10. Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) Video killed the radio star- but it also made the careers (however brief) of others, as it meant artists with very little talent could capture the adoration of undiscerning youth with their image and attitude alone. Enter Vanilla Ice. The baggy-jeaned oxygen-thief was discovered in a club by a man who was clearly tone deaf and probably clinically insane. They realised that that in order for rap audiences to buy in to the Vanilla Ice shtick, they would have to fictionalise his biography, since Van Winkle was just a middle-class white boy. After the release of ‘Ice Ice Baby’, Queen sued him for stealing their bass-line. Shit was about to get real. Audiences then discovered his whole bio was a lie, thus eliminating any credibility he had struggled mercilessly to create. The public backlash was intense, and he disappeared into anonymity. Another one bites the dust.
9. Nirvana So when MTV executives realised they could make a bunch of money by gaining the audiences of the disenfranchised grunge generation, they gave Nirvana a buzz. Kurt Cobain pretended he didn’t like the attention or the money, but it was MTV and Geffen Records who bankrolled his heroin addiction (along with Courtney Love’s facial reconstructions to date). When ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ first hit the MTV screens, kids everywhere went postal- they were off buying flannel shirts, Doc Marten boots and denim cut-offs. Fast-forward two years to Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance in 1994. It is legendary for its emotional intensity and rawness. So raw in fact that by the end you’re contemplating suicide. Unfortunately that was Cobain’s reality- a year later he was dead. Watch video
8. Silverchair Once upon a time, endless touring and promotional work was necessary in order to make it in the music industry. Luckily for Silverchair, all they had to do was win a school competition. Following that in 1994, ABC recorded a video for ‘Tommorow’, while Triple J plugged the crap out of it setting in motion a bidding war between rival record labels. They eventually signed with Sony and released their debut ‘Frogstomp’ in 1995. However, things were not all smooth sailing. After their ‘Freakshow’ tour, Daniel Johns sank into a major paranoid depression. He didn’t leave the house for six months for fear of being bashed and also developed anorexia as a way of gaining some control over his life. After spending some time away from the spotlight and getting over the taunts of being gay due to his penchant for wearing eyeliner, Johns recovered enough to released Silverchair’s third album ‘Neon Ballroom’, which became one of their greatest selling albums of all time. Watch video
7. New Kids On The Block Back when Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark, New Kids on The Block were a bubble-gum pop act with an urban image. It worked for all the teenage girls and boys, but it was profoundly obvious that they were just another staged pop act. In reality, Marky Mark was a regular teenage delinquent who was in trouble with the law numerous times for vandalising property, armed robbery and eventually attempted murder. Growing up in Boston probably didn’t help matters either. Wahlberg tired of the squeaky-clean image the band was promoting and left. After achieving an inconceivable amount of success, rumours started circulating that the Kid’s were lip-syncing their performances and the urban-funk look was being trashed in favour of real ganster-rap and grunge. After a fatally embarrassing name change to NKOTB, which is like the equivalent of packaging a big lump of shit in a new IKEA box, the band disbanded for the sake of the public’s sanity. After which the hilarious irony of their song titles became obvious. ‘Face the Music’, ‘If You Go Away’ and ‘Hangin’ Tough’ are some favourites at Tone Deaf HQ.
6. Madonna Madonna can attribute most of her early success to her video clip for ‘Like a Virgin’ in 1984. Everyone had an opinion on it- girls wanted to be her, guy’s wanted to be in her and unsurprisingly the Catholic Church hated her. During the 90’s, Madonna went even more erotic, with her video’s displaying themes of bondage, sadomasochism, nudity and shock horror- same sex kissing! Madonna’s music video’s highlighted the turning point of using them as a creative medium, rather than just blatant corporate advertising. Well...that was before artists starting doing product-placement in their clips. During the 90’s Madonna was a feature at every MTV music awards show and has now made it onto the Forbes rich list. It’s no wonder Lady GaGa has become her protégé.
5. Wayne’s World 1 +2 Although they were just taking the piss, Mike Myer’s and Dana Carvey provided a parody that was so accurate, it was almost a documentary. Wayne’s World 1, released in 1992 at the height of the grunge movement, spoofed things like the Pepsi product placement, the flannel-shirt trend and knowing all the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody- not that there is anything wrong with that. It also featured Lara-Flynn Boyle as she is probably like in person- an annoying obsessive ex-girlfriend who can’t take no for an answer. The film started out as just a sketch for Saturday Night Live but became so popular they turned it into a movie with a sequel. They recently reunited on the MTV Movie Awards in 2008 with a new sketch. Asphinctersayswhat? Check it out Watch video
4.The Offspring The Offspring came onto the scene when popular culture was starting to gear towards the whole jock and cheerleader scene, but penned their angsty faux-punk tunes such as ‘Self-Esteem’ about not fitting into it. Here is another situation where music video’s can be carefully constructed to seem effortless, when the band has actually paid a stylist to rip holes in their jeans and bleach their hair for them. Singer Dexter Holland was in reality a massive geek- he was the class valedictorian at high school, has a bachelor degree in Biology, a Master’s in Molecular Biology and was accepted to do his PhD, which he abandoned to tour with The Offspring. He also has a pilot’s license, ran a marathon for charity and created his own brand of hot sauce. So it seems that not everyone was a 90’s dropout loser...
3. Beck At one time he was the undisputed voice of the 90’s indie-stoner generation; Beck has now put his faith in Scientology. It could be that he’s just smoking something stronger than weed, let's hope so. However, let’s concentrate on the good stuff. Beck is partly responsible for bringing alternative-indie music the mainstream, along with bands like Weezer and Sonic Youth. The self-depricating song ‘Loser’ released in 1993 received a lot of attention and plugging by MTV, and eventually got him signed to Geffen Records (Nirvana, Aerosmith). Since then he has released 11 studio albums which span over many styles and genres. Watch video
2. Salt N’ Pepa Despite the fact that they can’t spell, the all-girl rap group achieved a lot more than most ghetto girls from Queens, NY did at the time. In 1986 their song ‘Push It’ was a major hit, which was followed by the very wittily titled second release ‘A Salt with a Deadly Pepa’ in 1988. By the time they released their third studio album ‘Blacks’ Magic’, racial discrimination and censorship was a big ugly sore spot for MTV executives, who were receiving a lot of flak for not featuring enough Black artists and for trying to limit their content in line with their mostly-conservative views. Which meant Dead Kennedy’s out- New Kids On The Block in. Salt N’ Pepa managed to shake through the barriers and followed up their previous successes with ‘Shoop’ and ‘Whatta Man’. You can watch their sexy ‘Shoop’ Vid here Watch video
1. Red Hot Chilli Peppers Initially started as a joke party-band (hence the dumb name) the Chilli Peppers soon captured the hearts and loins of LA audiences with their cock-thrusting-riff-heavy performances. With their first two albums being a hit with college radio and of course MTV, the Chilli Peppers ‘Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik’ released in 1991 brought them wider commercial success, which led to John Frusciante’s departure after freaking out from the heightened pressure they were under. He then began a serious relationship with Heroin that cost him his home, his friends and his teeth. It just wouldn’t be an LA 90’s band without the Heroin. Since Frusciante was responsible for half the talent in the band, it came as no surprise that their next LP ‘One Hot Minute’ sank into obscurity. At this point, most members went off to pursue their own careers in heroin addiction before a solid return with ‘Californication’, which saw Frusciante back in the band and back on the proverbial wagon.
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