Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Girl in the Video: original interviews with icons of 1980s MTV

I can’t sing (well).

I can’t play an instrument. 


And though I can write, I have never written about music.

However, I love music. Especially ‘80s music.


How much?

This much:

1988. Black jean jacket and high school gym shorts. I am sorry.

So I am following up the oral history of superhero entertainment of my formative years with an oral history of music videos of my formative years…which happens to overlap with the formative years of music videos themselves.

born 1981

In other words, “Where Are They Now?: 1980s Video Vixens Edition.”

This blog shares stories behind the stories I write; with this series, it’s more broadly about stories behind stories that have inspired me to write stories. I can’t write with music on, but music injects me with a certain passion—a rhythm, even—I call upon, in silence, when writing. 


(And running. I am still bummed that Nike does not still hold its Run Hit Wonder race, which I did in New York in 2004. A Flock of Seagullss “I Ran [So Far Away]” was a highlight...naturally.)


But no one-hit wonders here.

These are the videos, by year, whose famous faces/crushes for countless teens I interviewed:

1983


1984


1985


1986


1987


1988


1989


7/6/14 addendum: Round 2 (27 more videos, 29 more women)!


Most of these former starlets were pretty tough to find and have never been interviewed about their videos. (The VH1 series Where Are They Now? featured two episodes on this subject. As far as I can tell, none in this feature appeared on “Video Vixens 1” [season 2, episode 8, 7/28/00], and only two here, Signy Coleman and Bunty Bailey, appeared on “Video Vixens II” [season 2, episode 24, 11/28/00]. I made those exceptions because their videos are two personal favorites.)

Similarly, I did not include video stars who are now household names (Courteney Cox, Christie Brinkley, Tawny Kitaen, Helena Christensen) or who have been covered elsewhere (Ola Ray,
Jeana Ellen Keough [Jeana Tomasino], Lillian Muller, Betsy Lynn George).

Some of the thirteen videos profiled here were regulars on big-brand “best music videos” lists, back when they used to make “best music videos” lists:

“Take On Me” (almost always in the top 50)

  • #8 VH1 Top 100 Music Videos of All Time (2001)
  • #9 Rolling Stone Top 100 Music Videos (1993)
  • #14 MTV 100 Greatest Music Videos of All Time (1999)
  • #35 MTV 500 Greatest Videos of All Time (1997)
  • All-TIME Best Music Videos (2011; 10 per decade, unranked within each decade)

“Addicted to Love” (almost always in the top 50)

  • #8 MTV (1999)
  • #30 VH1
  • #43 MTV (1997)

“Don’t Come Around Here No More” (sometimes in the top 50)

  • #14 Rolling Stone
  • #43 VH1
  • #79 MTV (1997)
  • #85 MTV (1999)
  • TIME

“The Boys of Summer”

  • #23 Rolling Stone
  • #53 VH1
  • #67 MTV (1999)
  • #94 MTV (1997)

“Legs”

  • #22 MTV (1997)
  • #96 VH1

“Free Fallin’”

  • #56 MTV (1997)

“Summer of ‘69”

  • #161 MTV (1997)

“I Want a New Drug”

  • #166 MTV (1997)

Conversely, “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” has been called (unfairly, I say) one of the worst videos ever made.

Curiously, Patty Elias’s ex-husband wrote the MTV theme, which makes them an MTV power (ex-)couple like no other:



Warning as you proceed into the series (and therefore the ‘80s): more mustaches than you remember.

Three of the most pressing questions of the ‘80s music landscape will be answered in this series:


Three of my (many) favorite comments (to find out who said them, stay tuned):

  • “I got rock-star-by-proxy status.”
  • “We were dangerous ornaments.”
  • “Me in a music video in a negligee was not a topic of conversation at the dinner table.”

Three fun facts you get right now:

  • Two “Huey girls” (Janet Cross and Signy Coleman) dated Don Henley.
  • Signy knew both Janet and JoAnn Willette.
  • Janet is the great-great granddaughter and Margaret Olmsted Menendez’s father said she is the great-great niece of Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted. What are the chances that FLO would be related to not one but two video vixens?

Bonus fact:

  • The video for “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield barely has a girl in it. [NOTE: I originally wrote that it does not have a girl in it, but after a reader corrected me in the comments, I made the tweak here.]

