Let’s start by stating that we don’t hate these songs or the artists. However, the videos that accompanied these songs were just plain awful. Music videos exposed many of these artists to a broader audience when MTV took over the airways during the 80s. While there are many now classic music videos that will live on in our memories forever, there are some that we would all most likely like to forget as well.
Here’s our list of the “5 Worst Music Videos Of The 80s”
Elton John – “I’m Still Standing”
While this video could be described as artsy, it’s also just plain weird, even by 80s standards. The cast of characters in the video is quite unique and what’s with all of the body paint? Try explaining this video with just words to someone. Creative?…yes…Good, No!
Aldo Nova – “Fantasy”
While this song is a solid rocker, he must have been living in a fantasy if he thought this video was good. The start of the video looks like a scene from the 80s movie “Escape From New York” but then turns even weirder when Aldo Nova arrives in a helicopter wearing a full leopard print leotard-like outfit and shoots a laserbeam out of his guitar to blast through a wall and reach the stage. Clearly, someone evil doesn’t want this guy to rock the crowd.
Journey – “Separate Ways”
So the classic rock band Journey took a weird detour in this video. It’s almost like the director didn’t even have a plan when they started. So the band is hanging out around what looks like an abandoned airplane hangar but is actually a mattress recycling factory in a warehouse district.
They are playing invisible instruments part of the time, which is really bizarre because it’s being done very badly. Lots of 80s rock cliche’s all rolled up in one video for what seems like a serious song, that’s incredibly hard to take seriously with all the silliness happening.
David Bowie & Mick Jagger – “Dancing In The Street”
If you’re looking for a video with two super rock stars appearing together who somehow seem to come off as ridiculous and goofy, then watch this video featuring rock legends David Bowie and Mick Jagger. The dancing is ridiculous if you can even call it that… and the primping and strutting around gets so over the top. Jagger even stops to drink a Pepsi in the middle of one part. It’s almost like the director said, hurry up it’s almost dark out so let’s just film you guys jumping around and we’ll edit it together later. Maybe he also told them to put their faces as close as possible to one another without actually touching. If so, they accepted the challenge and executed it perfectly.
Billy Squier – “Rock Me Tonite”
Billy Squier’s career caught on fire with the release of his second album “Don’t Say No”, which would ultimately achieve Triple Platinum status in record sales. The album featured such hits as “Lonely Is the Night”, “In the Dark”, “My Kinda Lover” and the smash hit “The Stroke”.
His third album “Emotions In Motion” sold well propelled by the hit single “Everybody Wants You” and would eventually go Double Platinum.
It was the video for the song “Rock Me Tonite” from Billy’s fourth album, released in 1984 that stirred a huge controversy at the time.
Needless to say, accepted social norms at the time were very different, including widely accepted gender roles for men and women. In the video, Squier appears in a pink tank top and dances in a manner that some described as effeminate. Rumors began to swirl immediately about Billy Squier’s sexuality and it seemed to impact his career somewhat at the time, even though the album went Platinum in sales. Squier had been a heartthrob of sorts for many of his female fans and was considered a hard rocker by a lot of the guys, some of whom now, questioned his masculinity after the video for “Rock Me Tonite” was released. The album featured a mix of pop and rock and relied more on synthesizers and keyboards, rather than just guitars, which also seemed to make many of his fans unsure about his status as a full-fledged rocker.
Others just seemed to think the video made Squier look goofy and awkward with his dance routine. If this video actually did hurt Squier’s career, it’s really a shame because he is a great musician, singer, and songwriter.
The album is hailed by critics today as a great creative turning point for Squier as an artist, and it’s considered to be one of the best albums of his career.
Squier went on to release many great albums afterward but none of them matched the success of his previous efforts.
While we’re big fans of Billy Squier’s work, someone should have made sure that this video never saw the light of day. The dancing is beyond terrible and someone, anyone, should have told Billy or the record company to throw in the towel and just go with a live concert performance version instead.