On Saturday I was practicing my procrastination
skills by reading the Download Squad, a handy blog that lists new software and websites. Their description
of vodpod caught my eye, and I decided to try out vodpod’s
content aggregation capabilities. Ah, but what to add?
In a moment of inspired genius, I searched YouTube for an 80s band. I was surprised at how many results returned and more shocked still to see videos
that I never knew existed. So I searched again for something a little more unusual
and I received more results
Emboldened by my success, I wondered: would YouTube have the complete version of Duran Duran’s Girls on Film
? After determining that the answer was yes, I started to create my first vodpod pod.
To fill my pod I decided on some rules. First, only “modern” music. Eligible are new wave, post-punk, pioneering rap and almost anything English. This elinimates 80s video stars like: Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Van Halen and all of the metal bands that would dominate MTV in the later half of the decade.
Second, the groups had to be semi-obscure. I’m not yet ready to proclaim the greatest bands of the 80s (I’m still reeling from the controversy my 70s post
created), so I exclude more famous bands like Devo, The Cure, U2, The Clash, The Talking Heads, New Order, Depeche Mode, The Eurythmics, The Smiths, Simple Minds, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, Duran Duran, The Cars, Yazoo, Queen, Bowie, Peter Gabriel, and George Michael and Wham.
Third, it had to be a video I never saw and didn’t know existed. This leaves out anthemic hits from groups that did well on MTV in America like: Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Flock of Seagulls, Thompson Twins, A-ha, The Bangles, Banarama, The B-52s, The Go-Gos, , Blondie, The Pet Shop Boys, The Alarm, Oingo Boingo, ABC, Wang Chung, Animotion, Bronski Beat, Level 42, Psychedelic Furs, Dead or alive, Gene Loves Jezebel, Madness, Men at Work, Men Without Hats, Gary Numan, Tom, Tom Club, Modern English, The Communards, The Fine Young Cannibals, UB40, The Stray Cats, Billy Idol, Thomas Dolby, Howard Jones, Dire Straits, Bow Wow Wow and Adam and the Ants.
So with those 3 rules as filters, I present 60 semi-obscure 80s videos
. Most are from the early to mid 80s, although (as I will explain) there are a two from 1979 and one from 1978 selected for their influence.
To show off the slick vodpod controls I have embedded videos with “Solid Style.” The Solid Style
category is quite subjective, but these ones that I would have remembered seeing at the time if they had been aired in the US with any frequency. Now that I have found them, I don’t mind watching them again as each has a distinctive visuals stand up well 20 years later.
In addition to the embedded songs, there are more categories for the collection of semi-obscure 80s videos
on my main pod. These include:great hair (must be seen to be believed)
post-punk (for bands like The Stranglers, Shriekback, Killing Joke and Bauhaus)
cool dancing (check out the Gap Band moves and watch for Lawrence Fishburne in White Lines)
British pop (for Aztec Camera, Haircut 100, the Blow Monkeys and others)
better known (including The Church, The Violent Femmes, Berlin and Missing Persons)
very electronic (home to OMD, Freur, CCCP, Chris and Cosey and 6 more classics)
one-hit-wonders (who can deny this status to The Vapors, Trio or Belgian superstar Plastic Bertrand)
Of course, some like Tarzan Boy have the hair, the moves and the one-hit-wonder fame.
Then, there are the 5
you must watch. Kraftwerk’s 1978 The Robots is an easy call for its incredibly influential sound and theme. 1979’s Human League Being Boiled and the Flying Lizard’s Money make the list for similar reasons. The most random pick is the Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight. I added it because I was shocked it had a video. Finally, Front 242 rounds out my selections because the visuals are every bit as disturbing as I hope they would be.A final note: there were a few other videos which I had hoped to link to. For example, Peter Godwin’s Images of Heaven is a perfect fit for this concept, but it seems to get removed by YouTube as quickly as it is added. My apologies in advance for any broken links that may result from YouTube efforts to comply with takedown notices.