This video achieves “Shepard Smith watching True Blood” gayness levels.
July 5, 2014 4:24 PM   Subscribe

That Elton John video is gayer than most gay porn.
posted by petrilli at 4:41 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]

Hearing "Electric Avenue" instantly transports me back to the summer of '83 - the local club DJ spun it constantly. I was there night after night, consuming way too many vodka and ice teas, carefree and unemployed. I met my wife in that club. We're still married.

Oh, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we'll take it higher

posted by davebush at 4:45 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]

There are at least seven and a half really great tunes there and hell no I'm not going to tell which they are.
posted by vapidave at 4:48 PM on July 5

i love dave holmes so much.
posted by nadawi at 4:49 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]

Men At Work made the best videos, I think it's the one for "Down Under" where one of them walks around through the whole video with a stuffed kangaroo tied to his belt for no reason.

(Dave Holmes told the Best Story Ever on one of the Walking the Room live podcasts. It's from when he worked at MTV and they did a talent show called "Dude, This Sucks.")

I would watch an entire series of Behind the Music about every aspect of Solid Gold. Where did the dancers end up? What about Waylon Flowers & Madam?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:49 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]

i love dave holmes so much.

I only just realized when making this post that I had a senior year crush on him in High School

(what the hell Whelk, VJs and Dennis Coupland? Couldn't you have normal crushes?)
posted by The Whelk at 4:55 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]

We're gonna walk down to Kmart and by some shoes (they only cost a dollar).
posted by bpm140 at 4:56 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]

For many years, my brothers and I have referred to Stevie Nicks' "reverse escalator peach dress bat sequence." I now see that it's a sort of treadmill. You monster, you have trampled on my memories!
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:00 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]

Interesting list... some of the songs on the low end of the Top 40 were either on their way up to or down from the Top 10... "Tell Her About It", "Safety Dance", "Puttin on the Ritz", and -just barely- "I'm Still Standing" and "Human Nature"... Michael J. had umpteen hit songs that year of which that was the least monstrous while Elton J. had to go batshit crazy in the video to get that one.

I'd like to see Holmes' assessment of the entire year-end 1983 Billboard Top 100 (which, in order to handle deadlines for printing AND Casey Kasem's show, had to be complete by Thanksgiving so it covered December '82 thru November '83), because I can't consider 1983 without "Total Eclipse of the Heart", "Come On Eileen" and "She Blinded Me With Science". SCIENCE!!!

And I totally approve of his using the blurb for "Electric Avenue" to wax poetic over Eddy Grant's later less-of-a-hit, "Romancing the Stone", which WAS made for the movie, but the producers were so 'meh' over it, they only played it during the closing credits, which in those days was when everybody rushed to get out of the theater. And it didn't make '84's Top 100. But, oh yeah, Eddy, "love the hurting away"...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:12 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]

(what the hell Whelk, VJs and Dennis Coupland? Couldn't you have normal crushes?)

Not trying to compete with you, but think I can put my crushes on Martha Quinn and Christiane Amanpour up against yours on Dave Holmes and Douglas Coupland.
posted by chimaera at 5:24 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]

An excellent way to spend the afternoon, even if the author's contention that Roger was the cutest Taylor in Duran Duran renders me speechless. (He was the second-cutest Taylor.)

Also, yeah, I was just thinking about that INSANE "making 'Chinese' eyes and then smiling condescendingly like you're a toddler" bit in the Bowie video the other day. It's seriously about one step away from Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
posted by scody at 5:49 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]

I only just realized when making this post that I had a senior year crush on him in High School

I am as straight as the day is long, but I still have a crush on Dave Holmes, Whelk.

Would you rather hear about the Hollies, or the guy who played Ricky’s nerdy friend Freddy on Silver Spoons? I THOUGHT SO. Okay, so, Freddy was played by a kid named Corky Pigeon, and you can read that sentence as many times as you like; it’s never going to change. According to an interview I found on the internet and want to believe more than anything in the world, Corky Pigeon was supposed to have played Elliott in E.T. — the interview says he found this information out “in a roundabout way,” and the mind simply reels — but he was contractually bound to a sitcom pilot with Dick Van Dyke instead.

