Top 10 Ridiculous 1980s Music Videos

They’re so bad, they’re hysterical: music videos in the 1980s were pretty much universally cheesy, ridiculous and unintentionally hilarious. Why? Some bands are just not photogenic, some people came up with really stupid premises, and no one could dance. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 most ridiculous music videos of the 1980s. For this list, we’ve chosen videos that are cheesy, low budget, and accidentally funny. We’ve decided to stick to mainstream singers and songs that had some actual success, and have disqualified actors, athletes or anyone else who’s only attempted a singing career because – c’mon too easy.
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Top 10 Ridiculous Music Videos of the 1980s


They’re so bad they’re hysterical. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 most ridiculous music videos of the 1980s.

For this list, we’ve chosen videos that are cheesy, low budget, and accidentally funny. We’ve decided to stick to mainstream singers and songs that had some actual success, and have disqualified actors, athletes or anyone else who’s only attempted a singing career because – c’mon too easy.

#10 – Starship: “We Built This City” (1985)

One of the worst songs of the ‘80s must be accompanied by one of the worst videos of the decade! What’s wrong here? The lyrics make no sense, the band looks pretentious, the crowd is bored, and giant dice chase people around. Also, nothin’ says rock and/or roll like singing presidential monuments. But seriously: could no one in the ‘80s dance except Michael Jackson?

#9 – Survivor: “Eye of the Tiger” (1982)

This song paints a picture for most people, and that picture is of Rocky. It is not of some cheesy ‘80s band strutting around wearing leather – well, most of them are in leather. Wouldn’t a Rocky montage be better? But wait, there’s more: now Survivor shows off their complete lack of stage presence in front of a gold sheet. And then they’re sweaty and there’s water everywhere…

#8 – Bonnie Tyler: “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (1983)

This video has so much symbolism and atmosphere our brains hurt. And by atmosphere, we mean smoke machines. Okay, the concept: apparently, Bonnie Tyler is having a sexy-dream about her students, which – granted – is creepy to begin with. But this is the creepiest sexy-dream we’ve ever seen. Choreographed ninjas, sweaty fencers, the Grease cast doing the Macarena. And the most literal interpretation of lyrics we never wanted to see.

#7 – Dead or Alive: “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” (1984)

If that last video was too high-concept, this one could do with a little more. And some dancing lessons. Seriously, this guy makes Axl Rose look like a good dancer. Is he doing the Carlton? With a leftover ‘70s disco ball and typical ‘80s androgyny, teased hair and shoulder pads, this video is under-produced and overdramatic. Don’t even get us started on the kimono, finger-wagging, hip-shimmying, and eye patch.

#6 – Wham!: “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (1984)

Wait, is George Michael doing the Carlton now? This video is famous for its moves and its wardrobe – those “Choose Life” t-shirts were a big thing. And who can forget the pink shirt, neon hobo gloves and short shorts? Between the clapping, snapping, jumping and spinning, we can’t believe George was still in the closet when this was filmed. Also, you can’t have an ‘80s vid without black light!

#5 – Men Without Hats: “Safety Dance” (1983)

There was bound to be a midget in one of these. The renaissance faire and maypole are a little less justifiable… Honestly, this video is our worst nightmare: a pseudo-David Lynch fiasco with puppets, random dogs, chicken-headed dudes and a crazy blonde girl. And repetition. In case you were wondering: yes, there is a safety dance, and it’s the poor man’s YMCA. “Everybody look at your hands” – they don’t write lyrics like this anymore.

#4 – Olivia Newton John: “Physical” (1981)

Wouldn’t be the ‘80s without legwarmers… Let’s set the record straight: acting in music videos almost universally sucks, and storylines can be tough to pull off. Add flabby guys exercising and shiny, ripped dudes posing in Speedos, and you’re so far past normal you circle back to hilarious. Did you know that the punch line here is that the hot guys actually wanna get physical with each other? Ridiculous.

#3 – David Bowie & Mick Jagger: “Dancing in the Street” (1985)

Ever notice that when two superstars duet, the result is not as awesome as you’d expect? No? Here’s exhibit A. Anyone would assume that Bowie + Jagger = excellent. So explain the spastic dance moves, ass shaking, pajama-laden wardrobe, and mid-song Coke break. Y’ever hear that urban legend about these two going to bed together? This video makes it a little too believable. They say grab a girl, guys.

#2 – Journey: “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” (1983)

This was Journey’s first-ever choreographed video, and while it does embody all things ‘80s, it’s still painfully hilarious. We’ve never been clear on the concept, but here’s what we know for sure: Steve Perry’s hair should always be long, that woman does not give a damn, walking backwards through stacks of pallets is dangerous, bands should always have instruments to play, and Journey is not camera-friendly. Tiger claw.

#1 – Billy Squier: “Rock Me Tonite” (1984)

All the videos on this list are terrible, but only one ruined a career. Squier’s rock god status was abruptly revoked after the release of this video, and with the satin sheets, writhing around on the floor, pink tank tops and latent homoeroticism, there’s little wonder why. But think about this: if the dude in this video were a chick, it’d be fine. Yes, even with those dance moves.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the most unintentionally hilarious music videos of the ‘80s? For more top 10s about your favorite music, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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