Top 5 Videos of the 80’s
Remember when MTV was Music Television? And VH1 stood for Video Hits 1? The videos that were shown could make or break a song for a band. Because of this the bands and their record labels set out to make memorable videos to go with the songs.
Here is a list of what I think is the Top 5 of the 1980’s MTV era.
This video was made by a production company called Spitting Image. They created caricature puppets of famous people and most of them made an appearance in this video. The song was a comment on the political turmoil of the Reagan/Thatcher/Gorbachev era. The song was redone by the metal band Disturbed, and that video was interesting in it’s own right. The original video won a Grammy for Best Concept Music Video in 1988 and was up for the MTV Video Awards “Music Video Of The Year”, but lost to our next video.
Sledgehammer by former Genesis lead singer Peter Gabriel came out on his 1986 album “So”. The video was an eye-popping display of images done by Aardman Animations (of Wallace and Gromit fame) and the Brothers Quay provided claymation, pixilation, and stop motion animation that gave life to images in the song. The video won the MTV Award for Video of the Year in 1987, and the song was up for three Grammy awards. As of 2011, this video was the Most Played Video on MTV.
You Might Think – The Cars
This video showed the lead singer’s desire for a beautiful girl. It was a bizarre mix of images as Ric appeared in the girl’s life. The song was the first single from their fifth studio album, Heartbeat City, which came out in 1984. The track was written by Ric Ocasek, and produced by Mutt Lange along with The Cars. The song was covered by Alvin and the Chipmunks in 1984 and again by Weezer for the Pixar movie ‘Cars 2′
This was the second release from the Men down under, after their first hit appropriately titled “Down Under”. This video is on this list because of the great “acting” by lead singer Colin Hay, with his bugged out eyes, as he sings about the paranoia that the song is about, and the great costumes of the rest of the band as they knock on the door. The best is Greg Ham as an alien from outer space. The band was the first Australian band to have the #1 album and the #1 song at the same time. It happened with “Business As Usual” and “Down Under”. They were given a Grammy for “Best New Artist” in 1983.
“Money for Nothing” by the British group Dire Straits, is from their 1985 album “Brothers in Arms”. The video is done in a “flat” animation and features many videos from unknown acts that were rarely played on MTV. Sting was the cameo voice that sung the opening line “I Want My MTV” and the background vocals on the song. This video was the first video ever aired when MTV Europe went on in 1987.
Before people start the hate comments begin, this Movie Short was not included on the list because it is a movie at over thirteen minutes. I am including it here as an extra because it was a great short for the song. MJ went on to have other “short films”, as he referred to them, for his songs including “Moonwalker” and “Smooth Criminal” to name a few. The length and expense of Micheal’s videos even cause the folks at the “Guinness Books Of World Records” to create new categories for him.