Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.
This issue we will cover "I Melt With You" by Modern English. It was released in April of 1982 as the second single from the band's second album After the Snow. "I Melt With You" was not all that successful in the UK and only made it to #78 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., but eventually made it all the way to #7 on the Mainstream Rock chart in April of 1983 thanks to heavy airplay on early MTV as well as its perfect use in the 1983 film Valley Girl. Many people don't realize that this is not truly an upbeat love song as it is often remembered now. "I Melt With You" was written taking place as the world is about to end and the "melting" is quite literal. Lead singer Robbie Grey has confirmed many times that the song was about a couple making love as the bomb dropped and, as they made love, they become one and melt together.
The music video for "I Melt With You" was low budget but still better than most of what MTV had available at the time, so it received significant airplay in those early years. It was shot at the Tottenham Court Road studio and was all done for around $1,000. It featured the band performing while, in the same room, we simply see a couple dancing and gazing into each other's eyes. The low budget likely helped the band make some intriguing fashion choices including Robbie Grey's memorable conductor's hat. The "special effect" of the flame at the end was just a close up of a Bunsen burner. It all proved that you didn't need a big dollar budget to create a charming video.
Some people notice the scratch across Grey's arm that holds the microphone. This is also related to the video's budget because they had to lug all of their own equipment to the shoot and Grey scraped his arm on a piece of equipment as they were setting up. That scraped arm lives forever in a video over 40 years later. Here is the music video for "I Melt With You" by Modern English...
Modern English is definitely considered a one hit wonder, but that one hit has truly stood the test of time and is considered one of the best songs of the decade. It always makes me think of Valley Girl, but "I Melt With You" has been used in countless other movies, TV shows and even commercials since. Not bad for a song about getting melted by a nuclear bomb!
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!