The 50 Sexiest Music Videos of the '80s
Sure, there have been lists of sexiest videos before. However, those lists are usually ranked by the popularity of the song instead of calculating how sexy each video was. You get videos like Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love, which was far more amusing than sexy. I entered adulthood in the 80s. Puberty resulted in an explosion of early teen hormones that amplified the sexiness of the videos I saw. And by the way, what a great time to go through puberty, during the rise of the music video age, and the introduction of video vixens. I remember what I found sexy back then, and it wasn't the girls in the Palmer video.
So instead of using the Billboard charts to determine what were the sexiest videos of the 80s, I shall instead rely on my own memories of what I found sexy back then. Keep in mind I was, and still am, attracted only to women, so sexiest guys are not going to be on this list. Instead I have picked the 50 music videos I enjoyed the most back then. Instead of ranking them they are listed in the order which I had seen them. And with each, an explanation as to why I liked them.
Olivia Newton-John - Physical
Long before puberty, I discovered that I was attracted to women on television who got their clothing wet, usually from an accidental fall into a pool or lake, or as the result of getting caught in the rain. Those feelings only intensified once I reached my teens. What made wet clothing attractive? Perhaps the way they became glossy, or the way they cling to the body. Or perhaps it's just the idea that anyone in wet clothing usually takes them off immediately. But perhaps the best reason is how wet clothing tends to become transparent. This is especially the case with white or light colored clothing where you could see the skin tone underneath, almost as if she was naked.
Around the beginning of 1982 Covergirl put out a commercial featuring supermodel Kelly Emberg. Like all the other Covergirl commercials, it was a montage of Kelly in different outfits in different locations doing different things, and as always, ending up on a yacht party. But this time the montage had a few seconds of Kelly in a white dress shirt, holding a hose so that the water was shooting up into the air and raining back down on her. Her shirt was soaked and transparent, and even though she was positioned so nothing was showing, I was both surprised and delighted to see this, and looked forward to seeing the commercial again. Sadly, others were not delighted. Women began complaining that their children saw the same commercial. The ad only ran a couple of days before being pulled.
Something else I discovered turned me on was exhausted woman who had just worn themselves out after an intense workout. Or at least I thought that was what was going on on the album cover of Olivia Newton John's Physical. As I grew older I eventually realized why that album cover was so sexy. Okay, yes she was supposed to be worn out after exercising. But the look on her face simulated something else. That album cover got me interested in Olivia. While the video for the title song did have her in a gym, it was as a fitness trainer to a group of overweight men. So no, she didn't get exhausted as depicted on the album cover. But midway through the video she gives up on the men she is training and heads to the showers. But she never removes her gym outfit, opting to shower with her clothes still on. The moment she gets wet is shot from her shoulders up, so you never see her entire outfit get soaked. But back then, it was enough of a turn on for me just to know it was happening.
The Go-Gos - Our Lips Are Sealed
The story behind this video: Former Punk Rock Band the Go-Gos had changed to mainstream Rock. Their record label wanted to put them on the Pop charts, and arm twisted the band into shooting a music video. The concept was to have the girl band driving around in a convertible and doing girlie things, such as shopping and going to salons. The band rejected this image of them, and basically made every attempt to sabotage the video shoot. They saw their opportunity at a fountain with a sign forbidding anyone from entering it, and some police nearby. Without warning the band jumped into the fountain and began dancing, hoping the police would show up and shut the video shoot down. But for whatever reason the nearby police did nothing to stop them. So the Go-Gos went all the way into the center of the fountain, and even began rolling around in the water. Still the police ignored them. Claiming they were too wet and cold to continue shooting that day, the band went home. While the director did not get the band doing all the girlie things he wanted, he loved the fountain footage. And that is how the video ended up. For me, here were five girls in their street clothes getting completely drenched, rolling around and cavorting in two feet deep water and a nearby fountain.
