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Top 15 80s Music Videos

Top 15 80s Music Videos: The 1980s was a revolutionary decade for music videos. With the launch of MTV in 1981, music videos became an essential promotional tool for musicians. The 1980s produced some of the most iconic, creative, and influential music videos of all time. From Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking videos like “Thriller” and “Beat It” to a-ha’s clever “Take on Me” video, the 80s set a high bar for music video innovation. This article will revisit 15 of the greatest 80s music videos, exploring what made them so memorable, their filming locations, and key features that captured the spirit of the times.InfoGuideNigeria

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Top 80s Music Videos

1. Michael Jackson – “Thriller” (1983)

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is widely considered one of the greatest 80s music videos ever made. Directed by John Landis and featuring voiceover work by horror legend Vincent Price, the 14-minute video tells a cinematic story about Michael and his date encountering the undead. Filmed in various locations around Los Angeles, the video incorporated complex choreography and groundbreaking special effects. Rick Baker designed the incredible werewolf makeup and zombie costumes, bringing movie-quality production values to the fledgling artform of music videos. From the iconic red leather jacket to the zombie dance sequence, “Thriller” set a new standard for creativity and changed music videos forever.Top 15 80s Music Videos

2. Guns N’ Roses – “Welcome to the Jungle” (1987)

The gritty music video for “Welcome to the Jungle” introduced the world to the hard rock sounds and rebellious persona of Guns N’ Roses. Filmed on Hollywood Boulevard and in seedy alleyways around downtown LA, the video captures the city’s dark underbelly. Axel Rose exudes magnetism as he stalks through the streets amidst pyrotechnics and the band’s intense performances. Director Nigel Dick aimed to highlight the sharp contrast between glamorous Hollywood and Skid Row. GNR delivered that point perfectly with their explosively raw music and edgy fashion. From the headbanging guitars to Axl’s legendary snake dance, “Jungle” epitomized 80s rock attitude.

3. a-ha – “Take on Me” (1985)

a-ha’s “Take on Me” features one of the most memorable music video concepts ever – the pioneering use of rotoscoping animation and live-action to have the band members “enter” a comic book sketch world. Filmed in London, the video took over 16 weeks to complete due to the complex process of hand-drawing and coloring thousands of frames. The innovative promo helped make “Take on Me” a global smash hit, complementing the song’s synth riffs and soaring melodies. Directed by Steve Barron, it won six awards at the 1986 MTV VMAs and remains one of the defining music videos of the decade.

4. Duran Duran – “Hungry Like the Wolf” (1982)

The exotic music video for “Hungry Like the Wolf” was filmed in the jungles of Sri Lanka. The humid setting matched the song’s pulsating funk-pop rhythms and helped establish Duran Duran’s image as a slick, jetsetting band. Nick Rhodes originally wrote the tune after hearing about stalking in the animal kingdom. The video brought those lyrics to life through mysterious imagery like lead singer Simon Le Bon pursuing a beautiful woman through the wilderness. Tigers, snakes, and wilderness sounds fill the sweltering backdrop. Director Russell Mulcahy shot guerilla-style on location, conveying a cinematic sense of adventure that made Duran Duran global sensations.

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5. Madonna – “Like a Prayer” (1989)

Madonna sparked major controversy with the religious imagery of her 1989 video “Like A Prayer.” Directed by Mary Lambert, the clip depicts Madonna dancing ecstatically in a church in front of burning crosses, making love to a black saint, and sporting bleeding stigmata wounds on her hands. The provocative scenes were shot at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood and San Pedro Hills in San Pedro, California. The Vatican denounced the video while parent groups boycotted Pepsi for featuring it in an ad campaign. The uproar only cemented Madonna’s status as the biggest pop star on the planet and demonstrated how her daring visuals pushed boundaries.

6. Peter Gabriel – “Sledgehammer” (1986)

Peter Gabriel scored a smash hit with “Sledgehammer” thanks to its wildly imaginative music video and colorful animation. Directed by Stephen R. Johnson, Aardman Animations brought Gabriel’s playful lyrics to life through visionary claymation. The video holds the record for most playtime on MTV and features marvels like animated chickens, a dancing refrigerator, and a giant ox pulling Gabriel’s head into the sky with balloons. The quirky visuals were crafted with painstaking stop-motion and took three months to complete. Gabriel also appears dancing throughout the video, filmed in London’s Sarm West Studios against a greenscreen background. “Sledgehammer” demonstrated music videos’ potential as an incredible creative medium.Romantic Love Messages

7. Talking Heads – “Once in a Lifetime” (1980)

The avant-garde music video for Talking Heads’ “Once In A Lifetime” was directed by choreographer Toni Basil and shot against a chroma key background at Golden West College in Los Angeles. David Byrne delivers an oddball preacher monologue while pulling off herky-jerky dance moves that Basil helped create. The imaginative video captures Byrne’s surreal stream-of-consciousness lyrics through his wildly unpredictable motions. Choppy editing and analog distortion effects enhance the wonderfully weird aesthetic. Though made for just $60,000, “Once In a Lifetime” became a landmark early alternative music video and perfectly distilled the artsy essence of new wave.

