Music Video of the Day: Red Guitar by David Sylvian (1984, dir. Anton Corbijn)

Corbijn himself sums up this video in the booklet included with a DVD collection of his work. You can find it here.

David saw the Propaganda video on TV & subsequently approached me for this song, his first solo single since leaving the group Japan. I had photographed him a few times in that setting, he was often seen as a teenage-pinup, poster boy, very striking and introvert appearance. For him to ask me to direct this video was making a statement I think. Anyway, it is again a challenge for me to come up with ideas and I spent a couple of days in Bruxelles in a hotel room to concentrate on that. I found it so difficult to come up with anything worthwhile – I am glad that that part of the process is less of a chore these days. What I came up with was basically lots of images that have no connection to each other and the main image is based on a photo by Angus McBean. Angus was retired by this time but was a great surrealist and I called him up to get his permission to use the photo and we ended up with him in the video. He loved it, he was a great man to spend time with but I recall he couldn’t believe he was on Top Of The Pops at age 80 and David’s voice came out of his open mouth. I did one more video with David the same year and only photographs after that. The little boy in the video I found at the Lycie Frangais in London. Can’t remember the name.

Of course there are things that would be reused later: the leaves in front of the camera, the old man, the steps, and young and old. The only other common thing I can see are the flowers. There are numerous Corbijn videos with them. There are other things too if you really want to break this video down, but I don’t want to.

Below, you can see the picture that Corbijn is speaking of, the reproduction from this video, as well as similar photos that McBean did.


30 Days Of Surrealism:

  1. Street Of Dreams by Rainbow (1983, dir. Storm Thorgerson)
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Children by Dio (1985, dir. Daniel Kleinman)
  3. The Thin Wall by Ultravox (1981, dir. Russell Mulcahy)
  4. Take Me Away by Blue Öyster Cult (1983, dir. Richard Casey)
  5. Here She Comes by Bonnie Tyler (1984, dir. ???)
  6. Do It Again by Wall Of Voodoo (1987, dir. ???)
  7. The Look Of Love by ABC (1982, dir. Brian Grant)
  8. Eyes Without A Face by Billy Idol (1984, dir. David Mallet)
  9. Somebody New by Joywave (2015, dir. Keith Schofield)
  10. Twilight Zone by Golden Earring (1982, dir. Dick Maas)
  11. Schism by Tool (2001, dir. Adam Jones)
  12. Freaks by Live (1997, dir. Paul Cunningham)
  13. Loverboy by Billy Ocean (1984, dir. Maurice Phillips)
  14. Talking In Your Sleep by The Romantics (1983, dir. ???)
  15. Talking In Your Sleep by Bucks Fizz (1984, dir. Dieter Trattmann)
  16. Sour Girl by Stone Temple Pilots (2000, dir. David Slade)
  17. The Ink In The Well by David Sylvian (1984, dir. Anton Corbijn)

One response to “Music Video of the Day: Red Guitar by David Sylvian (1984, dir. Anton Corbijn)

  1. Pingback: Music Video of the Day: Don’t Come Around Here No More by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers (1985, dir. Jeff Stein) | Through the Shattered Lens

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