Andy Partridge of XTC was so certain he’d failed with “Dear God” that it wasn’t initially included on the band’s masterful 1986 album, Skylarking. As he later put it, he thought he fell short in writing about a subject as vast and complex as humanity’s desire to believe in something larger and the exploitative power apparatus constructed around that desire. Instead, it was originally issued as the B-side to the first single from the album, the very fine but far less seminal “Grass.” The emergence of “Dear God” is generally attributed to college radio DJs, undoubtedly drawn in by the song’s inspired anti-authority, along with the simple fact that it’s a marvelously constructed pop song. Of course, any song that dared to challenge the existence of capital G God in Ronald Reagan’s America was sure to raise some hackles, and that’s just what “Dear God” managed to do, inspiring great animosity and at least one documented instance of a bomb threat called in to a radio station that had the track in rotation. Fairly quickly, Geffen Records realized it would be useful to have the song everyone was talking about on the album they were trying to sell, and Skylarking was reissued with “Dear God” displacing “Mermaid Smiled.” “Dear God” eventually got another release on a single, this time taking up residence on the A-side.

Previously…
An Introduction
40 and 39: “4th of July” and “Bizarre Love Triangle”
38 and 37: “Heartbreak Beat” and “Not My Slave”
36 and 35: “Alone Again Or” and “Absolute Perfection”
34 and 33: “Love Removal Machine” and “The Passenger”
32 and 31: “It’s Still Warm” and “Hourglass”
30 and 29: “Alex Chilton” and “We Care a Lot”
28 and 27: “Crazy” and “It’s a Sin”
26 and 25: “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Rules and Regulations”
24 and 23: “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” and “Twenty Killer Hurts”
22 and 21: “We Close Our Eyes” and “Please”
20 and 19: “Rain in the Summertime” and “Behind the Wheel”
18 and 17: “The Sweetest Thing” and “Rent”
16 and 15: “Is It Really So Strange?” and “The Motion of Love”
14 and 13: “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “No New Tale to Tell”
12 and 11: “A Hazy Shade of Winter” and “The One I Love”
10 and 9: “Never Let Me Down Again” and “With or Without You”

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