Remember back when MTV used to be cool?
Yeah, I don't either. But that might be because I didn't get to grow up in the era when they WERE. After finding a tape of the "Top 20 Videos of 1984" special, I'll have to say I'm insanely jealous of Generation X right now. It's just sad that music videos as an art are confined to their generation. Videos are still around, but barely. No one really cares about them anymore, so there's no effort to make them showy or impressive.

I did get to experience a little bit of the golden age, though. Back in the kindergarten days of my youth (1988), Mom would have the radio on in the apartment.....but on weekends, she'd turn on VH1. MTV was too hip for my mother, and too teenage-skewing for me to understand, so we went with the "fogier" version. But they were still videos. It was a real treat to see all the images and colors flashing about in a glorious chaotic splendor....

By the way, Mom dropped cable in 1990 and I haven't had access to it since. I imagine if I ever wanted to come back, I'd have this conversation with the cable guy:

"So, I can get music videos on MTV with this?"
"No, they don't do those anymore. They do supercheap reality programs."
"Oh......What about VH1?"
"They show nothing but I Love The __'s shows now."
"But that's an even bigger niche than showing only videos! How could that possibly be more profitable?"
"Dunno, but it's their station."
"How about Tech TV?"
"They changed their name to G4 and their focus to video games."
"So they cover game news?"
"No, they buy repeats of male-centered shows and run them."
"That doesn't make any sense."
"I'm sure it does to somebody."
"What are they running on Nick At Nite?"
"Nothing made earlier than 2000."
"TLC....does that still stand for The Learning Channel?"
"Yes, but you couldn't learn anything from it now if you tried."
"What's on the Disney Channel?"
"Nothing even remotely related to Disney."
"How about Cartoon Network?"
"They're showing live-action movies."
" there anything on this cable package that actually does what the name says it's supposed to do??"
"The Home and Garden Channel still does....but I hear they're shifting their focus to Mexican wrestling in three months."


The Year-End Top 20 Countdown is hosted by This Guy. Unfortunately, the tape started as This Guy had already gone through nine of the songs, so to play catch-up:

#20 was "Runner" from somebody no one remembers anymore. Coming down to #19, it's "The Warrior" from Skandal, followed by "Round and Round" from Ratt. Pat Benatar's "We Belong" comes in at #17, and "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince hits the #16 spot. #15 brings ZZ Top with "Legs," and the first of three Cars videos comes in at #14 with "It's Magic." #13 is "Rock Me Tonight" from Billy Squire, and lastly #12 is Billy Idol with "Why did people ever think I was cool?"

Soon, we'll get to find out what the Number One Music Video of 1984 if anybody didn't already know. 1984 was the year of the "Thriller" video, still considered the most famous music video ever made. It's obvious how this is going to end, but we'll have fun getting there. The countdown resumes at #11. And whaddya know, it's our friend!

Cyndi Lauper gets yet another mention on the site with her "Time After Time" video. Now, this is a song I like, so I was enthused to see it appear....for about ten seconds. I'd always thought "Time After Time" was a beautiful song about a couple looking forward to their future together. But according to Cyndi, it's about that one time she was living in a tin trailer hugging a plastic dog and watching old Bette Davis movies. Oh Cyndi, you're so unusual!

So.....then she's working behind the counter at a 7-Eleven, then she embraces her first customer passionately to the shock of the old lady present in the room. Then she sits down in a restraunt booth with several friends, and for some reason they get angry and chase her out the building and down the street, where she runs into the ghost of a street sweeper. And that's not a costume; that's how Cyndi's hair really looked that year.
Several relatives were over recently and I brought this recording out for everyone to watch. I had to warn them that the Time After Time video might ruin the song for them forever, but they all wanted to see it anyway. Dumb....

After Cyndi came Huey Lewis and the News at #10 with "The Heart of Rock N' Roll." I mentioned to the crowd how creepy the ending to this one looks.
To that, I got the reply "But it's not HIS heart, it's the heart of Rock N' Roll!!"
I guess he had a point.

Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" hit #9. The video is mostly some girl in a graduation gown and mortarboard walking in slow motion. She must be THE Sister Christian, I'm assuming.

Okay, break's over, time to get strange again. In sashays David Bowie for MTV's #8 video of 1984, "Blue Jean." Bowie steps out of the curtain in a nameless nightclub and performs dance maneuvers that would get him shot in any other country; apparently to get the attention of Blue Jean, who we see sitting at a table periodically. Blue Jean is unimpressed.....but neither does she look surprised. "Ah, look, it's a nut in strange makeup waving his arms and legs around erratically. Hmm, I think I'll order the roast beef tonight."

