Music Video of the Day: The Touch by Stan Bush (1986, dir. John Beug & Ray Villalobos [aka Reynaldo Villalobos])


Another year. Another Transformers movie.

I’ve seen all the Michael Bay films, so I don’t know anything about the Transformers other than what I have picked up from Phelous’ review of Transformers (G1), a top 20 list of the funniest/dumbest moments from G1, and a top 20 list of the funniest/dumbest moments from Headmasters.

That means I know that the Transformers movie that this song was used in had kids crying in the theater because it killed off a lot of the characters they loved from the series, which is funny since IMDb tells me Optimus Prime is gone in the latest one.

I know that there is a fictional Middle Eastern country in the Transformers universe called Carbombya. Why?

Also, Sea Spray falls in love with a mermaid, and jumps into a magic pool to transform into a merman.

The song is amazing and has been used in a lot of other places. Probably because it wasn’t written for Transformers. It was based off a line from Iron Eagle (1986) where Louis Gosset Jr. says, “Kid, you’ve got the touch.” He planned for it to be used in the film Cobra (1986), but it ended up in Transformers instead. I’ve seen it used at the end of a review of the religious propaganda show Deception Of A Generation. It was also used in Boogie Nights (1997) where it was performed by Mark Wahlberg. Amazing.

As for the video, there are some ties to Michael Bay. One of the directors, John Beug, who was the senior vice president of video production for Warner Bros. Records said the following about Bay in the book I Want My MTV:

John Beug: Michael Bay did a couple of videos for me. I don’t think I was particularly encouraging to his career, shall we say. He did a Chicago video, and I told him I wasn’t blown away by his talent, which he reminded me of at the Pearl Harbor premiere ten years later.

There’s a sad tie between Beug and that particular movie, but you can look that up yourself.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from I Want My MTV about Michael Bay thanks to Juliana Roberts, Joni Sighvatsson, and Jeff Ayeroff:

Juliana Roberts [A music-video, film, and TV producer. She was a producer for Propaganda Film’s hard rock division, The Foundry]: Michael kind of worshipped David Fincher. We’d always crack up, because Michael would follow David around the Propaganda offices.

Joni Sighvatsson [A movie producer and a cofounder of Propaganda Films]: Fincher and Bay became adversaries. It wasn’t spoken, but it created a great deal of tension. Fincher was sophisticated. He was inspired by great photographers such as Robert Frank and Horst P. Horst. Bay was a technical genius like Fincher, but he had the mind of a teenager. His sensibility was juvenile.

Jeff Ayeroff [Was a creative director of Warner Bros. Records and the cochairman of Virgin Records America]: Michael Bay was known as “the little Fincher.” They said, “He’s not as artistic, but he’s got drive. He’s gonna chew through everything.” He did the Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself” for me at Virgin. He was an ego-fucking-maniac.

There are some kinder ones in there too. But I figured that if I didn’t know about his relationship with Fincher before this section of the book, then there had to be others out there that don’t either.

Personally, I can’t stand Michael Bay because he clearly has a lot of talent, but for some reason has decided not to use it…most of the time.

The video was also directed by Reynaldo Villalobos who is an accomplished cinematographer.

The video was produced by both John Beug and Kim Dempster. Dempster produced at least nine music videos, including four of them for David Fincher. She also directed the movie Marmalade (2004).

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Talking In Your Sleep by The Romantics (1983, dir. ???)


This is another one of those music videos where I have no idea why there isn’t a director listed anywhere. I can tell you why they look like they just woke up in this video. I don’t have the book yet, but by way of Songfacts, the book MTV Ruled The World: The Early Years Of Music Video has a quote from lead-singer Jimmy Marinos where he mentions that they shot the video at 8:00 AM–“not really rock ‘n’ roll hours.”

I’ve heard this song so many times, but I can’t say I paid much attention to the video. I have questions.

The video starts off, and we see someone taking off their shoe and what looks like a dress. That’s followed by this lady pointing at the floor.

