SIOUX CITY -- Music videos rose to be a prominent part of popular culture in the 1980s, and some became known for groundbreaking content over that decade.
Chronologically that list includes "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, "Take On Me" by A-ha and "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel, making for a bunch of visually compelling 80's videos still fondly recalled to this day by Generation X'ers and even younger people.
However, there is whole host of purely awful Eighties videos that turned off people at the time when shown on MTV or "Night Tracks" on WTBS. (Remember, this was way before such videos populated YouTube.)
There were music videos produced with the themes and now dated technology of the time.
There were terrible videos by notable artists. There were pathetic videos to pretty solid songs. In the worst of all worlds, there were laughingly absurd video representations of incredibly dumb songs.
Sometimes, jumpsuits were involved. Or headbands. Perhaps with campy dancing.
Here are eight videos you will wish you'd never seen. Take a look, if you dare.
8. "Puttin' on the Ritz," Taco
In the category of odd novelty songs, this one just noses out "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco. Just start with the fact that the solo singer's name is Taco, and this update of the 1927 song by Irving Berlin is off to a bad start.
The video starts with what appear to be homeless people, who then get a taste of the good life when Taco struts into their midst while wearing a black tuxedo, white gloves and brandishing a cane lit up like some kind of light saber. What follows are scenes of cash flowing down from above and lots of over-smiling and mugging for the camera by Taco, as on a darkened set he walks and "dances" verrrry slowly, to match the extremely languorous pace of the song.
7. "Dancing in the Street," Mick Jagger and David Bowie
Yes, it was a lark, and a quickly-composed rendition of a classic 1960s song. But if you're going to make an accompanying video, shouldn't it have taken more than 16 minutes to do a few takes and throw it together? Perhaps this is a literal first take, in terms of staging and dumb dancing by the two rock icons in bright clothes. Truly, just a sad artifact from a song designed to quickly tie in with the (admittedly altruistic) 1985 Live Aid concert, from the minute it begins with Jagger spinning around a pole.
6. "Last Christmas," Wham!
This song, without video, has some detractors, but also a lot of fans, so it remains a holiday radio staple. However, the video is full of cheese, and one of those where the story of the lyrics is mostly told in the actions of the people/friends who appear with singer George Michael on a ski holiday at a lodge.
A lot of people also hate the day-glo "Wake Me Up (Before You Go-Go)" video, but this one ranks as slightly more horrifying, with flashbacks, longing looks and unnecessary slow-mo.
5."Kokomo," The Beach Boys
So very lame, just basic as basic can be in terms of any wit in presenting a music video, and a terrible song to boot. If you like rhyming of "Jamaica" and "take ya," this is your song. This is the worst attempt by the Sixties group 20 years past their prime to piggyback a hit onto a movie soundtrack, with Mike Love talk-whispering the lines between the choruses, while the rest of the guys sway.
There are snippets of that movie, "Cocktail," with bartender Tom Cruise throwing around bottles, plus John Stamos on bongos in his sometimes role of Beach Boy fill-in.
4. "Too Much Time On My Hands," Styx
Granted, Styx was on the way out as the 1980s music videos era arrived. But this 1981 song couldn't have been portrayed in a dumber, more laughable video than what this 1970s group put forth, from the opening seconds with Dennis DeYoung gesturing weirdly at his keyboard.
There are snippets of band members looking directly at the camera to sell the "insanity" lines of the song, plus a host of dumb actions while passing time in a bar (a pool cue flies out of one guy's grip -- you get the picture). Virtually every move by Tommy Shaw is wince-worthy. Jimmy Fallon recently used actor Paul Rudd to recreate a shot-for-shot update, and it still couldn't match the unintentional hilarity of the original.
3. "Big Talk," Warrant
It might be surprising that hair metal, a genre with so many appalling songs, didn't have more inclusions on the list. Here's the worst of that swill.
While "Cherry Pie" by Warrant has dumb, double entendre lyrics and ridiculous imagery, it came out in 1990. So the band's 1989 song off "Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich" gets inclusion here.
The video begins with some gross puppet-master manager, in actual puppet form like a low-rent Jabba The Hutt, trying backstage to steer the band's direction to make money (or something along those lines). The singer is strapped into a chair, threatened with execution, with the whole mess intercut with concert footage of the band going through the most hackneyed stage moves.
2. "Total Eclipse of the Heart," Bonnie Tyler
You might think, "This was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who made a lot of entertaining videos to boost the early-80s career of Duran Duran, so should be good." You would be so, so, so very wrong.
The images are geared to supposedly elucidate the meaning of the lyrics, but instead it is a laughably muddled mess. There is a gauzy air to most of the video, as set in a large school or mansion.
There are lots of candles, projected shadows, flying doves and wind machines pushing flowing curtains. The people who flock around Tyler in various rooms include boys in swimsuits, spinning Ninjas, fencers and cartwheeling dancers, plus a key boy character with glowing, blue eyes, who at the end mouths the "turn around bright eyes" line. Viewers exit the mess after five and a half minutes, feeling dumber than before.
1. "Separate Ways," Journey
Here's an utterly hilarious video that is the ultimate in 80's cheesiness. The poor Journey guys were apparently on board with air-playing their non-instruments in many spots along some wharf (wharf?), which made for nonsensical imagery. Singer Steve Perry bore the brunt of the overwrought video, grimacing about his lost love, often in too-tight closeups, or falling backwards on the set.
Plus, that poor bassist who has to walk straight at the camera at the three-fourths mark. Together, just a hodgepodge of laugh-inducing scenes for a song that listeners actually pushed to No. 8 on the Billboard Chart in 1983.