8 Movie Star-Filled Music Videos from the 1980s

YouTube
YouTube

Musicians aren’t the only entertainers who like to flex their performing muscles; actors occasionally can’t resist the lure of regular MTV rotation. That was the trend for a while during the 1980s, anyway. Most of the title songs from films that hit the Top 40 were turned into music videos simply by splicing together a hodgepodge of clips from the movie, but there were some actors who took the trouble to actually appear in the accompanying videos. Whether it was a chance to ham it up with their favorite singers or because the studio ordered them to participate, the results were usually more interesting than the standard collection of movie clips.

1. “GHOSTBUSTERS” (1984) // RAY PARKER JR.

Ray Parker Jr. was not particularly interested in writing/recording the theme song for Ghostbusters; his forte was songs about romance, not the paranormal. So he was even less enthusiastic about appearing in the video for the song. When he saw the sparse set outlined in neon, he worried that he was going to look silly prancing around while miming the lyrics. So he suggested to director Ivan Reitman that maybe if he could get some of the guys from the movie to appear in the video, even if just long enough to shout “Ghostbusters!,” the audience would understand that the clip was supposed to be humorous.

Reitman liked the idea and ran with it, popping a cassette of the tune into a boombox and calling on various industry friends (or actors who happened to be working nearby, such as John Candy on the set of Brewster’s Millions), with a small camera crew in tow. George Wendt, like the other cameo actors, did not get paid for his appearance, which later got him into hot water with the Screen Actors Guild and set the wheels in motion for SAG to begin organizing the music video industry.

2. “WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING” (1985) // BILLY OCEAN

The Jewel of the Nile producer Michael Douglas was savvy enough to have kept his eye on MTV and the previous videos that had helped to promote films (particularly Eddy Grant’s “Romancing the Stone”) and thus was the driving force behind the video accompanying Billy Ocean’s “When the Going Gets Tough.”

Douglas enlisted his The Jewel of the Nile co-stars Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito to perform with him as a “doo-wop” type of backup group. The trio of actors had three hours of rehearsal to learn their Temptations-style moves, and they actually sang along to the track as it played, rather than simply lip-syncing. “We were singing our a**es off,” Douglas told People magazine in 1986. “You begin to believe in yourself until they turn the sound off and you’re there croaking.”

3. “ST. ELMO’S FIRE (MAN IN MOTION)” (1985) // JOHN PARR

David Foster, the record producer in charge of the soundtrack of the 1985 Brat Pack angst-filled film St. Elmo’s Fire, approached British singer/songwriter John Parr with the idea of writing a theme song for the movie. Interestingly enough, Foster didn’t provide Parr with any scenes from the movie; instead he showed him some film footage of Canadian Paralympian Rick Hansen who, inspired by fellow Canadian Terry Fox’s “Marathon of Hope,” launched a 26-month “Man in Motion” trek across 34 countries on four continents in his wheelchair.

When it came time to film the video for the song, it had to be shot within a 24-hour timeframe, due to some of Parr’s previous commitments. The stars of the film assembled on a set structured to resemble a decrepit version of the old watering hole they frequented in the movie. Parr later admitted that he didn’t recognize any of the actors—the “Brat Pack” had not yet made an impact in the U.K.—and thought that they were “just kids." Having starred in a few school plays in his youth, he even offered them a couple of acting tips. (Mare Winningham, who played Wendy in the film, was actually three months pregnant while filming St. Elmo’s Fire, and even more so when the music video was shot, which is why she’s holding a folded-up winter coat in front of her tummy during her close-up.)

4. “SPIES LIKE US” (1985) // PAUL MCCARTNEY

John Landis directed both the film and the music video for the title song of Spies Like Us. Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd traveled to London to lark about Abbey Road Studios with Sir Paul McCartney. The U.K. refused to air the video until it was reedited to remove scenes of Chase “playing” the keyboard and Donna Dixon and Vanessa Angel singing backup, because they were not members of the Musicians Union.

5. “THE GOONIES ‘R’ GOOD ENOUGH” (1985) // CYNDI LAUPER

Steven Spielberg invited Cyndi Lauper to be the musical director for the soundtrack to his 1985 adventure film The Goonies. Lauper was disappointed with the final result, not only because Spielberg cut most of the music from the film—making the soundtrack “meaningless” in Lauper’s opinion—but because the title of her song “Good Enough” was changed to “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough.” Studio execs believed that listeners wouldn’t associate the song with the movie unless “Goonies” was in the title; Lauper thought the new title sounded “cheesy.”

Nevertheless, she filmed a long-form, two-part video for the song, which featured not only members of the movie’s cast but also several WWF stars like Rowdy Roddy Piper, Captain Lou Albano, and André the Giant. “We were spaced out because it was Saturday after a long week,” Sean Astin recalled, “but we flipping loved that song and wanted to do lots of vids with the Great Cyndi Lauper!"