Three I found who responded to my interview request although they normally don’t:

  • Patty Elias
  • Traci Lind
  • the first person on the next list…

Three I found who chose not to participate:

  • Steve Perry, “Oh Sherrie” (1984) – Sherrie Swafford (she respectfully declined a full interview but did give me permission to share a brief update)
  • The Cars, “You Might Think” (1984) – Susan Gallagher
  • The Moody Blues, “Your Wildest Dreams” (1986) – Janet Spencer-Turner

 Sherrie Swafford; “Oh Sherrie”

Susan Gallagher; “You Might Think”

Janet Spencer-Turner; “Your Wildest Dreams”

Three I wanted to find but haven’t…yet:
  • Night Ranger, “Sister Christian” (1984) – Annie Hubbard; 8/25/13 addendum: found her!
  • Cinderella, “Shake Me” (1986) – name unknown
  • Richard Marx, “Should’ve Known Better” (1987) – name unknown

 Annie Hubbard; “Sister Christian” 

 name unknown (but not Amanda Peet!); “Shake Me” 

name unknown; “Should’ve Known Better”

To quote the Moody Blues, “I know youre out there somewhere.”

Three matters of housekeeping:
  • I conducted the interviews between January and July 2013.
  • Stills from videos are copyright their respective labels. I got permission to post all previously unpublished images; if you want to repost, please do the same by asking me first. You know the music business does not tolerate piracy.
  • I am crowdsourcing to add to this series. See next...

THREE REQUESTS (and please lend a hand no matter when you’re reading this):


  • TWEET to help me find the three I didn’t; this can work!; simply copy and paste any or all of the following pleas (character count is Twitter-ready, but once pasted, you may need to delete extra spaces) or craft your own; if everyone reading this takes a moment to tweet even one, I am confident we will find some if not all of them:
Real research question: if you know the Annie Hubbard who was in 1984 Night Ranger video “Sister Christian,” pls contact @MarcTNobleman; 8/25/13 addendum: found her!

Real research question: if you know the woman
even just her name—in 1986 Cinderella video “Shake Me,” pls contact @MarcTNobleman

Real research question: if you know woman—even just her name—in ‘87 Richard Marx video “Should’ve Known Better,” pls contact @MarcTNobleman

  • SHOW LOVE: if you want Susan and/or Janet to reconsider, say so in comments below; perhaps an outpouring of interest will persuade them

  • VOTE: tell me in comments below who you would like me to next find and interview?

First up: Huey Lewis and the News, “Heart and Soul” (1983) and “I Want a New Drug” (1984).

60 comments:

bnh123 said...

This is incredible! I can't wait to read all of the updates. I've been looking forward this ever since you started dropping hints/asking questions on facebook.

OldSchool80s said...

What an awesome idea. I can't wait to read it all. Keep me updated!

Anonymous said...

There was to a girl in the Jessie's Girl video. She appears with actor Steve Antin. Why would there not be a girl in the video?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Anonymous - thanks for catching that goof. I swear when I watched the video on YouTube while prepping this series, those scenes with the girl were not in it. I'm baffled.

But glad to be corrected. Now I have to try to find her. Thanks.

Dex said...

Hey Marc! This is a fantastic project and I can't wait to see more of the interviews. I blogged about it over at http://aeiouwhy.blogspot.com/2013/07/remember-that-girl-in-that-music-video.html




Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Dex - huge thanks for your support!

Anonymous said...

Great idea. I would love for you to find the girl in the Rod Stewart video for Lost In You. Not the main girl, but one of the strippers who performs, the one with fantastic butt. If you are familiar with the video you will know who I am talking about.

wuenchdog said...

Best news ever!1

wuenchdog said...

Since you asked for suggestions, now here is my request of finding more video lovely ladies: Steve Miller Band "Bongo Bongo". Check out the video and you will be enchanted. (The song is a great dance tune as well!)

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks for the suggestion (and kind words), wuenchdog. I had not heard of (or at least didn't remember) "Bongo Bongo." You can SMELL the '80s on that video!

Joe Armstrong said...

Dude,

Awesome blog idea! I can't wait to read these.

Nice work on this. Keep the 80s alive!!!

dolfan012001 said...

