[Found this in my drafts folder and was surprised it never got in to the light of day as it was a fun idea. Dusting it off for your approval and any additional suggestions you might add]
So I am spending too much of drill weekend [obviously written before my retirement in December] stuck in my hotel because of the stupid weather, which, as usual, means too much time watching music videos. Got on a Scorpions kick, which then reminded me that the 80s produced an overabundance of music videos set after the end, where savage women, with perfect hair and makeup, would be reduced to roving bands of dominatrices, just waiting for some band with too much hair and eyeliner to come along and relieve their ennui.
Not quite sure why setting your music videos After The End became such a thing then, (I suppose the continued conviction that the Reds would be dropping The Bomb any day now had something to do with it, although it’s just as likely that producers saw that The Road Warrior made a metric shitton of money and figured it was what the kids wanted) but it crossed genres to become an oddly widespread trend. Here are a few of my favorites:
Rock You Like A Hurricane – The Scorpions
The one that started me thinking about this particular odd corner of music video history. I remember this one scaring the crap out of me as a kid the first time it turned up on Friday Night Videos. I’m pretty sure it was the guy on spikes that did me in. (Remember Friday Night Videos? That and Night Flight was what we bible belt kids had to settle for because there was no way the local cable company was going to be carrying that satanic MTV. We had to move to D.C. for that.)
All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose – KISS
KISS did not one but two of these to promote the Lick It Up album, apparently set in the same wasteland. I guess it was a pretty good distraction from the fact that they turned out to be a pretty homely bunch once the makeup came off.
Lick It Up – KISS
The title track makes an appearance here. Maybe it’s just me but I still say Vinnie Vincent most closely resembles Joan Jett on a bad hair day.
The Wild Boys – Duran Duran
Oh, my gosh, I was so in love with Simon LeBon. Maybe post apocalypse, maybe just generally weird. Duran Duran could go either way.
We Don’t Need another Hero – Tina Turner
Cheating here as it is literally a post-apocalyptic song from the get-go, as the title tract to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Don’t care. Tina is a legend, even when delivering dialogue about literal pig shit.
The Warrior – Patty Smythe
Proof that civilization can end in in a ball of nuclear fire, and somehow Cats will still be running. Also I just realized that Hide your Heart has a, shall we say, suspicious degree of resemblance to this tune.
Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol
See! Hungry punk zombies tamed by the power of dance!
The Safety Dance – Men Without Hats
Is it a post apocalyptic hit? Or just a video about a bad Renaissance Faire? The guys who wrote it claim it was about nuclear war, so I’ll allow it. Like I need an excuse.
The Riff – Lordi
Not 1980s and I didn’t see it until well after MTV ceased having any relevance as a video station, but this is such a fine short film with such an important message, that I have to include it here. I mean, ok, the message is don’t shop for toilet paper during a zombie apocalypse, but I really do think that is an important safety tip for all of us.
Obviously this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, just a few personal faves from back in the day when MTV was still exclusively about the videos. I’m sure I’ve missed plenty of good ones. Feel free to include your own favorites in the comments.