Olivia Newton-John - Landslide
Something else that turned me on was glossy clothing. It could be satin, silk, metallic, leather, vinyl, or anything else like that. I have no idea why I found these types of outfits sexy. I just did. I already had a crush on Olivia Newton John from the album cover and video for Physical. Then came the hour long network special which had music videos for every song on the album. It opened with Olivia on the beach in wet clothing, doing some sort of yoga in the surf. From there, all sorts of sexy videos, including the previously released Physical clip, accompanied each song. A few of which were later released as individual promotional music videos. One of those later released was Landslide, which had Olivia in a stunning red leather ( or perhaps vinyl ) outfit, seducing one of her co-workers at an office. I must have spent weeks fantasizing of Olivia in that outfit after I saw the video.
Fleetwood Mac - Hold Me
The second celebrity I had a crush on was Stevie Nicks. And I was not alone. Up to this point all of her solo videos and the Fleetwood Mac videos were strictly filmed performances. The video for Fleetwood Mac's Hold Me was the first time she would be in what was then called a "concept video". Using a desert as the video's theme, it featured Stevie among the dunes, reclining in a chaise lounge. The way she posed, the expression on her face, and the way she ran her fingers through her hair, was just amazing. She looked like a woman in heat, in more ways than one.
Motels - Take The L
It was about five seconds of footage from this video that got my blood boiling. A quick cutaway to Martha Davis in a hot tub, or possibly the director wanted us to think she was in the middle of the ocean? She could have been nude for all I knew because only her shoulders on up was above the water. It was a break-up song, and she seemed to be in anguish. She had her eyes closed, her head tilted back, and was holding her forehead with the one hand she had above the water. In those few seconds as she sang about her relationship being over, she slowly sank below the surface. Exactly why I found these few seconds sexy I have never worked out. But it did put the singer Martha Davis on my radar as another Rock n Roll sex symbol to crush on.
Motels - Only the Lonely
Another video with another moment. At the end of the video, Martha was very suggestively lying on the top of a table, apparently passed out. The video never explained why she was on top of the table. Obviously some sort of metaphor that made sense to the director. But she was position like the lead actress in an adult video. That is if actresses in adult videos were fully clothed and dresses as if they were on their way to a funeral. Still, one has to take into account that this was the early 80s where a girl lying on a table in that position was still a rarity on broadcast television.
Fleetwood Mac - Gypsy
I was still in the midst of my crush on Stevie Nicks when the second video from Fleetwood Mac's Mirage album was released. This time it was a song that Stevie sung lead on, so she was featured in the entire video. At the time it was the most expensive music video ever shot, featuring four large sets, and various costumes. It had one segment where Stevie, wearing a 1940s era dress, runs outside a club and starts dancing in the rain. But it was not the wet clothing that I liked the most about the video. The different segments were framed with Stevie in her room, looking into a mirror. She was on the floor while doing a split, wearing a vintage white dress. And take my word for it, she looked incredibly beautiful. So what if she was not being aggressively sexy in that video. You could not watch it and not wish you were in the same room.
Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf
Duran Duran were as big as the Beatles in Europe, but because of their then unusual new wave sound, had not broken onto the U.S. charts. So their record label decided to spend a small fortune by sending them to India to shoot videos for their Rio album. ( India??? ) Hungry Like the Wolf had an Indiana Jones style concept, with lead singer Simon Le Bon exploring a jungle, searching for an elusive wild girl played by model Sheila Ming. The single itself ended with the sounds of a girl moaning, and when they got to that part in the video, Simon catches up with the jungle girl and begins wrestling her, eventually penning her to the ground where.... well, that's when the video fades out. But that is when I discovered the idea of a guy wrestling a scantly dressed girl into submission was very sexy, especially coupled with the sounds of a girl moaning.
Pat Benatar - Anxiety (Get Nervous)
The video for this song had Pat somewhere where she would be nervous, in the waiting room of a dentist. As the people with appointments before her enter the next room and leave with various injuries, she grows more apprehensive. The video does not show her unbuttoning her shirt, but when it is her turn to go in it is somehow wide open with the left side draped down, exposing her slip underneath. Apparently Pat was so nervous that she had absentmindedly unbuttoned her shirt. This partially striptease was very effective, leaving you to believe that if the doctor had made her wait any longer, there would be full nudity. Ironically Pat herself would rally again this sort of crass sexploitation with her song Sex as a Weapon.