I have always been in love with one of the girls on the Damn Yankees video "Coming of Age". She's the black haired tall girl who says her name is "Maybe". Any idea what her name is or maybe do an interview? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I would love to know the identity of the lovely dark-haired beauty from Bryan Adams' song "Cuts Like A Knife." I've done some basic research in the past, but it's clear that you have the appropriate level of skill and passion to tackle this task. I'll keep my fingers crossed and will love to learn about the backstory. -- Paul from Vientiane, Laos

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks Paul. Her name is Raquel Pena and she is included in the book I WANT MY MTV: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuts_Like_a_Knife_%28song%29. Perhaps she should have a longer interview though...

Shane McCann said...

Hmmm how about the girl in "what it takes" by aerosmith or "forget me not" by bad english

Liquid Rock EXA said...

Incredible and wonderful idea! Love everyone of your interviews, it is great to know about this video girls! Will help u as I can to share your info about these missing ladies! I have Rock Radio Show in México, called LiquidRockExa and will do a special show with this topic and speaking about you and your work! Felicidades amigo!

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Liquid Rock EXA - I would be so thrilled if you'd spread word any way you can!

You see the three I am looking for, plus also the woman/anyone from:

"Jessie's Girl" (Rick Springfield)
"Tell Her About It" (Billy Joel)
"Centerfold" (J. Geils Band)

All help appreciated!

i♥80s said...

Wow, this is great! I still watch a lot of 80's music videos and always wondered why they don't have a website like imdb for music videos. The closest I've found is mvdbase.com but it only shows the crew, not who was in the video.

Keep up the good work, I'll keep checking back for updates! This is so cool!!!

BTW here's a suggestion: the girl in George Harrison's "Got My Mind Set On You". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipt1_N-6cl4

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

i♥80s - thanks! And thanks for the suggestion, which no one has made yet. Added to the list!

Anonymous said...

Great list and idea! What about the woman in "Come On Eileen"? I think I read somewhere where she was the sister to one of the members of Bananarama...

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks! As it happens, emailed "Come On Eileen" woman today for round 2.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marc, I have a hard rock request for you. Can you track down the woman who played the "alpha female" in Motley Crue's "Looks That Kill" video?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

"Looks That Kill" - She may have already been covered (vaguely remember seeing this video mentioned in I WANT MY MTV or elsewhere), but I have added it to the list.

Anonymous said...

According to imdb, the name of the "alpha female" from the Looks That Kill video is Wendy Barry. Still, it would be interesting to hear if she remembered anything about the shoot, or if she's got any stories to tell. Thanks again, Marc. This is some great work you've done.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this GREAT work !!!!!!!
Marc there are some suggestions:

- Vinnie Vincent invasion's That time of year video

- The KISS "Lick it up" wild girls

- The KISS "All hell's breaking loose girls"

- Motley Crue's "Look that Kills" girls

Thanks !!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

sounds interesting but YouTube says can only view on a windows PC? Can't view it.

Marc Edward Heuck said...

This is an outstanding idea, and I'm glad you're taking on such a daunting challenge.

The one interview I would have really loved to read unfortunately can't happen. The lovely artist/musician Jayzik Azikiwe, who was "Rollergirl" in Dire Straits' "Skateaway" video, passed away years ago. Would it be within the structure of this project to talk to her family perhaps?

Here are a couple others I'd be curious to hear the stories of:

Avery Summers and Kim Silvers - Mike Nesmith's "Cruisin' [Lucy and Ramona and Sunset Sam]";

Shari Shattuck - .38 Special's "Caught Up In You";

And meanwhile, I'm sure you've read the long strange story of the search for the girl from Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance", ultimately revealed as Cosmopolitan UK editor Louise Court earlier this year.

Anonymous said...

I saw you were Tweeting with Steve Lukather from Toto, how's the search for the girl from the "Africa" video going? You should also look for the girls that were featured in the "Pamela" video.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks Marc. Added to the list of potentials. No luck yet on "Africa."

Dagny Taggert said...

Great idea, 1 teeny tiny little suggestion: why not have a Table of Contents for the interviews, attached either to the masthead or the sidebar. It gets old having to scroll down & choose the women by the video they were in.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Dagny, but not sure I follow. This post contains the table of contents...?

Daniel Ramos said...

What about the girl from Billy Idol's "Cradle of Love"? I had such a crush on her!

silverhawk2112 said...

It's a shame you didn't ask Bunty Bailey about her Star Trek The Next Generation audition. She was on the shortlist for the role Denise Crosby got. It would have been interesting to find out how close she actually was to getting the part.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

silverhawk2112 - My focus was the video with the option at the end to discuss whatever else they've done, but she did not mention it. I can ask her now if you'd like?

ggo said...

