A New Theory On Billy Squier’s Career Suicide By ‘Rock Me Tonite’ Video Explained

During a new interview with the Booked on Rock Podcast, author Joe Matera offered a new theory on Billy Squier’s ‘Rock Me Tonite’ video.

The video saw the singer dancing and wearing a pink tank top. It turned off many of his hard rock fans. It’s unclear why it hurt his career so much. Matera stated:

“The whole thing about his career was basically later on, where the CEO of the label he was with said to him when Billy handed in his album, ‘Tell the Truth,’ that it was one of the best albums he had given to the label. But unfortunately, he was going to bury it because, at that time, grunge was popular.”

The Musician Wanted To Leave The Industry

He shared how Squier reacted to his label at the time:

“So, Billy got his lawyer straight away and got himself out of the contract, and he just had enough of the industry and just walked away from it. And if you go back to ‘The Stroke,’ he sort of tells you a bit about what the industry is really like, if you listen carefully to the lyrics. So, it’s quite an interesting story. There’s a lot more to it than just the video that ruined Billy Squier’s career. Because it did not ruin his career actually, he still had a career.”

Squier was a big name in 1980s arena rock, especially with his album ‘Don’t Say No’ in 1981. He had a bunch of hits like ‘The Stroke’ and ‘Everybody Wants You.’ His best years were from 1981 to 1984, with five top-10 hits and three platinum albums. But his career took a hit after the release of the ‘Rock Me Tonite’ music video in 1984.

What Are Other Claims For The Video?

Previously, the video’s director Kenny Ortega claimed he tried to make the image tougher, but Squier made a lot of changes:

“If anything, I tried to toughen the image he was projecting. Let there be no doubt, ‘Rock Me Tonite’ was a Billy Squier video in every sense. If it has damaged his career, he has no one to blame but himself.”

Still, Squier blamed Ortega for ruining his career. He said a four-minute video destroyed everything he worked for. He felt it was unfair because Ortega didn’t suffer any consequences.

You can watch the music video below.