Video Crimes: Mullets, Masks, Goblins, Silly Trousers and Heavy Rock Videos

a judges gavel judge court

Whatever Happened To My Rock n Roll Part 6.

I’m putting heavy rock on trial! Have your say!

  • Twenty five years on from the peak of heavy rock’s commercial popularity in 1988, this series asks why heavy rockers no longer dominate the charts and seeks to highlight the crimes that Heavy Rock is accused of, and give you the cases for and against.
  • At the end of each debate, you will have the ability to vote either “guilty” or “not guilty”, according to the evidence. And because this is a democratic process, you may also introduce your own evidence, in the comments section at the foot of the page to sway the jury.
  • By the end of the process we should perhaps have a clearer view of what went wrong with those eighties rock bands, and the pitfalls new bands might do well to avoid…

The Accusation: Were Heavy Rock Videos Just Plain Stupid?

The Prosecution:

A simple case this one. I’m going to show you five videos from the heavy rock genre, none of which are Judas Priest‘s Breaking The Law (see this post for a full analysis of that one). They are, however, all indicative of a particular video crime. You can judge for yourself whether heavy rock is guilty of a myriad of video crimes. The evidence is quite compelling…..

1. Being too pompous:

Crimson Glory – Lonely

Mullets? Check. Attractive girl writhing? Check. Silver masks? Chec- er, what? Silver masks? On the band? Why? Is it so we can’t see them pouting and flouncing around so much? Because it isn’t working….

2. An over-complicated plot:

Queensryche – Queen of the Reich

From the Star Wars writing at the start, to Geoff Tate‘s bandana, the eighties computer writing, the sci-fi Daft Punk-predicting bikini’d girl, the band’s laser guns, Eddie Jackson’s hair, the laugh out loud acting, people being Han Solo’d in carbonate, the split screen madness, a woman who morphs into a clay man and the promise of “To Be Continued…” This is a cast-iron classic song and a chocolate teapot of a video. Brilliant stuff.

3. Throwing in the little people:

Savatage – Hall of the Mountain King.

I hate to put this one in, as I actually think this is a great and very quirky album, but yes, this breaks a cardinal rule of video: if you use dwarves, make sure you have a big budget, otherwise it just looks like you’ve run out of ideas and thought you’d chuck a few little people in there. The singer’s had a few too many pies. The director cuts from one set of eyes to another just a little too much, like a maniacal Sergio Leone. The little man looks for treasure – he might be one of the Goblins at Harry Potter’s local branch of Nat West Bank – and wakens a guy who resembles Dumbledore. He steals a chest, which in addition to containing treasure, also has the latest Savatage album – on cassette. Brilliant.

4. Stealing ideas:

Nelson – After The Rain

A grumpy, borderline alcoholic abusive dad rails at his sobbing son, who, after getting purple electric shocks from a walkman is rescued by a couple of blonde long haired girls who drag him into a poster just like the bit in that A-ha video. Sorry, they’re not girls, they’re actually blokes. They meet a juggling Native American and even steal the drummer from Vinnie Vincent‘s Invasion. The song, is hugely similar to Def Leppard’s “Animal”. And yes, I did buy this album. On cassette. They are Ricky Nelson‘s kids.

5. Ridiculous costumes

Kiss – Uh All Night

Paul Stanley is wearing a pair of trousers in this video that simply defy belief.

The Defence

We are looking to establish what heavy rock’s unpopularity compared to 25 years ago was caused by. Was it the bad videos? Because, let’s be clear, the videos above are pretty terrible. However, they are not unique. There are plenty of other videos that commit the same crimes of being too pompous, having an over-complicated plot, throwing in little people, stealing ideas and having ridiculous costumes.

But there is only one that commits all of those crimes in just one video.

R Kelly‘s Trapped In The Closet.

It’s a 33-parter. All the parts have the same melody. I believe – it’s not like I have listened to all thirty three. I’m not crazy. But judging from this video, Kelly just might be. The plot is lifted straight from any soap opera from the last fifty years, (in fact probably all of them, at the same time) except for the bit featuring a little person.

And as long as this is out there, then rock videos don’t really have anything to answer to…

  • It’s Time To Vote!
  • Are Rock’s videos laughable? Or, are they merely no worse than anyone else? Can you actually think of a good one? Is November Rain actually quite good rather than an overblown bit of nonsense?
  • Vote GUILTY if you think they are awful.
  • Vote NOT GUILTY if you think they are great.
  • SWAY the jury by sharing your views below! Post the good and bad ones to support your argument!

Record # 249: Savatage – Hall of the Mountain King


7 responses to “Video Crimes: Mullets, Masks, Goblins, Silly Trousers and Heavy Rock Videos”

  1. mikeladano Avatar

    Your Honour, the defense pleads guilty to this charge.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      We’ve got one you agree with?
      Difficult to argue, I guess…


      1. mikeladano Avatar

        Yeah I’ll go down with the ship on this one. Even my staunchest defenses could not deny the undeniable. Even with the perspective of my younger self, I was embarrassed then for how some of these bands looked. I never, ever, ever would have been caught dead in a Vinnie Vincent Invasion T-shirt for example!


  2. 80smetalman Avatar

    My step daughter was watching MTV base or something like that today. All the videos were just girls running around in bikinis to rap music. So no worse than anyone else. Exhibit B for the Defense. Twisted Sister’s video for We’re Not Gonna Take It was popular throughout all genres of music. Everyone liked seeing the father get his comeuppance. Besides, it had to be good because it was one of the big targets on the PMRC’s hit list.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Videos nowadays do appear to be mainly concerned with the unveiling of flesh, presumably because it attracts income from voting lines and advertisers. In this context you could argue these videos are from a golden age….


  3. purplemary54 Avatar

    To be fair, though, almost all videos are pretty stupid. Or incomprehensible. I can count the number of truly great music videos on my hands. But I do need both of them.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      That’s a good point. I’m trying to think of the good ones. And I can’t…


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