Prince and the Revolution, "When Doves Cry". The video starts out looking like it was directed by John Woo, then Prince appears and you can't get Dave Chappelle out of your mind.
The Smiths, "How Soon Is Now?". Honestly, I wasn't sure I even knew any Smiths songs, which I know is pathetic. But I actually do know this one ... it must have been a huge hit.
Madonna, "Like a Virgin". Her first song to hit #1 on the Hot 100 charts. Before this she was a rising star; after this, she was a star.
Tina Turner, "What's Love Got to Do with It". Tina was a star before Private Dancer, but it had been a long time since she'd seen the Top Ten. This one put her at #1, making her at the time the oldest female solo artist to make it to the top.
Frankie Goes to Hollywood, "Two Tribes". We went to England in 1984, and it felt like every other person had on a "Frankie Says Relax" t-shirt. The band was new to me, and they didn't last much past their debut. I thought they were a one-hit wonder, but this song shows I was off by one hit. Both of their hits were far better than their cover of "Born to Run".
Metallica, "For Whom the Bells Tolls". I once had a student who made me a mixtape of Metallica music. He thought I needed it.
Malcolm McLaren, "Madame Butterfly (Un bel di vedremo)". I actually saw him in concert in 1984, sandwiched between opening act Los Lobos and headliners The Clash, appearing in their post-Mick Jones period. As famously flamboyant as McLaren often was in his career, I can't remember a single thing about his performance at that long-ago concert.
The Time, "Jungle Love". It's amazing to think that Prince insisted on recording all of the instruments on their early albums himself, given that The Time was such a fine band. I saw them a couple of times and they were terrific, great music, top front man. The video is from an occasional feature on Jimmy Kimmel's show, "Mashup Mondays", in this case starring "Morris Day and The HAIM".
Sonic Youth & Lydia Lunch, "Death Valley '69". I've seen this band as many times in concert as I have The Time, but I have to admit, I preferred that band to this one.
Bruce Springsteen, "Born in the U.S.A.". I like when favorite acts of mine become popular with everyone ... why wouldn't I want to share? And no one seemed more likely to be a big star than Bruce ... in many ways, he already was a big star. But I certainly never predicted he would get THIS big.