Steve's been an online music writer for seven years and has personal experience organizing his equipment for gigs.
What Is Spinning?
During the golden age of MTV, '80s hair band videos were king. Years before Carson Daly's TRL, the thriving cable network aired the Top 10 countdown every weeknight. Looking back at those videos, one can't help but notice that an exciting and dizzying trend emerged from underneath all of the Aqua Net:
If you turn on VH1 Classic late at night, you'll see all of the popular '80s videos . . . and there is so much spinning!
For our purposes here, we're only referring to musicians with instruments—as well as singers—spinning in place. It wasn't really dancing. It wasn't rocking. It was simply a 360-degree turn.
For the fast-paced, quick-edits style of music videos of the time, it had a significant visual impact. If you were in a hair band, it was the cool thing to do on stage, but went out of fashion once everyone realized how unnecessary it was for actually playing music.
There are SO many '80s hair metal videos with glammed-out rockers rotating on their own axis. After doing research for this Hub, I felt like a 12-year-old kid with motion sickness after riding the Tilt-A-Whirl three times in a row.
What follows are the top five spinning '80s hair metal videos in descending order, complete with spin counts and embedded videos. So pop a Dramamine and put your seat belt on. We're in for a ride!
5. Bon Jovi—"You Give Love a Bad Name"
Spin Count - 6
Did you think that there could be a '80s hair band list that didn't include New Jersey's second favorite son? Of course not.
Bon Jovi's most popular video is "Living On a Prayer" (with over 55 million views on YouTube) and definitely has a lot of turning around, but not enough complete rotations to make the list.
"Bad Name," on the other hand, kicks off our countdown with some quality spins.
JBJ easily leads the pack with four spins. For good measure he also throws in a couple of half-turns and a microphone twirl. Jon is probably the coolest looking spinner of anyone else in the top five, and keeps it to a respectable minimum.
Guitarist Richie Sambora and bassist Alec Jon Such participate with one spin each, making for a well-balanced spinning band.
4. Ozzy Osbourne—"Shot in the Dark"
Spin Count - 7
The first single from Ozzy's "The Ultimate Sin" album was released in 1986 during the height of the glam metal/spinning craze. (We can thank Motley Crue's 1985 release of "Theater of Pain" for musicians suddenly caking on makeup and adorning themselves in sparkly outfits).
Osbourne gets the trophy for two of clumsiest looking spins ever caught on film, with his body hunched over in attack mode, an awkward leg kick and a momentary loss of balance. Good thing guitarist Jake E. Lee saves the day—with a solid four graceful spins. Phil Soussan throws in a single spin to keep the bass player relevant.
Spin Count - 11
Here's a guy who has an acceptable reason to spin! Before the success of his namesake band, Kip Winger studied ballet with a girlfriend, and according to him, "really got into it." Now I know what you're thinking—pirouettes are SO rock and roll!
Okay, maybe not.
But when your band rises to stardom during MTV's heyday, and you can turn on a dime balancing only on your big toe, you're damn right there's gonna be some spinning in your video!
Kip dominates the spiral showcase with an impressive 10 spins! For a song that clocks in just over four minutes, that's an average of 2.5 spins a minute. Not bad for a rocker, but shameful for a ballet dancer.
Guitarist Reb Beach contributes with only one spin, ensuring that Kip doesn't monopolize the band's legacy in the Spinning Hall of Fame.
2. Cinderella—"Shake Me"
Spin Count - 13
Tom Keifer and Co. rose to success largely due to the success of this video, the first single from their debut album. Not only are there a lot of bodies spinning, but Cinderella started an even more disturbing trend:
Spinning guitars around your neck!
While it looked super cool on TV, the ill-advised practice led to hundreds, if not thousands, of aspiring rock stars to destroy their beloved axes while attempting the same feat without the aid of strap locks or record company advances.
Singer/guitarist Keifer wins out in this clip with nine complete turns. At a running time of 4:20 (smoke 'em if ya got 'em!), this is again an impressive amount of spins. Considering how many takes it probably took to actually make the video, it's a wonder that he was able to avoid hurling on the fans with all of that spinning.
Guitarist Jeff Labar only has time for one spin, largely because he's spending so much time spinning his guitar (four times) and flipping his hair.
Eric Brittingham finally puts bass players on the respectable spinning map with a triple dose as well as two bass-around-the-neck spins. Way to go, dude!
1. Poison—"Talk Dirty To Me"
Spin Count - 16
WOW these guys can spin! Not only that, but they throw guitars and mics, spit, kick, jump, slide, crawl, run, gyrate, hi-five and tumble all over the stage. This is probably the most exhausting video ever made.
The above count is just taking into consideration the amount of spins by an individual or duo. If we count spinning mics, guitar-around-the-neck spins, wired telephone spins...it would just be too much.
Guitarist C.C DeVille is a true spinning champ with 10 full spins AND a full 360-degree turn on the floor. Yes folks, I think we have our spinning-in-a-music-video poster boy. DeVille never stops moving...and sometimes even acts like he's playing guitar. C.C epitomizes the reason spinning became popular . . . and soon after . . . shunned.
Singer Bret Michaels picks up a deuce while bassist Bobby Dall (like "Barbie Doll." Get it?) sticks with the bass player norm of only one. That is, only one by himself. Here's where things get complicated.
Bret and Bobby perform two unique spins together. Talk about owning the top spot!
The first is an arm-in-arm full spin. We're talking a rock and roll do-se-do involving two grown men in makeup. Cool! I only counted this as one spin even though two people were involved. Gotta keep it real.
The second is a well-choreographed double spin towards the end of the clip. These guys weren't just spinning randomly. They planned this s**t out! That's why they are completely deserving of the reigning champion title for number of spins in an '80s hair band video.
kristi adair on June 16, 2019:
You've forgotten RATT. They had hit after hit on the records "Out of the Cellar " 1984, "Invasion of your Privacy" 1985, "Dancing Undercover" 1986, "Detonator"1987. Stephen Pearcy was the hottest glam metal singer out there. They filled arenas for 8 years straight.