If you are like me, then the thought of the 1980s brings back memories of big hair, parachute pants and MTV. Yes dear reader, those were simpler times indeed. But it wasn’t just fashion that was overblown in those days. The music videos produced during this era could be quite spectacularly ridiculous – full of bad dialogues, outrageous costumes and enough hairspray to deplete an entire ozone layer.
So let’s take a step back into time with this hilarious countdown list of some classic music videos from one of the most bizarre periods in our musical history.
1. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl; we all want to have fun sometimes (especially on Mondays). And it seems no one understands that concept better than Cyndi Lauper – as displayed so vividly in her campy classic video for “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.”
Shot entirely on green screen (for reasons unknown), this video features extra-terrestrial beings flying bicycles around adorable gnomes, random gymnasts popping up every now and again, and a young Captain Lou Albano playing a very interesting father figure while wearing his signature rubber bands.
2. “Take On Me” by A-ha
This Norwegian synth-pop band made waves when their innovative animated-live-action hybrid video won them six awards at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards (Go Norway!).
In the stylized clip for “Take On Me,” lead singer Morten Harket pulls comic book heroine Julie through various palm-lined landscapes until they literally escape sketch world into grandiose reality where she ditches him immediately for strangers with face paint (Can’t blame her).
The juxtaposition between cartoon and live-action still holds up as one of the most cherished music videos in history.
3. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
We’ve all listened to this soaring power ballad and experienced some emotional turmoil, but I bet you never knew it could be turned into a creepy vampire romance!
In the video for “Total Eclipse Of The Heart,” Bonnie is singing her heart out in a literal thunderstorm before entering what we assume is an evil castle. Inside she discovers that her love interest has become both glowing-eyed and vampiric, with chiseled abs (Those are required for vampires these days).
I don’t think they make break-up songs quite like this one anymore…
4. “Too Shy” by Kajagoogoo
The ’80s were known for many things – legwarmers, neon colors and uncomfortably tight clothing among them (God bless Lycra). But apparently, the time period also saw fit to give us glimpses into alien life (or perhaps just very bored Italian sets…who knows?).
Kajagoogoo’s clip for their song “Too Shy” gives us glitter-covered aliens who crave human attention enough to perform dance routines…in space! Complete with costume changes by products from frozen-food packaging when gravity gets tough.
The best part? Lead singer Limahl looks like he’s wearing two pairs of sunglasses at once (How rad).
5. “(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight” by Cutting Crew
Written off as a joke by its own creators due to crazy lyrics about being stabbed or electrocuted during sex (Not so hilarious now huh?) this rock classic really found new life when it was paired with similarly wacky visuals: lead singer Nick Van Eede dramatically sings his heart out in front of a mannequin, while confused visions fill the space behind him: distorted cheerleaders, ghostly hands clutching a woman in white, and more (Lots of deep metaphors here).
But don’t worry too much about it – If you end up dying the video promises you’ll simply reappear as an floating angelic statue(Therefore totally worth it)
6. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston
The late singer Whitney Houston introduced her powerful voice to the world with her smash hit “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” but what really makes this song stand out is its feverishly colorful and frilly-drenched Austin-Powers-meets-the-NFL cheerleader-shakeup dance number.
Featuring costumes that could sue for never coming back in style, confetti explosions and unhinged dance moves, this joyous romp is sure to brighten your day (Or leave you questioning your decision making skills? Who knows?)
7. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
You didn’t think we’d get through this list without mentioning Micheal Jackson now did you? The man paved the way for music videos during the ’80s with his theatricality and willingness to commit (a lot of time) to being quite possibly both good cop/ bad cop/zombie creature/ other things I can’t even fathom all at once.
Arguably one of his best known clips,music video for Thriller is certainly no exception. Directed by horror legend John Landis (Animal House), “Thriller” features MJ morphing into a werewolf while on ‘date night’ somehow at .
It’s like walking down Sesame Street…but constantly ducking zombies instead. A modern classic that holds up well today
8. “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby
Who said science couldn’t be cool?! English synth-pop whiz Thomas Dolby cashed in on his former career in physics by giving us one of the most memorable music videos of the ’80s, complete with nerd fantasy sequences.
“She Blinded Me With Science” shows Dolby experimenting on a woman (That’s not creepy at all), an inexplicable Godzilla cameo, and even Harvard mannequin theatre getting into it. This song is wonderfully bizarre indeed.
9. “Land Of Confusion” by Genesis
If there is anything scarier than Clowns…I don’t want to know. But it looks like Peter Gabriel (Who opted out from this madness) missed that memo when he left Genesis because their video for “Land Of Confusion” simply ups up the already ridiculous red-nose game…,because why not?
The song lyrics reflect political unrest around the world including then-President Ronald Reagan(God Bless America) but make no mistake – this crazy-creepy puppet fest defies any explanation; besides perhaps some hired hands had too much time on set (Can’t say we’re mad though since our nightmares are certainly filled now..).
10. “Maniac” by Michael Sembello
We finish off our list with some unbridled body movements from Flashdance fame’s Jennifer Beals: she gyrates her way through sweat-stained glass walls in one-legged leotard glory,to accompany Michael Sembello as he wails out his hit single “Maniac“.
This lighthearted video features maybe the best example of gender equality in fashion history, as both Jensen and well-dressed chest hair get wet together(Refreshing)! The workout-inspiration takes a weird turn though when dancers start climbing gym-room equipment (!??!), while somehow throwing paint everywhere.
Regardless if you’re training for Iron-man or just looking for laughs ,this upbeat blast-from-the-past has got something to motivate you!
So there you have it folks! The 80s wasn’t all about looking ridiculous – it was also about the music videos that made us laugh, sing and maybe even question our own fashion values. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of one of these rotating outfits or just want to relive some guilty-pleasure action from years gone by, hopefully we’ve inspired you to enjoy an orginal era in musical VIDEO storytelling!
Hey there, I’m Dane Raynor, and I’m all about sharing fascinating knowledge, news, and hot topics. I’m passionate about learning and have a knack for simplifying complex ideas. Let’s explore together!
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