On August 6th, Marvel unveiled their latest advertising gimmick for the Guardian's Of The Galaxy DVD. That gimmick? A great slice of retro cheese in the form of a music video starring the king of the 80s and 90s, David Hasselhoff.
Upon watching it I was thrilled because I genuinely love David Hasselhoff music videos and indeed his music in general. Sure he's not the greatest singer, but I'll be damned if he's not having the most fun. I think the viral nature of this video means it's safe to say that the world is finally ready to catch up with this iconic musical artist in all his glory.
With that in mind, I have gone and found the music videos of as many David Hasselhoff singles as possible and decided to rank them from worst to best. And by worst, I mean boring. Hasselhoff is at his best when he's so damn cheesy that you can't help but beam like a madman because it's so hilarious. So "Best" is like how I call Sharknado the best movie of the last 10 years, it's technically awful but fascinatingly hilarious. One rule, this is music video's only, the live performances aren't nearly as spectacular as the produced music videos. If there are any I've missed, please let me know in the comments with a link, I will just edit and put them in where they belong.
Which one is the best? Which one is the worst? And which ones fall somewhere in between? Let's have a look.
Special Mention: Pingu Dance
Oh yeah, we're starting this list off right. This one isn't an official entry because far as I know, this isn't the official video but it's someone editing clips to fit with the song. That being said, there is nothing that's going to set the tone of this list better than David Hasselhoff singing about the most adorable play-doh penguin. This was only released in Switzerland, which is a shame because this should've been a worldwide sensation. If this was the actual video, I'd be putting it so high on the list because of how hilariously adorable it is. Since it's not, it's a special mention... now we can go on with our list properly.
19: Dance Dance D'Amour
From the album You Are Everything, the seventh Hasselhoff studio album, this single never charted and that's possibly because the video is easily the laziest of this list. This video is, literally, behind the scenes shots of a photo shoot that Hasselhoff did for some kind of calendar (I'm guessing). It's not even trying to be a video, he isn't singing the song on set or even acknowledging that the behind the scenes video camera is there until he waves at it right at the end. Other than that, all we get is to see the glory of Hasselhoff standing somewhere or getting makeup put on. It's not good, it's lazy and if we know one thing about Mr. Hasselhoff, it's that he is anything but lazy. It's not even a funny outfit or something, the song is bland, the video is bland, everything is bland and I want to hurry up and get to the cheese so let's just keep going.
18: Our First Night Together
From the hit album Night Rocker, the first Hasselhoff studio album, this single was released in 1989 and actually got to the top 20 in Switzerland. The song is a duet with Catherine Hickland who appeared on a few episodes of Knight Rider. The video doesn't really know what it want's to be, it opens on the set of a Knight Rider episode (Maybe Let It Be Me since that's the episode this song was featured in) and it has the leads singing in the front seat of a car that isn't Kit. We then get some random overhead shots where you not only see the car, but the camera crew driving in front of them.
If the entire video had been like this I would've been very happy, but it soon changes to a filmed stage show and then a recording studio. It could've had a chance to be the optimum level of self-referential cheese by having Hasselhoff and Hickland doing this music video behind the scenes of a Knight Rider episode, but it misses out on that by not committing to the bit. The song is just a generic love song and the song in the video abruptly stops twice between location changes, but other than that it's just not at the level I expect from Hasselhoff. I do enjoy the weird shirt he wears in the studio that just exposes his left clavicle, bold choice there Cotton.
17: Crazy For You
From the album Crazy For You, Hasselhoff's second studio album, this single was a top 10 hit in Austria, a top 20 hit in Germany and got to 21 in Switzerland. This video, by Hasselhoff's own admission, is the result of trying to pick between 9000 ideas, one of which was going to be cutting in Frankenstein clips. Instead of going crazy though, they went simple... which is exactly what you want on a video for a song called CRAZY for you. This song starts with Hasselhoff on his motorbike and has the chance to just be a generic song of him singing on the bike. But then, MR Hasselhoff ends up at an amusement park and the weird choices begin.
One thing I've learned about Hasselhoff as I went through his videos is that the man hasn't met a cheesy visual effect that he didn't like. This is the first example of this that you're going to find on this list. For some reason, after Weiner the Wonder Dog starts the roller coaster, the sky becomes angry and changes color literally every time we cut the camera. Sometimes it's blue, purple, green, yellow or the color of the blood that was sacrificed to make this a top ten hit in Austria. Also, for some reason, the title of the song is flashed on the screen in random purple glittery letters while no one is singing. It's mostly a bland video and the last few minutes promise us the insanity that these videos will later deliver on, but we never go all the way.
