Music Video of the Day: Dancing With Myself by Billy Idol (1983, dir by Tobe Hooper)

Hi!  Lisa here, filling in for Val, with today’s music video of the day!

On Saturday night, fans of both film and horror were saddened to learn of the death of Tobe Hooper.  Tobe Hooper was a Texas original, a fiercely iconoclastic director who totally changed the face of horror when he directed a low-budget shocker called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

When it came time to pick today’s music video of the day, I decided to see if Tobe Hooper had ever directed a music video.  It turned out that he directed exactly one and here it is:

According to almost everyone online, Dancing With Myself is a song about masturbation.  However, Idol himself says that the song’s lyrics are actually meant to be quite literal.  The song actually is about dancing with yourself.  Here’s how it’s explained over on Songfacts:

“This song is commonly thought to be about masturbation, but it’s really more about dancing by yourself. Billy got the idea after watching Japanese kids at a Tokyo disco “dancing with themselves” in a nightclub. The kids would dance in a pogo style up and down, and there were mirrors in the club so they could watch themselves doing it… This song is about more than just dancing. Idol told Rolling Stone: “The song really is about people being in a disenfranchised world where they’re left bereft, dancing with their own reflections.”

As for how Tobe Hooper came to direct the video … well, I have no idea.  I imagine he was hired because of his fame as the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  This video came out a year after the original Poltergeist, a film that Hooper is credited with directing but which many people believed was actually directed by producer Steven Spielberg.  (Poltergeist was a huge hit but the rumors of Hooper being a director-in-name-only permanently and unfairly damaged Hooper’s reputation.)  As far as I know, this is the only music video that Tobe Hooper directed.

As for the video, it features neither masturbation nor Japanese nightclubs.  Instead, it appears to be taking place in a post-apocalyptic setting.  The beginning of the video reminds me a bit of Hooper’s underrated slasher film, The Funhouse.

Anyway, enjoy!



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