The music video you hate

The offending artist

The reasons why


Welcome to the Music Video portion of the Jukebox From Hell. We don't necessarily judge the songs here - but we judge the overall music video presentation. MTV made some people famous, and revived the careers of others. And then there are those who just weren't made to be seen in public. The best place to see these atrocities is VH1 Classic. For the regular Jukebox - go back here.

Updated 3-5-2005.
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    Typical artist or fan response:

    1. This scene represents (x)
    2. This is a clever jab at (y)
    3. You have no ear for music, and no eye for film.

    Paula AbdulOpposites Attract1989
    It probably seemed like a good idea at the time - have Paula caper about with an animated cat. But this isn't Roger Rabbit. This is just an obnoxious recreation of the male lead in the song. Remember, he likes the movies, and she likes TV.

    Toni BasilMickey1982
    Before videos had plots and story lines, we had "Mickey". The blinding white set is a staple of early MTV efforts. Fortunately, middle-aged cheerleaders didn't catch on. Raise your hand if you knew this was a remake of a song that came out in the mid-1970s. I wonder if the original artist ever envisioned this.

    Belinda CarlisleHeaven Is A Place On Earth1987
    I should point out the former chubby Go-Go vocalist actually looks pretty good here. Too bad about the video. Diane Keaton directed this one. She doesn't consider herself an "A-list" director, and I can see why. Inflatable, glowing, beach balls in the shape of planet Earth make the video. They appear as cutaways between the shadowy shots of Belinda. I can't properly describe exactly what the kids do with the globes, only that it involves synchronized leg kicks.

    ChicagoStay the Night1984
    In this video, someone kicked Peter Cetera in the groin. I can't imagine why. Aside from that, Cetera chases after a fine-looking vixen. The rest of the band, dressed as police officers, chase after the same woman. Our vixen declined to run over our protagonist at the end with an ambulance.

    The Chicago BearsThe Super Bowl Shuffle1985
    Certain of their place in NFL history, the 1985 Chicago Bears channeled their arrogance into a horrifying rap video that should go down as one of the most embarassing moments in sports history. Mind you, they hadn't even finished the season yet. We forget about this atrocity, because the Bears actually did win the Super Bowl, beating New England 46-10. Richard Dent probably won the game's MVP award, not for his play, but for being the "least humiliating" player in the video. Quite simply, none of them have rhythm, none of them have style, and some can barely string together a coherent sentence. Years later, while cataloguing news archive video, I came across stories with ordinary fans improvising, on the spot, much more polished raps about the Bears than what the players did.

    Rick DerringerReal American1986
    Derringer didn't have much of a career. MTV never revived it. In this video, Hulk Hogan plays the guitar. That's all you need to know.

    FalcoDer Komissar1983
    The late Falco would later gain fame for his unusual ode to Mozart. But his European career started earlier, with a song "Der Komissar", sung, or spoken without any sense of rhythm, in German. The video barely qualifies as an entry into the high school A/V club. Falco stands in front of a chroma key wall, with various scenes playing behind him. It's so simple, yet so corny. Unfortunately for Falco, he didn't find success with this song. A British band called After the Fire also recorded it (in English). Their version made the charts, while Falco's didn't.

    A Flock of SeagullsI Ran1982
    It's a shame that Rosie O'Donnell's butch hairstyle didn't inspire a new wave of "Seagulls" hair fashion. That's one of the best parts of seeing this video, is trying to imagine the scientific process that led up to those hairstyles. Never mind that the band had no budget, so they wrapped tinfoil around everything. Oh, and you can see the camera and light stands in the mirror as the set rotates. Good song, though.

    ForeignerI Want To Know What Love Is1984
    Judging by Foreigner's songs, one could accurately predict bad music videos. Mick Jones (not to be confused with Mick Jones of the Clash) stands alone on a sound stage, singing into a microphone. His face contortions really make the video. I'm not certain how to properly describe them. Eventually, more people join him for the big chorus.

