If you grew up in the eighties, you have to remember the reignited cold war between Russia and the U.S. There was the threat of mushroom clouds hanging over our heads and haunting our dreams. The boycott of the 1980 Moscow summer Olympics, and the movies of Russian invasions and nuclear war. Patrick Swayze leading a pack of high schoolers to defeat the Russians in “Red Dawn.” Matthew Broderick innocently accepting a game of global thermonuclear war in “WarGames.” And then there were the videos. It seems everyone and anyone that was recording in the eighties made a song about the nuclear holocaust. During the early to mid-eighties we were bombarded with videos from all genres about the end of the world. Some received more airplay than others, think Nena’s “99 Luftballons,” and Genenis’ “Land of Confusion.” But there were other videos that left a much more indelible impression on this teen’s psyche.

One of the oddest videos was Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Two Tribes.” The premise is simple, the leaders of the two biggest superpowers in the world duke it out before an audience made up of world representatives out for blood. The song only made it to No. 43 in the U.S. in 1984, not achieving the success of “Relax.” In my opinion, this is one of their best songs – full of frantic beats and prophetic overtones. Wait to the end of the video where the world actually explodes.

 

Ultravox’s “Dancing with Tears in My Eyes,” also from 1984, finds Midge Ure trying frantically to get home to his family before the result of a nuclear power plant meltdown takes effect. He makes it there in time to have one last dance and night with his love before the “coming storm.” Okay, not so much a song about nuclear war but nuclear power plant meltdowns were just as much a threat at the time.

 

Here’s another from 1984, Time Zone’s “World Destruction.” This one even got John Lydon of the Sex Pistols into the act. The band was headed by Afrika Bambaataa and rumor has it that Bambaataa was looking for someone crazy to collaborate with and Johnny Rotten certainly fit the bill. It’s an unlikely combination but somehow it works.

 

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