Last year, during the solar eclipse, I read that singer Bonnie Tyler was hired to perform her 80s hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on a cruise ship during the exact moment that the sun was in full eclipse with the moon. Aside from being insanely jealous of the cruise ship passengers who would witness such awesomeness in person, I immediately recalled the music video that accompanied one of my favorite songs from the best decade ever.
After pulling it up on YouTube, I showed it to my teens and they started laughing hysterically.
Okay, yes, the video is ridiculous and, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure why no one had anything to say about school boys with those crazy laser eyes but I couldn’t help myself when I tried to defend our music consumption back in the day.
When MTV debuted on August 1, 1981 with that iconic theme song demanding that we rock and roll, our generation had no way of knowing that music as we knew it would change forever.
I can remember spending long hours on hot summer days watching music videos and listening to video jockeys like Martha Quinn and Mark Goodwin as they detailed tidbits about the artists and bands we didn’t even know we needed in our lives.
As MTV evolved, the channel became so much more than just music videos for our generation. We were obsessed with the game show Remote Control(remember those oversized Barcaloungers that disappeared into the wall when a contestant left?) and MTV News updated us on the latest social happenings in language that teens could digest. When the Headbangers Ball was on, you knew you were up late and likely hanging out with your high school besties on a Saturday night.
And, who can forget the first time you saw KISS in full makeup back in 1983? For many of us, MTV exposed us to music that we might not otherwise listen to, whether because of our geographic location or our parents’ rules. MTV made me feel like a rebel when I rocked out in my Guess jeans to Guns and Roses, Metallica, and Judas Priest. From hip hop to bubble gum pop and everything in between, our generation’s love of music was fostered by MTV.
We cried as we watched Pedro Zamora detail his struggle with AIDs on The Real Worldand, to this day, I still feel his loss. The Real Worldmay not have been “real” but watching that reality show was a glimpse into what Generation X was facing and it made us feel normal long before Snookie and JWow took over.
Sure, teens today have Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube for their music listening pleasure but it’s just not the same. It makes me sad that teens today don’t have a channel that’s solely dedicated to their generation.
And, really, if you didn’t have 1-800-DIAL-MTV on your speed dial in hopes of getting your music video request aired on Total Request Live, were you really even living your best life in the 80s?
We watched Run DMC perform on the same stage as Waylon Jennings during Live Aid and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t still tear up when “We Are The World” plays on Sirius. And I know you sing Cyndi Lauper’s part like a boss, don’t deny it.
So, if anyone needs me, I’ll just be over here reminiscing about Liz Claiborne perfume, ESPRIT purses and the days that I would freak out when I’d hear the familiar notes of Debbie Gibson’s latest hit coming from my living room TV.
Here are 11 videos to help you reminisce, too. You’re welcome.
Take On Me, a-Ha
Coolest. Video. Ever.
Thriller, Michael Jackson
I still know every move of this dance. And I fully intend on making my college roommates do it with me at my kids’ weddings.
Hungry Like the Wolf, Duran Duran
Two words: Duran Duran. That is all.
Addicted to Love, Robert Palmer
Seriously, what was with those women and the guitars?
Land of Confusion, Genesis
No, really. The 80s was a very confusing time.
Rhythm Nation, Janet Jackson
Beyonce may be Queen but she learned her moves from Janet.
Karma Chameleon, Boy George
I don’t even know what’s happening here. But we loved Boy George.
Material Girl, Madonna
If you don’t give Madonna proper credit, you need to just walk away.
Parents Just Don’t Understand, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
This one stands the test of time: parents will just never understand.
Here I Go Again, Whitesnake
Admit it: you wanted to be Tawny Kitaen. Or, you’ve at least tried to dancing on a car hood once or twice. Wait, just me?
How Will I Know, Whitney Houston
You just know, Whitney. Trust.
Why I Loved Being a Teen in the 80s