Live Blogging Video Hits From My Youth

Chicago
‘Hard To Say I’m Sorry’

This is so eighties, you guys.  SO. VERY. EIGHTIES.
Peter Cetera looks like a Ken doll.  His hair actually looks sculpted out of plastic.
Is that Zach Galifianakis on keys?
The random neon light tubes in the foreground define the notion of 80s glam.  It’s super stylized, don’t you see?
Hard to say I’m sorry for the mural?  Because that thing is an eyesore.
The red lighting is making Peter inexplicably look like an Oopma Loompa.
There is no dancing or any movement in this performance but there is so much emoting.  Emotion everywhere.
And the neon tubes go nuts at the end.
If this was any more eighties it would actually be wearing a hypercolor shirt and two-step slow-dancing (without eye contact) to ‘She’s Like the Wind’ with me in the school gym.

 

Bon Jovi
‘Livin On A Prayer’

Five walking silhouettes backlit in a hallway.  Are they men?  Women?  They possess wild poufy hair, every one of them.  In the eighties everyone had hair like that.  Kids, this is a teachable moment.  They didn’t call them “hair bands” for nothing.
Revelation: it’s Bon Jovi, guys.  It’s totally Bon Jovi.
This video shows Bon Jovi’s playful side as they goof off onstage, mussing each other’s hair and jumping on each other.  Despite the fact that the lyrics of this song are essentially a cry for help from two lovers struggling to make ends meet, struggling to survive the shit life throws at them, fighting tears, fighting to stay together against the odds... eighties videos didn’t have to have visual stories.  They could just be random montages of concert footage and band bonding moments and that would be enough.
Jon Bon Jovi was so damn hot.
I am struggling, in retrospect, to understand the heavily fringed leather trenchcoat, white scarf, and turtleneck, however.
God, their hair!  It’s... so beautiful.  So wild and free.  Like a herd of wildebeests stampeding through the savannah at dawn.

 

Whitesnake
‘Here I Go Again’

In all honesty her backflips across the car hoods are very impressive.
HIS HAIR!  I want... to touch it...
Oh, they have his and hers eighties hair.  It was all so glorious then.  Lion’s manes of regal rocker glam.
She is the mistress of high kicks on car hoods.
I do miss hair bands, man.  I miss not being able to tell any of the band members apart from each other from afar and it not mattering because they are all clad equally in tight leather and ubiquitous blazers.  Until they aren’t and then it’s all wife beaters and guitar riffs.
Lady, what you are doing right now is so against distracted driver laws.  
The slide into kneeling guitar solo!  
Oh, and the guitar lick.  Like with actual tongue on guitar.  Eighties, you are embracing me fully.  I am in you once again.
I guess it makes sense that a song about striking out on his own, like a drifter born to walk alone, features him essentially being mauled by a girl in the backseat of his car.  Maybe this song came after she cheated on him with his car hood.


Madonna
‘Vogue’

This really is the penultimate Madonna video.  She wears this era so damn well.
Black and white, bitches.  Let the Queen show you how it’s done.
Butler.  Want.
Madonna has always had an absolute harem of hot male dancers.  They never age, either.  
I miss Donna De Lory.  
He makes leaning on a random pedestal in the middle of an empty room look so casually normal.
This makes me want to Vogue.  They make it look so easy!  Was this the best part of Dick Tracy?  I daresay it was.  I daresay this and Madonna as Breathless Mahoney claiming she was wearing black panties for mourning.
CONE BRA!  Oh kids, if you only knew...  Historical moment.  And dad says I never gave history my full attention.
Now this is how you dance in a video.  Well, okay, this and Janet Jackson.  Nobody does a dance sequence like a ‘Rhythm Nation’ dance sequence.
Seriously, this is like a series of thirties style glamor shots of Madonna intercut with bare-chested men and a wind-machine dance and it is the best thing going.

 

Baltimora
‘Tarzan Boy’

This may be taking the ‘hits’ part of the post too loosely.
Oh maaaaaan... the memories your mind suppresses through the years are many and varied and for me clearly included this video.
It’s like a Warhol interpretation of the Windows Movie Maker newspaper titles effect though that really is giving it too much credit. 
He’s got a baggy eighties shirt (Jacket? It’s so hard to tell with all the colors going on) overtop of a Tarzan animal skin cleverly slung to mostly reveal his chest.  Paired with white pants.
I am utterly entranced by the epic of this video.  And by his dancing!  It’s like shoulder shrugs meet the NSync marionette pose though, of course, this came first.  So is NSync’s marionette thing a Baltimora homage?  My mind is blown. 
I unabashedly love this song.  It’s utterly insane.  I like the Tarzan yell chorus best.
The backgrounds are like Joseph’s technicolor dream coat on LSD.
He’s so intense and the shoulder shrug dance now involves a head flip!
True story: this video is used in hypnotherapy.
 

