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The Top 10 1980s Music Videos - Best of the Eighties!!

Updated on January 5, 2015

Want to Break Free?


So many to choose from...

There are so many great music videos, and the 1980s, as well as being a brilliant decade for music, was a time when there was lots of fun and experimentation with music videos. It was so hard to choose, but here are my suggestions for 10 unmissable videos.

1. Take on Me - A-ha

A dangerous comic strip world, but Morton Harket’s love is the reader of his comic. He needs to escape from the comic world, but will he make it out in time? Look out for the times he is half in and half out of the comic world, this still looks cool today.

2. Tainted Love – Soft Cell

If a cute guy being woken up and teased by Marc Almond’s starry night sky sprites doesn’t float your boat then I’m not sure what will. Marc Almond’s disembodied head in the sky, floating around tops it all off. The dancers form a really good effect which looks pretty clever, even now.

3. Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler

It’s a fantasy dream of the teenage boys from a boarding school taking part in various activities like choir, swimming, gym, fencing albeit in a pretty sexy way. Bonnie Tyler graces the halls clad in white, singing her heart out. The next morning she starts as a new teacher at the school and they are the same boys from her dream. Seriously, I never had a teacher that glamorous.

4. Thriller - Michael Jackson

A horror film at the cinema, too gruesome to watch so they leave early and as they are walking home, Michael Jackson’s date is a tad frightened as he turns into a werewolf. The Vincent Price over-narration and ‘the’ thriller dance are definitely the highlights. However, I also think that make up is still pretty terrifying.

5. I Want to Break Free - Queen

You’ve got to love a video that is banned. Especially this one. The whole of Queen are dressed as women- Freddie Mercury as the slapper older girl hoovering (moustache and all), Brian May as mum with dressing gown and rollers, John Deacon as grumpy granny and Roger Taylor as the blond haired young school girl. The second half of the video is a camp dance with Freddie in his lycra, but this first bit is unforgettable.

6. Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel

A kaleidoscope world, this video is a simple montage of picture changing with the beat of the music from fruits and bees to dodgem cars and rollercoasters it is a feast for the eyes. Behind all the pictures are sexual innuendo and metaphors for the act of sex and the sledgehammer acting like pollination/ sex. But if like me you like the beat, tempo and pretty pictures you can forget all of this!

7. Like a Prayer - Madonna

Again another banned video. Madonn’a music video caused such a lot of controversy for everything from the depiction of Jesus as black, the sexy writhing around on a church alter, the burning of crosses Klu-Klux-Klan style and apparently if you rewind the song, you hear Madonna’s voice whispering incantations to the devil. Still a good music vid though!

8. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears

Wide open road, cool guy, cool car showing a snapshot of America through southern California, the place where everybody does want to rule the world and some people do. This was a real MTV favourite and broke Tears For Fears out into America.

9. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper

Socialite Cyndi comes home to a cross mum and dad and a blazing party. It’s so Cyndi and while I prefer Time After Time, this video has such a lot going for it. It’s cutesy 80s and features Cyndi’s own mum. Ahh bless!

10. If I Could Turn Back Time - Cher

From a naval ship with hundreds of waving sailors, Cher strutting her stuff wearing a very revealing swimsuit topped with a bodystocking. Cher’s outfit was virtually pornographic at the time given what she was wearing and the video was cut a second time making it a little less revealing and a little more acceptable for viewing. Great song, great energy and enthusiasm and every time I see those sailors I have a chuckle.

80's Magic

The 80's were no doubt an absolutely fantastic time for music and even more so for the inspiring music videos. The innovation and creativity set against a strong (often electric) beat is rarely surpassed!

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    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Oh these songs bring back a lot of memories! Thanks for sharing :)

    • breathe2travel profile image

      breathe2travel 5 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      All of these songs (except Break Free - I don't remember that one!) are indelible marks of my childhood/adolesent years! Voted up and interesting. :)

      Warm regards~