16: Looking For Freedom
From the album Looking for Freedom, Hasselhoff's third studio album, this is his biggest hit. It was number one in three countries (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), top 20 in France and 31 on the Dutch charts. This is the song that he sang while standing on top of the Berlin Wall, therefore giving it a real place in history. It's also a cover version of a Marc Seaberg song and sadly, Marc's video is so much more what I expected out of Hasselhoff. Though Hasselhoff definitely sings it better. I actually believe Hasselhoff when he sings it, Marc seems like he's the lost member of the Partridge family with half the vocal talents of any member of that family. The video on the other hand... art.
Hasselhoff wishes his video was like this, instead David's video is mostly just clips from Knightrider and that would've put it at the bottom of the list right there except, sure enough, whatever original elements are there are just so wonderfully silly that it saved it from being dead last. The random dramatic shots of Hasselhoff superimposed over the clips from his TV series. The dramatic walk through a desert set that consists of smoke, paper mache, and about two dead trees. The random dissolves where Hasselhoff just appears all over this tiny set. It's glorious and just the kind of thing I expect. The random sheet dancers are also amazing, as are the shots of Hasselhoff lying in a faux hospital bed. It's something that really didn't need the Knightrider bits bringing it down because, without them, this could've been top 10 on this list easily. As it is, it'll be stopping down here at number 16.
15: Flying On The Wings Of Tenderness
From the album Looking for Freedom, Hasselhoff's third studio album, this song only hit number 22 in Germany. Filmed on a beach, this is possibly the most conventional video clip that Hasselhoff will produce. There's genuinely nothing that's that strange about this video, maybe with the exception of Hasselhoff's choice of wardrobe. Long trench coat, jeans, and no shirt... it's Hasselhoff in the late 80's, the man was actually considered a sex symbol at that point of history so clearly, they're playing on that. I do enjoy the dramatic shot of a seagull that happens at several points because nothing says 'dramatic majestic creature' like the birds that yell "MINE" all the time.
From the album Du, Hasselhoff's eighth album, this song had no place on the charts. It was originally performed by Peter Maffay which apparently made him a huge hit back in the 70s. His version is actually pretty great, it has an entire orchestra and everything.
Hasselhoff's version is nowhere near as good as Maffay's, and his video is another 'Shot at the beach with seagulls' video. It's certainly an improvement on the last video because his outfit is a little sillier and he's putting a lot of emotion into the song. The video is entertaining enough that clips of it were used in the movie Eurotrip as a joke. I suggest watching the entire thing because, while Hasselhoff might not be the singer that Maffay is, his video is pretty good. Especially when he tries to sing the word 'Du' and puts every bit of his acting behind it while looking right into the camera.
13: More Than Words Can Say
From the album Hooked On A Feeling, Hasselhoff's ninth studio album, this song also failed to get on the charts. A duet between Hasselhoff and Regine Velasquez, this completes what I'm going to call his "Beachside Trilogy" of music videos and this one combines the best of both previous videos. He repeats both the looks from Du and Flying On The Wings Of Tenderness. He actually does a decent job of singing, we get absolutely amazing cheesy shots of Hasselhoff dramatically walking along the beach while the waves crash around him and threaten to knock him over.
It's a really nice song and the video is trying to hard to be absolutely serious but it's so hard when it's Hasselhoff looking as silly as he does. Also, poor Regine got caught in the wind at some point and her hair is blowing in her face but she soldiers through it.
12: Gipsy Girl
From the album David, Hasselhoff's fifth studio album, this song got to number 12 in Austria. We've now moved away from the beach and into some sort of jungle theme. Also yes, the title is actually spelled that way. It was the 90s, we were all idiots back then and thought that this term was somehow OK. It's a romantic song where Hasselhoff tries to convince us that he's playing the guitar and... sorry, no, he's not. I'm just going to say he's not because he seems to be trying to use the same fingering at several points. Also, he doesn't play the guitar for most of the song, it just sits on his lap like he's that annoying white guy with an acoustic guitar that everyone sees on college campuses.
This is another of his more conventional videos, even though it also features him literally going through a jungle hunting for one woman who is apparently vanishing into waterfalls and has to be 20 years younger than he is. Of course, the entire thing ends on Hasselhoff staring directly into the camera, for no reason whatsoever.
11: Do The Limbo Dance
From the album David, Hasselhoff's fifth studio album, this song got to number one in Austria, and top 20 in Germany and Switzerland. Yes, this song is a number one hit somewhere on the planet. The video is simple but charming. Hasselhoff does every dance other than the limbo when he isn't being lazy and lying in his hammock. There's some random Jamaican woman demanding everyone sing to the song, a strangely beautiful sunset shot and, of course, a ton of Hasselhoff trying to have eye-sex with the audience. There are also random fire breathers because that's what I think of when I think of limbo.