Toto - Africa
Sometimes just a suggestive glance was sexy. In this video the lead singer is in a library doing some sort of research. What I assume was his beautiful assistant is there with him, and while both are working she occasionally glances over at him longingly. A very subtle performance, but very effective. It almost had me screaming at the screen "Idiot, can't you see she wants you!!!" But the researcher never notices his assistant, and she never makes a move.
Duran Duran - Rio
After seeing the video Hungry Like the Wolf, I was eager to see what else Duran Duran had to offer. The next video released off their Rio album, for the title track, had a lot of video vixens wearing shiny costumes. But what made the video was one of the girls posed seductively against a tree wearing what looked like a wet transparent dress.
Stevie Nicks - Stand Back
It had been almost a year since I last saw Stevie Nicks when she released her second solo album, The Wild Heart. The first single was Stand Back, and the release of the video was heralded as a major event. It would be another year before a new artist who called herself Madonna became a household name. Olivia Newton-John was in an extended break between albums to pursue her acting career. Linda Ronstadt had abandoned Pop Music for 40s era ballads, and with that began dressing conservatively. Donna Summer, who once moaned Love to Love You Baby, was reinvented with her feminists hit She Works Heard For The Money. That summer Stevie Nicks was pretty much the most desirable female recording artist releasing new music videos. Radio Disc Jockeys would actually promote the airing of the video on N.B.C.s new program Friday Night Videos. Stand Back was scheduled to air four times that summer, and each time I knew it would air a week in advance because all the D.J.s were talking about it. This may not have been her sexiest video, but in context of the date of it's release, and the fact that there was nothing like YouTube, Stevie was the sexiest woman on television for months.
Eurythmics - Love Is A Stranger
Annie Lennox was no sex symbol. Her look varied from dyed reddish pink crewcuts to Elvis wigs and fake stubble. But there was this one moment when she let down her guard and actually acted sexy in a music video. There she was, writhing on the floor in a leather outfit. And then it was immediately back to acting like a guy for the next couple of videos.
Adam Ant - Strip
Adam Ant would regularly hire supermodels and actresses to be the vixens in his video. Such was the case with former Miss World winner Mary Stavin who wore a number of appealing outfits during the Strip video. She even ended up in a shower wearing nothing but a white period undergarment.
Kim Carnes - Invisible Hands
I wanted an explanation as to why female characters in movies and television shows suddenly become attractive when they are in mortal danger. As it turns out, we are triggering emotions designed to motivate us to protect each other. So basically, if Sally is caught in quicksand, while our normal instincts would be to stay as far away from that dangerous quicksand as possible, our emotions motivate us to risk our lives rescuing her. These emotional triggers even work when strangers are in trouble. Motion pictures seek to exploit our emotions. To cheer for the hero and hate the villain, even though they are fictional characters. When a character is in danger our emotions to rescue that person are triggered. Unable to do it ourselves, the hero becomes our proxy. Sudden concern for a character can easily be confused with the nearly same emotions we would have if we found them attractive. Those emotions become intense if it looks as if the hero can't save the girl, or in cases where the girl's fate is unknown, such as when she falls of the edge of a cliff and we never see where she lands. The useless hero is no longer our proxy, so our emotions shift back to wanting to do something ourselves. After all, she can still be saved, right? The girl becomes even more important, even though we as viewers are helpless to do anything. Our illusion of her being attractive is intensified.
Or so it was explained to me when I wanted to know why I suddenly found Kim Carnes very attractive after watching her video for Invisible Hands. It is one of those standard haunted house videos frequently cutting back to a parallel performance video. While she is harassed by mummies, and some sort of ghost hair that grows down from the ceiling, you don't really think she is in any danger. That is until near the end of the video. Kim has her back to the wall looking every bit as if she had been cornered. And then suddenly she vanishes into thin air, never to be seen again ( except for in the parallel performance video. ) What happened to her? Has the house absorbed her? Has she been disintegrated? Has she been spirited away to another dimension?
