Jack’s Top 5 80s Music Videos

Remember when MTV played music videos… and ONLY music videos? Yeah, we don’t either, that was like a long time ago. We’re told it was called the 1980s and Jack wants to take you down memory lane and share with you his five all-time favorite music videos from that magical decade.

That, and to remind you all that MTV ACTUALLY PLAYED MUSIC VIDEOS!

#5 [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Robert Palmer[/lastfm]-“Simply Irresistible” (1988)


Come on… do we really have to say why this is on Jack’s Top 5 list? No, not because it’s a great song… well that too. The um… background dancers… would become a Robert Palmer staple in the 80s. The video features the leading “supermodels” and dancers of the day and was styled in the manner of artist Patrick Nagel. We had our choice between this or “Addicted to Love” and this one came out victorious. That Robert Palmer really had a thing for brunettes, didn’t he? Thanks to him… so does Jack.

#4 [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]a-ha[/lastfm]-“Take On Me” (1985)


Norway’s favorite sons brought us this comic-strip inspired video in 1985. The animation sequence used in this video was from a technique called retroscoping, basically when people who can draw really well trace over a live-action film. You put that animation and live-action together and you get a video that won Video of the Year at the 1986 MTV Music Video Awards. And yes, Jack CAN still hit the high notes.

#3 [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Peter Gabriel[/lastfm]-“Sledgehammer” (1986)


You shouldn’t be shocked that the former [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Genesis[/lastfm] frontman would be on this list (foreshadowing). Gabriel was known for some unique videos during this time and “Sledgehammer” was the cream of the crop. This mix of stop-motion animation and claymation took home the 1987 Video of the Year award at the MTV VMAs. We here at Jack believe it was the dancing raw chickens that clinched him the award.

#2 [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm]-“Thriller” (1983)


Come on. No top whatever music videos lists is complete without this MJ gem on it. It was part music video, part short movie. It was even directed by Hollywood big shot John Landis. This featured the some of the most scariest and realistic zombies with some “killer” dance moves imaginable thanks to the work of famed make-up artist Rick Baker. Add the King of Pop and a dash of Ola Ray and an epic Vincent Price rap and you have got yourself 80s pop culture gold. This video is memorable to one Jack staffer in particular because he remembers his parents would tease their 2-year old child by turning the video on and off on the television and would laugh hysterically while their little tike would scream his head off because it was so scary. Not mentioning names.

#1 [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Genesis[/lastfm]- “Land of Confusion” (1986)


No debate needed. Genesis brought out this 1986 perfection using bizarre puppets by the British television show Spitting Image. The video is filled with pop culture dynamite. It also takes a few shots at the likes of then U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The video would go on to take home a Grammy in 1988, but would lose the Best Video at the 1987 VMAs to none other than former frontman Peter Gabriel. Jack doesn’t care, this video is near and dear to his heart. This video receives his #1 award… respect.

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