Being white is more than just the colour of your skin, it’s an inherent awkwardness that manifests around absolutely anything and everything on a day to day basis. This is never more apparent than in music. I don’t want to come across as a race traitor, but black people will always be cooler than white people; they have an inexplicable natural rhythm that makes them genetically pre-disposed for a career in the arts or DDR championships. While some whiteys are able to give them a good run for their money, even the really talented ones end up looking goofy as shit half of the time.
In this list I’ve attempted to compile the five strongest examples of white people in music videos doing what they do best: embarrassing themselves.
Cliff Richard – Wired for Sound
Cliff Richard is what happens when the only women you have contact with on a regular basis are over sixty and attached to breathing apparatus. With each year that he clings to life, Cliff has begun to look more and more like a waxwork displayed in the Museum of History’s Saddest Lesbians, but even in his prime he looked like he’d been designed by the British Society of Christians Afraid of Sex or, as I like to think of him, then: Chinese Bootleg Elvis.
Yes, life has been tough for poor Cliff: he’s now older than most continents and, despite releasing at least four hundred albums, has never been able to gain the credibility and approval he so desperately seems to crave. Maybe if you stopped releasing horrible mashups of classic songs and recorded another Devil Woman we’d be more sympathetic to your plight, Cliff.
But before he was making a fortune from exploiting the elderly, there was a beautiful day in the early 80’s, when Cliff sat up and said, ‘fuck this,’ put on his best leather suit, and recorded Wired for Sound. For today’s historians it stands as one of the greatest examples of what happens when a man old enough to have served in the Napoleonic war tries to look cool and/or sexy.
The video I linked has sadly been edited to remove the fantastic intro of cliff water-skiing while crammed into a tiny pair of shorts that no one is going to convince me he didn’t buy out of a catalogue for paedophiles. Also, he’s screaming, ‘I’m wired for sound!’ Oh Cliff, this is just sad…If Paris Hilton had ended all her sex tapes by wiping the jizz from her eyes and screaming ‘DO YOU LOVE ME NOW, DADDY’ it still wouldn’t be as desperate a cry for approval as Wired for Sound.
Anyway, since the intro is missing, you’re thrown right into the thick of it; you are getting the full brunt of Cliff’s raw sexuality as he slowly floats toward you through ethereal mist…on roller-skates. This is one of those things that, before Youtube, if you tried to describe it to any of your friends they would insist it was all in your imagination and it’s so fucking insane you’d start to believe them.
What parts of the video that aren’t devoted to the roller disco Cliff threw for his tri-centennial instead focus on him walking in circles around a fountain doing absolutely everything in his power to avoid the gaze of the several nubile young women in leotards still skating next to him. Then he jumps in the most stylish car a 1981 music video budget will allow and speeds off the local shopping centre where the roller-women have somehow managed to catch up to him. Cliff is no less terrified of them and throws his arms up in defence as he skates past (he’s back in skates too now, by the way) accompanied by his own troupe of….leotard-clad black men.
You know what, I’m going to give Cliff the benefit of the doubt here and say he actually only made this video to document the strange phenomenon of people following him in roller-skates everywhere he went in 1981.
Boney M – Daddy Cool
Boney M were an experiment to see how much sexually devastating black man you could stuff into a pair of ladies size 8 leather flares before the first five rows of women got a contact pregnancy. They are an industry standard in the genre of ‘Oh I didn’t know it was them who did that’ and they have used every single appearance on television to scare the shit out of white men.
Their performance of Daddy Cool on whatever show I’m about to link is one of the most incredible things you will ever see, and I’ve seen enough of their other performances to know that it’s not a one off: the guy in Boney M either has a severe case of ADD or he is literally addicted to dance. He can’t stand still for more than three seconds and adds a pirouette or the splits to every single thing he does, meaning it takes him four hours to get dressed in the morning and three minutes and twenty two seconds to make every white man in the audience wish they were dead. Check it:
About half way into the song, his shirt comes off and things start to get tense. There’s a lot of nervous laughter and staring at the floor, but shortly after lord of the dance starts grinding on his microphone stand –carving the memory of his phallic outline into the retinas of everyone present– any veneer of ‘not a homophobe’ that the white men in the audience may have been keeping up evaporates instantly. Their jaws clench and you could not get them to turn their heads toward the stage without breaking their necks.
I’ve seen murderers in court throw up better poker faces after the prosecution shows a photo of them elbow deep in the victim.
Sparks – All You Ever Think About is Sex
Best case scenario: Most of you who even know Sparks only recognise them as ‘the ones who sang This Town Ain’t Big Enough and the keyboard player looks like Hitler.’ In actual fact, the band have been going for forty odd years now, have released twenty one albums and, having seen them myself twice in the last five years, can still pack more energy into a two hour set than the most bands half their age could in a single Radio 1 Live Lounge performance.
