This weekend, I listened to the latest episode of the totally awesome podcast Talk Talk with Martha Quinn. If you don’t subscribe and listen to that podcast, I highly recommend that you do. This most recent episode featured a heated discussion about who should appear on the ’80s music version of Mount Rushmore, which Martha named Mount Radmore. These are the songs that we would consider the founding fathers of the ’80s sound. There are so many great artists that are definitely deserving of monuments. But, if you had to choose only 4 who actually influenced the sound of the ’80s, who would you choose?
As you can imagine, things got heated on the podcast in the iHeart80s Radio 103.7 studios. Martha’s husband, Jordan, and iHeart80s Radio 103.7 DJ, Little Ricci, even got pulled into the debate.
I would highly recommend listening to this episode, then come back, and let me know who you would pick for your Mount Radmore.
I know that this will spark some debate, but I will give you my picks anyway.
Released in 1979, this song was a major influence for what was to come in ’80s Pop, New Wave, and just that fun, quirky, 80s attitude. Not to mention that it also kicked off MTV, which pretty much defined our 80s generation.
Here is another song that was released in 1979, and influenced an entire genre of music, and a lifestyle. Thanks to The Sugarhill Gang, we got some Newcleus, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and me with my boombox, parachute pants, cardboard, and some kick-ass break dancing moves. Without Rapper’s Delight, we may not have had Run-DMC (which would also mean no Aerosmith comeback), and other awesome Rap acts of the ’80s.
I’m cheating here, but I give these two songs a tie. Both of these versions were released in 1983. Rock music had been around for a long time. But, these two songs brought hard rock to the mainstream. This would lead to big hair, big parties, and big attitudes that made the 80s so much fun.
Shannon may have been a one-hit wonder, but this one hit would define a brand new genre of music with Freestyle. This style of music would carry on through the early ’90s. It smoothly transitioned 70s disco to 80s dance-pop. This would lead to Exposé, The Cover Girls, Stevie B, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, and Sweet Sensation. An 80s high school dance would not be complete without us dancing (even badly) to a song by any of these Freestyle artists, thanks to Shannon.
OK, I know I got this all wrong. There were thousands of artists in the 80s, and we can only pick a handful. Who would you pick for your Mount Radmore? I’d love to hear from you!
It’s time for another ’80s crossover event! This time we are talking/writing about some of our favorite music videos. Here are the entries from the rest of the ’80s League. Please check all of these people out, and leave comments.
We were fortunate enough to grow up in a time where we saw the birth of MTV, and watch it become one of the most influential entities of the decade. Before cable TV arrived, we had 3 major networks (and some UHF channels, that only had a little static if we were lucky). Then cable TV opened up a whole new world for us. I loved having HBO and Showtime. Being a sports fan, ESPN was great. You Can’t Do That on Television on Nickelodeon became one of my favorite television shows.
However, most of my television viewing went to MTV. The day I came home from school, and cable was newly installed in our home, the first station I put on was MTV. The first video I saw was “Little Red Corvette” by Prince. I don’t think I was the only person glued to MTV at the time. It was so different than anything else we watched. And if there was a song you loved, if you watched long enough, the video would come back on within a couple of hours. MTV helped out several artists who arrived on the scene at the perfect time – Michael Jackson, Prince, Duran Duran, Madonna. Unfortunately, it ruined some artists who were huge before MTV – buh-bye Christopher Cross and Billy Squier.
Now, for this #Fave80sMusicVideos crossover event, I’ll present some videos that stand out to me. There are many, many more. But, it would take days for this page to finish loading on your screen if I listed all my favorite, and groundbreaking videos. So, we’ll start from the beginning:
As any ’80s fan knows, this is the one that started it all. Not only is the song title appropriate for the first video to ever air on MTV, but it has that perfect ’80s sound. I still love this song to this day. The video itself isn’t too bad either. It doesn’t have that movie production value. There were some really cheesy and cheap videos in those early days, and this was above most of them.
ZZ Top Eliminator trilogy
While a lot of great acts from the ’60s and ’70s faded away with the dawn of the MTV generation, ZZ Top adapted extremely well. There was no mistaking their signature guitar sound of the ’70s, which made them wildly successful. But, instead of riding off in the sunset, they rode a customized 1930s Ford coupe, called the Eliminator, all the way to the stratosphere. They took advantage of the music video age, and made a marketing coup. While they weren’t the only singles released from the Eliminator album, these trilogy of videos are the most memorable. There is a storyline that runs through all three of these videos. First up…
Great introduction to this series! I love how the first thing we see, even before the music starts) is the Eliminator. The car pulls up to a gas station, where we meet our protagonist dude, and we are introduced to the 3 Eliminator babes. The dude is a gas station attendant, who has a boss that’s a prick. The band tosses the keys, on the iconic ZZ Top keychain, to the dude, and he goes for a ride, while we listen to this awesome song! At the end, it appears the whole thing was a dream…or was it???
Protagonist dude is changing into a tuxedo. He must make a lot of money at the gas station! Oh, wait. He’s a valet who gets treated like crap by coworkers and snooty, rich patrons. Then the Eliminator and Eliminator girls arrive, and the dude goes on another drive. He comes back in a new suit, and parties with the snoots, putting on the dance moves.
The third and final video of the Eliminator series features a woman as the main protagonist. She’s a mousy girl with glasses who goes to a burger joint, and is harassed by everyone there except for one guy, the cook, who is also harassed. She escapes the joint, leaving behind a food container and her glasses. The cook grabs the stuff and goes after her. She arrives at the shoe store where she works, where she is treated pretty much the same as at the burger joint. The cook gives the poor woman her stuff, then he is unceremoniously thrown out the the door by an asshole. But, he is thrown right in front of the arriving Eliminator. The Eliminator girls step out of the car, help the guy out, and go in the store, and exact revenge on the assholes in the store. Then our protagonist girl gets a makeover. After her makeover, the ladies all head over to the burger joint and rescue the guy, again, exacting revenge on the assholes in that place. The Eliminator drives off into nothing, and ZZ Top waves goodbye to us and fades away.
Sit down, Waldo! As with several of David Lee Roth’s solo videos, this Van Halen video begins with a kooky skit before it gets into the song. As much as I love Sammy Hagar, there have been very few showmen like David Lee Roth. The whole band was at the top of their game right here. The song starts with that iconic drumbeat, and of course when you have a legend on guitar, you can’t go wrong. Not only is the song awesome, but as a teenage boy when this song came out, I did not mind the hot bikini clad teachers. At all. Looking at it now, it seems just as creepy as Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” video where a boy watches Madonna strip and dance. I also liked how they got kid versions of the band members who liked just like them. This was a very fun and funny video.
Another great song accompanied by an awesome video. Even though this video got constant airplay, I never got sick of it. This was my introduction to the caricature puppets by the British television show Spitting Image. I know that Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” and Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” are heavily promoted as innovative videos. But, this is the one that fascinated me. In the age of CGI, I doubt we’ll see the likes of this again.
What were some of your favorite music videos? And don’t forget to visit the other pages and podcasts of my fellow 80s League (soon to be Banzai Club) members .