I wouldn’t think anything of it were it not for the fact that the next shot is of her taking off her bra, before the shot of her arms in the air to have her PJs fall onto her.

Then one of the weirdest parts of the video happens. The band appears to rise from the tarp.

Given their outfits, it really looks like they were part of the tarp, rose, and took on the form of human beings.

We get some shots of them walking amongst this place where apparently all women go when they sleep.

It begs the question, where do the men go?

Now we get a shot of only the lead-singer.

Then the other members of the band pop into the shot.

Now we know they can do that effect.

One of the members of the band walks between two lines of the women like he works at a camp and is making sure all the kids are asleep. The women appear to reach out either to grab him or to hold onto each other’s hands.

That means that their presence effects sleep. Case in point, the next set of shots.

They have magical powers? Will this transformation carry over to the real world? Is this temporary? Is he fulfilling her dream by making her look the way she wishes she did? By that, I mean a 1950’s icon to go with the band’s appearance.

After some more shots of the band playing so that they can finish the song, we can see the band walking off like they are ghosts.

So, why the rising from the floor bit? I mean other than that it looks neat. Were they ghosts this whole time?

Finally, the women appear to be waking up before the camera quickly fades to black.

Does that mean they live there? If the camera had stayed on them longer, would they have teleported out? Is there a reason they didn’t have the band walk out of frame, and then have all the women fade out of the shot to imply they are leaving the dreamworld? We already saw that they could teleport people into the video because they did with the shots of the band.

I really hope the music video for the Bucks Fizz cover version is more straightforward-no it isn’t.

Enjoy!

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)

Music Video of the Day: Cloudbusting by Kate Bush (1985, dir. Julian Doyle)


Happy Father’s Day!

I had this video picked out as far back as last year to do for today. What I didn’t know is that Wikipedia already has a nice article about it that pretty much covers anything I would say. Here are the two relevant passages from the article:

The song is about the very close relationship between psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich and his young son, Peter, told from the point of view of the mature Peter. It describes the boy’s memories of his life with Reich on their family farm, called Orgonon where the two spent time “cloudbusting”, a rain-making process which involved pointing at the sky a machine designed and built by Reich, called a cloudbuster. The lyric further describes Wilhelm Reich’s abrupt arrest and imprisonment, the pain of loss the young Peter felt, and his helplessness at being unable to protect his father. The song was inspired by Peter Reich’s 1973 memoir, A Book of Dreams, which Bush read and found deeply moving.

The music video, directed by Julian Doyle, was conceived by Terry Gilliam and Kate Bush as a short film. The video features Canadian actor Donald Sutherland playing the role of Wilhelm Reich, and Bush in the role of his young son, Peter. The video shows the two on the top of a hill trying to make the cloudbuster work. Reich leaves Peter on the machine and returns to his lab. In flashback, he remembers several times he and Peter enjoyed together as Reich worked on various scientific projects, until he is interrupted by government officials who arrest him and ransack the lab. Peter senses his father’s danger and tries to reach him, but is forced to watch helplessly as his father is driven away. Peter finally runs back to the cloudbuster and activates it successfully, to the delight of his father who sees it starting to rain.

Filming took place at The Vale of White Horse in Oxfordshire, England. The hill on which the machine is positioned is Dragon Hill, immediately below the Uffington White Horse, a prehistoric hill carving which can be seen briefly in a couple of the shots. Bush found out in which hotel Sutherland was staying from actress Julie Christie’s hairdresser and went to his room to personally ask him to participate in the project. In the UK, the music video was shown at some cinemas as an accompaniment to the main feature. Due to difficulties on obtaining a work visa for Sutherland at short notice, the actor offered to work on the video for free. Although the events depicted in the story took place in Maine, the newspaper clipping in the music video reads “The Oregon Times,” likely a reference to Reich’s home and laboratory “Orgonon”.

