As the saying goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” After spending a couple days watching countless music videos from the 1980’s, we’ve got a little saying of our own: “Woahhh, all of these videos are ridiculous.” For this month’s Knockmix we’ve selected 10 of the silliest videos we encountered. Bedazzled eye patches, Ronald Reagan puppets dressed like Superman, sweaty power-walkers, fake dogs…it’s all here. So go grab that can of hairspray, pull on your neon spandex pants, and check out some music video ridiculousness from 30+ years ago!
Olivia Newton-John with "Let’s Get Physical"
We have to imagine that if we were the creative directors for this video, we would have gone in a different direction. Olivia Newton-John looks super cool, the ripped thighs at the beginning of the video make sense, but then… a bunch of out of shape guys show up and ONJ starts massaging / wrestling a chubby guy on a table. Things got weird. Fast.
Journey with "Separate Ways"
We imagine the conversation between Journey and their record label went something like this: "Alright, what's our budget to make this video?" "60 bucks." "OK, cool. I think my cousin's friend has a warehouse where we can shoot it." "Great." Ridiculous video. (We really love the song though.)
Dead or Alive with "You Spin Me Round"
The 80’s were full of interesting trends. Leg warmers, big hair, neon, etc… Most of us here at Knockaround were just kids in the 80’s, so we can neither confirm nor deny if the fashion statement made in this video was, in fact, an 80’s trend: the bedazzled eyepatch. Before Pete Burns started Dead or Alive, he might have been the fanciest pirate in the seven seas.
Survivor with "Eye of the Tiger"
For a cool song that instantly makes everyone think of the awesome movie Rocky III, this music video is a total dud. The lead singer is sweating like crazy, the band members look like they're professional power-walkers, and the keyboard guy looks like one of those animatronic bears from Disneyland.
Starship with "We Built This City"
From what we can tell, Starship uses pure Rock’n’Roll to build cities. According to the video, those cities include New York, Tokyo, Chicago…and what appears to be a small farming village in Ireland. We had always just assumed that cities were built with steel, concrete, and years of hard labor. Turns out all you need is a deep synth, a guitar solo, and big hair.
Genesis with "Land of Confusion"
This video has it all! If by “all” you mean a life-size Ronald Reagan puppet trying to squeeze himself in to a spandex Superman costume. The medical term for someone that has a fear of puppets is “pupaphobia.” Yep, definitely have that now.
Queen with "I Want to Break Free"
This music video is no doubt "ridiculous", but unlike some of the other videos on the list, it actually still (kind of) holds up in 2019. The video avoids some of the classic 80's video traps: bad computer effects, gimmicks that will get a quick laugh, and tight outfits...well, it avoids a few classic 80's video traps.
Bonnie Tyler with "Total Eclipse of the Heart"
Like it or not, this is one of the most popular karaoke song choices of all time. The music video for the song, however, certainly can't be too high on any popularity list. Playing out like a low-budget horror film, undead background dancers parade around in an old, abandoned castle. Our suggestion: leave the undead background dancers to MJ, Bonnie.
The Jacksons with "Torture”
What do you get when you take the Jackson 5, wait 10 years, drop them down to the Jackson 3, then throw them in a dominatrix ice cave set? Pure nightmare fuel. We highly doubt you’ll watch past the eyeball in the middle of that guy’s hand. We sure didn’t.
Peter Gabriel with "Sledgehammer"
This music video, released in 1986, starts with a closeup shot of an egg being fertilized. That in itself might be a hard stop for some, but the video soon transitions to a cool stop motion video of Mr. Gabriel singing one of his biggest hits. Unfortunately, just when you think everything is fairly normal, Peter Gabriel’s face turns into a bunch of fruit. That’s SO 80’s.
BONUS: Cyndi Lauper with "Time After Time"
Absolutely the most normal video in the bunch. Classic themes. A breakup, uncertainty, leaving on a train without her man… Nothing about this video is weir— Wait, rewind that. Is she holding a glass dog and making it lick her sleeping boyfriend? Alright, 80’s. You win. We’re out.