Words For Your Enjoyment: 80’s Music Videos

Greetings once again, dear Friday-lovers.

With the dawn of a new Friday comes the dawn of a new “Words For Your Enjoyment” and although a post can’t technically have a dawn since it’s not measured in time but rather in text characters, I’m sure someone will still comment on this fact in the comment section with an elaborate equation or explanation on why a post can have a dawn — and I welcome it.

But more importantly than the dawn of a new day is today’s WFYE suggestion from “new face in the crowd” Phil B. who writes, “Can you talk about what 80’s music video changed your life and why?”

Well, Phil — there is no doubt about this one.

There is no doubt in my mind that ever since MTV was created in the early 80’s (and before it turned into a reality-tv show based non-music video channel) there was one music video that brought me happiness and sadness, joy and pain, sunshine and rain and changed my life so drastically that I now find myself always on the lookout for women with teased/big blonde hair and small students with glowing eyes as a sign of good things to come…

That video that changed my life forever? Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Just exactly what the video was about was anyone’s guess. A woman and an eerie boarding school filled with little boys wearing flowing angel-like gowns and flying all over the place while allowing their eyes to glow that glowy-glow like the robotic kids in that Chrisopher Reeve movie. There’s music, there’s a lot of wind, there’s some great choral work and there’s also a bunch of moody moments with Bonnie Tyler staring off into the distance and singing her little, grainy heart out.

How could that NOT change ones’ life?

It taught me that, in life, sometimes when you find yourself stuck at a dark foreboding private school for small children that the only way to bring light to the situation is to sing your heart out. It taught me that, every once in awhile, flapping your arms and causing your eyes to glow can get you the attention and affection of a white-jumpsuit laden soon-to-be famous singing phenom. I learned that if you’re going to buy a huge dark foreboding private school for boys whose eyes glow during rousing choruses — that more lighting might allow you to get a better view of the festivities instead of a few awkwardly-placed candelabras.

But above all, I learned that once upon a time if you were falling in love (for example) and now you’re only falling apart (as a hypothetical situation) that there’s nothing you can do (or mostly nothing) because it’s a total eclipse of the heart. And that even if once upon a time there was light in your life (in addition to the moment that you were falling in love) but now there’s only love in the dark (even with those candleabras), that there’s just nothing you can say (at all) because there’s this total eclipse of the heart.

And on top of learning that, I would say that I probably also learned that if you are in a dark foreboding private school for levitating children…the best way to diffuse the situation is to say the equivalent of “Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse” (which is a way to get the evil spirits to just show themselves) which just happens to be “Turnaround bright eyes, Turnaround bright eyes, Turnaround bright eyes.” And if after you shout this three times the glowy-eye kids don’t show their faces, you can whisper something about the fact that there’s no one in the universe as magical and wonderous as you [them] and that there’s nothing any better and there’s nothing you just wouldn’t do… And that might work for you, too.

Sure, you say — but if that video has really changed your life like you say it has, what are some examples of the song and video helping you in your day to day life?

Good question, fictitious reader in my head…

There was a particularly important moment in my life where I was at a job interview for a job I desperately wanted to get. And at the very end of the fairly not-so-good interview, the person asked me if I had any other questions before we ended the interview and I thought about Bonnie Tyler, the video, and the wispy-floaty eye-glow kids and I said: “There’s nothing I can ask, because it’s a total eclipse of the heart.”

There was a long pause, the person looked at me with confusion, then closed the folder in front of him and said, “Will call you, then, once we make our decision.”

I didn’t get the job, but it’s a good thing I didn’t as I heard that the guy who DID get the job ended up hating it. Bad working conditions, nothing but free Sweet n’ Low in the kitchen (no real snacks) and you had to pay for your own parking spot in the parking lot — so by uttering such phrases I had dodged a horrible job and Total Eclipse had once again influenced my life in the most dramatic of ways.

Total Eclipse of the Heart. My life, encapsulated.

Next week: How Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” influenced how I eat at a dinner party.

17 comments on “Words For Your Enjoyment: 80’s Music Videos

  1. Flower Girl - October 28, 2005 at 8:57 am -

    You really DO rock, Pauly! Appreciating tunes from the 80’s as I do, I am really pleased with today’s posting.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on the song “Pass the Deutsche.”

  2. Hilary - October 28, 2005 at 9:01 am -

    Pauly, since you seem to have dissected the song, could you please explain this line to me:

    I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark, We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks

    Powder keg? Sparks? Huh?

  3. Pauly D - October 28, 2005 at 9:07 am -

    Bonnie Tyler was known to have horrible acid-reflux, if you must know, Hilary. That lyric was meant to communicate that her “powder keg” (or stomach) was always giving off “sparks” (or, acid reflux) and that she didn’t know what to do.

