As a man who was born in the early 70s, I got to grow up with a couple amazing things: Video games and music videos. You could not be a teenager in the 80s and escape the music video. They were everywhere. We had a new station pop up in the Chicago-land area and one of them had 24 hour videos the first few months or so. It was amazing. For someone who did not have MTV, it was really fun. There was also a mainstream show, late night on Friday’s that was as iconic as MTV or Miami Vice. This show was called Friday Night Videos.
The year was 1985, which was a landmark year for me and probably the peak of the music video. I graduated 8th grade and in September, started high school. A pretty big transition for most people. While I didn’t get into Miami Vice right away, I was on the ground floor of mainstream music videos. I loved music and I was lapping it up like a kitten would drink a saucer of milk. I couldn’t get enough. Friday nights were staying up late, popping a Tombstone pizza in the oven and waiting for 11pm to roll around so I could watch the latest videos from my rock and pop heroes.
Rock of Ages– Was one of the first videos I saw on this iconic show and one that I fondly remember. My sister was huge into Def Leppard and I quickly followed suit. They are still my favorite band to this day, and I have her to thank for that.
Thriller– Michael Jackson was one of the most prolific artists at the time and this video was absolutely ground breaking. This is the full 13 minute version. Enjoy!
Hungry like the wolf– Duran Duran. Every time I think of this video I picture lead singer, Simon LeBon flipping a table. Yep. This was big on the video scene.
In the air tonight– Phil Collins. While this song was released in 1981, it gained new popularity in ’84-’85 as one of the featured songs from the Miami Vice pilot, “Brother’s Keeper”. It later appeared on the soundtrack for the show. Phil Collins is one of my favorite artists and his videos were always memorable.
Der Kommissar– After the fire. Probably don’t recognize the name of the song or the band, but you will remember it as soon as you hear the first few notes. This song later got picked up by “Falco” who is most known for his hit, “Rock me Amadeus”.
Rock me Amadeus– Falco. Seemed fitting to put this one on here too. Goes to show you, you can have a hit song in any language.
Somebody’s watching me– Rockwell’s classic video has a familiar back up singer in it. None other than MJ himself. The video ties in beautifully with the paranoid theme of the song.
Ghostbusters– Ray Parker Jr. got tabbed to sing the title track from the iconic movie. I can’t help to think of another song when I hear this one. Can you?
Stand back– Stevie Nicks. She had a lot of solo success in the 80s. This was the first hit from her second solo album, “Wild heart”. Probably one of the top 10 memorable voices of the ’70s and ’80s.
Do you really want to hurt me– Culture Club. They were big in the 80s, and this was a big hit from them. Love him or hate him, Boy George could sing.
Safety Dance– Men without hats. I can’t name another song by them, but this video and song are very memorable.
Twilight Zone– Golden Earring. Another band that I can’t name a second song from. “Twilight Zone” though, still played on the air today. The video matches the “weird” vibe of the song.
Down under– Men at work. Probably the most well known of this Aussie band. Tales of strangers and vegemite sandwiches. You’ll know it when you hear it!
Better be good to me– Tina Turner. No tribute would be complete without at least one song from this pop diva and R&B queen. She made a nice comeback in the 80s and this was one of my favorite songs by her.
Every breath you take– The Police were huge in the 80s and this song was all over the radio and TV. A classic example of “simple is good”. I love the black and white aspect to this.
Mr. Roboto– The signature song from Styx’s epic album, “Kilroy was here” was a concept album. The videos showed part of their “stage show” which was spun around the story. If you don’t know a lot of Styx songs, this is probably the one you remember.
One night in Bangkok– Murray Head’s masterful song and video was a tribute to his talent as an actor, which he considered himself more as. Simply brilliant and I think it holds up almost 30 years later.
Sweet dreams (are made of this)- The Eurythmics. You can still probably recognize lead singer Annie Lennox, even though you might not remember her name. She would transcend the 80s and have a solid singing career into the 90s and beyond.
In a big country– Big Country. I love this song. Even today, especially today when I hear it on the radio. Immediately takes me back to the first time I saw the video. I liked it so much I eventually bought the CD. It didn’t disappoint.
Faithfully– Journey. Simple video of a band out on the road, about a song, about a man in a band away from his woman. Sometimes simple is good. You can still hear this power ballad on many radios stations today.
Of course all these videos did not come out in the magical year of 1985, but I couldn’t make a Friday Night Videos tribute and exclude them. I chose the year simply because it was memorable for me. The show became a bigger part of my life that year so that’s why I highlighted it. Hopefully you enjoyed this trip back down memory lane and/or possibly picked up a new favorite song or two!