The ’80s produced some of the greatest songs and videos of all time! The decade also produced some of the worst music videos of all time. Here’s a look at 15 of the worst music videos from the ’80s:
The Bangles – Going Down to Liverpool
This one makes the list mainly because the girls look as if they could care less to be in the video, and it shows.
Accept – Balls to the Wall
For a kick a$$ song and band, this is one cheesy video, and the lead singer’s “puppet” body on top of the wrecking ball at the end takes the cake and catapults this video into the ultra-cheesy zone!
Billy Squier – Rock Me Tonite
One of the first music videos on MTV declared that “video killed the radio star”, and Billy Squier’s music video for ‘Rock Me Tonite’ essentially killed his music career. After seeing their man dance around a bedroom for over four minutes, his hard rocking fans had seen (and unfortunately) heard enough of Squier, and his career never recovered.
Journey – Separate Ways
This is one of most popular songs and videos from the ’80s, but there’s no denying it’s an awful music video. And, when a family from Washington filmed their own version during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, it solidified how bad this video really is. But, luckily, it’s a great song from a great band, so it’s more funny than cringe worthy.
Cheap Trick – Up The Creek
This is just a bad video. In fact, lead guitarist Rick Nielsen said in a 1997 interview with The A.V. Club that “The video was the worst we’ve ever done. We’ve done some bad, bad ones, but that took the cake.”
Dennis DeYoung – Desert Moon
All you need to do is watch the first 30 seconds of this video, and you’ll understand why this one made the list. The song was a top ten hit, but the video, not so much. But, are we that surprised? Have you seen Styx’s video for Mr. Roboto?
Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
‘Eye of the Tiger’ is one of the best rock songs of the ’80s, and a huge part of the success was due to it being the theme song for Rocky III. The music video features the band walking the streets while singing and then playing on a stage that eventually gets soaked with rain. Not exactly the visuals you expect when you hear ‘Eye of the Tiger’.
David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing in the Streets
Oy. For two of the most iconic rock stars of all time, Dancing in the Streets is really bad. The video basically looks like the directors just said, “Hey, you two just go out there and do whatever you want.” It’s entertaining only because we can’t stop shaking our heads as we watch it.
Laura Branigan – Self Control
Riding high off her chart success with Gloria and Solitaire, wholesome Laura Branigan filmed one of the most bizarre, sexy, and bad music videos of the ’80s.
Oingo Boingo – Nothing Bad Ever Happens To Me
The only thing bad that happens here is the actual music video itself. Holy cow, this one was awful. Like a lot of ’80s videos, it’s a good song set to an awful video…
The Jacksons – Torture
Simply put, this video is torture to sit through. According to Jeff Stein, the director of the video, he called the video shoot “an experience that lived up to the song title”, and that sentiment is shared by others involved in the production. It finished over schedule and over budget. By the end the Jacksons themselves had stopped showing up. Stein says it was so stressful that one of his crew members lost control of her bodily functions. “The crew motto used to be ‘Death or victory’,” he says. “I think that was the only time we ever prayed for death.”
Will Powers – Adventures in Success
Was this a motivational video or a music video? It was actually a spoof of motivational videos, but back then, no one really knew and many took it as a really bad motivational video.
Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
What in the world is going on in this video? This video made no sense back then, and it makes no sense now… Probably our favorite description of this video is from a Youtube comment that says, “this is what happens when you go to the Renaissance fair on acid.”
Kiss – Lick It Up
Great song! Great band! Bad video! There’s not a lot we can say about this one. It’s just really bad, and it was the first video to feature the band without makeup. After watching it, all we could think of was “put the makeup back on!”