40. “New Sensation”-INXS (1988)

INXS were not new when the reemerged with Kick in 1987, but they were certainly a sensation.  The album was an international success and went 6x Platinum, in large part due to the series of videos that accompanied the four of the album’s hit singles.  “New Sensation” was the third video from the album, featuring the band’s performance intercut with neon stop action animation to match the driving energy of the song.  Among other things, the video proved that Michael Hutchence looked as good in a shirt, suit and tie as he did in jeans and a leather jacket sans shirt.-Dr. Gonzo

39. “Hourglass”-Squeeze (1987)

Somehow, it took six years after the creation of MTV for a band to strike it rich with a video built from simple optical illusions. Even stranger, the band that made such a video was Squeeze – a British band whose fleeting brush with U.K. chart success had ended a year or so before the creation of the music video network (their most famous song in the U.S., 1981’s “Tempted,” missed the Top 40 entirely but lives on in commercials).
This bizarre single, with its rapid-fire chorus and lite-ska sax blasts, is a perfect example of a video selling the song. Nobody would have put band songwriters Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook in Billboard‘s Top 20, no matter how glossy the production was (or how good the songs were written – the band is criminally underrated in that respect, and “Hourglass” is one of the better songs the duo penned around this time). But put the band through a series of increasingly silly eye-fooling tricks – forced-perspective door frames, stop-motion photography and oversized props – and suddenly you’ve given Squeeze the commercial respect that had long eluded them.
But what could have been a prime example of the “let’s just throw shit at the wall and see if it sticks” school of thinking actually became something strangely watchable. Sure, the hairstyles are a little silly – and Jools Holland’s yellowy makeup and goth lipliner a bit unnecessary – but you end up with a rousing good way to spend three minutes and 17 seconds. Anyone know someone who can install tiny doors in my house?-Mike Duquette


Squeeze – Hourglass by VEVO

38. “Rockit”-Herbie Hancock (1983)

Musically, Herbie Hancock constantly repositions himself at the forefront of new musical horizons.  In the 1970s, he was among the first to hybridize jazz and funk; at the dawn of the 21st century, he melded hip hop and electronic music with his Future2Futureproject; and in 1984, Hancock brought a jazz sensibility to hip hop aesthetics, giving birth to the break dance anthem “Rockit.”  The video was just as innovative as the track, giving viewers a sense of what daily life must be like in a world inhabited solely by automatons (in a meta move, Hancock only appears on the television shown within the video).  It’s weird, it’s funny, and the mechanical “characters” perfectly match the then-futuristic sounding synth, vocoder and turntable scratching.  –Dr. Gonzo


Herbie Hancock, Rockit, 1983 by harrison73

37. “Night of the Living Baseheads”-Public Enemy (1988)

Base! How low can you go? Chuck D. told us in this low-budget but effective clip meant to bring to light the dangers of the crack epidemic that was sweeping urban America in the late Eighties. Joined by MC Lyte playing a TV reporter, this video was like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video brought to the ‘hood and given a very real life spin.

36. “Tougher Than the Rest”-Bruce Springsteen (1988)

In the video for one of Springsteen’s more touching love songs, we’re treated to live footage from the Tunnel of Love tour with intermittent shots of various couples personifying the song’s proclamation of love’s strength.  It’s a straightforward concept, and the sentiment is sweet.  On paper (or bits, as the case may be), it doesn’t sound particularly significant.  Where Springsteen made the video something special is in the couples that he and the producers chose to include, reflecting a diversity of ages, races and orientations.  In a medium so often defined by misogyny and heteronormativity, “Tougher than the Rest” was a particularly progressive moment in how “love” was defined and represented in music videos.-Dr. Gonzo

35. “Total Eclipse of the Heart”-Bonnie Tyler (1983)

Major creepiness. Bonnie Tyler’s helmet head. That demonic looking kid. The red eyes. Jim Steinman’s uber-dramatic production. The only thing better than the “Total Eclipse of the Heart” video? The wicked awesome Literal Translation Video.


bonnie tyler total eclipse of the heart by kareem93

34. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”-Cyndi Lauper (1984)

Cyndi Lauper and her band of merry-makers traveled the streets of New York in one of the most unforgettable debut videos of all time. With her thrift-store wardrobe and bright orange hair, she was certainly one of the more visually unforgettable pop stars of the day, and this song was as bright as her mane. Featuring appearances by Cyndi’s own mom and wrestler Captain Lou Albano, the “Girls” video introduced this future star with a bang!

33. “Dancing in the Dark”-Bruce Springsteen (1984)

This simple performance video ushered The Boss into the video age and turned him from a superstar into a megastar. Born in the U.S.A. was omnipresent for almost two years-spinning off a record-tying seven Top 10 singles.  His interplay with the late Clarence Clemons is unforgettable, and when he brings a young Courteney Cox onstage to dance with him? Legendary.

32. “Batdance”-Prince (1989)

Following the commercial shrug afforded 1988’s Lovesexy, Prince needed something to take him back to the top of the pops. He found it when he composed the soundtrack to the following year’s summer blockbuster, “Batman”. For the video of the “theme” song, a schizophrenic mash-up style collage of samples, Prince decided to become some half Batman, half Joker thing and gallavant about with a bunch of similarly dressed dancers. It’s…odd. But it’s also Prince.

31. “Who’s That Girl?”-Eurythmics (1984)

Androgyny was in full effect in the mid-Eighties, and very few people delivered on that better than Annie Lennox. She played up that image to the hilt in the “Who’s That Girl?” video, playing herself and her paramour. Groundbreaking, sure, but it confused the hell out of my 7 year-old self!

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