Heart - How Can I Refuse
Music videos were starting to get darker, and not just because Metal was starting to go mainstream. But video director were more likely to kill off the recording artist in his own video. Which is seemingly what happened in this Heart video. During a performance the band is spirited away to another dimension by a magician. The band is separated with the male backup band shrunken and trapped in a crystal ball, while Ann and Nancy stand before the magician as he demonstrates his powers. He let's them know he can easily destroy the crystal ball and everyone in it as a threat for them to do his bidding, or else. And seeing as how at the time Ann and Nancy were two of the most attractive women in Rock music, you can easily guess what the magician wanted. But instead of giving him what he wanted, Ann and Nancy decide to sacrifice themselves by grabbing the crystal ball so they too end up inside. The magician so enraged at their choice that he destroys the ball with everyone still inside. And then the video cuts back to the performance as if all that just happened was a dream. But dream or not, the sisters deliberately choosing to enter the death ball and perish with the rest of their band amplified their attractiveness.
Carly Simon - You Know What To Do
This was actually a big event. Carly Simon was one of the last of the MTV holdouts, and like the others, refused to make music videos. But then her children talked her into making videos. They wanted to see their mom on MTV. A natural beauty with long legs and thick lips, she looked every bit like a super model and was considered one of Rocks biggest sex symbols. With Madonna setting the bar on sexual music videos, there were high expectations with Carly. And she didn't disappoint. Even if she went with a one piece bathing suit instead of bikini. It had her emerging from a pool, her on a bed in her lingerie, her standing in a little doorway making her dress transparent, her making out with the creep that had just been stalking her, because he turned out to be a hansom creep. It was one of the sexiest music videos that had been made up to that date. Which is a bit odd considering her children, who she made the video for, we're only nine and six years old at the time.
Naked Eyes - When The Lights Go Out
This was an obvious rip off of the Gilliam film Time Bandits,. A girl wakes up in bed to discover she is being abducted by dwarfs who are attempting to drag her bed out the window with her in it. Instead of being distressed, she is instead both amused and delighted this is happening. I am not sure why I found this sexy. I am guessing this video once again triggered my response to someone in danger and need of rescuing. But that can't possibly be it as she was much larger than any one of her abductors. Maybe it was the idea that a girl was allowing herself to be dragged off to a dwarf orgy. I f she's into that then she must be into anything, right?
Agnetha - I Can't Shake Loose
Agnetha Fältskog was the blonde from ABBA, and another pop sex symbol everyone was waiting to make a music video debut. Actually, ABBA were one of the pioneers of music videos, producing one for each of their singles, and in the 70s long before there was an MTV to air them. The group wore outrageous clothes on stage and in their videos, which they later admitted was a tax dodge so they could deduct their clothing as costumes for their shows. And as they were originally married couples, were not going to display the women sexually in their videos. So the ABBA videos were anything but sexy. The members of ABBA would divorce each other by the late 70s, and soon after disband. Agnetha and Frida disappeared with the other members. But eventually both would return as solo artists, Frida with a Phil Collins produced solo hit There's Something Going On.
Agnetha had not yet released a single in the US, so I Can Shake Loose would be her first video on MTV. In America ABBA had been branded as Disco has-beens, and a novelty act because of their campy stage outfits. Radio stations were reluctant to play any new single from anyone in the group, even though Frida's single had been a hit. Agnetha would need heavy rotation on MTV if she wanted her song to be a hit. So naturally she felt the pressure to capitalize on her looks. Which is why in the video she ends up nude in a bed, with only her satin sheets covering her up, followed by passionate sex with a male lover. As close to an adult film as MTV would allow. It worked. Viewers [ teenaged boys ] began requesting the video. It got played so many times on MTV that the song became popular enough for radio stations to air, and it reached 29 on Billboard's Top 100.
Bon Jovi - Run Away
The Steven King film Firestarter hadn't even been released yet when the director of this video decided to rip it off after being inspired by the trailer. It opens with a newspaper headline of a nuclear accident, which we are to infer is what gives the teenaged girl in the video the power to shoot fire from her eyeballs. She is either running away from an unhappy home, or on the run from the army, or just running to ground zero of the nuclear accident where Bon Jovi is performing, or perhaps all of the above, burning any soldier or parent that gets in her way. Also, she's wearing a Catholic school girl uniform, and it is raining, complete soaking her white shirt and turning it transparent. She doesn't appear to be wearing a bra either, although the shirt manages not to be transparent enough to show the forbidden parts of her breasts ( but does reveal most of it. )
Ratt - Round And Round
Model Lisa Dean is holding a dinner party where the guests are Milton Berle and his wife ( also played by Milton Berle ). Meanwhile the band Ratt has somehow moved into Lisa's attic, and is ruining the dinner party with their loud music. An angry Lisa storms up the stairs to get rid of the band when the noise begins to drive her guests away. But halfway up the stairs her dress gets caught on some unseen snag and rips off. Then for some reason her slip becomes wet and begins to melt, causing her to peel it off bit by bit. Now why would I not find that attractive?
