The "Dancing in the Street" Music Video

The "Dancing in the Street" Music Video

The "Dancing in the Street" music video was featured on last night's episode of Family Guy. Although Peter Griffin set it up as "the gayest music video of all time," as I watched it I couldn't help but admire what a perfect time capsule of the 1980s it is.

But first and foremost, let's tackle the issue of the video's "gayness." The video features David Bowie and Mick Jagger, two men who have long been rumored to have carried on an affair in the 1970s. David Bowie is openly bisexual, and he and Jagger were at the very least very close friends for a very long time.

Their behavior in the video does little to dispel any lingering rumors: at several points they stare deeply into each other's eyes, often from a distance of only an inch or two at most.

The 1980s was a time when homosexuality was gradually becoming more acceptable, but not so acceptable that a person would go around outing themselves willy nilly. It was the Reagan Era, remember. Elton John married a woman in 1984, for pity's sake.

In  a way, this video represents a very specific period of American history. A time when it was okay for two famous men to dress flamboyantly and exchange lengthy smoldering glances, but it wasn't okay to actually BE gay.

But enough of such weighty, difficult topics. Let's talk about the pants. Those pants!

Both Bowie and Jagger sport high-waisted pants, a fashion which was as unflattering on men as it was on women. Jagger is wearing peacock blue pants accessorized with a gold chain in place of a belt.

Bowie is wearing a highly patterned pair of genie pants. (Is it a matched pants and shirt? Or is it a jumpsuit which is belted at the waist?) I literally laughed out loud at the bit where he lifts the back of his coat so that you can watch him shake his bootie. I mean, I THINK that's what he's doing. His pants are so voluminous, it's hard to say for sure.

Jagger's shirt is quite the fashion statement, as well. It combines two trends: the brightly-colored silk shirt, and the overly-pocketed safari vest. This combination results in a shirt so baggy it's often difficult to tell that there's a person inside it.

Special recognition must also be given to Jagger's fluffy mullet. And to the eponymous dancing, which consists mainly of jumping up and down and sort of waving your arms around, apparently. (So 80s!)

The video also features the trademark 1980s music video hallmark: bad special effects. Near the end, the camera passes Jagger and Bowie, then pans around to shoot them from behind. As it does so, the director saw fit to put in an inexplicable, strobe-like stutter.

Capping off the 1980s flava, Bowie and Jagger covered this song for Live Aid, one of the biggest cultural touchstones of the decade. Live Aid was a massive, global benefit concert, organized by Bob Geldof to help the starving people of Ethiopia. (A 1980s event so significant, it deserves an article of its own.)

I don't know about calling this the gayest music video of all time. But the 1980s-est music video? Perhaps!