Recently I found myself down a rabbit hole of 1980’s music videos. Most bands featured I remembered as clearly as yesterday complete with the outrageous fashions the world may rightly never let see the light of day again. And dang, was that ever a fun way to burn a half hour.
Music Television, or commonly known as MTV, became the intersection of culture, fashion, and music in the ’80s. And for those who witnessed it, the world was never the same. In days the before online video games or social media feeds, we hung with friends on a sofa watching music move from the radio to our television screens.
Down the rabbit hole was not how I planned to spend my morning. An automotive site offered a list of the best music video’s featuring cars. And as a sucker for horsepower and vintage music, I bit.
My journey began with ZZ Top’s “Give Me All Your Loving” – a video where the music stands the test of time better than the production values. But still, in its day, the video was groundbreaking for the imagination and fit and finish. On the other end of the spectrum came a Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55” – complete with bad lip-synching and even worse acting. Additionally, the 80’s motorists anthem meaning lost on today’s drivers.
Next thing I knew a list popped up by the video teasing me to follow it to another list promising more than 100 of the best videos of the is1980’s. And again, I bit.
Soon I was swimming in Meatloaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights” and former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth doing “California Girl.” The former remains a piece of art and impossible not to sing along, the latter an example of breaking every current PC code possible within one video. Still, well worth the time. I even found myself sitting through the – then ground and genre-breaking – “Walk This Way” with Aerosmith and Run DMC. At the time, the crossover of rock and hip-hop was the first major hit of its type. Still a favorite of mine, too.
All this brings me back to the fun I had down the rabbit hole and how much fun I found down there wallowing in the music videos of the 1980s. And oddly, doing so didn’t make me feel old, but rather appreciative of the great times my life has covered.
But like anything else, time moves on. MTV became a lifestyle network with reality demographic centric shows. And then as quickly as MTV burst on the scene, the format was over.
Ironically the video disc jockeys have now migrated to satellite radio, reliving their past in the present by playing the same tunes for paying customers who watched them from a sofa decades before. And unfortunately, many videos of the period are locked up in copyright infighting. But in my head, I still have the memories boosted by an occasional trip down the rabbit hole.