But yeah, he has the only song that I can find with this title. This isn't a cover, David Hasselhoff sang the Limbo Dance song and made it a number one hit. I feel like this is the kind of subject matter that should have more than just a Hasselhoff song.
10: If I Could Only Say Goodbye
From the album You Are Everything, the seventh Hasselhoff studio album, this song was a top 40 hit in the UK. As much as I want to make fun of this video, it's genuinely beautiful. A very simple song and a very simple video with Hasselhoff singing while sitting in his car on a beach... OK, so my "Beach trilogy" is ruined by this one, but those other three didn't have a car. It's simplicity actually works well for it. It still has a few trademark Hasselhoff music video tricks, like the strange filters that overexpose the film or the shadow dancer. That being said though, this is genuinely an effective video that is a fitting entry at the top 10 position because it's just a good video for a good song... but it's also the last time we're going to see Hasselhoff being anything close to normal, it's all insanity from here
9: California Girl
From the album A Real Good Feeling, the twelfth Hasselhoff studio album, this single was sadly not a hit. It should've been though because this video is right on the cusp of Hasselhoff getting in on the joke. There's a great joke right at the beginning where they've digitally changed the Hollywood sign to read "Hoffywood" and damn I wish they'd done that all the time because the word "Hollywood" appears so often in the video that it would've made a nice running gag.
It's littered with references to David's career, including him wearing a Baywatch jacket that's covered in freaking glitter. There are some amazing green screen shots that just don't look good at all. Hasselhoff dancing in the middle of a road that's on the side of a mountain, the standard ton of filters. Hasselhoff is basically painted on the side of a wall while dancing. It's a video made by someone who just learned a bunch of cool After Effects tutorials, except it's starring one of the biggest stars in TV history.
8: Is Everybody Happy
From the album Looking for Freedom, Hasselhoff's third studio album, this song hit number 8 in Germany and Switzerland. So... who want's to see Hasselhoff's version of I'm Your Baby Tonight by Whitney Houston crossed with Leave Me Alone by Michael Jackson? Well, here it is and it's exactly as glorious as that combination suggests. This video is one of the more basic ones with Hasselhoff performing in a nightclub. What kicks it up is the bizarre green screen shots of him in a white suit, the strange close ups of Hasselhoff's crotch for the first 30 seconds of the song and, of course, those filters that I keep bringing up. He loves a filter to make everything a weird color.
It's got some great cheesy looks by Hasselhoff, who is basically determined to yell everyone into being happy. There's also this truly strange shot which I think is pulled out of a Hasselhoff sex tape where he is caressing a naked woman, but we only see a shoulder and his face. Every possible cheesy thing you have grown to associate with Hasselhoff over the course of this list pops up here, there's also random spankings and an appearance by Mark St. John who you might know as the guitarist for the Animalize album from the band Kiss.
7: It's A Real Good Feeling
From the album A Real Good Feeling, the twelfth Hasselhoff studio album, this was also not a hit. Sure, at first when you watch this, it just seems like it's going to be Hasselhoff singing and dancing while standing on the beach and occasionally driving his car around. But once you get about a minute and a half in, that After Effects training kicks in so now Hasselhoff and some random dancer can pop up on billboards, in the reflection of sunglasses and on shirts. He drives past himself on several occasions, including one short where he is wearing Lederhosen, a clear reference to his popularity in Germany. This video is stunningly self-aware, it would be the most self-aware we've ever seen Hasselhoff in one of these videos, but the pinnacle of "Yeah, I know exactly what I am" is still to come.
Also, this song has autotuned David Hasselhoff, because we need that! He dances among fake lights, appears on billboards, and wears a piano scarf which I kind of want. Someone get me a piano scarf so I can be this effortlessly cheesy. It's just a fun silly video that also includes a cameo by Kitt, I dare you to say a bad thing about this video. You can't because it's incredible.
6: Everybody Sunshine
From the album Everybody Sunshine, the sixth Hasselhoff studio album, this song was a top 40 hit in Austria and Switzerland. Now, obviously, this is not the full video. It's maybe two minutes long and the song is two and a half minutes long. However... come on, this is incredible. You have David Hasselhoff dancing about and singing with toddlers, random words typed on the screen, child marriage, it has everything!
This is one of those videos where I'm sure they have a great message and a really nice point to make, but it's a little bit like when Eddie Murphy sang Whatzupwitu with Michael Jackson... sure, you have a great point, but the video is hilariously cheesy and the song is even cheesier
5: Song Of The Night
From the album Looking for Freedom, Hasselhoff's third studio album, this single didn't chart anywhere. As Hasselhoff will tell you, it has 'The German beat' and I can't vouch for that. I can vouch for the absolutely amazing green screen work. Yeah, this was done in 89, but we could surely do better green screen than this. I've never seen anyone look so happy while singing about their partner being in bed with another man. There are moments in the video where the woman who Hasselhoff is clearly waiting for appears in a bubble, he tries to eat that bubble. She then appears in shadow form and dances around musical notes... because.
