The 50 Sexiest Music Videos of the '80s
These are, what I believe, were the 50 sexiest music videos of the 80s. Unlike the other lists of "Sexiest" , "Hottest" or "Steamiest" music videos, the videos on my list are based on my own prerogative. I am not going to judge the videos based on how high the song ranked on the Billboard charts, how popular the artists were who sang in them, or how classic or iconic the videos became over the years. Instead I will be using my own memories of which videos turned me on more than any other. Robert Palmer's Addicted To Love would probably make anyone else's list based on how popular the video became. But I didn't really find the girls in his video that sexy. Amusing for the first two minutes, yes. But nothing there that made me fantasize about them after the video was over. To be honest, I found hundreds of other music videos far more alluring. So these are the 50 videos that turned me on the most during the 80s. They will not be ranked, but instead listed in the order I had seen them on television. Narrowing the list down to 50 was bad enough. Attempting to rank them impossible. Some other ground rules: They must be the videos I had seen that decade. And I did not see every video. There was plenty of opportunity not to have the only channel that aired something, or have missed the video when it did air. An 80s video I watched recently on YouTube, or got as an extra on a DVD, will not count. And since I only find females sexy, I will not be including videos for the ladies. If someone wants a list that includes Chris Isaak or New Kids On The Block, then they will have to come up with it themselves.
Olivia Newton-John - Physical
One of the things I found sexy in the 80s ( and still do ) was when women got their street clothing wet, usually after getting caught in the rain, or taking an accidental dip in the pool. The best was when she was wearing a white shirt, which turned transparent once soaked. Even if she was wearing a bra underneath, it was still incredibly sexy. I imagine that I was not the only one who found women in wet clothing attractive, as the image was used again and again in mass media, going back to at least the 1800s.
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.
Fortunately there were plenty of other places to see wet women. Dynasty had a memorable episode featuring Heather Locklear's character doing a photo shoot where she emerges from the pool wearing a red t-shirt and jeans. That very same pool was the backdrop for numerous cat fights between the female cast members that always seemed to end with them both taking a tumble into the water. And even if the cat fight took place in another location, there was always a fountain or mud puddle conveniently nearby for the combatants to end up in. But while the nighttime soaps were a great source for the occasional girl in wet street clothing, the best source were music videos. One of the first I saw was Olivia Newton-John's Physical. The comedic video had Olivia as a fitness instructor in a gym filled with obese men. Midway through the video she gives up on them and heads to the shower, still wearing her gym outfit. While you only see brief glimpses of her in the shower shot from the shoulders up, just the idea of her getting her clothes wet back then were enough to satisfy me. It should also be noted that I saw this video after I had seen the cover of her Physical album, which had her either looking very exhausted, or in the midst of an örgasm. The shock of seeing that sexy album cover began a six month crush on Olivia, which would continue through her television special. But more on the special later.
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
I did not have a crush on Olivia Newton-John until late 1981. And she was about the first female I ever had a crush on. Olivia began her career singing Country Music Ballads. Their chart success lead to her own network television variety specials. There she was given her wholesome girl next door image. Her goody two-shoes image became so notorious that she was offered the role as Sandy in the movie adaption of Grease. The movie ended with Sandy trying to impress her boyfriend Danny ( John Travolta ) by wearing tight satin pants, a tight top and leather jacket, and acting like one of the tough girls. Her fans seemed to love it, so Olivia decided to change her image. Her next album, Totally Hot, was a sort of fusion of Disco and Country, and featured her on the cover wearing a leather jacket and leather pants. She further evolved her image for the movie Xanadu, where once again she played a wholesome character, but in a few scenes puts on sexy outfits.
When it came time for her next album, she decided to really go for it. That album's name was Physical. The cover says it all. It features Olivia with a very suggestive expression on her face. It was very sexy. Having not been exposed to adult magazines yet, it was the sexiest thing I had ever seen to that date. And it began my crush with Olivia Newton-John, a recording artist I formerly did not care for. Soon after the album cover, I saw the video for Physical on America's To 10. Then in the winter of 1982 ABC aired Olivia's latest special. It was made up entirely of videos shot for her album, many which were very sexy and continued to fuel my crush. It even opened with Olivia on the beach in wet clothing, doing some sort of yoga in the surf.
