December 4th, 2013
Queen “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” (1977, UK)
The BBC had a rule that bands couldn’t lip-sync their single on TV. However, they were allowed to re-record the song and lip-sync to that. That’s why this version sounds slightly different from the one you can buy commercially. Freddie doesn’t even care enough to continue playing piano from the third verse onward even though piano is clearly audible, and Brian shakes his head in disgust at a flubbed note in a solo even though it’s a lipsync. That takes talent, folks.
Boney M “Ma Baker” (Germany. 1977)
Why is this awkward? Well, two members of the band aren’t actually singers to start with. This is a proto-Milli Vanilli, with the male dancer miming to lyrics performed by producer Frank Farian (who would later attempt to foist MV on the world). More awkward in retrospect.
Abba “Voulez Vous” (1979, Spain)
Frida and Agnetha look like they are ready for aerobics. The guitarist looks like Roman Polanski with a blonde wig. I have never been sure which two were married to who. For all I know the men were married to each other.
Buggles “Video Killed The Radio Star” (Germany, 1979)
If this had been the video for that song, Todd Rundgren would have had the first video played on MTV instead.
Sparks “When I’m With You” (1980, France)
In a video where a bunch of people walk in and out of a sex shop, the two men in suits with the synthesizer somehow end up being the creepiest people. None of the perverts even think to toss them a mark for their trouble.
Kiss “I Love It Loud” (1982, Germany)
The audience looks baffled and mildly amused. Note that Kiss are not using the famous lightning “S” in their logo. These were banned in Germany after WWII. At least two members of Kiss are Jewish. The fog machine is really cheap looking. My favorite part is when they reveal a second set of microphones on stands further up the stage for the final chorus.
Jethro Tull “Broadsword” (1982, Germany)
The great punchline comes about 3:43 after the song fades out. It’s great to watch Ian Anderson go through his usual jester shenanigans (the rest of the band is dressed similarly but he’s the only one really committed to it) and hearing how shitty the Jethro Tull sound came across in the synthy early 80′s. These are the dreams Spinal Tap are made of.
Billy Idol “Eyes Without A Face” (1984, UK)
A Top Of The Pops performance where they didn’t even bother to bring in a backing band. Just Steve Stevens on axe and a backup singer. Billy flubs the lyrics. He looks blasted out of his skull on drugs. Imagine how shitty it would be to be booked on this and be told your song was ranked 33rd.