Music Video of the Day: Rosanna by Toto (1982, dir. Steve Barron)


Unless Lisa has changed her mind (very possible), she is currently posting dance scenes that she loves this week. I like coordinating a theme around a week or a month like we do here sometimes at Through The Shattered Lens. That’s why I am going to post six videos this week that feature dancing. I am starting with Toto’s Rosanna.

As you may have noticed, this is another one of these done by director Steve Barron. So far we have seen him direct music videos for The Human League in 1983 and a-ha in 1985. In 1982 he took Toto, who is probably best known for songs like Africa and Hold The Line, and brought us this mixture of Cynthia Rhodes doing her thing, West Side Story (1961), and Toto looking like they are on a darker looking version of the set that Stray Cats used in Stray Cat Strut.

The music video is similar to Whitesnake’s 1987 version of Here I Go Again. By that I mean they filmed some of Toto’s performance, but it’s really Cynthia Rhodes who shines as the West Side Story lady dancing in a red dress. My favorite part is at about the three minute mark of the video when it goes into pure instrumental and she lifts her leg up completely straight into the air against the chain link fence. Another nice moment is around the two minute mark when we are looking at a closeup shot of the lead singer’s face. In one shot of his face, we can see Rhodes dancing in the background, and the other time see the gang members walking towards him.

It also happens to be a great song by a group that certainly doesn’t get the same love as their songs such as Africa and Hold The Line. You can probably still talk to teenagers today who will not know the name of the group or the title of the song, but they will remember hearing that song about “I blessed the rains down in Africa” or “I touched the rains down in Africa” they heard on the radio at some point.

One final thing is that you might not know Cynthia Rhodes. She played Penny Johnson in Dirty Dancing (1987). She was also in the critical failure of a sequel to Saturday Night Fever (1977) called Staying Alive (1983). In other words, I think it’s safe to say that being in Runaway (1984) was the real reason she ultimately wound up giving up her career to be a full-time mother as IMDb says she did. She would also show up in at least two other videos done by her then husband Richard Marx. That, and she is a well-known dancer of the period in general.

This is also one of those music videos where we know more than just the director. Paul Flattery produced this music video. We will see him again and again.

It’s an excellent music video for an excellent song, and I hope you enjoy it.

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