Next to wet clothing, the other thing I found attractive on a woman was shiny clothing. Leather, Vinyl, satin or anything that was glossy looked sexy on them. In the video for Landslide, Olivia wore a stunning red outfit which looked like patent leather, or at least had a similar gloss. That outfit haunted my night time fantasies for months.
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. Thus began my crush on Stevie Nicks.
Motels - Take The L
While there were a lot of videos I found sexy for what someone was wearing ( or hardly wearing as the case may be ) there were also a number videos I found sexy because of the way the girl in it acted. Sometimes subtle things like the way she positioned her body, or the expression on her face, convincingly suggested she was in strong need of a man that very second. That had been the case of Stevie Nicks performance on the video Hold Me, and was the same case with this video. It came down to five seconds of footage. Lead singer Martha Davis is in a hot tub. She is only above the water from the shoulders down, and it is suggested that she is possibly nude. While singing, she had her eyes closed and her head tilted back while holding her forehead with one of her hands. She was above water for about a second, then while still singing, slowly sank into the water while holding hat same position.
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, seemingly passed out from an exhausting session with a male suitor, as the camera panned from a close up to a crane shot above the table.
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 with the sounds of a girl moaning with pleasure.
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. It was suggested that Pat was so nervous that she had absentmindedly unbuttoned her shirt. She was so afraid that she began to strip.
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, as many of the other female artists were also between albums, so 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. I can't say that Stand Back was very sexy. It was just that at that time in history, Stevie Nicks was the only major sex symbol on television.
Eurythmics - Love Is A Stranger
1983 was quite a year. Where up til then your music video viewing choices were limited to MTV and Americas Top 10, that year there was an explosion of new music video shows. There was Friday Night Videos, New York Hot Tracks, the daily Top 40 Video and Music Magazine shows, ABC Rocks and many others that came and went. On cable TBS launched Night Tracks as other channels began airing their own music programs. Now I had plenty of opportunities to see every newly released video. And this all coincided with the lull. Some female artists were between albums. Other recording artists like Donna Summer and Linda Ronstadt had just abandoned their sex symbol images, or like Pat Benatar began wearing ridiculous outfits in her videos. This pretty much opened the door for any up and coming female artist to fill the gap, something Madonna would take advantage of later that year. But that summer it was slim pickings. Which explains why I was attracted to this video. Annie Lennox was anything but sexy. 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
Fortunately Adam Ant was still active during the lull, and 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
Why do men find women in danger attractive? The best explanation I could find was that it stimulated our primitive instincts, going way back to our caveman days. A female in danger an in need of saving was almost certainly single, otherwise her mate would be there to save her. If she did have a mate and he had ran off and abandoned her, well, then she probably did not want him back. And there was the certainty that a girl rescued would fall for her hero. That same fantasy was evident in the medieval period with those stories of damsels in distress and the knights who saved them. But perhaps the best explanation was that if men had not suddenly found women in peril attractive, then they may have not bothered saving them. Would a caveman really dangle over the edge of a cliff to rescue a girl hanging there, or brave a pack of predators that had surrounded her? His instincts would tell him to protect himself. Finding a female desirable and therefore worth fighting for, overrode those self preservation instincts. So why was it so vital to save and protect females? Because they were the only ones who could give birth. Allow the females to die off and so does the species. Instincts always have a motive.
Which brings me to why I suddenly found Kim Carnes attractive. In her low budget special effects laden video for Invisible Hands she is dragged into a haunted house and harassed by the various spooks. And as if she was not in enough danger, she meets an unknown fate when she is cornered against a wall and mysteriously vanishes, as if the house itself absorbed her. Well, so much for saving her. But before I saw this video I never really found her attractive. After this video I changed my opinion.
