DVD Review: Essential Music Videos: 80’s Hard Rock – This DVD is Anything But Essential

Back in 2003, Rhino Flashback released a series of short DVDs ostensibly to create a library of top videos in various music categories.  They called the series Essential Music Videos.  Most of the sets are made up of anything but.

80’s Hard Rock is a prime example of what’s wrong with this collection.  Just six videos in length, it comes in at less than a half hour on one DVD.  That alone pretty much negates any value this might have.  Couple that with the fact that the videos in question can all be found on Youtube for free, and you have something that’s pretty much not worth the disc it’s been written on.

If that wasn’t bad enough, you have to take what they called “essential” music videos of 80’s Hard Rock.  Having listened to the music and lived through the era in my teens and early twenties, I can honestly say that there’s not a single selection on this disc that comes to mind if you asked me to name six essential music videos of hard rock in the 1980s.

Smooth Up in Ya – Bulletboys

This band came out of Los Angeles, California riding the coattails of the popularity of Van Halen.  I didn’t recognize the song by the title, even though after seeing it I realized I heard it tons of times in some of the clubs I frequented.  I always thought this was “Smooth Opinion” so I know the song, just by another title lol.

The video is a performance video.  The vocals are strong and like most of the hard rock bands of the era, there’s lots of hair and bare chests.

Rainbow in the Dark – Dio

This band should be familiar to anyone who likes hard rock.  Formed by Ronnie James Dio, after he left Black Sabbath, they had moderate success on the album charts and were a staple to many who liked hard rock in the 1980s.

I knew this song too, although I couldn’t remember seeing the video.  This has a stalker following a woman through the streets of London.  Ronnie James Dio has said that this was a song that was too “pop” like for him and that would explain why it was selected for this collection.

It’s Not Love – Dokken

This is another band named after its lead singer Don Dokken.  They are another band whose main success was with entire albums rather than singles.  Their greatest success came when a song was included in Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

The band was familiar to me, but the song isn’t.  This is a performance video in front of fans in various locations.

House of Pain – Faster Pussycat

Coming out of California like most of the other bands on this disc, Faster Pussycat did well in the clubs and built something of a cult following while continually overshadowed in their career by Guns -n- Roses.

This is one of their slow songs and comes under the category of a power ballad.  The video shows memories of childhood that appear idyllic but is hiding something else.  This is cut with the band performing.

Wicked Sensation – Lynch Mob

When George Lynch picked up his guitar and left Dokken, he formed this band.  The band was a disorganized mess for most of its existence and really didn’t achieve any notable commercial success.

The video is a performance cut with some odd imagery.  There’s a female dancer who’s covered with dirt, a boy buried under a mound of toys, and a faceless dancer among others.  It’s one of those videos that doesn’t seem to make sense and just seems like a lot of artsy stuff someone decided looked good together.

To Be With You – Mr. Big

Here’s a band that had some names in it who had experience in the music business.  This is probably what gave them the breaks they needed and propelled them as far as they went.  Really, though, there’s not much talent here.

This song was their biggest hit, coming off of their second album.  It charted well in many countries and was a staple on hard rock radio stations.  The video is a performance filmed mostly in black & white.

There you have it.  I don’t feel like any of these videos are essential or on my list of need to have.  I could have saved the space in my queue and just watched them on Youtube.  The videos haven’t even been remastered, so it’s not like the quality is any better than you’ll get streaming them.  Just pass it by.