As on 80’s child I have a great affinity for all things from the 80’s. I always look back with great fondness for the neon coloured, shoulder padded 80’s with happy memories of cool cartoons (see previous post), toys, fashion and music. With the start of MTV in 1981 the music video became more essential than ever and bands had to be find new ways to be more and more creative. Here is a list of 10 very creative music videos that that I selected from the 80’s in no particular order.
Take On Me – A-Ha
Well obviously this had to be in the list. “Take on Me” was written by Norwegian pop group A-Ha and is one of the biggest and most memorable songs of the 80’s. The video is based around a comic book that comes to life and I must admit still looks great today and was created by Mike Patterson and Candice Reckinger and directed by Steve Barron.
Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel
It’s a shame this video has been overlooked recently and it only came in at no.25 on Channel 4’s Top 50 Pop Videos of all time in 2010. The video was directed by Stephen R. Johnson. Aardman Animations and the Brothers Quay provided the claymation, pixilation, and stop motion animation that gave life to the great images in the song. This video won many awards in its day including 9 MTV awards and was voted best video in the Top 100 Music Videos by Rolling Stone magazine in 1993. Every time you watch it you see something new each time. I don’t think we would get a video like this today – Check out that chicken dancing!
Money For Nothing – Dire Straits
It kind of looks laughable now but this video was state of the art back in 1985 with its early CGI but it was a stepping stone in the right direction in musical videos and computer graphics. Produced by Steve Barron (who also directed “Take on Me”) and Ian Pearson and Gavin Blair created the CGI using a Bosch FGS-4000 CGI System and Quantel Paintbox.
True Faith – New Order
Featuring bizarre costumed dancers who leap about and slap each other to the beat of the music and various other surreal scenes. This video was directed and choreographed by Philippe Decoufle.
Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads
David Byrne acts just like a marionette doll with his flaying arms, tapping of the head and the patting of the knees to the ground in this bizarre video from Talking Heads. In the background we see clones of Byrne dancing in synchronization. The video is exhibited in the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Herbie Hancock – Rockit
One of the first commercial songs to feature scratching and other turntable techniques and made by synthesiser legend and one of dance music pioneers Herbie Hancock. This video creeped me out when I was younger with its robotic mannequins moving in time to the music.
Addicted to Love – Robert Palmer
Robert Palmer oozes coolness in this Terence Donovan directed video. Palmer is surrounded by sexy guitar playing models. The models Patty Kelly, Julie Pankhurst, Terri Mergurite Ryan, Julia Bolino and Kathy Davies were meant to look and act like showroom mannequins.
Like a Prayer – Madonna
This video directed by Mary Lambert who also directed previous music videos for Madonna caused so much controversy back in the day with its passionate kissing in a church, interracial relations and crosses on fire, but in the end it turns out that it is just a play. People wouldn’t even stir up a fuss nowadays thank God!
Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran
Duran Duran was one of the biggest bands of the decade and really captured the 80’s sound. The video may look cheesy now but it was groundbreaking in the its day. Russell Mulcahy directed this cinematic style music video which featured a horny Simon Le Bon looking like a new wave Indiana Jones, lots of jungle scenes, big cats, a bar table being flipped over, open markets and exotic women and was filmed on location in Sri Lanka.
Leave Me Alone – Michael Jackson
‘Oh no shock horror’ you may think. I’ve gone and included “Leave Me Alone” instead of “Thriller”. I honestly think this video is a much better video than Thriller. You may disagree. The video appeared in the 1988 film Moonwalker and is directed by Jim Blashfield and Paul Diener. The video consists of Michael Jackson riding around a theme park and showing images and videos of his career throughout the 80’s and his battle with the tabloids and media. The end of the video is reminiscent to Gulliver breaking free in Gulliver’s Travels. You either love him or hate him but you have to admit that the late Michael Jackson made some amazing songs and music videos in his 40 year career.
So there you have it, 10 great and creative 80’s videos. Stick around as 10 Creative 90’s Music Videos will be coming soon.