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 "Party All the Time" by Eddie Murphy. This was the lead single from Murphy's debut musical album released in September of 1985. He had already been a star through Saturday Night Live as well as his 1983 stand-up comedy special Delirious and already had hit movies like 48 Hrs, Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop by this time. Already a hugely successful comedian and actor, Murphy wanted to show that he had serious singing skills as well. Actually, Murphy has stated that "Party All the Time" was made in response to a bet made between himself and actor/comedian Richard Pryor, wagering on whether Murphy had singing talent or not. Murphy even included a message to Pryor in the liner notes of the How Could It Be album he released: “To Richard Pryor, my idol, with whom I have a $1,000,000 bet. No, motherf%#&er, I didn’t forget”.
Though many didn't take it seriously at first and it is considered a cheesy song now, "Party All the Time" became quite popular and would even peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December of 1985. In addition to Murphy's popularity, much of the success can be attributed to Rick James (of "Super Freak" fame), who wrote, produced and arranged the song. James helped give the song musical credibility, and he was also featured in the video, which MTV put in heavy rotation.
The music video for "Party All the Time" was directed by Edd Griles. He had previously worked with Huey Lewis & the News on "The Heart of Rock and Roll", "If This Is It" and "Stuck With You" as well as with Cyndi Lauper on her videos for "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "Time After Time" and "She Bop". Griles also directed videos for Lee Greenwood "God Bless the USA" and the WWF wrestlers version of "Land of a Thousand Dances". He transitioned into more television directing and some of his early work there fittingly included directing both the 1984 and 1985 MTV Video Music Awards. This music video relies on the star power of Eddie Murphy and is just basically Murphy at the studio with producer Rick James recording the song with a live backup band. James eventually joins them picking up a guitar and singing his background vocal lines with Murphy. One of the white guys who shows up in the control room during the video is Les Garland, who was one of the founders of MTV and that couldn't have hurt getting the video a little extra exposure on that channel. Here is the music video for "Party All the Time" by Eddie Murphy...
It never received any MTV VMA nominations, but the "Party All the Time" music video won best urban contemporary video award at the American Video Awards in November 1985. Eddie Murphy would not be the last '80s acting star to record songs on the side. Don Johnson of Miami Vice fame hit #5 in 1986 with "Heartbeat," Moonlighting star Bruce Willis got into the act in 1987 with a #5 charting cover of "Respect Yourself" and Patrick Swayze provided the #3 charting hit "She's Like the Wind" to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!