Updated: Feb 15, 2021
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 "Strip" by Adam Ant. Stuart Leslie Goddard, better known as singer Adam Ant, gained popularity between 1977 and 1982 as the lead singer of new wave/punk band Adam and the Ants. But he would have even more success especially in the U.S. as a solo artist. His first solo album was 1982’s Friend or Foe which included his most successful single of his career, “Goody Two-Shoes.” The single would reach #1 on the UK charts in June of 1982 and would be his first U.S. hit peaking at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has more of a "rockabilly swing" sound than the new wave Adam Ant had been known for. This song would allow him to crossover into mainstream pop music and he would get regular airplay on U.S. radio as well as MTV. In fact, (kind of surprisingly) Adam Ant was once voted sexiest man in America by the viewers of MTV.
The Adam Ant song I remember best is from his 1983 second solo album of the same name, “Strip.” The song did not chart as well as “Goody Two-Shoes” surprisingly only reaching #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. The subject matter was more risqué (especially for an 11 year old like I was at the time to be running around singing), but was very catchy. There are a couple familiar sounds in the song that probably helped its appeal. First, the drums were played by none other than Phil Collins who also co-produced the album. Second, former ABBA singer Frida Lyngstad is the voice performing the female spoken part. Here is the music video for “Strip” by Adam Ant…
Adam Ant’s 1985 follow up album Vive Le Rock would not be very well received and this resulted in his decision to pause his music career (at least temporarily) and focus on acting. He would bounce back and forth between acting and music. Adam Ant would never see the pop success again like he experienced in the early '80s though he has maintained a loyal fanbase especially in the UK. He had some arrests in the early 2000’s, but this was later explained due to his struggles with mental illness in the form of bipolar disorder (which he was diagnosed with having at the age of 21). He has been hospitalized due to the disorder in the past and has spoken candidly about his experiences with the effects of the illness. I will always remember him having one of the coolest names in music and making me want to kick off my goody two-shoes and strip.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!