6. “PRINCES OF THE UNIVERSE” (1986) // QUEEN

Queen was commissioned to provide the soundtrack to the 1986 film Highlander, and “Princes of the Universe” (which was played over the main titles) was the only track on the album to be credited solely to Freddie Mercury. The video that accompanied the song was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who also helmed Highlander, and was filmed at London’s Elstree Studios.

There was great attention to detail (not to mention expense) on the set when it came to recreating the Silvercup rooftop scene with scenes of the medieval crumbling castle in the background. Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor were dutifully clad in official Connor MacLeod trench coats (“Macs” to U.K. readers) for the occasion. Highlander star Christopher Lambert flew in from Paris just to film a quick “sword battle” with Mercury for the video. Lambert told Entertainment Tonight that he totally enjoyed the experience; that it was like being witness to a private Queen concert.

7. “SWEET FREEDOM” (1986) // MICHAEL MCDONALD

“Sweet Freedom” wasn’t technically the theme song to Running Scared, the 1986 buddy cop film starring Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines; that honor belongs to Fee Waybill’s “Running Scared,” which played over the opening credits. But the lead singer of The Tubes didn’t have the Top 40 marquee value of Michael McDonald, who’d fronted the Doobie Brothers for seven years and had several top 10 hits under his belt. “Sweet Freedom” was produced by Rod Temperton, who wrote Michael Jackson’s hit “Thriller,” and was heavy with the percussive synth-bass that was the 1980s movie backdrop “sound.” Crystal and Hines joined McDonald to “sing” along on the chorus, luckily in more toned-down plumage than they sported in the film during this Key West musical montage.

8. “CITY OF CRIME” (1987) // DAN AYKROYD AND TOM HANKS

Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks aren’t known for being singers, much less rappers, but they gamely recorded the closing theme for their 1987 big-screen version of Dragnet. Paula Abdul devised the choreography for the music video, recycling some of the moves she taught ZZ Top for their “Velcro Fly” video.

During a 2015 appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Hanks busted a few rhymes from the song “that will haunt him for the rest of his life” and also revealed that “City of Crime” was the first video he ever saw on YouTube—courtesy of his children, who couldn’t wait to taunt him with it.

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

13 Memorable Facts About D-Day

American troops landing on Omaha beach at Normandy on D-Day.
American troops landing on Omaha beach at Normandy on D-Day.
Keystone/Getty Images

The Normandy landings—an event better known as “D-Day”—became a pivotal moment in the Second World War. Heavy losses were inflicted on both sides, but with planning, deception, and semiaquatic tanks, the Allied forces pulled off what is considered the biggest amphibious invasion in history. Here are a few things you should know about the historic crusade to liberate France from Nazi Germany.

1. D-Day occurred on June 6, 1944.

The D-Day invasion was several years in the making. In December 1941, the United States formally entered World War II. Shortly thereafter, British and American strategists began entertaining the possibility of a huge offensive across the English Channel and into Nazi-occupied France. But first, the Allies swept through northern Africa and southern Italy, weakening the Axis hold on the Mediterranean Sea. Their strategy resulted in Italy’s unconditional surrender in September 1943 (though that wasn’t the end of the war in Italy). Earlier that year, the Western allies started making preparations for a campaign that would finally open up a new front in northwestern France. It was going to be an amphibious assault, with tens of thousands of men leaving England and then landing on France’s Atlantic coastline.

2. Normandy was chosen as the D-Day landing site because the Allies were hoping to surprise German forces.

Since the Germans would presumably expect an attack on the Pas de Calais—the closest point to the UK—the Allies decided to hit the beaches of Normandy instead. Normandy was also within flying distance of war planes stationed in England, and it had a conveniently located port.

3. D-Day action centered around five beaches that were code-named "Utah," "Omaha," "Gold," "Juno," and "Sword."

American assault troops and equipment landing on Omaha beach on the Northern coast of France.
Fox Photos/Getty Images

Altogether, the D-Day landing beaches encompassed 50 miles of coastline real estate [PDF]. The Canadian 3rd Division landed on Juno; British forces touched down on Gold and Sword; and the Americans were sent to Utah and Omaha. Of the five beaches, Omaha had the most bloodshed: Roughly 2400 American casualties—plus 1200 German casualties—occurred there. How the beaches got their code-names is a mystery, although it’s been claimed that American general Omar Bradley named “Omaha” and “Utah” after two of his staff carpenters. (One of the men came from Omaha, Nebraska, while the other called Provo, Utah, home.)

4. Pulling off the D-Day landings involved some elaborate trickery to fool the Nazis.

If the Allies landed in France, Hitler was confident that his men could repel them. “They will get the thrashing of their lives,” the Führer boasted. But in order to do that, the German military would need to know exactly where the Allied troops planned to begin their invasion. So in 1943, the Allies kicked off an ingenious misinformation campaign. Using everything from phony radio transmissions to inflatable tanks, they successfully convinced the Germans that the British and American forces planned to make landfall at the Pas de Calais. Duped by the charade, the Germans kept a large percentage of their troops stationed there (and in Norway, which was the rumored target of another bogus attack). That left Normandy relatively under-defended when D-Day came along.

