For most people, Bad Company was a meat-and-potatoes rock band from the ’70s that made Camaro music for Camaro people—most notably the hoary AOR chestnut ”Feel Like Makin’ Love.” The song sums up everything there is to know about Bad Company’s music: As basic as vanilla ice cream, dumber than a Jeff Foxworthy joke, and repititious enough to worm its way into memory so deeply that most of the human race could probably hum a few bars.
What most people don’t realize is that after a brief breakup in the early ’80s, two of the guys from the original lineup went out, got themselves a new lead singer, and sold a big pile of records. They did this the same way nearly every other successful veteran act did at the time—by discarding artistic credibility (which admittedly was never much of a concern for Bad Company) and pandering to listeners of Top 40 radio for whom ”rock & roll” meant the aural Velveeta of bands like Bon Jovi.
The high point for Bad Company 2.0 was 1990’s ”If You Needed Somebody,” a song so monumentally stupid it makes ”The Macarena” look like the Velvet Underground. But in comparison to the rest of the band’s catalogue, it’s a brilliant masterpiece—witness today’s entry, ”Shake It Up,” from 1988’s Dangerous Age.
For a lot of bands trying to disguise their age during this period, the solution was to make a video featuring a lot of good-looking high school kids rocking out to the band’s shitty music. These videos tended to get around the age gap by either A) almost completely removing any visual evidence of the band, or B) conjuring up some situation in which said kids would have been caught dead hanging out with said band.
”Shake It Up” takes the latter course. The ”story” begins with the nerd you see pictured above, holed up in what we can probably assume to be his parents’ basement, doing stuff with various potions. He also happens to have a functioning seismograph, which comes in handy later on.
Meanwhile, it’s the night of the Big School Dance, and the kids are rockin’ out!
There’s punch and everything!
Oh, and you’ll never guess who’s playing the dance. Yep, it’s Bad Company.
This is actually the type of gig Bad Company should have been getting in 1988, instead of fouling the airwaves and selling millions of records, but that’s neither here nor there. CAPTAIN VIDEO!s favorite part of this shot is the string of American flags hung over the stage. By this British band.
Oh, and speaking of the band. CAPTAIN VIDEO! freely admits that his knowledge of Bad Company is fairly limited, but it still came as quite a shock to see that the band’s lead singer in the ’80s was apparently none other than Nick Nolte:
Who knew he could sing? Color me impressed.
Anyway, back at the lab, Nerd makes a startling discovery: Not only is Bad Company’s music terrible, it causes earthquakes!
Like any civic-minded geek, he rushes to the gym, hoping to prevent the band from doing any further damage:
But he may already be too late! Just look at how freely the chaperone is rocking out!
And out in the parking lot, there’s all sorts of hanky-panky going on…
If this video had been filmed in the ’70s, it would have given us irrefutable visual evidence that rock & roll causes teen sex (and earthquakes). But this version of Bad Company’s music had nothing to do with rock.
Meanwhile, this is not what the girls at my high school looked like in 1988. And…oh God…are they hoping for a roll in the hay with crusty old Nick Nolte?
Nick seems to think so. And he’s apparently got room for two back at the Holiday Inn:
Unfortunately for Nick, the force of the band’s suckage has finally created a vortex powerful enough to bring the building tumbling down:
End of dance, end of concert, end of crummy video. And in just a few years, the remaining original members of Bad Company would realize that making terrible new music with Nick Nolte was actually even worse than patching things up with their original lead singer and playing the nostalgia circuit. The band made piles of cash, and the fans got what they’d been asking for all along—happy endings for everyone!