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8. Prince – “When Doves Cry” (1984)

Prince delivers a stripped-down yet electrifying performance in the music video for his No. 1 smash “When Doves Cry.” Directed by Prince himself, the video features stylish black-and-white cinematography shot at a studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Prince’s sensuous dance moves take center stage as he gyrates in minimalist settings backdropped by his hazy vocals. The innovative promo never shows Prince’s band The Revolution as he wanted his raw vocals and guitar work to take the spotlight. The video broke new ground for its brilliance in simplicity and turned Prince into an iconic pop culture figure.Good Morning Love Messages

9. Michael Jackson – “Billie Jean” (1983)

Michael Jackson shattered MTV’s reluctance to feature black artists with the riveting video for “Billie Jean.” Directed by Steve Barron, the short film follows Jackson as he walks down a neon-lit sidewalk, each tile lighting up with his footsteps. These sequences were filmed on a soundstage in Los Angeles. Other vignettes show Jackson dancing against black backdrops, captured in elaborate sets at a Hollywood studio. Jackson insisted on a parking garage stairwell dance solo to highlight his magic feet during the musical bridge. The glowing sidewalk, Jackson’s light-up jacket, and seamless choreography blended to create one of the most influential videos ever.

10. Whitesnake – “Here I Go Again” (1987)

The steamy music video for “Here I Go Again” catapulted Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale to stardom and cemented the power ballad’s legacy. Filmed in the seaside town of Hastings, England, Coverdale cruises down an ocean highway in a classic Jaguar convertible, the wind blowing his long locks. Scenes of Coverdale’s then-girlfriend, future Bond girl Tawny Kitaen, experiencing car trouble before undergarment-clad writhing on the luxury vehicle’s white hood and seductively spinning around. Director Marty Callner captured the 1980s glam metal zeitgeist with sexy imagery against sweeping coastal views. Millions of viewers eagerly watched Whitesnake visually drive home their bluesy hard rock sound.EHA Clinics Job Recruitment 2023(18 Positions)

11. Cyndi Lauper – “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (1983)

Cyndi Lauper’s exuberant “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video perfectly complements the song’s playful lyrics about female camaraderie and freedom. Directed by Edd Griles, Lauper plays the part of a bored girl who escapes her parents’ stuffy party with her real friends. Vibrant street and nightclub scenes of Lauper dancing joyfully with her diverse crew were filmed in New York City’s Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side. Hulk Hogan makes a cameo that underscores Lauper’s wrestling fandom. From the colorful ’80s fashions to Lauper’s spunky attitude, the clip kicked off her career and status as a feminist pop culture icon.NYSC Portal

12. Dire Straits – “Money for Nothing” (1985)

Dire Straits’ satirical song about MTV got a music video fittingly loaded with self-referential commentary on the medium. Mark Knopfler’s clever lyrics are brought to life through cutting edge computer animation in one of the first videos created entirely with CGI. While the realistic graphics look primitive today, they were groundbreaking in 1985. The video gave viewers an insider’s behind-the-scenes look at a rockstar’s decadent lifestyle via a cartoonish microwave repairman voiced by Sting complaining about musical success. Director Steve Barron filmed band scenes separately in London before combining everything through computer technology. The ambitious “Money For Nothing” video expanded ideas of what was possible creatively for music storytelling.

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13. Van Halen – “Jump” (1984)

Van Halen’s “Jump” launched the band into superstardom and delivered an iconic synth-driven anthem of the 1980s. Shot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the music video shows the group performing the song in a warehouse as lead singer David Lee Roth goofily shows off his dance moves. Director Peter Angelus also incorporated stock footage of a rising sun, city traffic, skydivers, and more to visually capture the song’s lyrics about living life to the fullest. Roth’s high-kicking, pelvis-thrusting performance style made him one of the most charismatic and entertaining frontmen in rock history. Paired with the song’s mammoth hooks, “Jump” rode the video’s fun vibes to No. 1 status.

14. Billy Idol – “Dancing With Myself” (1984)

Billy Idol cemented his rebellious rocker image with the gritty music video for “Dancing with Myself.” Filmed in a vacant warehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, director Tobe Hooper focused on Idol writhing and snarling through the song’s verses before prancing euphorically around a glowing campfire during the chorus. A purple mohawk, black leather vest, and glowing arm bracelet completed Idol’s punk rock look as he intensely gazed into the camera. Shooting on location burnished Idol’s outsider appeal as he sneeringly rejects societal norms and dances alone without a care in the world. Primitive pyrotechnics and moody lighting set the dark mood that made “Dancing With Myself” an oddball MTV staple.JAMB Result

15. Michael Jackson – “Beat It” (1983)

The cinematic music video for “Beat It” further established Michael Jackson as the King of Pop with its glorification of dance and iconic red leather jacket. Directed by Bob Giraldi, the short film features Jackson bringing two rival 1950s-style gangs together through the power of music and choreography. The street dance sequences were filmed on seedy downtown LA locations to authenticate the danger and menace between the gangs. However, Jackson emerges as an almost messianic figure, preventing violence through the joy and grace of dancing. By the end, he gets everyone from the gangsters to young kids dancing in perfect unison. With slick filmmaking and spectacular dancing, the “Beat It” video struck a chord that still resonates.Abuja Clinics Recruitment 2023(6 Positions)

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The prolific music video art form truly came into its own during the 1980s. The decade was a hotbed of creativity as directors and musicians experimented with groundbreaking visual techniques from animation to special effects. Locations ranged from Hollywood soundstages to exotic international jungles. As the videos gained popularity on MTV, they became an essential canvas for artists to paint their images and sensibilities. The 15 videos profiled here demonstrate how the 1980s shaped music visuals for decades to come and produced many of popular culture’s most indelible images. Music videos emerged as both an art form and promotional necessity during the MTV era, and their influence lives on whenever viewers watch their favorite acts bring songs to life onscreen.


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