The 10 Best Bad Music Videos of the '80s
One of my favorite things about looking back on the past is how things that were perhaps state-of-the-art at the time are now so cheesy and dated removed from their original contexts. It should probably come as no surprise that I'm a massive fan of the slasher genre, especially the later films in the series that got increasingly contrived, for that very reason.
Music videos were a lot like that. In the earliest stages of the genre, they were all about doing crazy shit. Have you ever noticed how all music videos look the same now? Well, back then they all looked different because nobody had any idea what they were doing with it as an art form.
That's why we can look back and find so many awesome examples of strikingly awful music videos that we love just the same. These are my personal best from the "so-bad-it's-good" file.
10. Dio, "Holy Diver" Metal videos in the '80s were generally pretty incredible affairs, and Dio's penchant for D&D fantasy gave us this gem. Very few sights can top that of the diminutive metal god running around like a LARPer, fighting villains with a sword in a castle.
9. Megadeth, "No More Mr. Nice Guy" It's tough to build a badass image of yourself as Megadeth did in the '80s and then do a video like this, which looks like the rejected concept for a Twisted Sister video. And you wonder why Metallica refused to make a video until "One."
8. Ozzy Osbourne, "The Ultimate Sin" One of my absolute favorite images from the entire '80s is the one in this video where Ozzy plays a parody of Dallas's J.R. Ewing. It's meant to be ridiculous, so I'm not picking on it; it's just incredibly funny. On the other hand, Ozzy's costume from the live footage interspersed in the video isn't much less ridiculous than the Dallas parody. Why is he wearing a bumblebee robe? Do I even want to know?
7. David Bowie and Mick Jagger, "Dancing in the Street" This is an easy one to pick on, and I'll admit it looks like the guys were having a lot of fun so I can't totally knock them for it. That being said, it's still absolutely hilarious.
6. Whitesnake, "Is This Love?" This was basically rock music in the '80s: aching balladry, puffy shirts, rolled-up sleeves on jackets, and lots of smoke and sexy chicks. The best part is the ending, though, where David Coverdale has apparently decided this is love, comes out of the shadows and virtually attacks his ex-girlfriend. Yeah, that's the ticket, bro.
TicketsFri., Dec. 9, 8:00pm
TicketsTue., Dec. 13, 8:00pm
Kelsea Ballerini - The First Time Tour
TicketsWed., Dec. 14, 7:00pm
MIX 96.5 Not So Silent Night with Train and Fitz & the Tantrums
TicketsThu., Dec. 15, 8:00pm
Flosstradamus - Hi Def Youth Tour 2016
TicketsFri., Dec. 16, 8:00pm
5. Ray Parker Jr., "Ghostbusters" Far be it from me to criticize anything Ghostbusters-related, but there are some really bizarre implications made by Ray Parker Jr.'s behavior in this video, especially around that "invisible man sleeping in your bed" part that frankly just never sounded right in the song to begin with. Given your tolerance for ickiness, this video is either hilarious or super-creepy.
List continues on the next page.
4. Judas Priest, "Hot Rockin'" At the start of this song, Judas Priest front man Rob Halford shrieks that he's "working out," and apparently that's all the director of this video took away from the song. Before we get to the band performing, we're treated to the image of them working out and showering. It's metal fans everywhere dream about their heroes doing!
3. INXS, "Devil Inside" Is this what Australia was like in the '80s? Probably only in Joel Schumacher's head. Anyway, it's not really a surprise that the director of this video would go on to direct Batman & Robin. It just makes you wonder if WB's producers understood when they hired Schumacher that they were essentially buying the sequel to this video in feature-film form.
2. Candlemass, "Bewitched" Before black metal and doom metal eschewed mainstream things like making music videos, Candlemass jumped on the train with this insane contribution to the art form. This appears to have cost the band all of five dollars, most of which apparently went to front man Messiah Marcolin's hairspray.
1. Journey, "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" Could you imagine anything else topping this list? Seriously, nothing could be better than Journey air-keytaring behind front man Steve Perry's melodramatic reenactment of the song's lyrics, all while they're seemingly stalking a woman on a dock.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.