    Debbie GibsonElectric Youth1989
    Just as most Debbie Gibson songs sound the same, most Debbie Gibson videos look the same. The formula of Debbie in front of 20 synchronized dancers holds true, and only the backgrounds change. Here, I think she's in front of a haunted mansion of some kind. "Deborah's" career took an interesting turn after this album. In a baffling, and possibly drunken night, she ended up on stage with old hardcore rockers The Circle Jerks. But more recently, she's just been on stage, in Broadway productions.

    Hall and OatesFamily Man1983
    Those who peruse the original Jukebox from Hell already know my feelings on Hall and Oates. Let me remind you that Hall and Oates had a huge MTV presence as well. The typical video consists of "Hall" out front, and "Oates" relegated to the background with the rest of the band (if they're even included). Not so with "Family Man". John Oates receives equal opportunity humilitation in this video, which somewhat summarizes the song. Take note of the pink house interior. Gaze in wonder at the plastic fantastic furniture. Don't forget the animated "devil on the shoulder" and the mob of children towards the end (what has Daryl Hall been doing anyway?). The only thing missing is Billy Squier ripping apart his pink tank top.

    Hammer2 Legit 2 Quit1992
    This bears a slight resemblance to the "Ghostbusters" video, in that D-list celebrities and hangers-on of Hammer participate in the worst way possible. In this case, they flash the "2 Legit 2 Quit" hand signal. The song and the video ended any legitimacy Hammer might've had.

    George HarrisonGot My Mind Set On You1987
    As it did for Robert Palmer, Steve Winwood and Tina Turner, MTV supplied a shot in the arm to George Harrison. Not that he needed it of course. But the results of the visual medium and the "quiet Beatle" aren't great. Harrison casually strums his guitar in the easy chair, oblivious to the live wall decorations. It's goofy. But the music isn't nearly as bad as some of the stuff Paul McCartney came out with in the same decade.

    Corey HartSunglasses At Night1985
    Another Canadian embarassment. Corey enjoys walking around town, with his sunglasses, you know, because he thinks he's cool, and because people are after him. Of course, everyone who could help him ignores him, forcing an intense chorus breakout. Oh, and did I mention Annie Lennox found this song too similar to "Sweet Dreams"?

    Jermaine JacksonDynamite1984
    Jermaine and his crew decided the time was right for a jailbreak. How did they try to escape? By dancing, of course. This Jackson seems to have less camera savvy than his siblings. But he does have a neon orange and blue prison uniform (standard issue, I'm sure).

    Michael JacksonBad1987
    Here's a strong entry in the early world of big budget videos that fell on its collective faces. Jackson's precision timing only seems to heighten the cheese factor. The subway never looked so dangerous, especially with the cartwheels, and the moonwalkin' roller skater.

    The JacksonsState of Shock1984
    Michael knew better than to associate with his gold-digging brothers. He doesn't even appear in the video. That's a wax dummy.

    The JacksonsTorture1984
    Equally baffling as "State of Shock", the Jackson clan finds new ways to humiliate themselves. The "Victory" tour, and its accompanying music videos, had to be one of the biggest scams of the year.

    Jefferson StarshipNo Way Out1984
    Thank you VH1 Classic, for reminding me of this one. Where could I possibly begin? Dude shows up at a house. The people inside monitor his every move. A dominatrix-style woman takes him around. Of course there is "no way out". But what on Earth is with the guy lifting the dumbell? The director used this as a cutaway from the chronology of the house. Some dude with a rippin' permed mullet, shirtless, pumps iron in bed while gawking at some woman. It is beyond bizarre, and greatly disturbing.

    Billy JoelKeeping the Faith1985
    If there's any redeeming quality to a Billy Joel video, it's that some of them contained appearances from Christie Brinkley ("Uptown Girl", for example). Then we had "Allentown", which really, really needed a Christie Brinkley cameo. Fortunately, "Keeping the Faith" does have a Brinkley appearance. But it also features Billy Joel (innocent man) attempting to prove his innocence by singing and dancing. That always works. Michael Jackson deserves a royalty, as Joel attempts to calm a couple of knife-wielding maniacs (don't worry boys, you'll get your "second wind"). Joe Piscopo also makes an appearance.

