Is it possible for a single, music video to torpedo one of the biggest rock acts of the 1980s?
Or was it simply the fickle nature of fans?
Talk to Billy Squier. He’s still trying to find the answer.
After releasing what became two, multi-platinum albums (Don’t Say No in 1981 and Emotions in Motion in 1982) it was looking like Billy Squier was on his way to becoming a rock legend. Songs like Everybody Wants You, My Kinda Lover and one of my favorites, Learn How Live were cementing Squier as a giant of rock.
In 1983 and just before I met and started dating Alicia (my wife), I was dating a woman who knew Billy up in the Boston area and we were only a few weeks from making a trip up there to visit with him, but I got dumped. I digress.
In the Summer of 1984, he released Signs of Life and almost immediately had a #1 single with Rock Me Tonite. Now, probably anyone reading this, over the age of 50, knows that during the ’80s, singles came with videos back when MTV actually played music.
And therein lies the problem. . . maybe.
The video for Rock Me Tonite was produced by now film director, Kenny Ortega and depicted “Squier flailing effeminately around a pastel-lit bedroom and writhing on satin sheets.” It is recognized as #7 of the 20 worst music videos ever made.
In reality, it did not destroy his career and he did sell a very respectable number of albums after Rock Me Tonite, but it never was the same.
Was it the video or just that folks grew bored with his music?
I will tell you that once I saw the video, I never thought the same way about him.