Ah, but it's not done yet, noooooo! The video that followed at #7 was none other than Prince's "When Doves Cry"! My audience had been able to take most of what had transpired so far, but once it got to the part where Prince slowly crawls across the floor naked, a little girl screamed "AAAA!! EWW EWW EWWW!!" and ran out of the room. True.

We get a few shots of Prince riding his bike, but that's as unfreaky as the video tries to be.

"Wow, and this was what was popular," somebody in the crowd remarked. I wouldn't be so quick to throw stones--I have a feeling the decade we're in now is going to be the most mocked decade in quite a long time. Let's think on this:

Mr. T
Gary Coleman

Spice Girls
Baggy pants

Reality television
Britney Spears
William Hung
Will Ferrell
Jessica Simpson
Ashlee Simpson
Extremely over-the-top urban poserness
Rob Schneider
Johnny Knoxville
Tom Green
William Hung
Paris Hilton
William Hung
The later Tom Cruise
Kevin Federline (dear gravy, Kevin Federline...)
Pretty much any major movie released between 2000 and now

Compare the sizes. I'm glad I technically grew up in the 90's....I'm disavowing all knowledge of this decade. I was never here.


Okay....uh......Prince? You can stop now. Anytime.....come on. These bad mirror effects are starting to mess with my mind....

About a decade later, this one finally ended. And after spilling oceans of violets and blue into the commode, I resumed the countdown.

The Cars drove in for the #6 spot with "Drive." It stars one Cars member singing in solitary rooms while the camera slowly pans around him, plus one schizophrenic woman thrown in for fun. Here she is making a picture.

She's pretty crazy all right. You'll see just how much. I don't know what they were going for; maybe they wanted to make the point blunt that she needed to be driven home. #5 (below) was another Cars video and there's just no comparison between that and this....

The video for "You Might Think." I told everyone that none of them could leave until the countdown got to this video. It's my favorite one on the tape and it defies all literary description. You will be deeply affected mentally, physically and maybe even spiritually. This will be the best three minutes you spend today, minus download time. I'm seriously, you guys!

Phil Collins? Who invited YOU to this party? At #4 no less.....why??
Apparently Phil got into the Top 10 because one of his songs was the main theme for a movie released that summer. I didn't bother making a download, because you probably don't want it. It's that song where he keeps asking you to take a look at him now.

I was pretty certain I would get the biggest reaction to "You Might Think," but the moment the video after Phil's came onscreen, everybody just about screamed the roof off and some of them ran out to drag others into the room.

It's the Footloose video. The reaction really caught me off guard. I know Footloose has become a legendary 80's classic, but I think that's mostly for the one part where the main character drives into an empty stable and jumps around like a maniac to the main theme without warning.

The Footloose music video consists of nothing BUT that scene, so maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised. One weird scene didn't sell me on Footloose, but I'm sure people will point out I like other things for very dumb reasons (see "Ooh Ooh Song").

Hey hey hey, it's Van Halen in Hair Band Form for #2--"Jump"! The veejay explained that Van Halen had been bragging that they made this video for total chump change--about $2000, "and most of that was for beer and chips." That doesn't mean it isn't a fun watch, it only means it doesn't have cheesy bluescreen effects with blue noise on the edges. And if you're not going to use that to put yourself inside a submarine or run a pretty girl over, then who needs it?

Now, NOW comes the big moment. We finally get to see Thriller....I myself have never been able to see it, so this'll be a first for me......

"And our NUMBER ONE video, the BIGGEST song on our Top from John Waite. Here's 'Missing You'."

"MISSING YOU"???? I'M MISSING THRILLER!! YOU'RE MISSING A FEW HUNDRED BRAIN CELLS, FLUFFHEAD!! I'm beginning to think this Top 20 wasn't put together using any form of statistics or mathematics. Does this mean Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" wasn't the third most popular video of the year?

At least the ending wasn't a total loss, because the recording went on further after the countdown had ended.

MTV now promised an EXCLUSIVE video, the debut of a new song by Pat Benatar! Oh boy! I've only recently gotten to hear Pat's recordings, but she seriously blows the socks off any female songstress of today. "Invincible" is now one of my favorite songs of all time.

Now, Pat brings us the Ooh Ooh Song! And when you hear it, that's exactly what you get. It's Pat going "Ooooooh, oooooh, oooo-oooo, oooooh" for over three minutes.

When this finally appeared to my captive audience, one kid said "I've never heard this one before." Someone old enough to be an MTV viewer in 1984 said "Well, there's a REASON." I must be the only one who can appreciate the subtle genius of a song that only goes "Oooooo, ooooo, oooo" over and over again. Besides, the video has a mime AND a small monkey.

What more can I say? The tape rules. Want a copy?

Then get on your knees and beg. MWA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAA!!!