Heart - How Can I Refuse
Another video that featured female recording artists in need of rescuing was How Can I Refuse by the group Heart. While performing at a club, Ann and Nancy Wilson are captured by a magician and spirited away to another dimension where, I assume, they are given the ultimatum of being his new girlfriends, or else. And as a demonstration of what that else could be, the magician shows them the rest of the band trapped in a globe which he destroys. At the time I already found the sisters from Heart attractive, this only made them more attractive, even if they were dressed in baggy pirate style outfits.
Carly Simon - You Know What To Do
Carly Simon was the only major sex symbol recording artist not to make a music video. Then finally in 1983 she gave in and made her first real video. It was sort of a major event. It opened with her swimming in a pool, wearing this one piece bathing suit. Sounds pretty tame, but Carly was able to emote her sexuality perfectly. Just the opening shots alone of her emerging from the pool were enough to earn this video a place in the top 50. But there was more. Her changing in her bedroom, a dress that went transparent when she walked past a well lit doorway, Carly looking at herself in a mirror while wearing a negligee. And if that was not enough, she is chased by a stalker through the woods, putting her in what appears to be mortal danger. ( Don't worry. The stalker turns out to be a former lover, or something like that, and the video ends with her unharmed. )
Naked Eyes - When The Lights Go Out
I am not even going to attempt to figure out why I found the girl in this video attractive. I 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.
Agnetha - I Can't Shake Loose
Body language could be very effective in the music video. A girl teasing her hair or biting her lip sent the signal "I am attracted to the person I am looking at". Similarly, a girl running her entire hand through her hair while she is heavily breathing sent the signal "I need that person to make love to me right now". But body language needs some acting skill to be properly pulled off. And acting skills was something many recording artists did not possess. The proper body language could send the signal "I am very horny right now" which in turn would make that person very attractive to the viewer. If done wrong, it simply looked ridiculous. Another thing to consider was censorship. If the body language was too obvious, the video could end up banned for being too explicit. In other words, a girl rolling around on the floor while rubbing herself and moaning was too over the top to have aired on MTV in the early 80s, even if there was no one else in the room with her.
Then there was writhing in bed. I could mean that she was having a nightmare, but it also simulated the body language of her being in deep desire. Since there was no absolute proof of what was going through her head, writhing often passed censorship. Such was the case with Agnetha Fältskog's video for I Can't Shake Loose. The former member of ABBA did a story driven video where she ends up at a castle in a bed, very possibly nude beneath the satin sheets. The owner of the castle is the man she desires, but at the same time is someone she knows she should not be with. So she is either having a nightmare, or is wishing he was in bed with her, when she is seen writhing. The odd expression on her face when the man she desires suddenly shows up at her bedside is also effective. A sort of cross between attracted and spooked. No, Agnetha was not a very good actress at that time ( or at least in this video, ) but she did have enough skills to pull this bedroom scene off effectively. You did feel she was aroused, and as such, found her very desirable at that moment.
Bon Jovi - Run Away
During a rainstorm, a teenage girl wearing a schoolgirl uniform runs away from home. Sure enough, her white shirt gets soaked and almost entirely transparent. There is also some sort of subplot where she has these super powers due to being exposed to radiation fallout, and shoots fire out of her eyes to destroy the soldiers and gang members who try to catch her, but who cares. I was more thrilled whenever they did a long shot of her showing her wet outfit, and was disappointed when she used her powers to change into a different and dry outfit.
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
Leave it to Madonna to put out the 80s best wet clothing video. 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
Paula is auditioning for a Broadway play, and shows the casting directors one unbelievably sexy dancing routine. And with that video we finish the 80s. When it began music videos were still a novelty. Only about half the recording artists even bothered making videos, and usually no more than two from an album. And the budget, usually just enough to film a live performance, and occasionally enough to make a 16mm film with no retakes. The rise of channels like MTV and MuchMusic changed things, and suddenly record labels wanted every single to have it's own big budget video. You can see by my list, there was nothing in 1980, and only a couple in 1981. By 1989 they were even beginning to release more than one video for the same song. This brings us to the 90's, and the next article which will be my list of the 50 sexiest videos for that decade..................