I mean, come on.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:01 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]

I didn't even need to click through to hear most of those songs in my head. #childofthe80s
posted by immlass at 6:05 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]

His line about the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" video is beyond hilarious.
posted by HillbillyInBC at 6:44 PM on July 5

"I didn't even need to click through to hear most of those songs in my head. #childofthe80s"

So, I watched "Take Me to Heart" by Quarterflash and although I'm pretty sure I've not heard that song since the mid-80s and wouldn't have (well, still haven't) found the title or band familiar, I knew every goddam note of that song and it felt like I'd heard it yesterday. Of those I watched, that's the only one with that strong of that particular impression — others that are extremely familiar I recollect and probably have heard many times over the last three decades. But that one? Obscure but I know it intimately.

"There are at least seven and a half really great tunes there and hell no I'm not going to tell which they are."

Heh. I was thinking that although I hated all the radio hits during the time, looking back these days I find a lot of that music much more worthy and interesting. But this list? I only find three that I think are truly great, timeless songs: “Sweet Dreams”, “Electric Avenue”, and “Every Breath You Take”. And I'm not so sure about “Electric Avenue”.

On the other hand, there's about three or four other songs that I almost-maybe-sorta would put on a "pretty good and stands-up-fairly-well" list. Also, I enjoyed listening to "The Safety Dance", "Lawyers in Love", "Saved by Zero", and "Our House" again for the first time in a long time. Probably have heard "Our House" fairly recently, though.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:48 PM on July 5

1983 was the year NBC launched Friday Night Videos. Fun times for folks who didn't have cable.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:21 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]

Electric Avenue has one of the best guitar riffs ever recorded.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:36 PM on July 5

The summer of 83 I was 11 and really starting to get into music. I hadn't yet discovered "college radio" so I just listened to whatever was on 92 PRO FM. I remember the Police and Stevie Nicks being in heavy rotation, but I really remember "Never Gonna Let You Go" which until just now I had always thought was sung by Sergio Mendes. Mendes was the producer, however. Anyway, I hated that song. I haven't heard it in years, and now that I've conjured it up I have the tepid sax solo in my head.
posted by Biblio at 7:51 PM on July 5

I always thought the lady in Safety Dance was saying "comme ci!" cause she was like French or something.
posted by Spatch at 7:51 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]

The video for China Girl proves that Dancing In The Streets was not even near to being David Bowie's Worst Idea.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:19 PM on July 5

David Bowie's Worst Idea

...would make a great username.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:29 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]

Shortly before the end Montgomery Wards called their electronics department Electric Avenue.
posted by rfs at 8:53 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]

David Bowie's Worst Idea

That would be the Bucktooth Wizard.
posted by scody at 9:43 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]

I knew I remembered reading about that performance of "Purple Rain" before. It was right here.
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:20 PM on July 5

Regarding "Sweet Dreams", it's interesting that 30 years on, it's obvious that while one the one hand this represents the self-aware, absurdist apex of high-concept videos (and it was only 1983!), it's also one of the only straight performance videos on the list -- because Stewart is playing a MK1 Movement MCS Drum Machine [jpg]^ right there in the video.

I always thought the lady in Safety Dance was saying "comme ci!" cause she was like French or something.

She's saying Danser! (dahn-SAY) because she's French or something. Possibly Belgian or Swiss.

Regarding its influence on Ren Faire culture, I will note that I participated in a May Day pole dance in 1983, which was before the release of this video. Unlike almost everyone else connected to that maypole, however, I did not end up in SCA. Whew. I have enough trouble keeping my regular name straight.
posted by dhartung at 12:28 AM on July 6

We didn't get cable for at least another decade, so the music video revolution for me is almost entirely the story of Friday Night Videos — when I was able to stay up late; easier after I got a Sears 10" black and white TV for Christmas — and, more importantly, WVUE-TV69. I couldn't find a decent link that talks about Bruce Smith, a.k.a. The Butcher, who was one of the VJs and was also in numerous Atlanta bands including The Swinging Richards. At some point I think there was a kids show, like with puppets and everything, on Channel 69 starring The Butcher, but it appears to have been lost to time.

