Music Video of the Day: Maxine by Sharon O’Neill (1983, dir. ???)


We’re going back to New Zealand. This time it’s for a hit song by Sharon O’Neill called Maxine.

The video is about a prostitute named Maxine who is followed by a case worker played by O’Neill who is unable to help her. Maxine gets kidnapped and killed. O’Neill is there when they wheel her into the hospital dead. In the end, we see O’Neill lay a flower at what is supposed to be her grave before they crane the camera upward to reveal how large the graveyard is. Just like her case is #1352, her death is #???, and is lost in the crowd.

O’Neill said the following about the inspiration for the song in an interview with the NZ Herald in response to a question about why she moved to Australia:

The record company, CBS, wanted to see if they could break me in Australia so they sent me over with my Kiwi band which had Dave Dobbyn in it – he’ll josh me for saying that. We worked the pub scene five nights a week and really schlepped it.

I was living in a hotel in Kings Cross when I got the inspiration to write Maxine. She was always out there working at 3am when we’d get home bleary-eyed from a gig in Newcastle.

In that same interview, she added some info about the video in response to another question:

[Q] What do you think about the way women are portrayed in the music industry now?

[A] I find some of the videos really explicit. It’s got to the point where young girls think that’s the way it’s got to be. Back in the 1980s they wouldn’t screen the Maxine video till after 8pm because she goes into the toilets with a razor blade. You’ve got people gyrating like they’re having sex but you can’t show that because it’s drugs. I mean she’s a junkie, she dies. It’s a terribly sad story.

She’s right about the drugs part. I believe I mentioned back when I featured Twilight Zone by Golden Earring that it wasn’t just censored for the topless spy scene, but also for the couple of seconds where we see lead-singer Barry Hay injected by one of the dancers. The scene exists as a way of sending him back to the stage-dimension that may or may not be only in his mind. I wonder how they covered that up seeing as it is a key-scene. It’s not like When The Lady Smiles where they could just play some footage from earlier in the video over the parts that are still censored on YouTube today.

I’d say, enjoy, but this isn’t that kind of video.

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