    Elton JohnI'm Still Standing1983
    Among the list of videos we thought were "gay" at the time, this one always entered the discussion. "I'm Still Standing" doesn't compare with anything by Wham, or "The Look of Love" by ABC, or even "Who Needs Love Like That" by Erasure. But, a video containing the flamboyant Elton, and male dancers in body paint, always makes people wonder. I'm guessing Bernie Taupin has no hand in the stage direction.

    Don JohnsonHeartbeat1986
    Although I expected a replay of Miami Vice when I heard the song and awaited the video, that's not what happens. But it's still bad. Johnson rolls around as a photographer, presumably in some sort of war zone (I haven't seen this in ages). Don also puts plenty of soul into his performance on a ghastly neon tile stage. Plenty of slow-motion action, combined with a fairly bad song, make for a poor experience. MTV declared it the "lamest video ever".

    Olivia Newton JohnPhysical1981
    One of the first big plays for MTV was "Physical", which spent an equally alarming amount of time at the top of the Billboard chart. Greased up in her workout gear, Olivia performs aerobics with morbidly obese people, while singing very suggestive lyrics. Come on Olivia, you can do better than that. Get a stunt double and remake that video. You can get away with everything in the song today.

    JourneySeparate Ways (Worlds Apart)1983
    Although I'm reasonably certain their other videos were bad, this one stands out in my mind. Steve, Neil, Jonathan and company spend their time on the waterfront. Note the use of industrial containers as percussion. Steve Perry gets a little too close to the camera, giving us some odd facial expressions (he looks like he's in pain). Oh, and the snapping. Please don't snap your fingers.

    KansasFight Fire With Fire1983
    Videos with a post-apocalyptic vision rarely work. Steve Walsh jumps back and forth between dream sequence and harsh reality. Eventually, he's surrounded and tossed into an incinerator (dream), only to wake up. I haven't seen this one in a long time, but I recall being very confused when I originally saw it.

    Kenny LogginsDanger Zone1986
    Kenny Loggins broke a major rule of engagement by appearing in this video. His toughness act doesn't have the same credibility as the movie for which this song became a part of the soundtrack, "Top Gun". An agititated Kenny writhes on the bed, sporting sunglasses and a major five o'clock shadow, in between the obligatory movie scenes.

    MadonnaAmerican Life2003
    Madonna has a real knack for offending people, whether she intends to or not. File this under "gross misconduct". I disagree with almost everything this country has done in my lifetime, but I know better than to tear down people's patriotic feelings.

    Paul McCartneyNo More Lonely Nights1984
    Nice going, Paul. You constructed videos equally bad as some of the music you released at this time. Just don't do any duets with Michael Jackson. Oh wait, you did that too. And he stole your catalog out from under you.

    Men Without HatsSafety Dance1983
    Some DJ once called this song "the anthem of the decade". We can dance if we want to? That's an anthem? And do we have to spell "safety" while we're at it? Regarding the video, it somewhat resembles Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf". Just change the setting from Sri Lanka to medieval England, and replace the sexy babes with midgets in period costume. The band and a pack of merry men, gayly cavorting through the fields, romping around the maypole, single-handedly ruined the use of midgets in music video. Unfortunately, it probably inspired the video for "Say Say Say".

    Eddie MurphyParty All the Time1985
    When the producers of a video lack an idea, they typically fall back on concert or "recording" footage. In this case, Axel F lip syncs "Party" (or is it "Potty All the Time"? That's what it sounds like.) in the recording studio. The women adore him. Rick James broods over the mixing board, approving of the atrocity at hand. Like Don Johnson, Bruce Willis, Patrick Swayze and countless others, Murphy should not have sung, but MTV provided an outlet for his natural talents, masking his lack of musical ingenuity.

    Eddie Murphy w/Michael JacksonWhuzup With U1993
    Eddie hasn't had much success in music and video. First we get "Party All the Time", in which the chorus sounds like "Potty All the Time". This bizarre creation with the King of Pop defies description. Everyone from interns up to Eddie shares blame.

