Music Video Of The Day: Everybody Wants To Rule The World (1985, directed by Nigel Dick)

Yesterday, when I wrote about the video for Shout by Tears For Fears, I apparently made up a song that doesn’t actually exist.  I wrote that Shout was the band’s signature song, along with Everyone Wants To Rule The World.  I also wrote about the joint vocalist of Tears for Fears, Richard Orzabal.  Not only did I make up a song that didn’t exist but I also created an extra member of Tears For Fears.  As everyone knows, the song is called Everybody Wants To Rule The World and the singer is named Roland Orzabal.  I don’t know how I screwed up those two simple facts last night.  Maybe I was writing from Earth-2.

For many people, Everybody Wants To Rule The World will always be the song from Real Genius.  The song actually first appeared on the 1985 album, Songs From The Big Chair, for which it was a last-minute addition.  Roland Orzabal has said that he originally felt that the song was too lightweight and that it wouldn’t be a good fit with the rest of the album but producer Chris Hughes convinced Orzabal to include the song.  Hughes felt that the song would chart well in America and he turned out to be correct.  Would the song have been as popular if it had been called by its original title, Everybody Wants To Go To War?  That’s like asking if War and Peace would have been as much of a success if Tolstoy had called it War!  What Is It Good For?

As for the video, it features Curt Smith driving through the desert, people racing dune buggies, men dancing in front of gas pumps, and the Cabazon Dinosaurs.  The scenes of Curt in the desert were filmed in California and Nevada while the scenes of Tears For Fears performing were shot in London.  Curt Smith has said that the shooting of the video was a “disaster” and that there was a serious accident involving the dune buggies that led to a child being thrown from one of the vehicles and hitting his head on a rock, leaving him temporarily unconscious.  Despite all of the difficulty involved in shooting the video, it was still placed in heavy rotation on MTV and played no small role in making the song a hit.

Everybody Wants To Rule The World spent two weeks as the number one song in the U.S.  In the UK, it peaked at number two, the only thing keeping it from reach the top being the charity single, We Are The World.

Music Video Of The Day: Shout By Tears For Fears (1984, directed by Nigel Dick)

Tears For Fears frontman Roland Orzabal and keyboardist Ian Stanley were both practitioners of primal scream therapy, in which people confronted their fears and insecurities by shouting.  This song was inspired by both the treatment and political protest.

The video, which was put in heavy rotation on MTV and become one of the defining videos and songs of the 1980s, features Orazbal and Curt Smith letting it all out on the cliffside at Durdle Door in Dorset.  The video was one of the 300-something videos to have been directed by Nigel Dick, who has done videos for almost everyone.

Shout spend three weeks as the number one single in the US and has since become Tears for Fears signature song, along with Everybody Wants To Rule The World.

Music Video of the Day: Heart and Soul by T’Pau (1987, directed by ????)

In an interview with the now-defunct Kicking It Old School Blog, T’Pau’s Carol Decker explained the genesis of the song that would become Heart and Soul.  It all began when her bandmate and then-boyfriend Ron Rogers purchased a new keyboard with a built-in synthesizer:

“He was just trying to get used to the gizmos in it and while messing around with the sequencer he started the ‘bum bum buh buh bum bum bum’ of the bass riff. T’PauI started to sing a melody over it, the wafty vocal and came up with ‘more than an ocean keeps us apart.’ … The lyrics were about when I went on holiday with my parents and Ronnie couldn’t come. I missed him so much, but then I morphed the story into a fictitious one of not being loved back (which I was) … The rap was the idea of Andy Piercy, our then producer. He said the gaps needed filling, so I started these syncopated sort of nonsense noises. I then turned those noises into words which took about a week to get right.”

The song reached #4 in both the U.S. and the UK Charts.  In the UK, it became a hit after it was used in a clothing advertisement while, in America, its success was largely credited to the above music video, which was put into heavy rotation on MTV.

The song is best known for its vocal layering, with Decker’s melody lines coming in over the rap.  Stylistically, the video’s is similarly layered, resulting in a perfect synthesis of audio and visual.

Heart and Soul is song that epitomizes an era.  Personally, I have fond memories of fleeing from the Liberty City police while listening to it.

Everything’s better with a little heart and soul.

And yes, T’Pau was named after a Vulcan who appeared on an episode of Star Trek.  Before Decker saw that episode of Star Trek, the band was called Talking America.

The original T’Pau

Music Video of the Day: Don’t You Want Me by The Human League (1981, directed by Steve Barron)

Inspired by a story that the Human League’s Phil Oakley read in a teen-girl’s magazine, Don’t You Want Me is a song not about love but instead a song about two people battling for control.  While the song was originally conceived as being a male solo, Oakley made the last-minute decision to turn it into a duet, with Susan Ann Sulley taking on the role of the girl who once worked in a cocktail bar but always knew she was meant for a much better life.