Now that I’ve got my fanboy speech out of the way, let me be clear: the 80’s were not a good time for Sparks. Statistically speaking, no musician came out of the 80’s smelling of roses, and the main reason for that was the rise of the synth. Before the synth became prominent, you had to rely on your instruments sounding like instruments. If you wanted the sound of 50 cats screeching, you either went down to the shelter with a dictaphone to distress some animals or you were shit out of luck.
Then synths went mainstream and suddenly you could make a song about fire engines driven by cats on their way to the factory where all the bells are made. I mean literally all the bells; jingle to tubular. Some artists experimented with this concept: Sparks released three or four albums based solely on the premise. Luckily, the fact that they are exceptional musicians meant that the tunes were still listenable, but the 1,001 sound samples Ron now had at his disposal meant we got songs like All You Ever Think About is Sex.
The video starts with Russell (the singer) doing his best impression of a rape face, but his adorable perm and guyliner just make it look like he’d cry afterward and want to cuddle. Then, just as the awesome and not-dated-at-all synth gets into full swing, we are treated to this at 0:20:
This is what I like to call the ‘Pimp on his day off’ look: a little bit casual, but still all business. Let’s talk about the dancing, though. First of all, Russell is an incredible singer, I know this song doesn’t make that readily apparent, but he has the vocal range of ten men which almost makes it excusable that he has the dancing skills of a lonely gay boy in clogs.
I think context is important here, too. This is a song about a nymphomaniac girlfriend who is constantly on the verge of getting them both arrested (and killing her father) because she won’t stop having sex and he’s doing the Leo Strut and…oh yeah, I guess I see it now.
Also, given that this is a song about sex and no one in 1983 had heard of subtlety, Ron is constantly blasted with pies throughout the video, covering him in cream and I honestly don’t think anyone told him it was going to happen because he looks genuinely upset and at one point he falls over and can’t get back up. This was officially the saddest music video about sex until Madonna stole that Abba song and waged a one-woman war on erections.
Fun Bonus: Stick with the video for a fucking sweet Sonic the Hedgehog solo at 2:42 and a happy smiley Ron…then he gets hit with pies and falls over and you remember that any joy to be had in this world is only fleeting; misery eternal. Enjoy!
The Osmonds – Crazy Horses
The first time I heard this, I thought it was a joke. Hypothetically speaking, do you hypothetically remember when you first started using Napster, hypothetically, and you’d search for a song like Stairway to Heaven and get results like ‘RARE LIVE RECORDING ELVIS JIMI HENDRIX THE BEATLES SINGING STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN’? Well that’s what I thought was going on here: I found it so hard to believe the Osmonds could write a song that rocked as hard as Crazy Horses I thought Youtube was taking the piss out of me.
For context, the Osmonds look like this:
Of course, I had to watch the video for everything to become clear: they might have been singing a rock song with an awesome scream as a hook, but they were still white as a racist’s bedsheet. Also, this song is apparently about pollution. So, whereas Iron Maiden might write a song about horses that was a metaphor for the massacre of Native Americans, the Osmonds used their own shot at being cool and edgy to write a song that basically amounts to ‘Just cool it with the cars, okay, guys? We’ve only got one Earth! Yeah!’
That’s not the whitest thing about this video, though –it’s not even the singer’s attempt at a gruff voice that’s supposed to convince us he’s imbibed copious amounts of any alcohol other than communion wine– it’s the glorious moment at 0:45 when, well I’ll his actions speak for themselves:
Right before the chorus, some careless motherfucker off-camera opens the box from Hellraiser and it starts trying to pull apart the singer by his knees and elbows. I can actually see their PR manager watching this performance from the green room, after spending months convincing the band that a grittier image will help them shift records…
“Yes boys, that’s it! Headbanging on the keyboards, I’m loving it. Spinning round at the microphone, little bit fruity, but I’m sure Robert Plant does the same. Okay and now we’re gonna kick their ass with the chorus and…and…What the fuck are you doing!? You’re singing a rock song not ‘My Old Man’s A Fucking Dustman’ STOP HAVING A COCKNEY WALKABOUT YOU CU-‘ then he was tackled by security, removed from the premises and never heard from again.
Toto – Hold the Line
This is it, the band every group of overweight forty-somethings aspires to be; the kind of music you put on to let your victim know it’s personal. Best described by Ricky Gervais as, ‘when session musicians get together!’ there isn’t a single member of Toto who doesn’t look like he should be receiving treatment for some form of mental detachment. If I really had to choose my favourite, it would be the future star of a murder investigation they’ve got on piano.
There’s nothing more I can say that this video doesn’t say for itself so, I bequeath unto you the whitest music video that has ever existed or, indeed, ever will.
Completely unrelated to anything, does anyone know where I can score some melanin injections?