    New Kids on the BlockHanging Tough1989
    Replacing New Edition's inner city look with the suburban style of NKOTB worked well for Maurice Starr on all spectrums. However, no one could possibly take these people seriously, right? The dance moves exhibited in the video are some of the worst I've seen, and I can't dance. Surely, the 12-year-old girls buying these records didn't buy that toughness act, did they?

    New Kids on the BlockYou Got It (The Right Stuff)1989
    Oh, oh, ohhh, oh. Hi, we're the New Kids. We have a wholesome, pretty-boy image. Our videos consist of two things: Close-ups of us, and some horribly choreographed dance moves.

    Billy OceanGet Out Of My Dreams1988
    The song is an abomination. Get out of my dreams, get into my car? What sort of quip is that? The video strikes a nice balance between real crap, and fantasy crap. I cite the use of animated ducks, which have nothing do to with the song. Didn't Billy see "Howard the Duck"?

    Ray Parker, Jr.Ghostbusters1984
    In the summer of 1984, this song, and this video, were everywhere. After all, RPJ ditched "Raydio", and shot up to #1 with this ditty from the movie of the same name. Most people would forget the video, if it didn't include several B-list celebrities shouting the chorus at the end. I believe careers vanished after this video. I only remember George Wendt, because he had that ticked off look that seemed to say "you want me to shout this?". Most of the video contains the obligatory scenes from the movie, and an odd neon set that has nothing to do with anything. I do have one question. How did they get Billy Dee Williams away from the King Cobra table to pose as Ray Parker, Jr.?

    PoisonNothing But A Good Time1988
    I'll use this song as an example of a larger genre of videos. If you've seen this Poison video, then you don't need to see "Unskinny Bop" or others. You also don't need to see Bon Jovi, Def Leppard or the rest. The typical hard rock video of the late 1980s involves three parts - "setting up for the concert", "the concert", and "backstage" - all with adoring female fans nearby. Presumably, the heavy use of concert footage was to show the band's showmanship, large female following, or in Poison's case, choice in eye make-up. The exception to the rule is the required ballad. Hard rock ballads usually place the band in a warehouse, looking introspectively at each other, tuning their guitars.

    REO SpeedwagonCan't Fight This Feeling Anymore1985
    Kevin Cronin suffered from the same symptoms as his peers - he had a "perm mullet", and he had to lip synch a ballad for video. The result mimics almost any Foreigner video, or the collection of Journey ballads. It's not even passable.

    Lionel RichieDancing On the Ceiling1986
    This is one of the first videos with a huge budget allocated to it. Richie wastes it on a rotating box, designed to make it appear that he's actually "dancing on the ceiling".

    Lionel RichieHello1984
    One could not escape the years 1983-1987 without seeing numerous Lionel Richie videos on MTV. One of the more disturbing examples involves the song "Hello". Richie, who can't get enough of himself, tries to win the affection of a blind student. Richie concluded that since she can't see him, she can't beat him up like his first wife.

    Quiet RiotThe Wild and the Young198?
    Another bad "vision of the future". Here, some Orwellian authority forces rock and roll underground. The "thought police" even look for rock and roll violators. Of course, Quiet Riot is the primary offender, and they try their best to change what they perceive as a great injustice. How do they do this? Loud rock and roll, man! Seriously, this is super-cheesy. But, I did enjoy Quiet Riot getting taken away, presumably for appropriate punishment.

    RockwellSomebody's Watching Me1984
    Using his family connections in Motown Records, "Rockwell" somehow received a recording deal, and Michael Jackson as a back-up singer. I suggest Rockwell descend into more disturbing consequences of paranoid schizophrenia during the video. Otherwise, this is just a video with a bunch of perverts stalking him in the shower.

    His lyrics were so indecipherable, MTV eventually superimposed them at the bottom of his video. And we haven't seen him since.

