As a 1980s kid, I only really got into music then briefly with the usual boyband suspects – Wham!, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. I did however enjoy music videos with my then beloved actors and actresses of telly and film. Or those featured in film soundtracks as you saw more of the movie.
Notable mentions at this time, included Chevy Chase in Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al video. Admittedly his appearance confused me the first time around. But not to the extent where I hunted down a copy of Chase’s apparent single. The other mention being the When The Going Gets Tough Billy Ocean video. Here, I thought the appearance of the Romancing the Stone(1984)The Jewel in the Nile (1985) cast was priceless. Also, I believed Danny DeVito’s solo on the saxophone one of the most 1980s iconic musical moments.
Luckily there was no confusion later on in the decade when actors of the big and wee screen decided to sing for themselves and released lots and lots of records accompanied by some fantastic videos. So read on to see 5 of my faves and then you can decide if it was a good or bad thing.
Don Johnson sings Heartbeat (1986)
Don Johnson – Heartbeat, DonJohnsonVEVO
This record was released in 1986, at a time when Don Johnson was better known as half of the crime fighting duo, Crockett and Tubbs in Miami Vice (1984-90). So in his wisdom, he decided to release this record and it’s very annoyingly catchy in the 1980s kinda way.
The video almost plays like an episode of his famous series. But with the addition of the now musical legend singing his wee heart out. Also stars Johnson’s 1980s jackets – with compulsory turn-ups on the jacket sleeves – and the backing gals big 1980s hair make it addictive viewing.
All that’s missing is a sax. Memorable lyrics include, “I’ve been standing by the fire but I just can’t feel the heat” and “I’m looking for a heartbeat beating like mine.” Finally, if the intercut apparent conspiracy story isn’t actually a Don Johnson 1980’s movie it should be…
Bruce Willis sings Save The Last Dance for Me (1989)
Bruce Willis Save The Last Dance For Me, Gerri Guitar Player
I love this soft focus, mushy video accompanying a record cover of my much-loved Dolly Parton track. The only sad thing about it being Willis isn’t the leading man in the video. I love this video as Willis takes the song so seriously and sings so sweetly. He’s lacking in the wise cracking smirks – but with a wee soppy smile instead – I then loved him for in Moonlighting (1985-89). Again like Johnson’s track, the story in the video gets you super involved but this time get the tissues handy. Lyrics including “But while we’re apart, don’t give your heart to anyone” may make you blub. The only way this could be improved is if this was a duet with Dolly herself, so if you reading this Bruce and Dolly.
Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan sing Especially for You (1988)
Kylie and Jason – Especially For You – Official Video, PWL
Yet another tear-jerker of a video storyline with Kylie Minogue, as part of this loved up duo. Kylie – then 1980s star of Aussie soap, Neighbours (1985) and The Delinquents (1989) – stars with her fellow Neighbours soap star and on-screen lover/husband Jason Donovan. Admittedly the lyrics are more vomit inducing than soppy with the worst best example being..
And if dreams were wings, you know I would have flown to you.
Not surprisingly this was a number 1 hit in the UK where even being Paul Robinson – also in Neighbours – guaranteed a record contract. It even reached the Top 5 in Finland. Kylie added this to a whole list of 1980s No 1’s. These hits included her debut single I Should Be So Lucky to the cover of The Locomotion. The latter Kylie song leading to one of my best 1980s moments, where on my first holiday in Belgium without parents of any kind, my best friend (now of 30+ years) introduced this song and the actions to it to me, holidaymakers and the Belgians alike…
Patrick Duffy with Mireille Mathieu sing Together We’re Strong (1983)
Mireille Mathieu & Patrick Duffy Together We’re Strong
I wasn’t aware at the time of the attached video – which I happily found while hunting down this song, as had only seen the live version on the telly. I unsuccessfully hunted down this record featuring Dallas‘ Bobby Ewing. Yes, Dallas fans, this song features Patrick Duffy in a duet with a wee French chanteuse, Mireille Mathieu. The lyrics are fantastically soppy…
A great man once said, “Winter never fails to turn into Spring”. And though we’re so different, you and I, when we’re together, even the cold of December feels like the middle of May. You are the night, I am the day. You are the star that shows the way. You are the instrument I play.
But the video featuring the apparently anaemic pair – if you believe they really are as pale as they seem in this video – is pure 1980s heaven. Duffy goes for the deeply sincere singing approach despite the OTT romantic lyrics, though happily, that famous Patrick Duffy romantic look is there… and I can compare it to Rocket Man that much-loved cover by one William Shatner in 1978 (sadly just missing this list) as a guilty pleasure music video.
David Hasselhoff sings Song of the Night (1989)
DAVID HASSELHOFF – SONG OF THE NIGHT, TheHoffFan72
Be wrong to not mention the then Baywatch (1989-2001) actor who even was present at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Admittedly, it was a toss-up between Hasselhoff and Patrick Swayze’s She’s Like the Wind but saving that treat – along with Shatner’s – for another day.
Slushy lyrics include
I’ll be at peace, a part of you magic moments together, then the spell is broken I’m in a dream that can’t come true.
Another video with a soft focus 1980s gal like Johnson combined with the meaningfully sincere looks given by Duffy and Willis. Hasselhoff easily wins my vote with his OTT overly sincere actions to emphasise the lyrics, the use of 1980s neon, a mullet and those 1980s Wall Street (1987) and Gordon Gekko inspired braces. Which makes him the essential eighties reel star, even with the music switched off. And some of you will be glad to know he’s still making records in between those SyFy shark films.
So if you want to see then 1980s singers in acting roles look no further check out my Pop Star cat where you will see wonderful lady singers acting in 1980s roles including Cher, Bette Midler and Marie Osmond. Or of course, more latterly check out The Asylum (1997-) movies. These are a film series of mockbusters including the infamous Sharknado films which is absolutely swimming with them including Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. And to quote Gibson’s song, these singers appear literally “Out of the Blue”.