Someone in the band Ratt knew someone who knew Milton Berle and got him to make his brief appearance in this video. Since it was still rare for celebrities with household names to appear in videos, Round and Round got a lot of airplay, eventually turning the song into a hit for Ratt.
Olivia Newton-John - Livin' In Desperate Times
I was still finding girls wrestling guys sexy. I guess the implication was that if you are wrestling a girl then your hands can end up grabbing and rubbing parts of her body normally off limits. A way of making out under the pretext of playing. And in the video for Living in Desperate Times, Olivia Newton John wrestles two guys at the same time. It had been nearly two years since Olivia had bewitched me with her Physical videos. It was followed by a greatest hits album resulting in only one new video making it to broadcast television. Heart Attack was nice, but nowhere as sexy a video as I had seen a year earlier. Olivia was too busy trying to be a movie star to follow Physical up with a proper album with a new set of videos. In late 1983 she re-teamed with John Travolta for the film Two of a Kind, which immediately was recognized as one of the all time worst movies ever made. But it did have a soundtrack album, which resulted in a few new songs from Olivia, and a few new videos. The video for the title song offered not that much, just Olivia in a stylized court setting as a pretext to showing clips from the movie. It was not until Livin' In Desperate Times without any movie clips that Olivia was wearing the first sexy outfits since her Physical videos. Well, semi-sexy. At least one of them was leather. And she was wrestling some guys.
Joan Jett - Do You Wanna Touch Me?
Joan Jett wears a black leather trenchcoat which she throws open to flash her bikini underneath. This may be a very brief part of the video, but is very effective. Here is Joan wanting us to see her body, and while singing "Do You Wanna Touch Me There?" One can even forgive that her body was cut like a bodybuilder at the time.
Juice Newton - Can't Wait All Night
Videos for Country music were just not sexy in the 80s. Their audience were very conservative when it came to sex, even if they did often sing songs about cheating husbands and loose women. For the most part, the women of Country music wore those unflattering big dresses trimmed with tassels, and things never got more sexy than a plaid shirt and blue jeans. So it was surprising when Country star Juice Newton dared put out a video that was full of sexual images, such as Juice in a wetsuit, and later wearing a cut off T-shirt and short shorts. The video even went for the wet clothes look. Juice is sitting in a rowboat in a white dress. She decides to dive into the water and swim to shore, emerging in the surf wearing the wet dress. It would be another decade before a Country artist, Shania Twain, would dare to make a music video that was this sexy.
Laura Branigan - Self Control
Laura Branigan was not really known for being one of music's sex symbols. Except for this one brief deviation into the dark side. Branigan had hired William Friedkin to direct her new video, and the Academy Award winning director wanted her to make what would be the most controversial music video to date. So controversial that MTV refused to air it until several edits were made. Branigan plays a promiscuous girl who frequents clubs, and in this video ends up in bed with a man wearing a creepy mask. The most effective part of the video takes place just before Branigan joins the naked man in bed. A group of dancers are caressing her body, and she is enjoying it.
Pointer Sisters - I'm So Excited
It seemed impossible. But I saw it with my own eyes. June Pointer nude from the waist down. Full frontal nudity. It was only on screen for a split second, but there it was. The one body part you would never expect to see on broadcast television. The video opened with the three pointer sisters getting ready for a night out, one trying on various dresses while another is putting on her makeup. June is also getting ready by taking a bubble bath. The bubbles seem to be strategically placed to keep us from seeing what can't be seen on television. But then came that quick shot of June emerging from the bath. She was covering herself with a towel, which hid her chest. But the towel did not reach below her hips. And there it was, emerging from the bath, no longer obscured by the soap suds.