    Billy SquierRock Me Tonight1984
    Grossly inspired by "Flashdance" and directed by the man later responsible for "Hull High". I think you see where I'm going here. Upon seeing this video, thousands of Squier fans had to prove their manhood in some way. Mr. Squier spends most of the video prancing around an empty apartment in a mid-riff pink t-shirt. At one point, he rips it apart in a super-cheesy slow motion effect. Squier doesn't just stick to dancing "flashdance" style. He falls on the bed to do a little "pedal-kick" move too. The rest of the band doesn't appear until the end - fortunately for them. Obviously some checks and balances were missed. You have to see it for yourself. No amount of words can do this justice. Ironically, this was Squier's last Top 40 hit.

    StarshipNothing's Going to Stop Us Now1987
    The song appeared in the movie "Mannequin", so part of the video contains the requisite scenes from the motion picture. Unfortunately, it also inspires a now dreadful-looking Grace Slick to strike inanimate poses as if she were a mannequin. Gee, Grace, you really had us fooled. I still wonder how she went from "White Rabbit" to this crap.

    StarshipWe Built This City1985
    Congratulations, Starship. You're so bad in so many ways you get multiple videos on my list of crap. I consider "We Built This City" to be one of the worst songs ever recorded. This video makes no improvements. It's basically a collage effect of everything you hear in the song. San Francisco should be ashamed.

    StyxMr. Roboto1983
    You know my feelings on Styx, and how Dennis DeYoung is one of the worst influences in rock. This song is bad enough, but the video should've killed their careers. The scenes come out of the Kilroy stage production that accompanied the concert tour. I've seen junior high plays look less contrived and less absurd. When do these robots turn against their masters, anyway?

    StyxToo Much Time On My Hands1981
    One of the bands who capitalized on MTV's short playlist in the first couple of years, Styx wasted no time transferring their horrifying music into such compelling videos. Nothing describes compelling like Tommy Shaw sitting at the bar, with a copy of Billboard magazine, trying to get the attention of other bar flies and skanks.

    TiffanyI Think We're Alone Now1987
    This looks like a film smuggled out of another country, though not for the contents, but the overall technical quality. Perhaps Tiffany, while appearing at the local mall, paid the guy at the "make your own video" stand for a little extra work.

    Vanilla IceIce Ice Baby1990
    I don't need to descend into great detail about this piece of work. You know the song. You know the samples that make up the song. You know the artist and how short of a period it took to expose him as an absolute fraud. The only thing more amusing than the day-glo video for "Ice Ice Baby" is the movie "Cool as Ice". Remember - "drop the zero and get with the hero".

    Wang ChungEverybody Have Fun Tonight1986
    Formerly known as Huang Chung, Wang Chung had a pretty bland career until the release of this song. Their careers also promptly ended after this song. The video is a frame-splice nightmare with the illusion of movement so fast, it was thought to have caused seizures. Don't stare for too long.

    Wham!Wake Me Up (Before You Go-Go)1984
    I've always considered this one to take the cake as the worst music video ever. This makes me uncomfortable in so many ways. By now, a lot of you should've seen this one. George Michael and Andrew Ridgley spend their time dancing around a small stage. Attire: "Choose Life" t-shirts, extremely uncomfortable-looking tight shorts, white socks and tennis shoes. The song is bad enough. The video makes it worse. Also, I've read three versions of this video exist.

    WingerShe's Only 171989
    Typical Kip Winger. He tried so hard to be a badass. He puts skanks in his videos and sings about underage girls. But it just doesn't come off quite right. Maybe it's the hair.

    WWF WrestlersLand Of A Thousand Dances1985
    You don't even have to know the original song to appreciate this garbage. At what point did someone decide it was a good idea to have a bunch of steroid-riddled bodybuilders perform a song? Even more alarming, Hulk Hogan "went solo" and made his own video. Everyone should feel dumber for knowing this atrocity's existence.

    ZZ TopTV Dinners1983
    The Texas trio certainly knew how to grab a music video viewer's attention. However, somewhere between "Gimme All Your Lovin'" and "Sharp-Dressed Man", ZZ Top gave us "TV Dinners". You don't have to appreciate the consequences of peas in your fruit cobbler to know this probably wasn't a good video. In fact, it's just plain weird. Ridley Scott should receive a small check for allowing "tres hombres" to use an alien popping out of the dinner tray (after it has been microwaved, mind you). The alien wins in this video. The viewers don't.