Prince
‘Purple Rain’

This is a concert video in the grand tradition of eighties concert videos.  And of eighties soundtrack videos.
Except because it’s Prince there are no goofball shenanigans onstage a la Bon Jovi.  Nor are there neon-tube-lit emoting lessons a la Chicago.  It’s Prince so it’s just fucking. amazing. music. and the most intense guitar solo ever.
Prince is dressed, well, like a prince.  With a flounced ruffled shirt and formal studded purple tailcoat.  He’s the Purple One.  This song was instrumental to his Purple Reign.  Kids, this is history.  This is what matters.
This guitar solo rips my soul out, stomps it on the ground, then rebuilds it with purple and wailing.  I love it so hard.
The guy in the audience in the trucker hat and ridiculously oversized white shades also loves it so hard.  The video cuts to shots of him just nodding imperceptibly while focused intently on Prince and it speaks volumes.  
This is raw performance.
Nothing happens in this video except Prince singing and playing guitar and yet it kicks all the ass.

 

Tears For Fears
‘Shout’

They’re in a desert.  Which is a good place to shout.
They are unapologetically eighties: unruly curly hair, trench coats, intense middle-distance squinting, video overlay of hands on a keyboard.  
I love this song but this video falls under the category of ‘aimless’.  It’s neither a story video nor a concert performance video.  It’s not a montage.  It’s a baffling mix of outdoor posing, instrument-playing overlays, disembodied singing heads, and an ocean.
Now they get all their friends and family (some kids are involved) into a downstairs room and rock out with everyone behind them onstage.
They are clearly shouting so it’s at least thematic.
Kid close ups.
Drummer close up.
Air punching because INTENSITY.
Outdoors again.  He’s alone on a mountaintop playing an electric guitar solo though he’s obviously unplugged. The eighties: when things happened just because they could.

 

George Michael
‘Careless Whisper’

A story video about love and loss and bad feathered hair.
I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t love this song.  This song is everybody’s secret spirit animal.
George Michael has an adorable girlfriend who he does adorable things with and then he goes on a sailboat with a different very leggy curly-haired woman.  And their cheating sex is, of course, shadowed against backlit venetian blinds.  Nothing says sexy times like backlit venetian blinds.  Fun fact: the sex scene in Top Gun was also shadowed against backlit blinds.  
George Michael’s girlfriend is very upset and she takes off in a sea plane.  As you do.
Naturally he wanders around a motel in white socks and tennis shoes, white short shorts, and a popped collar white shirt emoting and feeling bad afterwards.
In retrospect it is hard to envision how we didn’t then know that George Michael was gay.  But at the time we didn’t know and all of us wanted - nay, expected - George Michael to croon ‘Father Figure’ to us in the dark of night (even though the lyrics are clearly questionably awkward) and dance us up against a wall telling us ‘I Want Your Sex’.  WE ALL WANTED THAT.  Socks and short shorts notwithstanding.
Funny, nobody ever seemed to want Andrew Ridgeley to grind them up against a wall and sing ‘take me to the edge of heaven’.  “Who?”  Yes, exactly.

 

Wham!
‘The Edge of Heaven’

Because I am a completist.  This is another teachable moment, kids: Andrew Ridgeley is “the other guy” in Wham!  You know, not George Michael.
The jeans: so tight!  The gloves: so unnecessary!  The hair: so feathered!  The jacket: so fringed!  The dancing: so bad!  This is like Twas The Night Before Eighties Christmas.  Though actually there actually is that.  It’s called ‘Last Christmas’.  Wham! is the gift that keeps on giving.  Truth.
Okay that dancing I can get behind.  That is just some Elvis-level pelvic work right there.  George Michael, you sexy beast.
Andrew Ridgeley, buddy, I retrospectively feel your pain.  You seem like a nice enough dude (though seriously questionably dressed) but there is just no living with that as your bandmate.  Nobody can look away from all that is going on there and you are just background in your own two-man band.  Dude, I’m sorry.  
Sex by backlit venetian blinds!  A George Michael motif.  (Wo)Men everywhere ditch their curtains en masse.
This is a concert video intercut with scenes of women walking on beaches or pushing men onto beds at random.  In black and white because ART.
Playing trumpets in a pool is not taking me to the edge of heaven, you guys.
We have achieved collar pop!  My life feels complete. 

- Corinne Simpson