Your challenge, should you accept it, would be to track down the gorgeous model/blonde in "How Soon is Now" video from The Smiths. She's nowhere to be found!

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

ggo - Added to the list of potentials!

thermoware1 said...

Please find the woman in the Peter Godwin "Images of Heaven" video. The one that was on MTV, obviously, not the adult themed one that was on the Playboy Network.

Anthony said...

I like the idea! i looked up tawny kitaen from the whitesnake video the other day, she has a facebook page

fdpc said...

OMG, incredible post !!!!! Congratulations, I will read it all, thanks thanks thanls and keep up the good work !!

Cordelia Woods said...

Hey, I'm interested to find out who the actresses were in Depeche Mode's Halo (from Violator, 1990)... I know one of them was Jenna Elfman! Thanks for the fascinating articles. It really is enthralling to recount the lives and careers of these people, from their perspective :)

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Hi Cordelia - thanks for the suggestions. I am wrapping up a round 2 and have added your suggestion to the list for a possible round 3.

davidcollard said...

Marc

I have mentioned your work on Audie England on my blog today:

http://davidcollard.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/fat-girls-play-strip-poker/

Did you ever find out about the brunette on the beach in that Boys of Summer video?

I like this kind of screen archaeology myself. Here is a piece I wrote on a largely forgotten actress from the 1990s:

http://davidcollard.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/what-happened-to-carolyn-farina/

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

davidcollard - Thank you. I'm preparing a round 2 of this series and it will include an interview with another woman from "The Boys of Summer" video, the woman with the towel on her head; I have not found the third woman but apparently her first name was Claire.

davidcollard said...

Marc

Great. I look forward to more of your fascinating stuff.

The woman by the indoor pool was perfect for the part.

Good luck with finding "Claire".

yyyy said...

Marc I sent you a message on Facebook but don't know if you'll see it in your "other" folder since we aren't friends, the girl in the Toto Africa video is Jenny Douglas-McRae, she's also a backup vocalist with the band. I believe she's singing with Pink right now, she has a Twitter page, https://twitter.com/Jdouglasmc.

Eric said...

Great project! Here's a request: the woman from the video for "Just Between You and Me" by Lou Gramm.

Elizabeth Brady Cabot Winslow? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rocky Bottom said...

I've got a good one for you: the girl from the Tears for Fears "Head Over Heels" video. She's often erroneously credited as Rebecca DeMornay (but isn't). I'd love for you to set the record straight. :)

sheppma said...

Hey just found your site. Awesome stuff. Do you know who the actress is in the Electric Blue video by Icehouse?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

sheppma - I don't, sorry to say.

tj maui said...

How about the girl in Outfield's "All the Love in the World"?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

tj maui - She's already covered in the series: http://noblemania.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-girl-in-video-addicted-to-love-1986.html.

owlcowl said...

Who was the gorgeous brunette doing the steamy scenes with Chris Isaak in his 1988 video "Dont Make Me Dream About You"? So much attention went to Helena Christianson for her turn with Isaak in the subsequent "Wicked Games" video, but I thought the dark-eyed beauty in DMMDAY was much sexier & the video more erotic. I cant find anything about her online, not even a name. Hope you have better luck!

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks owlcowl. Almost done with round 2 (launching in July) but added to the list for a possible round 3.

Shane said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipt1_N-6cl4

Did you ever find out who teh blonde in the video is?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Shane, thought I did but turned out to be the wrong person. Any leads?

Brian said...

Any thoughts to finding the girls in the Bitney Fox "a Girl School" or Poison's "Fallen Angel" videos?

larrydsnyder said...

You mentioned the girl in the "shake me" video by Cinderella, but what about the blonde in "Nobody's Fool". It's the followup video to "Shake Me" with the same twin sisters. One person said it was Kristi Arthur of El Toro High school ('88). She looks like girl in "Shake Me" video but not "Nobody's Fool" video???

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks Larry. But I don't follow - who mentioned Kristi Arthur? And where? And was that person saying Kristi was in the video for "Shake Me," "Nobody's Fool," or both?

Anon said...

You HAVE to find the girl from Poison's "Fallen Angel" video! She bore a strong resemblance to Nicole Eggert but was even more attractive, IMHO.

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