The Cloudbusting machine in the video was designed and constructed by people who worked on the Alien creature and bears only a superficial resemblance to the real cloudbusters, which were smaller and with multiple narrow, straight tubes and pipes, and were operated while standing on the ground. In a reference to the source material of the song, Bush pulls a copy of Peter Reich’s “A Book of Dreams” out of Sutherland’s coat.

The full length video features a longer version of the song which is different from the Organon Mix released on 12 Inch.

If you go to the article and follow the cited sources, then it’s like taking a trip back to the 1990’s Internet. The most interesting thing I noticed in one of those sources is from an interview on SuicideGirls with Donald Sutherland:

DRE: How was it being in the video for Kate Bushs video for Cloudbursting?

DS: Shes such a stoner. She was great. She came out of this camper at eight in the morning smoking a joint and I said What are you doing? and she said, I havent been straight for eight years. I got into the video because Kate found out from Julie Christies hairdresser that I was staying at The Savoy. She came and knocked on my door. She was so small that when I opened the door I didnt see anybody. I looked down and there she was. She told me she wanted me to play Wilhelm Reich. I wanted to be able to create a character that could hold a child by his feet and hit him against the side of a building and turn his head into a squashed pumpkin, which is what we did. So it so profoundly impressed me that she wanted to do that. I adored her. I thought she was great.

There are two things I can add since they aren’t mentioned in the article.

The government agents going down the steps remind the audience of the Odessa Steps scene from Battleship Potemkin (1925).

Battleship Potemkin (1925, dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein)

Battleship Potemkin (1925, dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein)

The other thing is that Wilhelm Reich did a lot of work in the area of sex, which included a 1936 book called The Sexual Revolution–the original title is Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf (“sexuality in the culture war”). Here is a comparison between an actual cloudbuster and the one in the video as it is shown at the emotional climax.

Reich also did work specifically on the orgasm, such as his book Die Funktion des Orgasmus (“The Function of the Orgasm”). The way the cloudbuster was supposed to work involved what Reich called “orgone energy”, that is from the word “orgasm.”

Here are a couple of interviews with Kate Bush from back when the video was released:

Assuming they are still up, note that J.J. Jackson slips up in the interview. That’s early MTV for you.

A fun fact about J.J. Jackson is that he was hired by mistake. Here’s the story from the book I Want My MTV:

John Sykes: The J.J. Jackson we hired wasn’t the J.J. we meant to hire.

Robert Morton: That’s true. Pittman’s one direction to us was “Find a black VJ.” He told us about a guy named J.J. Johnson, and said, “He’s really good. Track him down.” So I looked all over for J.J. Johnson. Subsequently, I found out who he was; a very good-looking black guy who had a great voice. But I couldn’t find him. I called every radio station in the country. Finally I called KMEL in San Francisco and said, “Do you have a guy named J.J. Johnson working for you?” They said, “No, but we have J.J. Jackson.” I said, “Well, let me talk to him.” We auditioned him and I said to Pittman, “Here’s your J.J.”

The video was directed by Julian Doyle who has worked on several Monty Python related films such as Life of Brian (1979), Time Bandits (1975), and Brazil (1985). He’s done other work as well. As for music videos, I can find six credits. He also played the police sergeant who puts his hand over the camera at the end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, dir. Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones)

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Loverboy by Billy Ocean (1984, dir. Maurice Phillips)


I’m not very knowledgable about Billy Ocean. But if there’s a stranger Billy Ocean video, then I wanna see it.

The video starts off, and we see Ocean get trapped inside a triangle.

After traveling through the universe, we finally land on the alien planet of the UK.

More specifically, the outdoor set of the video for Shout by Tears For Fears.

Shout by Tears For Fears (1984)

We follow this guy along the beach for some reason…

even though our hero looks different when he arrives.

After posing for the music video thumbnail…

we start to enter this cave along with the Billy Ocean triangle. There’s all kinds inside, but our hero goes right over to the BarBot.

Ocean continues to be trapped inside of a triangle.

Our hero spots, who I assume he’s here to find.

They exchange some glances, and he responds by whipping his tongue in the air.

