Ever since YouTube became a (increasingly problematic) thing, there have been a pair of clips for which I’ve been waiting to get the streaming video treatment.
One is of Greg Evigan’s musical performance on Pink Lady and Jeff, where the Man Otherwise Known as BJ attempts to give more than his talent can actually deliver. His oblivious abandon while rocking out a rendition of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with the titular duo evokes both pathos and bathos in way other performers could only dream about.
The other clip was the music video for “Bad Boys,” a mid-Eighties pop ditty by the Boston-based New Man. It got a shitload of play on V66, Greater Boston’s UHF answer to MTV, which ran a lot of material by local acts during its brief lifespan.
For me and other folks in our geo-slash-demographic, the song’s televised ubiquity made it synonymous with the station itself. Every discussion I’ve had about V66 has followed the same pattern — first we’d lament its passing, then we’d wonder how it ever existed to begin with, then one of us would bring up “Bad Boys.”
The song’s status as a regional popcult touchstone made its absence from the streaming video realm all the more frustrating. Even audio files of the song were impossible to find, leading me to drop ninety-nine cents on a discarded promo copy of New Man’s sole LP release so I could rip it for an AT 1.0 post about V66. (I still get email requests to repost the file to this day.)
It got to a point where I assumed it would never show up on YouTube, becoming one of the rare bits of ephemera actually allowed to fade from public’s consciousness.
I was wrong.
After watching it, you might be wondering why it lodged itself so deep in our memories. For starters, V66 played it a lot. Of the nineteen months the station was on the air, at least three-and-a-half of them were filled with plays of “Bad Boys.”
It also had the benefit of being a virulently catchy and odd tune. How it bubbled up through the Boston scene is a mystery to me. The city’s other Big Pop behemoth, Til Tuesday, at least looked and sounded like you’d expect a band of Berklee kids would — precision-tooled, expertly produced and utterly soporific. New Man sounds like a tropical marriage between General Public and Lionel Richie’s “Dancing on the Ceiling.”
Finally, it was a concept video — back when such things could sell records in their own right — shot in several recognizable locations. That type of thing can carry a lot of weight in a town like Boston, where defensive parochialism gets used as cover for a regional inferiority complex. Honestly, the sight of the singer trussed up and taunted by a moussed-up mid-Eighties street fashion succubus was enough to make an indelible impression on my thirteen year old self.
That might also explain why Maura, when I told her the “Bad Boys” video was now available to stream, made a disgusted face and responded “Why?”