Amazingly, this video aired a lot. A couple of weeks on Friday Night Videos. Many times on Top 40 Videos. And no broadcaster seemed to catch it. No one but Music Magazine, which still aired the video, but would start it the moment after June got out of the bathtub. MTV aired it a few times before demanding a re-edited version. Other shows simply stopped airing the video altogether. About a year later the Pointer Sisters were guests on Friday Night Videos and decided to address the controversy. June Pointer was not nude, and they slowed down the video to prove it. When she was in the tub, she was not nude, but wearing a bikini. The soap suds may have been covering things up, but she did not want to walk onto a set full of men in the nude. So in reality, the soap suds hid the fact that she was not nude. When she emerged from the bath, what you saw was the bikini bottom. The problem was the soap suds surrounding it gave it the appearance of being hair. And the quick editing did not give the viewer enough time to see what was really there. An accidental optical illusion. But for a while there we all thought that this woman was flashing us her private parts.
Styx - Music Time
This was a very busy video that threw new images onto the screen each time a new lyric was sung. Part of the song had Dennis DeYoung singing about how he loves "fast girls", and in the video prostitutes show up at his door. They are wearing costumes, on in a leather dress signifying she is "naughty", and the other in a Nellie Olsen style dress signifying she is the "nice" girl. You would think I was attracted to the naughty girl. But it was the girl dressed up as nice that made my blood boil.
Motels - Shame
You cant go wrong with Martha Davis playing a prostitute in her video. Sure, it was meant to be dramatic. But she still looked so damn good.
Tom Petty - Don't Come Around Here No More
In this video Tom Petty is the Mad Hatter and actress Wish Foley is Alice. The video ends with poor Alice shrunk down to the size of a bug and somehow fallen into the Mad Hatter's tea cup where he pelts her with sugar cubes and a doughnut. Another great wet clothing video, this time with a girl in an Alice costume.
Boy Meets Girl - Oh Girl
It happens for a split second. George Merrill of Boy Meets Girl is sitting on the beach, watching a young couple having a fight, when he suddenly looks into the surf and has a vision of Shannon Rubicam in a soaking wet white dress. Then suddenly she fades away. He looks at the surf again and again sees the ghost of Shannon in her wet dress for a brief moment. Both times Shannon was on screen only briefly and mostly obscured by the double exposure used for the fading away effect, but you could tell her dress was so soaked it was transparent. Or at least looked that way.
Nona Hendryx - I Need Love
While the Boy Meets Girl video may have flashed a girl in wet clothes and asked you to fill in the rest with your imagination, Nona Hendryx left nothing for the imagination. There she was in a wet shirt on screen for fifteen seconds, leaving no doubt what happened. There was water raining from the ceiling in the hallway of an apartment building. But instead of avoiding it, Nona stood singing directly under the cascade as the camera panned into her. As to why the water was there in the first place; who cares?
Kiss - Who Wants To Be Lonely
1985 was a very good year for wet clothing videos, capped off with Kiss making the ultimate wet video. Picture a set with pools in the center, and showers lining the walls. While the members of Kiss remain high and dry on their platforms, ten or more video vixens wearing different mostly leather outfits are either under the showers, or getting hit by an off screen hose, or taking a tumble into one of the pools. And, unlike the members of Kiss, not one of them is dry.
Heart - Never
Up to the mid 80s the Wilson sisters had avoided sexualizing their videos. Wearing baggy clothes, you could never get a sense of their bodies. They were about Rock and Roll, and would never demean themselves by becoming pin-up models. They wanted to be the new Led Zeppelin, not the new Madonnas. And then they changed record labels. Capitol cared more about album sales. While the band's sound became more Mainstream Pop, their image was made more sexy. And when Capitol figured out that lead singer Ann Wilson was overweight and probably not likely to lose the pounds in the next few months, they decided to put sister Nancy in the forefront of the videos. What a big surprise it was when her breasts were suddenly front and center in the video for Never. Wearing an outfit that revealed that she did indeed have large breasts, the videos director took every opportunity to have Nancy point them directly at the camera.
Whitney Houston - How Will I Know?
Whitney Houston may not have been the first model to become a recording artist, but she was the first with any real talent. Having a singer with really good looks and lots of experience posing for photographs should have placed her as the leading sex symbol of 80s music videos. However, Mrs Houston preferred having a classy image. This video was as sexy as she got that decade, but a memorable enough performance to make the top 50.
