Most people in 1985 were operating at a baseline of fairly stoned on something. This writer was born in 1985, and so any and all understanding of this time comes from Scarface and actual music videos on MTV. According to pop culture, it was all cocaine on mirrors, ice cold beers, and Pontiac Firebirds soaked in hairspray. Watching this footage from the MTV VMAs after-party in 1985 all but validates these assumptions. It’s delightful but not surprising to see an absolutely blasted David Lee Roth scatting like Kim Cattrall, but it is definitely wild when you realize Rick James might be the most sober person in the room:
For the 12 people who will inevitably point this out in the comments: MTV actually released this footage last August, but some of us had shit to do and it’s making the rounds again, and thank god because it’s a real treat. The whole thing is a who’s high of who’s who situations, from a mumbling Joey Ramone to a stone-faced Cher supernaturally gliding across the room, her eyes completely devoid of recognition. There are dozens of people—other famouses, even—around her, and she just glares through them like the room is empty. Also on deck are some baby Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, and a glassy-eyed Morris Day who—like most of the shit-faced celebs after him—says his favorite part of the show was himself.
Righteous praise is heaped upon Tina Turner, one of a few music icons wisely not approached by the camera crew (Cher and Grace Jones were also left alone), as well as Eddie Murphy, who hosted the 1985 VMAs. Around the 2:30 mark the guys from Van Halen fully embarrass themselves by proclaiming the Sammy Hagar iteration of the band superior to the David Lee Roth era, and even your drunk uncle who exclusively dresses in Kirkland Signature separates knows that’s bullshit. Oh, and also the band Ratt is there. Remember the band Ratt? Anyone? Ratt?