Most of you might not remember, but years ago the station called MTV played music videos. Before it spiraled into cheap reality TV shows, people used to regularly tune into the music video channel. MTV was (back in the day) a big channel in America. The 80's introduced a particularly bold set of videos, and a lot of good music.
While many music videos were just thrown together in one day with bad lip-synching, there were also a lot of good well-thought videos, lots of colors, style, and movie-quality effects. This is the Top2040 list of the best music videos of the 80's (1981-1991).
1 - Cindi Lauper - True Colors. The ultimate 80s music-video, Cindi's hair is perfectly outrageous, her costumes are stunning. The colors and lighting collaborate magnificently. The video is simple and sublime. The drum sequence in particular, is nice. Good one, Ms. Lauper.
"... so don't be afraid, to let it show.
Your true colors...so beautiful, like a rainbow."
2 - Aha - Take on Me. Who can forget the rotoscoping animations on top of film? This ground-breaking video took us all by surprise, and it rules MTV for a decade. Thanks, Aha (and your director).
3 - Duran Duran - Wild Boys. The Sci-fi elements of the Wild Boys came together with great costumes, sets, and some freakish creatures. The tone suits the tune.
4 - Pat Benatar - Love is a Battlefield. One of the few 80s videos that actually told a story matching the song. Choreographed by Michael Peters.
5 - George Michael - Freedom. Well-directed with style and charisma; the song has one of the best lines, too: "...some mistakes were built to last..." (aka Freedom '90)
6 - Fleetwood Mac - Gypsy. This music video captures all the right moves, and made good use of costumes, 3D sets, and stage design. It actually fit the song like a glove.
7 - Madonna - Open Your Heart Madonna made a few good videos, but this one was especially interesting.
8 - Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer. The famous claymation video that played non-stop for 100 years in 1986.
9 - Nik Kershaw - Wouldn't It Be Good. Fabu special effects, not easy to accomplish in the 80s.
10 - Alphaville - Forever Young The band who brought us "Big in Japan" also gave us cool anime settings for the soft version of Forever Young. I'm partial to the faster version, myself.
11 - Pet Shop Boys - Rent, has an easy to understand subtext, just like Domino Dancing.
12 - The Other Ones - We Are What We Are. This forgotten video deserves a 2 nd look.
13 - Crowded House - Don't Dream it's Over
14 - Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie, using classic film footage this video makes a strong impression. "Radio Ga Ga" by Queen is another great concept video.
15 - Front 242 - Headhunter, odd video, look again.
16 - Depeche Mode - But Not Tonight, features footage from the top 80's movie: Modern Girls.
17 - Cameo - Word Up! This MTV video makes the list for it's odd direction and hilarious costumes and dance moves.
18 - Michael Jackson - Beat It, one of many iconic videos from Mike.
19 - New Order - True Faith
20 - Modern English - I Melt With You, rounds out our MTV video list.
Bonny Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is probably the creepiest MTV music video. Falco's "Rock Me Amadeaus" is voted most likely to cause nightmares, and all Men Without Hats videos will just leave you scratching your head.
Live on, 80's people! I'm one of you.
Also check out: Top 40 Dance Songs of the 80's
Not many good music videos are made today, but do check out the k-pop band: Big Bang. They have some great 80's style videos, such as "Fantastic Baby."
Honorable mention: Quiet Riot, Billy Idol, Wang Chung, the Psychedelic Furs, ABC, and Peter Schilling had some totally-cool videos, too. Kudos to them all.