Heart - These Dreams
Another entry in the wet clothing genre. And once again all to brief. Nancy Wilson is seen rising up out of a pool of water with zombie like arms reaching up around her. Amazingly her clothes and hair remain dry. Well, not so amazing. It only takes a second to figure out the cheap special effect. The director ran the film backwards. This was really Nancy slowly sinking into a pool of water.Still, the idea she was getting that outfit wet was more than enough to get my attention.
Marilyn Martin - Night Moves
Marilyn Martin first arrived on the scene as a proper Adult Contemporary artist, singing duet with Phil Collins on the Oscar nominated #1 song Separate Lives. With such a sweet wholesome image, no one would suspect her to release a dark sexy music video for her first solo song. In Night Moves, Marilyn prowls the night clubs in a leather dress, picking up random men. And once back at her apartment she murders them. The video ends with the police finding the basement where she stashed the bodies; hundreds of victims hanging from meat hooks. And yet, as fatal as she was, she was so sexy that you would risk going home with her.
Big Audio Dynamite - Medicine Show
The black vinyl raincoat, a.k.a. the black vinyl trenchcoat. They made every girl who wore them look sexy. But even though It had been around since at least the 1960s, it was not used that often as a costume. Even though it had been used very often in pin-up posters, usually shown as the only thing the model is wearing, it had only been used as a costume in just a handful of movies and television shows. It was even scarce in music videos. But when the occasional girl did wear one, it was very memorable. That was why I was fixated on the vixen wearing the vinyl coat in BAD's Medicine Show video.
Whitesnake - Here I Go Again
Lead singer David Coverdale made one very wise decision concerning his band Whitesnake. He got his girlfriend, actress Tawny Kitaen, to be in most of their early videos. Her debut had her doing back flips, splits and other calisthenics on the hood of a car. And when she was not doing that, she was making out with David in the front seat. The video was a hit. The song was not just Whitesnake's first top 40 hit, but peaked at #1. The video did not only put Whitesnake on the map, but boosted Kitaen's career as well.
Sisters Of Mercy - This Corrosion
Wet clothing was sexy, and leather was sexy. So how about wet leather clothing? Normally no one would bother as water simply runs off leather rather than soaking in. But that did not stop Goth band Sisters of Mercy from trying it in their video for This Corrosion. The entire band, clad in leather, sings on a post apocalyptic set while it is raining. Emphasis on guitarist Patricia Morrison in her leather gown as the raindrops bounce off her.
Lita Ford - Kiss Me Deadly
In a wonderful sexy performance, Lita moves and poses in a warehouse full of ice. The video speaks for itself.
10,000 Maniacs - Like The Weather
Another memorable performance came from lead singer Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs. She had this oddly sexy style of dancing when on stage. a sort of cross between the robot and voguing with a little ballerina thrown in. However, her dancing rarely translated to the bands music videos. With one exception. Like The Weather was full of her odd dancing style. If you did not yet know who Natalie Merchant was, by the end of the video you would be wanting to date her.
Jane Wiedlin - Rush Hour
Before the arrival of the latex catsuit, there was the wetsuit. At the time, only spandex was more form fitting. Jane Wiedlin had good reason to wear a wetsuit in this video. Despite having nothing to do with the song, the video had her swimming with dolphins. Some extra footage of her out of the water, jumping around in the wetsuit was included. A decade later the latex catsuit would break into the mainstream, stealing the wetsuit's thunder. But in the late 80s there was nothing quite like a wetsuit which had it's own brand of sexiness.
Afrika Bambaataa & The Family with UB40 - Reckless
While model Bobbie Brown would become immortalized a few years later as the video vixen in Warrent's Cherry Pie video, her best was her vixen debut in the video for Afrika Bambaataa's Reckless. Wearing a red vinyl dress, she is the object of desire at the nightclub Afrika and UB40 are performing at, even causing a fight between some patrons over her.
