Music Video of the Day: Young Turks by Rod Stewart (1981, dir. Russell Mulcahy)


There is a little bit of a complex story leading up to why I chose to do this music video, so let me try and walk you through it. I wanted to do Oh Sherrie by Steve Perry. I went to my trusty source of background on the first ten years of MTV–I Want My MTV by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum. I figured there might be some background as to why Oh Sherrie is such a great early example of the early anti-video. I certainly found that information in the form of “discussion” about the music video for Separate Ways (Worlds Apart). In particular, Adam Rubin–after going on a rant involving calling for the execution of the director of the video and the band’s manager–said, “But this is my point, there really wasn’t a music-video aesthetic yet.” Really? I read that, and I wanted to started laughing. That’s right up there with people saying The Jazz Singer (1927) was the first sound film. Maybe if he had said there wasn’t an established way to make videos for any artist, rather than the select few who were onboard with making them prior to 1983 like ABBA; Bee Gees; Earth, Wind & Fire; Funkadelic; Van Halen; Rainbow; Judas Priest; and many more, then I could buy it. However, let’s have some fun at his expense by doing as many music videos prior to 1983 that I can find to continue to break up the ABBA retrospective so that it is not everyday.

Up to this video, we have already covered 75 pre-1983 music videos. These are videos such as the many beautifully constructed ABBA music videos of all types (which you’ll find a lot of Separate Ways comprised of), the stage performances of Meat Loaf and Van Halen, the special effects laden video for Let’s Groove by Earth, Wind & Fire, the video filled with visual tie-ins to the the title for Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant, Run To Hills by Iron Maiden that broke un otherwise static stage performance video with relevant stock footage, the metaphor-laden Pressure by Billy Joel, and many more. Oh, and that little video for Rio by Duran Duran that went under everyone’s radar, which is why even early Def Leppard was shot like they were Duran Duran. I would include Michael Anthony as a samurai in Oh, Pretty Woman, but I haven’t done that video yet.

With that in mind, here is Young Turks by Rod Stewart, brought to us by the infamous Russell Mulcahy. As far as MTV goes, Rod Stewart was an early darling of there’s. He came prepackaged with so many music videos that he dominated the first day of MTV. The stories about him in I Want My MTV range from crazy dinners to stumbling upon jars of cocaine in his home. It’s interesting, but would you expect anything less from Rod Stewart. It’s not exactly shocking as it is, “That’s my Stewart!”

This song is probably burned into the memories of most people around my age (33). It was included on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack. For whatever reason, this song would play again and again every time I had to repeat a mission that involved flying a plane. I don’t recall why I kept failing or what it kept playing this song instead of another; I just remember this song playing on an endless loop. However, it is a good song. Hearing it as many times as I did, didn’t change that fact.

Young Turks is a slang term referring to rebellious youth. According to the description on the YouTube video, this was the first video to feature break dancing.

I know I say it a lot, but it is a simple video. Two young lovers encounter dancers choreographed by Kenny Ortega and they are lead to Rod Stewart who is having a concert on a slab of concrete. In between, we get cuts to the young lovers trying to make it on their own. The restaurant that Billy emerges from is the Licha’s Santa Fe Girll at the northeast corner of 7th and Santa Fe streets in Los Angeles. The Hotel Hayward also shows up in the video. One of the things that sticks out at me the most in the video is the use of the split screen.

You may or may not recognize Patti who was played by Elizabeth Dailey. She has down mostly voice-work, but has appeared in numerous films over the years. She’s probably best-known for playing Dottie in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985). But that’s only one of 185 acting credits.

Dale Pauley played by Billy. I couldn’t find any information about him except a shot of him kissing Holly Penfield. That’s it.

There is a second music video for this that is bland stage performance that Wikipedia says was aired one-third of the way through Dick Clark’s three-hour American Bandstand 30th Anniversary Special Episode on October 30th, 1981.

I’ll probably do that one in a couple of days, just so you can contrast the two.

Paul Flattery produced the video who we’ve already talked about.

Peter Lippman was the production manager who we’ve also already talked about.

They are prolific as both directors and producers.

Enjoy!

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