Music Video of the Day: She’s A Mystery To Me by Roy Orbison (1989, dir. David Fincher)

Seeing as I did In Dreams yesterday, I felt it was necessary to follow it with She’s A Mystery To Me, since they are connected. I’m going quote Wikipedia below about how the song came to be, and it’s ties back to both In Dreams and Blue Velvet (1986) because me paraphrasing it doesn’t make any sense.

During a restless night of sleep in June 1987 in London during U2’s Joshua Tree Tour, Bono slept with the soundtrack to the film Blue Velvet CD on repeat. The CD had been given to him by the Edge’s wife. When he woke the following morning, he had a tune in his head which he assumed was from the soundtrack. He soon realized it wasn’t so he wrote down the basic structure of the song. Later that day he sang the unfinished song to the band at their pre-concert soundcheck at Wembley Arena. After the concert, Orbison paid the band an unannounced visit backstage, where a perplexed Bono played the song for him. Bono and Orbison worked again on the song in mid-November in Los Angeles. The album Mystery Girl was named after the song.

I haven’t seen all of David Fincher’s music videos, and I might be a little biased since I like Orbison so much, but I think this is the best one I’ve seen. I love that he did it with almost no one in the video. It’s all done as if we are a detective arriving on a series of scenes, and trying to piece together what happened.

According to Wikipedia, there are two versions of this video. This is the popular one where it is a grown woman that is planning on leaving, who we assume is Orbison because of the boots. In the other version, it’s a mother who is pursuing her young daughter who is about to board the plane. The woman is played by the same person in both videos. The big difference is that the second version has the one leaving return to the person showing up at the end rather than being left standing alone.

The only other video that I can think of that is quite as beautiful, or is at least very similar, is Butterfly, where Mariah Carey got veteran cinematographer, Daniel Pearl, to co-direct it with her.

The video was shot by Marc Reshovsky. He worked mainly as a cinematographer. However, he did get behind the camera for a few music videos like Nothin’ But A Good Time by Poison and I Remember You by Skid Row.

I’ve included the trailer below for the documentary made about the album, Mystery Girl, that was directed by Orbison’s son, Alex Orbison:

Also, assuming it is still up, here is Bono singing the song:

It’s amazing how much it sounds like something Bono would write, but it’s still inextricably linked to Orbison’s voice.


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