It's often said that there's a fine line between genius and stupidity. That notion was never more true than it was in the 1980s. We here at Music Forte spent a few too many hours scouring YouTube to bring you the most ridiculous music videos of that often-imitated, never duplicated decade. Some have been largely forgotten, but make no mistake: every one of these little masterpieces garnered heavy airplay on MTV at some point. Be sure to tell us all about your favorites in the comments.
5. Blotto – I Wanna Be a Lifeguard
This video was shown approximately 90 times during MTV's first broadcast week. Like all good videos, it's as literal as humanly possible. When the lead singer (Bowtie Blotto – Thanks, Wikipedia!) sings about sweat socks, you'll see sweat socks. When the chorus comes, he helpfully wears a shirt with the word "lifeguard" emblazoned right there on the chest, just in case you were watching with the sound muted. New wavers wouldn't get all humorless and depressing for at least another six months, mostly because it took that long for them to stop laughing at this clip.
Fun Fact: This band still exists and can often be seen playing shows around their hometown of Albany, New York.
4. Annie Golden – Hang Up The Phone
Sort of a spiritual successor to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", This video features more rotary telephones than you can shake a stick at. Don't miss the most soulful saxophone solo ever recorded by a guy in a pink hat. While we're on the subject, kids: yeah, people fully dressed that way in 1984.
Fun Fact: Annie Golden played the lead in the film version of "Hair".
3. Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
When the Adam Sandler version of your song seems a lot less ridiculous than the actual version, you're in trouble. If Disco balls, occasional eye-patches, flag waving and lots and lots of finger-pointing aren't the ingredients for a perfect video, I don't know what else could be.
Fun Fact: Lead singer Pete Burns was widely criticized for wearing a jacket made of gorilla fur on the 2006 season of Celebrity Big Brother.
2. Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
"Game of Thrones" has made a star out of little-person Peter Dinklage, but somehow it hasn't led to a critical re-examination of this video. The frighteningly photogenic lead singer of the band spends 3 minutes frolicking around a renaissance festival with a midget and what looks like the replicant woman from "Blade Runner". You can dance if you want to, but you're probably just going to stare at the television with a bewildered look on your face.
Fun Fact: There are two competing bands touring under the Men Without Hats moniker as of 2012, both led by original members (who are also brothers).
1. David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing In the Streets
There was a time when both of these men literally epitomized cool. That time ended at some point prior to the 1985 release of this video. The ridiculous clothes, the arrhythmic street-dancing and the way-too-close-for-comfort hip gyrating make this video hilarious, but the uncomfortable freeze-frames whenever it starts looking like the two rock icons are about to abandon all pretense and start making out on camera make it incredibly creepy.
Fun Fact: This video was shown in movie theaters before every showing of the hit movie "Ruthless People". It was also shown twice during 1985's Live-Aid telecast.