Four months ago, I made a discovery of epic proportions. My streaming TV service had started offering music video channels.
Oh, it got better. One of the channels is devoted to airing videos from the 1980s.
I love music videos. If you’re of a certain age, you might be nodding your head in agreement, but there’s no way you love music videos as much as I do. In fact, I’ve encountered exactly one person whose passion for videos might match mine. I say this because, like me, she can recall dance moves and costumes from absurd and/or lesser known videos. When I send her a message with the breaking news that they’re playing a certain video, she’ll respond with a fact about said video.
It gives me hope for humanity.
Thanks to these Vevo music video channels, I’ve decided to share my favorite ‘80s videos with the world. Or at least with my dear readers. But if you’re expecting to find the videos that frequent greatest-of-all-time lists, you might be disappointed. Oh, there are a couple GOATs on here, but for the most part, these videos simply make me laugh or smile. What can I say? I like to be amused.
Beat It: Although this Michael Jackson video is my pick as the greatest of all time, it is not my favorite video of all time. You’ll have to wait until next week for that big reveal. Regardless, I sat up on weekend nights, waiting for this video to air on Night Tracks. I felt the excitement in my chest as soon as I saw the opening shot in the diner. The video no longer gives me the vapors, but I appreciate the artistry and the dancing. I love to watch people dance well. Gosh, wouldn’t the world be better if dancing solved all conflicts. I also love how the one gang member has all that flair on his jacket. If I’m ever in a rumble, I will make sure my jacket is teeming with flair.
Love Is a Battlefield: This video captivated and confused my young self and not only because 30-year-old Pat Benatar plays a teenage runaway. After she leaves home, Pat’s character moves to the city and dances with men – for money? – and under the watchful eyes of a creepy man. Pat’s character and her fellow dancers look like they rummaged through my mom’s quilt pieces box for the material to make their outfits. Near the video’s end, Pat and the other dancers prove again that dancing can solve conflicts when they stand up to the creepy man and dance into the sunrise.
I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues and I’m Still Standing: I’m including two Sir Elton John videos for reasons. In I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues we see a British man and his girl frolicking before he joins army. We also see how they deal with their separation. As if I didn’t already know, the video made me realize I could never get through basic training. Much like the guy, I would lie down in a rain-soaked road and cry. The video is set in the ‘50s and I love it when the guy lifts up the girl and her full skirt twirls around. I’m Still Standing makes the list because, all these decades after I first saw it as a sleepy kid, it still makes me smile. I love so much about it – the colors, the way Sir Elton catches the cane, how everyone is just so happy. Yes, there’s dancing in both videos. I told you, dear readers, I love to watch people dance well.
Never Tear Us Apart: There is no dancing in this INXS video, which is set in Prague on a dreary gray day. Everyone looks miserable and it’s so cold that when the band members breathe you can see their breath. They walk through a cemetery and old men play violins near the river. It is beautiful.
Come back next week for more of my favorite videos including my favorite of all time.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.
Those are my two favorite Elton John videos, too. In “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” I like his appearance as the pianist in the school dance band—the sly grin he flashes at the camera. “I’m Still Standing” is full of energy (and France).
I love his wig in I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues. I’m Still Standing is perfect.