#4. Mr. T. - "Treat Your Mother Right"
Behind The Music
From The A-Team to Rocky III, Mr. T has brought joy to millions, possibly billions of people around the world. With his big muscles, funny hair and dozens of gold chains, it seemed that T could do no wrong. Then he appeared in Not Another Teen Movie as "The Wise Janitor" and things started to unravel. In 2005, T disavowed his gold after witnessing the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. "Because of the situation we're in now," he said, "I told myself, 'No, T, you can never wear your gold again.' It's an insult to God." It's only fitting that the tragic flaw that eventually ended Mr. T as we know him was there in front of us all along: Hurricane victims or fools, the man's heart is simply filled with too much pity.
Back in the early '80s, Mr. T was apparently capable of giving out some pretty good advice. For example: "When you put down one mother, you put down mothers all over the world." That's not exactly true, but it's a nice sentiment, so we'll give him credit anyway. T then goes on to "rap" a groan-inducing, acronym-based verse while awkwardly gyrating like a circus animal in people clothes.
Who could possibly be responsible for such an atrocity? What kind of monster would spend his time and energy helping to create such awe-inspiring awfulness? The educational video this originally appeared in, Be Somebody ... or Be Somebody's Fool!, gives writer credit to none other than Ice-T. Weird? Not really, when you realize that the two have the same last name and thus presumably the same amazing, song-worthy mother.
Oddly enough, the highlight of this particular song doesn't even involve Mr. T. At 2:40, the song takes a strange, sexy turn when, apparently as per T's request, a young androgynous child treats his/her mother right by giving her a strong, seductive shoulder massage.
#3. Carl Lewis - "Break It Up"
Behind The Music
Carl Lewis won nine Olympic medals, was voted "Sportsman of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee and recorded what is quite possibly the single fruitiest song ever performed by an athlete in the history of mankind.
"Break It Up" might be reaching a little too far, thematically. The lyrics speak of a "human chain" we should form in some abstract endeavor to "change the world," but the video shows Lewis pumping iron and becoming romantically involved with a 60-year-old woman who keeps blowing bubbles at him.
Is he saying we shouldn't be afraid of what our friends think? Is he saying even Olympic gold medalists bang old ladies every once in a while? We're not exactly sure what his statement is, but we're certain it's a bold one.
Go ahead and pause the video at 2:48. Now, good luck sleeping when you see that image every time you close your eyes.
#2. Rodney Dangerfield - "Rappin' Rodney"
Behind The Music
The man, the myth, the legend. Dangerfield was best known for getting "no respect" from his wife, even before he starred in Ladybugs. From Caddyshack to Back to School to ... umm ... well, that's about it, really, but he was great in those two movies, wasn't he? Seriously though, as corny as his jokes sound to today's jaded audiences, Dangerfield was a comedy powerhouse from the 1960s until ... well ... until he starred in Ladybugs.
When hip-hop broke through into the mainstream, it gave lots of entertainers lots of terrible ideas, and Dangerfield was just one of many lured in by its deceptively easy-looking siren song. "What, that? Talking over some music? I can do that!"
Apparently it wasn't as easy as it looked. We hesitate to really call this music (or rapping, for that matter); it's mostly just Dangerfield doing his act to a beat. He actually does manage to rhyme, though, so we'll give him credit where credit is due. Still, this would remain one of the most embarrassing examples of white dudes co-opting black culture for years to come. Or, at least until 1987 came rolled around, and ... well ... you'll see.
At 2:15, we learn that, in a Shyamalan-esque twist, the executioner responsible for Rodney's death was-gasp-Pat Fucking Benatar!
#1. Mike Ditka - "The Grabowski Shuffle"
Behind The Music
One of the most famous coaches in the history of football and probably the root of 99 percent of all Chicago-related stereotypes (note: they are mostly true). After a legendary career on the field, Ditka settled into coaching and led the Bears to Super Bowl victory in 1986. He then went on to bigger things, like being ridiculed on Saturday Night Live, shilling impotence medication and rising to the eminent position of Commissioner of the Ultimate Fantasy Football League (UFFL).
Forget '85's "Superbowl Shuffle"-the 1987 follow-up puts it to shame in the first 30 seconds. Grabowskis are people with drive and motivation, people with a good work ethic who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. People like "Jackhammer George" who is "never a fool when using his tool," and Larry, who has moves that are "downright scary."
We'll admit that some of this hasn't aged particularly well, but the fact remains that this video went platinum back in 1987. Plus, Ditka's advice to "get off your bottom and reach for the top" and to "keep on shufflin' and never stop" is as true today as it was 20 years ago.
If you pay very close attention around 4:36, you'll notice that Ditka has cleverly inserted his true, hidden agenda for the writing of this song. Watch closely. Did you catch the subtle, Ditka propaganda? That's right; a giant sign that reads "Mike Ditka for President" appears for just a second or two before mass-shuffling resumes.
If Coach Ditka brought some of the brilliant organizational skills and intuitive foresight that he's utilized in countless football games to his presidential campaign strategy, he would have realized that 1987 was, in fact, not even close to an election year. Make no mistake, if '87 was an election year, the almost undetectable subliminal messages hidden in "The Grabowski Shuffle" would be more than enough to guarantee a Ditka/Jackhammer George administration.