While searching for the classic album of the week a couple of weeks ago I realised that back in July 5th, 1984 American singer/ songwriter Billy Squier released his fourth album – ‘Signs of Life’. When this album was released Billy Squier was at the peak of his career opening for bands like Whitesnake and Def Leppard and apparently about to break through as the next big thing. However, the new album was a bit of a departure from Squier’s guitar-heavy hard rock and brought in more keyboards but initial sales were going well …..until ‘that’ video!
Despite initial airplay going well and fuelled by successful radio hits, bluesy synthpop cut ‘Rock Me Tonite’ and the harder rocking ‘All Night Long’ ensured that the album reached platinum status. However, Squier’s fortunes took a sudden hit as soon as the homoerotic music video for “Rock Me Tonite”, which dominantly featured Squier dancing around in a dark bedroom with a pink tanktop, aired some time later.
The video began almost immediately attracting increasingly embarrassed and negative responses from critics, fans, fellow musicians and Squier himself alike, who described it as “diabolical”. It has been later cited as one of the worst music videos of all time and as an infamous example of the phrase “video killed the radio star”. Squier’s album and ticket sales took a damage; Signs of Life ended up stalling at #11 on the Billboard 200 and he stopped selling out shows.
For more on the story of Billy Squier’s Hero to Zero routine
And here’s the video that killed a career
Here’s what Billy Squier before that video!
and not forgetting The Buggles….