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Great 1980s Music Videos

Updated on February 14, 2015
Great 1980s Music Videos
Great 1980s Music Videos

Remember The Time

The 1980s saw an explosion of new technology and new ways for Americans for entertain themselves. The 80s saw the introduction of the computer into everyday lives, the Rubik's Cube and Transformers. The 1980s were also the highpoint of the music video. Starting with MTV, which actually showed videos in the 1980s, music videos became as important if not more important than the music itself. And out of this new genre came some great, if not strange, music videos. The following is a short list of great 1980s music videos.

Thriller
Thriller

Thriller

There is little doubt that Michael Jackson's Thriller is considered one of the best music videos ever made and is what put MTV on the map. Thriller debuted on MTV in December of 1983 and was directed by John Landis. Considered a "mini-film" that had an estimated cost of $500,000.

Famous for being more that just an ordinary music video, Thriller featured choreographed zombies dancing with Michael Jackson. In the background throughout the video can be heard the voice of Vincent Price. The makeup for the video wad done by Rick Baker and the video also featured Playboy centerfold Ola Ray.

Thriller

Cradle Of Love
Cradle Of Love

Cradle Of Love

Cradle of Love by Billy Idol was released on Idol's Charmed Life album in 1990 (I consider it a 80s video.) Cradle of Love reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Idol received a Grammy Award for the Vocals.

The Cradle of Love video is very memorable. It featured model Betsy Lynn George who plays a teenager who tries to seduce a shy businessman. The video shows clips of Idol himself, but only from the waist up as he was unable to walk because of a car accident. The Video won the MTV award for Best Video from a Film and was voted #33 in VH1's 50 sexiest videos.

Dancing In The Dark
Dancing In The Dark

Dancing In The Dark

It is beyond dispute that one of the biggest superstars in the 1980s was Bruce Springsteen. Dancing In the Dark, released in 1984 was the first single released in Springsteen's Born In The USA album.

The music video for Dancing In The Dark first aired on MTV in July of 1984. It was filmed before and during the first show of Springsteen's Born In The USA tour in St. Paul Minnesota. The video was directed by Brian DePalma and featured a young Courtney Cox who was the lucky fan who was pulled up on stage to dance with the Boss.

Money For Nothing
Money For Nothing

Money For Nothing

Inspired by Mark Knopfler watching a man in a department store watching MTV, Dire Straits released Money for Nothing in 1987 and was the first video to air on MTV Europe. Directed by Steve Barron, the Money for Nothing video features live footage from a Budapest performance enhanced by computers and a computer generated character. Money for Nothing received a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Group in 1985.

Take On Me
Take On Me

Take On Me

Take On Me was released in 1985 by the Norwegian band a-ha. Take On Me combines synthpop with acoustic guitars, a synthesizer and keyboards. Take On Me placed #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 in October 1985. The video for Take On Me was directed by Steve Barron and features the band in pencil sketch animation. The video won six awards at the 1986 MTV awards. The video Take On Me takes a girl sitting in a coffee shop into the romantic and dangerous world of the comic book she was reading.

You Might Think
You Might Think

You Might Think

The Cars released You Might Think in 1984. The song was written by lead singer Ric Ocasek. You Might Think Reached #7 on the Billboard Charts and #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks in the United States. The You Might Think music video was one of the first music videos to use computerized special effects. The video features Ocasek and model Susan Gallagher where Osasek appears in Gallagher's mirror, mouth and other encounters. The Video won the first MTV Video Music Award for Video Of The Year.

We Are The World

We Are The World was released in 1985 and written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. The song was performed by a super group of 45 of the most popular musicians (at the time) that included Jackson, Richie, Bob Dylan, Kenny Rogers, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper and many others. The group was called USA for Africa and raised funds to help famine-relief in Ethiopia and raised over $63 million. The video is simply the taping of the song and shows an amazing group of musicians from all genres.

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    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Wow, Earl, your wife sounds very cool.

      Those are great videos, list could have been very long. Gotta cut it off somewhere!!

      Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Earl Flournoy 

      7 years ago

      You forgot about Tears For Fears' Mad World and Heart's These Dreams. Those were epic videos! Well, not really Mad World, but still, my wife and I love those two songs. In fact, for our anniversary last year, she made a remake of Heart's video as a gift. Complete with props, costumes -- she even bought Vivica Fox wigs and rented concert lights just for it! I was really impressed!

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks, Sledgehammer was on my list, only couldn't find a link that worked when I wrote this hub. There may be one now.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • Rob Lattin profile image

      Rob Lattin 

      8 years ago from Born in Chicago, now I'm in Mostly Michigan

      I don't know much about statistics or ratings, but I do know that the Peter Gabriel videos "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time" were pretty popular and experimental. Nice hub, by the way.

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