Archive for the ‘Cold War Videos’ Category

It’s time to post more cold war videos. As I had mentioned in a previous post on the subject, the ‘80s were filled with videos of nuclear war, nuclear bombs, and world annihilation. During the early ‘80s, the threat of war was an integral part of our lives. We saw it on TV, read about it in the papers, heard about it in songs – and there was no shortage of songs on the topic. So here are a few more videos about the dreaded destruction of the planet that poured out of our television sets at the time.

“Stand or Fall” is the first single off the The Fixx’s 1982 debut album Shuttered Room. Singer Cy Cumin wrote the song out of frustration over decisions being made by Ronnie and Margaret. The video, directed by Rupert Hine, was banned by some UK shows due to what some considered a violent depiction of a horse falling to the ground. The horse in question had been in several movies and was trained to fall on command. As luck would have it, on the day the video was shot the horse would not comply with the command to fall and was brought down by a rope. In the early days of pre-MTV Europe, most videos were shown on kids’ TV shows and this was deemed too graphic, as they felt the horse looked as if it was dying. The song charted both in the US and the UK but was particularly successful in Canada, reaching the top 40.


The video for the 1983 Men at Work song “It’s a Mistake” doesn’t ponder the question of whether or not war will take place but a matter of when and how. Meant as a parody of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, the video takes place in an underground bunker as the future of the world is considered. The song was the third single from the album Cargo and reached #6 in the US but only reached #34 in their native Australia. In the video, Colin Hay portrays an officer wondering whether or not his men will be called to go to war. The video ends with Hay accidentally pushing the “button” by stubbing out a cigarette in an ashtray unfortunately placed next to the button.


Although the OMD song “Enola Gay” references the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, it was meant to bring attention to the cold war of the ‘80s. The song was the only single released from the 1980 album Organisation, the group’s second album. Upon its release, “Enola Gay” received critical praise. Critic Dave Thompson called the track a “perfect synth-dance-pop extravaganza” and NME listed it as one of the best 100 songs of the ‘80s. The song also caused controversy as some who were unfamiliar with the bombing of Hiroshima thought it had a pro-homosexual meaning. As a result, the song was banned on some radio stations in the UK. Regardless, the song was a huge international success and became the group’s first top 10 UK hit.



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.