Travis Strnad, RIP.
I was sorry to hear that Neal Adams, the great comic book artist who revitalized Batman and who was a tireless advocate for creator’s rights, passed away yesterday at the age of 80.
This is my favorite Neal Adams cover and I know I’m not alone. From 1978, here is Superman vs. Muhammad Ali.
Though Superman vs Ali is the main attraction, the cover features everyone from Batman to Telly Savalas to Sonny Bono to Jackie Onassis to just about everyone else was somebody in the 1970s.
Neal Adams, RIP.
For much of 1993, this song and music video was inescapable on MTV. Director Neil Abramson also directed videos for Belinda Carlisle, Enigma, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Dwight Yoakam. Soiuxsie and the Banshees and Dwight Yoakam? The music business makes for some interesting connections.
Maybe it’s the whistling at the start but I’ve always thought of this as being a Guns N’ Roses country song.
The video was directed by Nigel Dick, who has directed music videos for anybody who is anyone in music. The scenes of the band performing were filmed at The Record Plant, a legendary Los Angeles recording studio, The scenes in the hotel were filmed at the Ambassador, which is the same hotel where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 shortly after winning California’s Democratic presidential primary. At the time the video was shot, the Ambassador had been closed down and was scheduled to be demolished. (It would be another 17 years before the hotel actually was torn down.)
This was the final Guns N’ Roses video to feature drummer Steve Adler, who was fired from the band after the video was shot. Most people who have seen this video will probably agree that the snake is the true star of the production.
Today will not be that bad if I can introduce just one person to Carmel, one of the best bands that has never really gotten its due. Carmel was formed in 1981 and they’re still performing, touring, and recording new music. Their latest album came out in February of this year.
This video was directed by Dee Trattmann, who also directed several videos for Cliff Richard. I think every British music video director of a certain age did a video or two for Cliff.
Today, we give a shoutout to Wales with the music video for Spirit of 76, which was written and performed by the Welsh band, The Alarm. In the 80s, The Alarm earned an international fanbase by opening for U2 and, later, Bob Dylan. Just as U2 will always be associated with Ireland, The Alarm will always be associated with Wales. The band is still together and still proudly Wlesh.
This video was directed by Nick Morris, who was one of the busiest music directors of the 80s and the 90s. He also did music videos for Cinderalla, Toto, The Rainmakers, Jennifer Rush, Europe, Eddie Money, Cliff Richard, Warren, and Radiohead among others.
How did Ozzy Osbourne come to sing a song about television’s most famous lawyer?
Apparently, it came from a session of guitarist Zakk Wylde and keyboardist John Sinclair just improvising. Wylde liked what they came up with and when he shared the music with Osbourne, Osbourne made up the lyrics on the spot. No one seems to know why Ozzy Osbourne had Perry Mason on his mind that particular day. Maybe he had been watching TV.
The music video features a young girl walking through what appears to be death row and spotting Osbourne performing the song in a cell. It was directed by Ralph Ziman, a South African director who, along with doing anti-Apartheid feature films, had also directed the video for the Ozzy Osbourne’s previous hit, No More Tears. It only made sense to bring him back for Perry Mason.
John Wayne is John Weston, the man from Utah. He’s a singing cowboy, the type who rides from town to town and sings to his horse while they’re crossing the range. John Wayne started his career in singing cowboy movies and he often complained that he wasn’t allowed to actually sing. Instead, his singing voice was always dubbed and it rarely matched his speaking voice. Audiences in 1934 may not have noticed but, for audiences today, there’s no way to hear John Weston sing and think, “That’s John Wayne.”
John Weston rides into town and guns down three bank robbers. The Marshal (George “Gabby” Hayes) is so impressed that he hires Weston and then sends him undercover into the local rodeo. The Marshal thinks the rodeo is corrupt because any rodeo rider who comes close to winning the prize money mysteriously dies of snakebite. That does seem suspicious. Weston discovers that Spike Barton (Edward Peil, Sr.) is murdering the riders and is planning on stealing the prize money for himself. Can the Man from Utah stop him without getting snakebit?
The Man From Utah features John Wayne in an early starring role, playing the type of character that he would later become famous for, the no-nonsense westerner who will do whatever he has to do to make sure justice is served. Though it would be another five years before Stagecoach made him a certifiable movie star, Wayne is already a confident hero in The Man From Utah. He only seems uncertain when he has to pretend to sing and it’s a good thing that John Ford helped him to leave the singing cowboy genre behind. If Wayne had entered Stagecoach singing a song to his horse, it would have been a much different movie.
The Man From Utah is also full of actual rodeo stock footage, most of which is exciting if you’re into that type of thing. The only problem is that most of the people at the rodeo are wearing modern clothing, making them seem out-of-place in a movie about the old west! Overall, though, The Man From Utah is a good and simple Western programmer and will be appreciated by fans of the genre.
You can thank Thor for today’s music video of the day.
This video was shot in the Mendiola’s Ballroom at Huntington Park, California. All of the band’s then-girlfriends are featured in the clip. Erin Everly was dating Axl Rose at the time and he wrote the lyrics with her specifically in mind. Sally McLaughlin was dating Slash. Steven Adler was dating Cheryl Swiderski while Duff McKagan was going out with Mandy Brx and Izzy Stradlin was seeing Angela Nicoletti. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of those people are still together but the song still rocks.
The video was directed by Nigel Dick, which is not surprising. From the 80s to the present day, being a star means that Nigel Dick will eventually end up directing a music video for you. Along with doing several other videos for Guns N’ Roses, he’s also done videos for Nickelback, Il Divo, R.E.M., Barry Manilow, Britney Spears, Madness, Iron Maiden, and pretty much every other band that’s ever had a major recording contract. Did his work with Iron Maiden and Guns N’ Roses prepare him to work with Barry Manilow? We may never know.