Music Video of the Day: Runaway by Bon Jovi (1984, dir. Michael Cuesta)

Back to the book, I Want My MTV, again. One thing I’d like to make clear before I start is that if there is one group that dominates that book, then it’s Bon Jovi.

Doc McGhee [managed Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, Scorpions, and Skid Row at the height of each band’s career]: I’d just starting to manage Bon Jovi when we did the video for “Runaway.” There’s a chubby girl who’s a runaway, but she has laser eyes, and the band is playing in a warehouse that’s burning. In the ’80s, every video had to look like Escape from New York. Something had to be on fire, and you had to be in an alley that was wet, or else you couldn’t shoot a video.

Seen here! A chubby girl.

Also, lasers!

Okay, so McGhee’s memory might not be so good. I can give him a break on both counts. I have to imagine that in 1984, he was bombarded with so many models trying out for these parts that Jennifer Gatti actually does look chubby reaching back around 30 years in his mind.

You might know Gatti from playing Ba’el on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Star Trek: The Next Generation — Birthright, Part II (1993)

Cut to a few years later after the rocky start with Runaway:

Doc McGhee: I mean, MTV was playing so much Mötley and Bon Jovi, I’d have to tell them, “You’re overexposing my artists. If you don’t take them off the air, I’m not going to give you another video.” I was fighting to get less airplay, not more.

Len Epand [was a video production executive for PolyGram Records]: Once Bon Jovi established a winning style on “Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer,” we pulled their prior videos out of circulation. They were all deemed embarrassing, or at least not the right image. We notified all video outlets, including MTV, that they were no longer licensed for use. I doubt they ever appeared on broadcast again.

Luckily, the video is up officially on YouTube. While not being fond of the video, the band apparently still plays the song during concerts. It’s on the greatest hits album of there’s that I have. I can understand why they pulled this video back then. They had hit on a winning image with videos like Livin’ On A Prayer. They ran that formula into the ground, but still, it worked.

Len Epand: For “Runaway,” we used a commercial director named Michael Cuesta, who had no music-video experience.

I can’t only find one other credit for Cuesta–Crow Dog (1979). I’m not even sure that entry on IMDb is him because there is another Michael Cuesta who has been successful as a producer and director.

Bob Montgomery (Robert Mont) was the producer. I can only find a couple of music video credits for him.


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