Tuesday, September 14, 2010
It really didn't get any better than this. JUMP.
RECOVERY (CONT). We're talking 80s here, and I'm counting on you all to help. There was a time when MTV was king and I swore I'd never give it up. But MTV gave me up instead. They moved to gold teeth and reality programming. Fat people and no videos without tarted up Bentleys. So. What am I going to do? Show you a few videos I remember and DEMAND that you do the same. First up? The video that launched a TV show and a fashion industry. Forget Thriller. This is the all-time moneymaker.
No, it's not a Top Ten list. Just what I remember and what's available on the Internet. For example, this one is maybe the best video of that decade but you can't embed it. Sadly, she now looks like a querulous cow, but back then she was every man's dream. Which is why we'll take a different direction entirely and show you an IMPORTANT video, the rapprochement between rap and rock.
Now it's getting more personal. Rock ballads. There were a bunch of hellacious white trash guys who wanted to prove they weren't psychopaths. I'm convinced. This is the best of them. The real video is here (embedding disabled, etc), but at least we have the song.
I suppose the women have to have their say, too. Never knew one who didn't love this one.
With that out of the way, I think we can all agree that 80s MTV video was mostly about the women. They were awesome.
Can she sing? Who cares? I mean, really. Who cares? If you were lost in the woods, wouldn't you want Laura Brannigan yelling your name in that bronze voice? Sure you would.
Don't you think I know Heart should be here? Like this one (disabling embedded blah blah). So Roxette is merely a stand-in. Could have been this one for that matter. Still hot. They were all hot.
Oops. Yeah. There were some guys too. Even the chicks loved some of the guys.
Especially the old guys.
You knew I couldn't get through this without a nod to the one and only's...
Now it's a free-for-all. None of my picks were scientific. Yours don't have to be either. My only rule (God, I hate rules): Please don't YouTube in the Comments. It screws everything up for everyone else by changing the margins. Just give me the link. The best ones -- my choice, unfair, I know -- will get full play as an update or postscript. Fair enough or sorta?
UPDATE. Youth will be served. La Brizoni has emerged from his Fortress of Solitude to set us oldsters straight on the real meaning of MTV, etc. Behold and adore his greatnessitudinousness:
"Jump" over "Hot For Teacher"? Unacceptable.
Golden Age MTV may have been a wellspring of vitality for old men who knew better than to get boring in the dotage of their 30s, sure. But for us wee tykes who watched it in our formative years, the M stood for Mindfuck. The 8-year-old mind Can. Not. Process the weird-ass puppets and screwed-up cartoons that used to be MTV's bread and butter when they ran out of record company promos. To the pre-pubescent child, they simply cannot exist. In a twisted, even demented way, it was for the children of the 80s and 90s their first exposure to capital-W Wonder.
The prime mover? Liquid Television. It was the early days of infomericals, so networks still thought they had to throw whatever crap they could find on the air during those late night slots. MTV had enough sense to keep that crap hip and edgy, and Liquid Television was born.
Beavis and Butthead were Liquid Television's most famous debutantes, but I always preferred Bobby and Billy. All the penny-ante "subversive" sexual stuff went over my head, but a cartoon where the kids just musket blast a family of birds? And there's blood? I couldn't have been more shocked if I'd grown an arm out of my forehead. I laughed so hard I thought I'd torn something internally.
In the same vein were Winter Steele, a filthy, foulmouthed puppet before filthy, foulmouthed puppets were cool, and Dogboy, which, me not knowing any of the referrent nostalgia (or, again, the sex stuff), was compelling gibberish.
Liquid TV wasn't all, and weirdness wasn't all. Sometimes, it was funny. Hella funny. Remember Sinatra covering the hits of the early 90s? Remember Jimmy the Cab Driver's take on "Ironic"? Remember the pants-wetting greatness of The State?
Oh, you want videos? Proper 80s music video-videos? Fine. Here's "Freedom of Choice," Devo's MTV-iest video ever. Unless that's "Through Being Cool." And since this is InstaPunk, I can't not mention their cover of You Know Who.
There's also this,
the greatest song to scream along with at the top of your lungs from a
speeding car. Or, if your appetite for terrifyingly strange has limits
(but how could it?), the last good Danzig
One last one.
It's a cheat.
The only one? My blushes, B-Boy.
P.S. Apotheosis and Alfa nominated some
great stuff too. Take a look after you're done being underwhelmed by
the genius of WonderBriz. Which begs the question: where are the rest
of you? There must have been some moments when you tore yourself away
from sc-fi movies to enjoy some muic videos. No? You never did lose
your virginity? No. Forget that. TMI.
Now the provenance. In the form of just one anecdote from several available. Friend of mine in E-Type Jag grooving on Heartbreaker at night when the candy lights start stertoring themselves in the behind. Yeah, he's screaming the lyrics, and yeah, he has no intention of being caught. Ancient Brit electrics. You can hit a toggle arm on the steering column that turns on the headlights but no other lights, meaning you can turn OFF the taillights. At 125 mph. Country roads. Heartbreaker. For the cops. Clean getaway.
Whine at your daddy all you want. Just don't try to go all motorhead on real motorheads. Brizoni.