College Countdown: KROQ-FM’s Top 40 Songs of 1987, 1

1. “Just Like Heaven” by the Cure
The third single from the Cure’s 1987 double album release, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, was a clear breakthrough for the band, at least in the United States. It was their first song to cross into the Billboard Top 40, although just barely. What’s more, the band that MTV had been toying with for a couple of years found themselves with a very secure place on the trend-setting cable network. Maybe that was in part because the smitten exuberance of the song helped the band shake off some of gothy cobwebs that shrouded them from a certain swatch of music fandom. Even the lead single from the same album, “Why Can’t I Be You?,” had a little sad self-loathing built right into the title. “Just Like Heaven,” on the other hand, was a lovely bit of poppy joy. The opening lyrics (“‘Show me how you do that trick/ The one that makes me scream,’ she said/ ‘The one that makes me laugh,’ she said/ And threw her arms around my neck/ ‘Show me how you do it/ And I promise you, I promise that/ I’ll run away with you/ I’ll run away with you'”) are so spectacularly evocative that I still can’t hear them (or, as I just discovered, type them out) without feeling a happy clenching in my chest that echoes the obviously throbbing heart of Smith as he sings them. He wrote the song for Mary Poole, his girlfriend at the time. The two were married the year after “Just Like Heaven” became a hit. They’ll celebrate their silver wedding anniversary this summer. That should be enough to make all the old goth kids feel old.

And that’s it for this chart. Since the Academy Awards are one week from today, this space will be turned over to a little Oscar talk. The College Countdown returns in two weeks with the introduction of our next chart. Be prepared for a long haul.

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”
8 and 7: “True Faith” and “Dear God”
6 and 5: “Need You Tonight” and “Why Can’t I Be You”
4 and 3: “Lips Like Sugar” and “Strangelove”
2: “Girlfriend in a Coma”

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