Also, there are close seconds, but no question that "Electric Avenue" is the best tune on that list since "Say It Isn't So" somehow didn't make the cut. Maybe the video didn't come out until 1984?
posted by ob1quixote at 12:32 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]

Should have linked a video for "Say It Isn't So." My bad.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:38 AM on July 6

"Is Rod Stewart attractive? I’m looking at him right now, and I don’t know the answer."

The correct answer is NO.

Love this! Especially all the Silver Spoons references. That was my favorite show back then. I had such a crush on Ricky Schroder.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:05 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]

A few years ago I loaned some old High Times magazines from the late 70s/early 80s, as well as a few old Mellow Mail headshop catalogs, to a neighbor in his 20s. When he returned them he seemed bewildered.

"Was everyone gay back then? There were rainbows and unicorns and glitter headbands all over the place! Everything in those catalogs had a rainbow on it."

Seems like partly thanks to Studio 54, disco and cocaine culture, rainbows etc. became a mainstream fashion thing for a while before AIDS took all the fun out or maybe when it lost its novelty. Watching that Elton John video kind of brought that silliness back.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:50 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]

July 1983? A month before I married Ralph. I don't know whether to say thanks for the nostalgia or no thanks for making me feel OLD.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:27 AM on July 6

It's times like these when I remember why I was really into the Dead Kennedys when I first started college.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:10 AM on July 6

Seems like partly thanks to Studio 54, disco and cocaine culture, rainbows etc. became a mainstream fashion thing for a while...

There was a phenomenon where I was living at the time where lots of cars had a little transparent rainbow window decal in the center of their rear window. The general consensus what that this was mostly a Christian type thing for reasons I'm not completely sure of, but there was a definite correlation between that and some flavor of JEBUS! type bumper sticker.

I only remember this because I knew a guy who wanted to order like 1000 little stickers depicting the Norse god Tyr to further decorate them with.

And that, kids, is the difference between 1983 and now. Because now, he could probably have found somebody who would print those for him for about $100 with about 30 minutes of Googling and then crowd funded the whole operation so that there were dozens of people Asgardifying cars all over the country.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:21 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]

Man, 80s sergio mendes is fucking depressing compared to the enjoyable bossa nova stuff he did in the sixties.
posted by Ferreous at 9:50 AM on July 6

Those Diana Ross performances are inspiring. I'm not sure quite what they inspire, but I feel inspired.
posted by jaguar at 10:58 AM on July 6

I have not-great feelings about Let's Dance in general, including the songs on it and that phase of Bowie's career. (Bowie later felt the same way, as he referred to that point in time as his "Phil Collins phase.") It especially galled coming after Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), which was just superlative in every way. For that matter, not only had Bowie already done a better version of "Cat People" with Giorgio Moroder (who, with the theme to "The Neverending Story", and Oscar-winning movie songs like the theme to Flashdance and "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun, pretty much was the soundtrack king of the 80s), his later versions of "Let's Dance" were like this one, which I like a lot. Heck, he even did another entire collaboration with Nile Rodgers, Black Tie White Noise, which was hugely superior.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:40 PM on July 6

I have not-great feelings about Let's Dance in general[...]
posted by Halloween Jack

posted by scody at 3:50 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]

I was nine when "Let's Dance" came out and I fucking loved it. I still do even though I know it's not his best work. I also had no idea "China Girl" was about heroin until 2009.
posted by josher71 at 4:22 PM on July 6

The only thing that is out of place in that Elton John video is all the straight couples. After a panning shot of dude's crotches in Speedos, it's jarring to see straight couples dance-fucking behind the umbrellas.

All of these bring me joy, because I was 12 in 83 and also forbidden to watch music videos, so of course, I know them all by heart. Sweet Dreams was one of the first videos I ever saw; the first was, I think, Once in a Lifetime.
posted by emjaybee at 4:42 PM on July 6

So I spend a good chunk of last night reading Somewhere In Time columns (thanks to waterisinfinite's link) and they are, without exception, glorious. This installment, ostensibly about the summer hits of 1994 is really about the author's experience of moving to New York City in the summer of 1994. It's really quite moving. Dave Holmes is indeed a treasure, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why he is not more famous or successful.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:29 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]

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