For many of you- that is, anyone who was between, say, 5 and 20 on August 1st, 1981, when MTV went live- there was a time when you knew all of these songs by heart. MTV only had about 2 or 3 hundred videos when it suddenly became a gigantic cultural force, and you watched it literally every time you could, so you heard these songs a ton. And you probably haven’t heard a one of them for 25 years. You’re welcome!
9. She’s A Beauty – The Tubes
Ladies and gentlemen, Fee Waybill and the Tubes! No, that’s not my impression of Ed Sullivan having a stroke. And dammit, don’t you try to pretend this wasn’t one of the most awesome fucking things you had ever heard and/or seen the first time MTV broke it out for you.
8. Slipping Away – Dave Edmunds
There’s a reason it’s so catchy it started coming back to you before you clicked the link- it was written and produced by Jeff Lynne of ELO, undoubdtedly why it became Edmunds’ only U.S. Top 40 hit. Edmunds is a veteran British musician, kind of like Elvis Costello or Nick Lowe but less well known, and he can thank Lynne and MTV’s scant 1983 video archive for his lone sniff at success across the pond.
7. Stand By – Roman Holiday
Roman Holiday were a British Swing/Pop fusion band that kicked around for a few years and made a video or two in the early 80s. “Don’t Try To Stop It” was their biggest U.K. hit, but thanks to MTV their U.S. single “Stand By” is stuck in your head right now.
6. Pat Benatar – You Better Run
You remember this for a very specific reason, and not because you thought Pat Benatar was hot (but you can admit that, it’s OK). Famously, “Video Killed The Radio Star” was the first video played on MTV, but this was the second, and they played the living fuck out of it.
5. The Warrior – Scandal
OK, now this you only remember because you thought Patty Smyth was hot. And because, “shootin’ at the walls of heartache, bang bang” is the most ridiculous lyric you’ve ever heard.
4. Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime
Some of you may remember this better than others. You may think it defies description, though it has been summed up pretty succinctly as David Byrne “singing like a robotic street preacher while sweating profusely and doing African tribal dances”. You may ask yourself, how do I work this? However you cut it, this video was displayed for a time at the Metropolitan Museum Of Modern Art in New York City, and Talking Heads rule.
3. New Girl Now – Honeymoon Suite
Doesn’t ring one single bell, huh? Then you’re not from Canada, and you should just click the link and wait for the bridge. Likely the only band to ever come from the town of Niagara Falls, and so named because that is where they are from and lots of people honeymoon there (seriously), the band has actually remained active on the Canadian music scene to the present day- but the only reason they’re remembered in the U.S., if at all, is for “New Girl Now”, which is actually kind of a kickass song.
2. Naughty Naughty – John Parr
OK, look, I’m just not even sorry for this. You knew that the post was about 80’s videos. It’s not my goddamn fault that John Parr exists, that “Man In Motion (Theme From St. Elmo’s Fire)” is not his worst song by a damn sight, or that you just plowed ahead and read this. This is part of your life again. Deal with it.
1. Mexican Radio – Wall Of Voodoo
Alright, I’m really sorry now. Your brains are all over the place, they’re gonna be a bitch to clean up, and you are positive that when you get them all back into your head, this song will be stuck in them for at least a week. But what you’ll have an even harder time getting them around is this: how could you possibly have forgotten a song this cool?