As promised, this is the second installment of my favorite music videos from the 1980s. Last week, I named Beat It, Love Is a Battlefield, I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues, I’m Still Standing, and Never Tear Us Apart, as favorites.
As a reminder, you can watch these videos and more on Vevo’s ’80s music video channel. As another reminder, I’m not classifying these as the best ever. Well, unless they’re some of the best ever at making me smile and/or laugh.
Hello: This video is so unintentionally funny that I dern-near hyperventilate whenever I am fortunate enough to catch it on the video channel. Lionel Richie plays an acting and/or theater teacher who has feelings for a blind student. Said student feels the same – this was the ’80s, of course she had feelings for her much older teacher – and sculpts a bust of him to show him how she sees him. Throughout the video, Lionel pops up behind her, singing, “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?” He even creepily calls her at night and sings the words to her. This was the ’80s, so, of course, she didn’t find this creepy at all. Anyway, at the beginning of the video, the student improvises a scene with a male student. Said male student plays a character who’s just been released from prison after pulling a long sentence. His character’s name is Tony Billy Boy aka the best name ever.
Hungry Like the Wolf: This Duran Duran video finds four members of the band looking for the fifth in Sri Lanka…why am I trying to explain this? It’s Duran Duran. Their songs and videos make no sense. That’s part of their appeal. Just sing along and enjoy the show.
Mad About You: I love everything about this video – Belinda Carlisle’s clothes, her hair, her makeup, her sunglasses, the way she dances and flirts with her real-life boyfriend/future husband, the house in which they romp, the way she walks. It is perfection.
Smuggler’s Blues and You Belong to the City: Both Glenn Frey videos had ties to the hit show, Miami Vice. My favorite part of Smuggler’s Blues, which plays like a Miami Vice episode in four minutes, is when Glenn sings lyrics to the song during his police interrogation. Just as I believe that dancing solves conflicts, I also believe more people should sing during police interrogations. You Belong to the City finds Glenn walking in the city, meeting a woman, and leaving her apartment building the next morning. I don’t like when he switches off the security guard’s TV, though. That seems unnecessary. (Earlier in the video, Miami Vice plays on various TVs.) Since I’ve included two Glenn Frey songs, you might think I’m a fan. You would be wrong. But Smuggler’s Blues, in spite of the drug-smuggling theme and multiple murders, is a fun video. You Belong to the City captured the essence of the song and of the time.
Total Eclipse of the Heart: Here’s what you’ve been waiting for – my favorite video of all time. Bonnie Tyler’s epic earns that distinction, in part, because it features dancing ninjas. I chose this video for an assignment on hidden psychological meanings in videos during my short-lived stay in grad school. (I received an A on the assignment.) Bonnie plays a teacher at a boarding school who, in a dream, encounters young men presented as football players, swimmers, fencers, angels, and, of course, dancing ninjas, as she runs through a Gothic mansion. If you know what to look for – and, believe me, I do – the video is quite suggestive. According to a book I read about MTV, when Bonnie figured out what was going on, she called the director a “prevert.” I laughed and laughed when I read that and pledged my eternal devotion to the video and to Bonnie’s hair.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.