Oral sex? It’s not a stretch considering the lyrics, the song title, and these followup shots.

Dog sailor.

Horny.

Johnny Wadd.

If this car is rockin’, don’t come knockin’.

After that, we see that Ocean is now trapped in the mirror from Superman 2.

He gets hit by some sort of phaser, which appears to force him into the shape of a cube.

Back in the bar, things are coming to a head, as he, and the people around the woman he wants, exchange some glances. This includes our hero once again, throwing his tongue up in the air.

The BarBot…

and one of Kang and Kodos’ cousins has to see what’s about to happen.

Someone is a fan of Star Wars because I have no idea who shot first.

Let’s go!

Meanwhile outside, the sand people who are indigenous to the limestone ridge on the Jurassic Coast near Lulworth in Dorset, England–or Durdle Door for short–are worshipping the Billy Ocean cube.

Look honey, I know you’re not exactly enthusiastic about this, but it’s for the best.

Cliff Richard needs this set in 6 years to do a music video for the song Saviour’s Day.

Saviour's Day by Cliff Richard (1990)

Saviour’s Day by Cliff Richard (1990)

They ride off, and we get our hero raising his hand in…victory?

So, he saved the girl, but he seems to have left poor Billy Ocean trapped in a cube.

Speaking of which, was that cube supposed to be a window to that island in the background?

I came across this one by pure chance. Occasionally YouTube surfaces an older music video I haven’t seen or written about. This is one of them.

The video was directed by Maurice Phillips, who seems to have done only a handful of videos in the 1980s. A couple of them are kind of weird as well–like the one for Lies by Thompson Twins that includes a giant rabbit. Phillips would go on to work in film and TV. He directed Another You (1991). He passed away in 2012.

Enjoy!

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)

Music Video of the Day: Freaks by Live (1997, dir. Paul Cunningham)


Back in the 1990s, I could recite the standard line-up: Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, The Offspring, Green Day, and others. Live would always be the band I would recall after that–despite them being one of my favorites. For me, it’s Ed Kowalczyk’s voice. I’m sure it’s changed by now, but I recall during one of the SNL anniversary shows that they were the only band that received standing ovations during the two times that they played the show. According to Wikipedia, they played I Alone the first time and Lakini’s Juice the second time. There’s just something so powerful and uplifting about his voice.

Also, back in the 1990s, I saw a couple of Live music videos, but the only one I could definitively recall is Lightning Crashes. I had faint memories of something involving a tiny tub. It took me a bit to find out that was the video for Lakini’s Juice. I knew the song. I just never saw the video. Or, if I did, I had no memory of it.

There are several parts of this music video that I like a lot. Peter Guinness–the actor playing the guy who enters the nightclub. The ending is memorable because of its syncing with the music and because that’s when it gets really weird.

Finally, I love this shot below.

That doesn’t look like something Kowalczyk was told to do. That looks like he was smiling at something off-camera or thought the shot was done.

I looked around and couldn’t find anything on this video other than where it was in the playlist for MTV in 1997 according to Billboard magazine. I also still haven’t come across any books that cover music videos after the first ten years of MTV. In fact, it looks like it hasn’t been till the current decade that people have started writing bios and general history of that period of music videos and MTV.

The video was directed by Paul Cunningham.

It was produced by Niki Amos.

It was edited by Scot Crane.

I can find only a handful of music video credits for any of them.

Enjoy!

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)

Music Video of the Day: Schism by Tool (2001, dir. Adam Jones)


Ah, Schism. This has to be the most posted music video I have ever seen. You want to watch it on YouTube? You can. Vimeo? Absolutely. Dailymotion? Of course. There is even at least one reaction video to this music video. Even though I never got into Tool, this song and music video have stuck with me 15+ years later. My reaction at the time was that this is one weird video and I love the song. I still think that. If you’ve never seen this, then do so now.

The video was directed by their guitarist, Adam Jones.

It was produced by Robyn Breen and Kevin Willis.

It was edited by Lee Cowan.

Enjoy!

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)