Denise Lopez - Sayin' Sorry (Don't Make Things Right)
Girls in music videos performed stiffly. There were plenty of female recording artists who had a sexy presence on stage which did not translate to their music videos. Directors were too busy making recording artists do silly attention grabbing things to bother capturing their raw sexuality. For example, as much as I liked some of the Motels videos, all of them failed to capture Martha Davis' sexual stage presence, and instead had her acting. By the end of the 80s there was a shift in style. Perhaps most of the video directors had run out of ideas. Or perhaps because the record labels wanted every single to have a video, the well of new ideas were sapped up rather quickly. But by the late 80s the emphasis began to shift towards performance. Only the major recording artists were still making concept videos. The newer artist began doing simpler videos that had them performing the song on a single set. Sure, the video may have been spiced up a bit with extra footage of dancers and things breaking. But it gave the chance to see a raw performance from the featured artist that captured whatever got them the recording contract in the first place. And Denise Lopez's performance in Sayin' Sorry ( Don't Make Things Right ) was very sexy. Just her, one room, and a very lucky chair. Edit in some flower pots being smashed against a wall, and some male model no one gives a crap about, and there you have a video.
Sheena Easton - The Lover In Me
Sheena performing in an underground night club was sexy enough, but then halfway through the song she leaves the stage during the instrumental break to change her dress. And since this was a rare case of a video being edited in real time, and the dresses she wore were skin tight, you just knew she had to strip down to her skin in order to put the second dress on. While you see no more than her adjusting the second dress once she has changed, the idea of her backstage in the nude for about 30 seconds was very stimulating.
The Cover Girls - My Heart Skips A Beat
If you had a music video with just one member of the Cover Girls wearing nothing but an oversized white dress shirt during a photo shoot, it would be very sexy. This video had all three members of the group wearing nothing but oversized white dress shirts during a photo shoot. There they were, side by side, hugging each other and laughing while the photographer took their pictures.
Aerosmith - Rag Doll
Out of the 50 videos that made my list, 14 were due to performances by video vixens. Roughly one third of the videos on the list. Perhaps the sexiest performance came from a vixen in Aerosmith's Rag Doll video. We assume that she is a prostitute dressed in an underaged girl costume. A jumper and pigtails. But there is no mistake this girl is an adult. She is shown too briefly. One quick clip of her sitting in a swing, licking a lollipop. Another quick clip of her standing seductively in a doorway. And a final clip of her walking down the sidewalk while stripping her top off down to her bra. Altogether less than five seconds of screen time. But all very effective.
Shelleyane Orphan - Shatter
The most enduring painting of the mid 1800s Pre Raphaelite movement was by the artist John Everett Millias. His 1852 painting of Ophelia featured that era's equivalent of a supermodel, Elizabeth Siddal, portraying the ill fated character floating in a river, just moments before her drowning death. Siddal herself nearly died while Millias was painting the portrait. While the painting would become a celebrated depiction of the tragic Shakespearean character, it was hardly accurate. In the play Hamlet, Ophelia was said to have sank to her shoulders after she fell into the brook, and stayed afloat in that position for a few moments before her dress absorbed the water like a sponge and then pulled her under. But it was Millias' version that has endured. His painting would go on to inspire other artists, photographers, and eventually music video directors. The video for Shatter had lead singer Caroline Crawley recreating the Millias painting, singing in a pond in her white dress. I would not learn about the Millias and Shakespeare connection to the image for another decade. To me the video was just a girl in a dress floating in water. And that was good enough for me.
Madonna - Cherish
You are probably wondering why Madonna only has one entry on this list. While few of her videos did come close, I found her more theatrical than sexy in her videos. Her live performances were a different story. Her MTV Music Awards performance for Like A Virgin would have made this list had it qualified. So instead we will settle for what I thought was her sexiest music video of the decade. Cherish has Madonna in a 40s style shirt dress, frolicking in the surf at the beach. Unlike the other videos that reduced the wet scenes to a few moments, or no more than half the video, Madonna begins the video soaking wet, and remains so for the entire video. And aside from the occasional cut away to some mermen and a merkid, the entire video features Madonna.
Paula Abdul - Cold Hearted
The final video on my list is among the best of the decade. Paula Abdul delivers a great performance as the leader of a dance crew auditioning for a Broadway show. It's as simple as that. Paula and the other dancers rubbing and caressing each other in between gymnastic style dance moves. This brings us to the 90's, and the next article which will be my list of the 50 sexiest videos for that decade..................