Music Video of the Day: Only The Lonely by The Motels (1982, dir. Russell Mulcahy)


I don’t know how long, or how I did it, but for a long time I thought this song, and Only The Lonely by Roy Orbison were the same song. If that isn’t dumb enough for you, my parents also used to watch the movie Only The Lonely (1991) when I was a kid, which prominently featured the Orbison song. Also, my mom is a big Orbison fan, so I grew up listening to his music. I guess that means it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it took till high school before I realized that when people were saying “ultimatum”, they weren’t saying “old tomato”.

Still, I am surprised it took me this many Mulcahy videos before I started noticing things he likes using. We get several of them in Only The Lonely. First, the use of tables.

Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran (1982)

Second, liquids used as metaphors.

The Reflex by Duran Duran (1984)

The Reflex by Duran Duran (1984)

The Reflex by Duran Duran (1984)

The Reflex by Duran Duran (1984)

Total Eclipse Of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler (1983)

She Loved Like Diamond by Spandau Ballet (1982)

She Loved Like Diamond by Spandau Ballet (1982)

The Thin Wall by Ultravox (1981)

He really seems to like liquids and tables. Finally, we get the most obvious–isolation. In Only The Lonely, it’s the person wandering around a place that may or may not be filled with people, but the person is alone regardless.

Total Eclipse Of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler (1983)

We also get a repeat of the ending of Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes.

Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes (1981)

Lead-singer Martha Davis won a Best Performance in a Music Video for this at the American Music Awards. The song also did well, but it looks like their biggest hit was Suddenly Last Summer, which also has its own music video. The band is still around today under the name of Martha Davis and The Motels.

The video was shot by Andrew Dintenfass, edited by Doug Dowdle, and produced by Jackie Adams. In other words, the usual crew you would expect on a Mulcahy video.

Enjoy!

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6 responses to “Music Video of the Day: Only The Lonely by The Motels (1982, dir. Russell Mulcahy)

  1. Martha Davis and the Motels will always have a special place in my heart. I’d say why, but it’s a long, long story, with a very sad ending. My favorite song by them is Total Control. If you’ve ever seen it done live, you’ll never forget it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have to look into it. I didn’t think there was much interest in me doing a song by The Motels. Live and learn. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a music video for Total Control. I’ll check it out though.

      Like

      • There are music videos for two of those three. Like I said to Chuck, I had no idea there was this much interest in The Motels. I’ll get around to those other ones. If you think of a holiday one of them will fit to spotlight on, then feel free to shoot me a tweet.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ve seen Martha Davis and the Motels live more times than I can remember. One of their most memorable shows was when they were the opening band for The Cars at (I think) the L.A. Forum. The Motels were so popular then that at least half the sold-out audience was there to see them, with The Cars as a bonus.

          The high point of any Motels performance back then was the saxophone solo during Total Control. I think Marty Jourard did the solo. Martha would kneel in front of the sax, holding the mic to the horn of the sax, with her head down, while Marty played the most beautiful, perfect, sexy and mournful sax solo I’ve ever heard.

          Anyone who’s heard and seen Martha won’t be surprised to learn that her perfectly flawless torch style made her very popular in Europe, especially France.

          Liked by 1 person

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