5. D-Day was planned with the help of meteorologists.

The landings at Normandy and subsequent invasion of France were code-named “Operation Overlord,” and General Dwight D. Eisenhower (the future U.S. president) led the operation. To choose the right date for his invasion, Eisenhower consulted with three different teams of meteorologists, who predicted that in early June, the weather would be best on June 5, 6, or 7; if not then, they'd have to wait for late June.

Originally, Eisenhower wanted to start the operation on June 5. But the weather didn’t cooperate. To quote geophysicist Walter Munk, “On [that date], there were very high winds, and Eisenhower made the decision to wait 24 hours. However, 24 hours later, the Americans predicted there would be a break in the storm and that conditions would be difficult, but not impossible.” Ultimately, Ike began the attack on June 6, even though the weather was less than ideal. It’s worth noting that if he’d waited for a clearer day, the Germans might have been better prepared for his advance. (As for the dates they'd suggested for late June? There was a massive storm.)

6. "D-Day" was a common military term, according to Eisenhower's personal aide.

A few years after Eisenhower retired from public life, he was asked if the “D” in “D-day” stood for anything. In response to this inquiry, his aide Robert Schultz (a brigadier general) said that “any amphibious operation has a ‘departed date’; therefore the shortened term ‘D-Day’ is used” [PDF].

7. D-Day was among the largest amphibious assaults in military history.

U.S. troops in landing craft, during the D-Day landings.
Keystone/Getty Images

On D-Day, approximately 156,115 Allied troops—representing the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, New Zealand, Norway, and Poland—landed on the beaches of Normandy. They were accompanied by almost 7000 nautical vessels. In terms of aerial support, the Allies showed up with more than 10,000 individual aircrafts, which outnumbered the German planes 30 to one.

8. On D-Day, floating tanks were deployed by the Allies.

The brainchild of British engineers, the Sherman Duplex Drive Tanks (a.k.a. “Donald Duck” tanks) came with foldable canvas screens that could be unfurled at will, turning the vehicle into a crude boat. Once afloat, the tanks were driven forward with a set of propellers. They had a top nautical speed of just under 5 mph. The Duplex Drives that were sent to Juno, Sword, and Gold fared a lot better than those assigned to Omaha or Utah. The one at Omaha mostly sank because they had to travel across larger stretches of water—and they encountered choppier waves.

9. When the D-Day attack started, Adolf Hitler was asleep.

On the eve of D-Day, Hitler was entertaining Joseph Goebbels and some other guests at his home in the Alps. The dictator didn’t go to bed until 3 a.m. Just three and a half hours later, at 6:30 a.m., the opening land invasions at Normandy began. (And by that point, Allied gliders and paratroopers had been touching down nearby since 12:16 in the morning.) Hitler was finally roused at noon, when his arms minister informed him about the massive assault underway in Normandy. Hitler didn’t take it seriously and was slow to authorize a top general’s request for reinforcements. That mistake proved critical.

10. DWIGHT Eisenhower was fully prepared to accept blame if things went badly on D-Day.

General Dwight D Eisenhower watches the Allied landing operations from the deck of a warship in the English Channel on D-Day.
Keystone/Getty Images

While Hitler was partying in the Alps, Eisenhower was drafting a bleak message. The success of Operation Overlord was by no means guaranteed, and if something went horribly awry, Ike might have had no choice but to order a full retreat. So he preemptively wrote a brief statement that he intended to release if the invasion fell apart. “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops,” it said. “My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

11. Knocking out German communications was one of the keys to victory on D-Day.

Hitler may not have had all of his troops in the right spot, but the Germans who’d been stationed at Normandy did enjoy some crucial advantages. At many localities—Omaha Beach included—the Nazi forces had high-powered machine guns and fortified positions. That combination enabled them to mow down huge numbers of Allied troops. But before the dawn broke on June 6, British and American paratroopers had landed behind enemy lines and taken out vital lines of communication while capturing some important bridges. Ultimately, that helped turn the tide against Germany.

12. Theodore Roosevelt's son earned a medal of honor for fighting on D-Day.

It was the 56-year-old brigadier general Theodore Roosevelt Jr. who led the first wave of troops on Utah Beach. The men, who had been pushed off-course by the turbulent waters, missed their original destination by over 2000 yards. Undaunted, Roosevelt announced, “We’re going to start the war from right here.” Though he was arthritic and walked with a cane, Roosevelt insisted on putting himself right in the heart of the action. Under his leadership, the beach was taken in short order. Roosevelt, who died of natural causes one month later, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

13. D-Day was the opening chapter in a long campaign.

The Normandy invasion was not a one-day affair; it raged on until Allied forces crossed the River Seine in August [PDF]. Altogether, the Allies took about 200,000 casualties over the course of the campaign—including 4413 deaths on D-Day alone. According to the D-Day Center, “No reliable figures exist for the German losses, but it is estimated that around 200,000 were killed or wounded with approximately 200,000 more taken prisoner.” On May 7, 1945—less than a year after D-Day—Germany surrendered, ending the war in its European Theater.