I See The Frog continues to bring you deep cuts every Music Video Monday! Today, with all the Van Halen buzz a-buzzing lately, we thought we’d remind you about the worst and most awkward Van Halen video of all time. Right when you hoped you’d forgotten it.

If you have any knowledge of VH history, you know the band’s highest moment was in 1984, with the album 1984. Not only did they get their first #1 single, they had also recently clinched the world record for highest fee paid to an artist for a live performance, to the tune of $1.5 mil. Unfortunately, they didn’t put any of that money toward the production value of their music videos.

The first video off that album was “Jump,” the aforementioned #1 single. MTV was soon wallpapered with a very cheap and basic video for the song, shot on a sound stage in what looked like a tribute to the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” video. They followed that up with “Panama,” which was a hodgepodge of concert footage and stylized backstage clips from their last tour, including David Lee Roth being arrested while wearing nothing but a towel. Third was “Hot for Teacher,” one of the greatest music videos of all time… not just because we were all hot for that teacher, but because it was playful, funny, full of California sunshine, and just simply rocked. All of these were iconic videos that still come to mind when the MTV generation remembers the heyday of MTV. But none of them could match the batshit insanity of our selection for today, a video off Van Halen’s previous album, Diver Down… their cover of the Roy Orbison classic, “Oh, Pretty Woman.”

What the hell is this?!? It starts in a Wild West ghost town where a couple of little people are torture-touching their captive, a Greek princess, maybe? Then, a strange Marty-Feldman-ish jester hunchback (who is observing this why?) calls the Van Halen boys to the rescue. Apparently, somewhere deep in a 1983 coke binge, the band decided to go all Village People. Michael Anthony plays a samurai (who can communicate over the phone with a head nod); Alex Van Halen is supposed to be some sort of Tarzan but acts more like a reject from Krippendorf’s Tribe (if you got that reference, you’re our kind of people); Eddie is dressed up like Woody from Toy Story (proving that he really is a time traveler from some Bill & Ted future where Wyld Stallions worshippers have progressed shredding technology beyond anything known today); and DLR, at maximum megalomaniac setting, appears as either Napoleon or a rich mental patient. The four unite from every corner of the globe to rescue what turns out to be… a dude in drag. It’s weird. It’s real weird. And suddenly we’re dying to know how this beautiful clusterfuck came to be. Absurdist “plot” aside, even the editing seems completely unrelated to the song. Did they just raid the wardrobe of a junior high drama class, shoot whatever thin storyline they could weave together from their costumes, and then pick a track to throw around it like an oversized white leather jacket with tassels? Regardless, it’s still Van Halen and we still love it.

With the announcement of their upcoming North American tour, Van Halen has released a new live album (including a solid rendition of “(Oh) Pretty Woman”) and also put out some “official” music videos of vintage live performances, including typical VH fare like DLR forgetting to come in on the first verse of “Unchained.” Classic Dave. He’s still up to his old shenanigans: recently, Dave got 14 stitches in his face just 13 seconds into his first televised appearance with the band in 30 years. (Of course, he didn’t literally get the stitches while he was on TV, he sustained the injury while on TV and got the stitches later. Do you want to write this? We didn’t think so.) Check out Jimmy Kimmel‘s blow-by-blow for the full story on how DLR “blew” his nose. Oof.

Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out how this link fits into our chain of interconnected #MVMs: “(Oh) Pretty Woman” was also in the film Weird Science… depending where you look. See, when Weird Science was in theaters and on broadcast television, “Pretty Woman” accompanied Lisa’s head-turning jaunt through the mall. But in the home video version, Van Halen was replaced with Oingo Boingo’s “Weird Science” theme. Why? Well, it has to do with–we don’t actually know, probably a simple licensing disagreement. Even so, you might try closing your eyes and picturing those shots of Kelly LeBrock over this song rather than letting yourself be haunted by this experimental student film nonsense. And if you still can’t scrub that Napoleon getup out of your brain (#sorrynotsorry), we suggest you go with it and “Dance the Night Away.”

Rock on, froggies!




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