Whatever Happened To That Hideous Bust Of Lionel Richie From The Hello Music Video?

The 1980s were, well ... an interesting time for music, to say the least. All the bells, whistles, and theatrics that characterized much of the sound and showmanship looked sort of strange at times. Case in point – Lionel Ritchie's infamous music video for his song "Hello" from 1983. While it's not quite the bizarro hellscape of discomfort and "what did I just watch" befuddlement that is "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats, Ritchie's bold venture into the realm of visualized sentiment is actually pretty atrocious, and it produced far more laughs than it did tears. 

While the song itself is actually really beautiful, most people are still in agreement that the music video was definitely an unnecessary add-on that never got better with time. According to Smooth Radio 97-108, UK TV once voted "Hello" the worst music video of all time. If you've never actually seen it, you're probably wondering what makes it so repugnant. Well, we could go on and on in that regard, but let's dive in head first — the absolute worst eye sore from the "Hello" music video is unquestionably that ridiculously laughable clay sculpture of Ritchie's head that is introduced at the very end (via Santa Monica Sun). 

Hello — is it my head you're looking for?

Okay, so the least we owe you is a little bit of backstory. In the video, Ritchie portrays a college professor who teaches drama. One of his students, a blind girl, becomes his personal love obsession. Day in and day out, he watches her as she makes her way down the halls of the university, peering from behind lockers, following close behind through a shifting crowd of students, and at one point, calling her in the middle of the night only to hang up without a word. Yeah, it's weird. 

Then, at the very end, he learns that his feelings for her are very mutual after she presents him with a clay replica of his entire head and declares, "This is how I see you." If you're not laughing out loud at the description alone, you can watch the entire thing here

According to Song Facts, after Ritchie was briefed on the script, he took major issue with the content matter and postulated that the character of a blind girl had nothing to do with the song or his reason for writing it. However, director Bob Giraldi insisted on preserving his vision and fired back, "You're not creating the story, I am." Naturally, Ritchie also despised the sculpture of his head, constantly insisting that it looked nothing like him and that it had no place in the context of the song (per Smooth Radio 97-108). 

Massive head trauma

You're now probably wondering what ever happened to that grotesque head sculpture that became a sort of shameful insignia for the "Hello" music video. Well, if you're busting open your piggy bank with plans to head to auction and bring it home with you, save yourself the trouble because the memento no longer exists. In a 2021 American Idol press conference, Ritchie — who has been one of the show's hosts since 2018 — revealed the fate of the head: "I destroyed it," he told reporters. "And I left it on the table" (via Santa Monica Sun). 

However, all these years later, Ritchie admits that despite his insatiable drive to rid himself and the world of that ugly artifact that became an eternal laughing stock in music, he oftentimes regrets demolishing it. According to the Santa Monica Sun, he's considered performing a sort of Frankenstein procedure on it and bringing it back to life. "People keep asking if I have it because it'd be worth millions," he went on in the press conference. "I might just have it recreated and sell it."