Music Video of the Day: In Dreams by Roy Orbison (1987, dir. Leslie Libman)

Since I missed the day of the premiere of the Twin Peaks reboot, I’m doing my Twin Peaks tie-in video today. If Wikipedia and Songfacts are to be taken at face value, then there’s an interesting story behind this music video.

As hard as it is for someone like me who grew up on Orbison to hear, his career apparently stalled in the 1970s. Maybe people really didn’t like The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967), and held it against him.

The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967, dir. Michael D. Moore)

The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967, dir. Michael D. Moore)

I wonder how he ended up agreeing to be in that. Maybe he saw that Marty Robbins was starting to appear in movies such as that years Hell On Wheels, and decided he’d take a crack at it the same way Elvis did. His career probably stalled because it was eclipsed by the revolutions in music during the 60s and 70s.

Then Blue Velvet (1986) came along. Orbison didn’t authorize the use of the song in the movie or know how it was going to be used. Lynch went ahead and used it anyways. Since it was used so effectively and is one of the most important parts of the film, it stirred up renewed interest in Orbison. At the time, Orbison didn’t have access to the master recordings of many of his hit songs because of legal issues. Orbison changed his tune about its use in the movie at this point, and asked Lynch if he could use some footage from the movie in the music video for the song. To solve the legal problem, Orbison went back into the studio to re-record his hits for the 1987 album In Dreams: The Greatest Hits. Lynch not only was fine with him using scenes from the movie, but offered to help with the re-recording of the song for the greatest hits album, which he did.

The video is nice and simple. It captures the surreal feeling of the song, the film, and combines the two into a single music video. I love that it starts with Dean Stockwell lip-syncing the song before slowly fading to Orbison actually singing it. It uses Stockwell several more times during the video, but that initial part is like peeling back the curtain to see what is really behind it–a theme of Blue Velvet.

I am going to believe mvdbase when it says Leslie Libman directed this. It, and IMDb both say that she directed some videos for him. The only thing that throws me a bit is that Wikipedia says 1987, but mvdbase says 1989. I think that’s probably an error. Still, they did make videos after Orbison’s death in 1989. That’s why I’m making special mention of it.

You may or may not recognize one of the backup singers in the video. It’s Denise Vlasis, who is best-known as being a prominent Madonna lookalike.

Let’s put this all together here. You have David Lynch who used In Dreams by Roy Orbison in Blue Velvet. The video was directed by Leslie Libman. Leslie Libman would go on to direct Britney Ever After (2017). Britney Spears famously kissed Madonna onstage, and collaborated with her. Denise Vlasis is such a famous Madonna lookalike that she has worked with Madonna. Denise Vlasis is in the music video In Dreams, which brings us back to David Lynch.

You know, as bad as Britney Ever After was, this has me thinking it would have been appropriate for Libman to use She’s A Mystery To Me after the film’s attempt to explain away it not really having the rights to tell the story by saying that people only knew her through video clips–usually from TMZ.


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