Purple was a really nice color once, but after seeing this video you're going to wonder just how many Barney The Dinosaur plushies had to die in order to get this much purple. It's one of those videos that was made at 2 am by an intern who had no real idea what to do with what they were given, and it's a miracle that they pulled something together. I've never seen a video that embraces a monochrome look quite like this and I genuinely love it.
4: Je T'Aime Means I Love You
From the album Looking for Freedom, Hasselhoff's third studio album, this single didn't chart anywhere. It may have only been released as a single in Germany because I can't find any evidence that it was considered a real single release. So, who want's to see David Hasselhoff channel Joel Grey in Cabaret? I thought you did. Yeah, for some reason when he's singing the backing parts of this song, I swear Hasselhoff is doing his best version of the Master of Ceremony's... by way of a demented mime.
There are also some genuinely amazing dancers who are doing everything you could expect them to do in this kind of video. Hasselhoff, to his credit, is selling the hell out of this song. Sure, he's not singing it well, but he's selling it. But seriously though, go watch the sections of him with the white facepaint, he's flat out going for some weird variation of the MC from Cabaret, I can't be alone in this.
3: True Survivor
A tie in single to the internet movie Kung Fury, this song only charted in Canada at 94. You might remember right at the start of this list, I actually counted it as a negative that one video was using clips that weren't shot for the video. So why does this get a pass on that? Because they edit Hasselhoff into those clips, mostly in the glorious shot of him walking through one of the major battles in the movie. This video is that kind of glorious nostalgic cheese that I live for, a fantastically shot video with an absolute understanding of this genre of video.
They really let Hasselhoff go for his life with the expressions that he pulls, I'm convinced they just let him go lose when they had him belt out this heroic track beside white Kitt. It's honestly just spectacular and was the first real reminder to everyone just how badass Hasselhoff can be... also, Hasselhoff rides a dinosaur, I feel like that image alone makes this one of his best.
2: Jump In My Car
Released as a single, without an album (Far as I can tell) this video is easily the most self-aware video that Hasselhoff ever released. He arrives in Kitt, he dances in front of Hasselhoff memes, he wears the Baywatch jacket and he does a ton of the cheesiest dancing that he's done in any of these videos. It's absolutely hilarious how dead serious he is taking this while all this insane stuff is happening around him. There is some stupid looking animation to show the car driving, and at one point he grows devil horns and ejects his passenger from the car using Kitt's ejector seat.
Obviously, this is a cover of the song by the Ted Mulry Gang and I'm sorry, Hasselhoff's is better. It's funnier, he get's the timing better, and his video is superior in every way. There was actually a campaign to get this song to number one on the charts and I wish they'd made it happen because this is genuinely one of the most hilarious videos I've seen. Hasselhoff has stated that this video was an intentional parody of himself and it absolutely works, he sells it and it's impossible not to find some incredible charm in this. It would have been number one on my list easily but you know what I think is better than intentional parody? Accidental parody.
1: Hooked On A Feeling
From the album Hooked On A Feeling, Hasselhoff's ninth studio album, this song was a top 40 hit in Austria. A cover version of the Blue Suede song of the same name (Which, itself, is also a cover version of the Jonathan King version... which is a cover version of the B.J. Thomas version... just go watch the Todd In The Shadows video again), Hasselhoff creates a video that belongs in art galleries. This has EVERYTHING that I've talked about on this list and a few things I didn't expect.
Obscene amounts of green screen? Check.
Silly outfits? Check.
Staring directly into the audience's soul and trying to have eye-sex with everyone? Double check.
Let's add onto that random cases of Hasselhoff being green screened on top of videos that already have Hasselhoff in them, or even two green screen shots of Hasselhoff that are laid on top of each other. There arre random angels and wire work. You get a glorious boat shot that was obviously filmed during the downtime of an Alaska episode of Baywatch. There's a guy with a mask who has two giant eyes who is just there for no real reason. There's literally a shot where David Hasselhoff is spinning two boxes that have shots of other David Hasselhoff's on them... because! You could write a goddamn thesis on the shot choices in this, from Hasselhoff flying to him snowboarding on water while wearing the biggest fur suit I've seen in my life. It's amazing, it's not just so bad that it's good, it's so bad that it's goddamn transcendent. I want to start a religion dedicated to this video, it's that wonderful. I'm absolutely hooked on a feeling, and that feeling is the feeling of how amazing these Hasselhoff videos are.
They just don't make videos quite like this anymore. Please, Mr. Hasselhoff, please make more of your amazing music videos because they are truly spectacular in all the right ways.