    This was before that medicine Prevacid, by the way, which is prescribed today for severe acid reflux.

  4. Amber - October 28, 2005 at 9:25 am -

    I feel that the powder keg/sparks reference is to let the person she’s singing to know that, in addition to the imminent total eclipse of the heart, they should also beware that the relationship itself is about to metaphorically explode because, well, it just is. Because of the metaphorical sparks. Their relationship is falling apart (not unlike poor Bonnie) and it’s just a matter of time before the fiery armageddon of lost love. Also those flying kids should look out for dangerous debris from said explosion.

    The video that changed my life was Janet Jackson’s “Miss you Much.” I realize this is more a 90’s song, but I was a late bloomer. I learned the dance and Janet introduced me to the fine art of chair dancing, which I guess I could later parlay into pole dancing if I so chose. Don’t mess with me — I will do fancy footwork and dance fight you in a heartbeat if I feel threatened. Thanks Janet!

  5. monkeyinabox - October 28, 2005 at 9:27 am -

    Every now and then I fall apart.
    And I need now tonght!
    And I need you more than ever!
    And if you only hold me tight!
    We’ll be holding on forever!

    PAULY!!! HOLD ME!!!!!!



  6. Pauly D - October 28, 2005 at 9:29 am -

    I’ve suddenly become uncharacteristically uncomfortable.

  7. Hilary - October 28, 2005 at 10:28 am -

    So, since the advent of Prevacid, the song isn’t really true anymore? Is that what you’re saying Pauly?

  8. Scottiedog - October 28, 2005 at 10:39 am -

    Anyone who doesn’t love something from the 80s is missing out on a whole culture that I can’t see being repeated in the same shamelessly over-the-top, trashy, fun way in my lifetime.

    For me, cause I was pretty young, 80s movies made more of an impact than music videos. One that I never get tired of seeing is ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’. Not because I love the plot or acting (though you gotta love that fashion), but you get to see all the parts taken from the film to make up the ‘Get into the Groove’ video clip.

    This is another clip which seems to have no plot whatsoever, but in no way as fantastic as a Bonnie Tyler façade. I just love to look out for the scene where Madge drys her pits over the hand dryer, where she’s dancing with her recently-freshened arms up in the air, flirtily with other dancers; the creepy intent zombie-looking bald dancing guy and not to forget the one with a mohican and frilly cuffs that dances like he’s conducting an orchestra.

    Ahh, I love the 80s.

  9. Hope - October 28, 2005 at 11:50 am -

    I am outraged and disgusted. As a kid who went to “a dark foreboding private school for levitating children,” this video deeply offended me. I can’t believe you advocate the stereotypes about levitating children that occur in this video. Shame on you, Paul.

  10. Jewels - October 28, 2005 at 11:56 am -

    Great post Paul! I have not seen that video in so long.

    My sister and I used to listen to our favorite songs over and over again and then write down the lyrics in our spiral notebooks with our eraseable pens!! That was one of the songs that I specifically remember that we listened to many times. Not counting the times that we rollerskated to it.

    I admit – I am a child of the ’80s and I am not ashamed!

  11. Fully - October 28, 2005 at 12:29 pm -

    While TEOTH is the 80’s music video that changed your life, I still get nightmares, yes nightmares, when I think about Yes’s “Owner of a Lonely Heart” It’s scary and no lonely heart owner ever appears in it. I sat hypnotized for hours every Friday night and Saturday trying to decipher the thing.

  12. meme - October 28, 2005 at 1:54 pm -

    i like to think that if it weren’t for the soundtrack to Fame my life would’ve taken a whole ‘nother direction.

  13. AJ - October 28, 2005 at 2:15 pm -

    :sigh: Bonnie Tyler had the career that Kim Carnes SHOULD have had.

  14. benny - October 28, 2005 at 3:44 pm -

    Amen, to the Kim Carnes comment. And a great post, PD.

  15. Jill - October 30, 2005 at 8:28 pm -

    I just want you to know that this post had me cackling like a loon. I especially enjoy the “But above all…” I will now give you a standing ovation.

  16. LEAH ROBLES - November 3, 2005 at 10:40 am -


  17. paul r - November 13, 2005 at 9:44 pm -

    I would like to know what the video was, from the 80’s that had big figures of Ronald reagan, Kadafi, and the China leader dancing around. Some politically motivated super power video. I remember the tune, but the words totally escape me. how do I know when the site will carry the answer, or who can e-mail me? I’m at a loss here.

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