After the song was recorded, Oakley disliked it because he felt that the song’s sound was too “poppy” and he was not happy when Virgin decided to release Don’t You Want Me as the fourth single off of The Human League’s third studio album, Dare!  Despite Oakley’s misgivings, Don’t You Want Me went on to become the band’s biggest hit and one of its signature songs.

(As of 2014, Phil Oakley still didn’t think much of the song.  In an interview with Classic Pop Magazine, Oakley said, “‘Don’t You Want Me‘ might have shifted gazillions, but either I’ve heard it too many times or the rest of Dare! is just so far ahead that it puts it in the shade. Still, it made the band.”)

The music video was shot at a time when MTV was still in its infancy and many people weren’t even sure what a music video was supposed to be.  Filmed on a cold, rainy night in Slough, Berkshire, the video featured Phil Oakley as a director and Susan Ann Sulley as the actress who walks out on him during the filming of a murder-mystery.  Director Steve Barron used 35mm film, giving the video a richly cinematic look that was unusual for the music videos of the time.  Reportedly, Barron was influenced by Truffaut’s Day For Night, which is why the clapper board features the inscription, Le League Humain.

The video not only helped to make the song a hit but it also did the same for MTV itself.  At a time when many were still wondering if people would actually watch MTV, the popularity of this video gave them a reason to do just that.  The video proved that music videos didn’t have to just be bland performance clips.  Instead, like any film, a music video could tell a story of its very own.

Don’t You Want Me was the 1981 Christmas number one in the UK, where it has sold over 1,560,000 copies, making it the 23rd most successful single in the history of the UK Singles Chart.  In 2015, in an ITV poll, it was voted the 7th most popular number one single of all time.

Music Video of the Day: True Faith by New Order (1987, directed by Philippe Decouflé)

As is the case with many of New Order’s songs, the meaning of True Faith depends on who you ask.

True Faith has long been assumed to be about the sense of detachment felt by users of heroin, an interpretation that was denied by New Order’s bassist, Peter Hook.  As he told Songfacts, “‘True Faith’ features some of the best New Order lyrics in my opinion, but no, it is not about heroin, that is not something that any of our lyrics ever touched on. I think it’s clear to see though that the lyrics do reflect being under some sort of influence.”

However, in an interview with Q Magazine, lead singer Bernard Sumner said that, though he had never used heroin, he still wrote True Faith from the perspective of someone who had.

Regardless of what it’s about, True Faith is one of New Order’s most popular songs.  It’s my second favorite, after Blue Monday.

As for the video, it was directed by the French mime, dancer, and choreographer, Philippe Decouflé.  Starting with a slap fight to end all slap fights, it also features a person in green makeup hand signing the song’s lyrics.  According to Wikipedia, the video was inspired by an earlier video performance piece that was done by the Serbian performance artists, Marina Abramović and Ulay.  I’ll have to take Wikipedia’s word on that.

Philippe Decouflé went on to direct the video for the Fine Young Cannibals’ She Drives Me Crazy, as well as choreographing the opening ceremony of the 1992 Winter Olympics.

Music Video of the Day: Touched By The Hand of God by New Order (1987, directed by Kathryn Bigelow)

23 years before she made history as the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow directed this video for New Order.

The video features the members of New Order as you’ve never seen them before.  With the band’s long hair and the codpieces and the explosions going off in the background, you might think that an aging glam metal band is trying to rip off the British new wave sound.  Instead, it’s the members of New Order, wearing wigs and poking deserved fun at the bands like Poison, Cinderella, and Great White.

While New Order performs, Bill Paxton runs through traffic and makes out with Femi Gardiner.  Bill Paxton was everywhere in 1987.

Music Video of the Day: Devil Inside by INXS (1988, directed by Joel Schumacher)

Even if you did not already know it, you could probably guess who directed this video.  Everything from the back lighting to the color filters to the fog machine to the leather jackets and the gang of shirtless body builders identifies this video as being the work of Joel Schumacher.

This video, which was filmed in Balboa, California, was made during Schumacher’s Lost Boys/Flatliners phase.  His infamous Batman films were still several years away.  INXS guitarist Kirk Pengilly has gone on record as disliking this video because he felt that, unlike the other videos that INXS was doing at the time, it was “too American.”  He was probably right.  The video’s mix of strippers, bikers, yuppies, and rent boys feels more appropriate for a film adaptation of a Bret Easton Ellis short story than an INXS song.  Even if it isn’t an ideal INXS video, Devil Inside is still probably one of the better entries in Joel Schumacher’s filmography.  If I have to choose, I will always pick this video over watching Batman and Robin.

With the video’s help, Devil Inside was one of INXS’s most popular songs in America, reaching the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100.  By comparison, it peaked at #6 in the band’s native Australia and only reached #47 in the UK.