Billy Squier - Rock Me Tonite (1984)
- 80's score: 1.2
"Rock Me Tonite" is a hit song written and recorded by American rock artist Billy Squier. It was released in June 1984 ...
"Rock Me Tonite" is a hit song written and recorded by American rock artist Billy Squier. It was released in June 1984 as the lead single from his platinum-plus album Signs of Life. The song is Squier's highest charting U.S. single, peaking at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and hitting number 10 on the Cash Box singles chart. It also returned him to #1 on the Top Rock Tracks chart in August 1984.
Despite its major success, the song is sometimes associated with the end of Squier's career as a singles artist due to the music video, which was described as one of the worst ever in the 2011 book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. Directed by Kenny Ortega, it shows Squier dancing around a bed with pastel-colored satin sheets. Squier's concert ticket sales immediately suffered, and he later fired his managers. He has accused Ortega of deceiving him and altering his original concept, which Ortega denies. While Squier has remained steadfast that the video alone was responsible for the initial decline in his popularity, other commentators have been less certain.
The video for the track was directed and choreographed by Kenny Ortega, who later directed the High School Musical films. It shows Squier waking up in a bed with satiny, pastel-colored sheets, then prancing around the bed as he gets dressed, ultimately putting on a pink tank top over a white shirt. At the conclusion he leaves the room with a pink guitar to join his band in performing the song.
For I Want My MTV, their 2011 oral history of the network's early years, authors Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks interviewed over 400 people, primarily artists, managers, filmmakers, record company executives and MTV employees. They said that none could agree on the best video, but all agreed that "Rock Me Tonite" was the worst. They devoted an entire chapter of the book to it. Martha Quinn, an MTV VJ when "Rock Me Tonite" was released, called it "a super-fun video and a super-great song," and commented, "I don’t remember that video being poorly received at the time."
Squier himself, and other observers, believe its homoeroticism alienated a significant portion of his fan base (predominantly teenaged boys at the time) and ruined his career. "I liked Billy Squier very much," says Rudolf Schenker of Scorpions, "but then I saw him doing this video in a very terrible way. I couldn't take the music serious anymore."