Music Video of the Day: Romancing The Stone by Eddy Grant (1984, dir. ???)


Yes, that Romancing The Stone (1984). Apparently, they went all out here. They got an artist who was born in South America. They made this video, which incorporated footage from the film. They even did a short behind-the-scenes thing below where we find out that the mountain in this video was specially constructed, and that Eddy is drinking a non-alcoholic beverage. I doubt it was constructed for Grant, but I could be wrong. It’s not unheard of for countries to bend over backwards to help a film get made in their country such as Jordan did for Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights (1998).

Regardless, they cut the song from the movie. I guess they realized their mistake after the movie did so well, and not only had Billy Ocean do a song for the sequel, but even got Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, and Michael Douglas to be backup singers in the music video.

I love when Kathleen Turner’s suitcase is thrown, hits the ground in front of Grant, and then he looks up to see his machete come back down to him having changed into a guitar. Also, for some reason I like seeing Grant casually walking along carrying a machete. I think it’s a fun video that did a good job of incorporating Grant into footage from the movie.

This one also comes with, what I assume was a TV performance that had set pieces.

Maybe it was the same show that Adam Ant performed Goody Two Shoes on. It looks like it.

Oh, and yes, there are two versions of this music video…and of the Billy Ocean one as well.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: No More Lies by Michel’le (1989, dir. Jane Simpson)


Full confession, I have not seen Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le (2016). I did watch that movie called Britney Ever After (2017) a few days ago. I think it was about Britney Spears, but it was tough to tell. I’m pretty sure that Oops!…I Did It Again didn’t have anything to do with falling out of a car while perving on Brad Pitt.

Anyways, I did hear enough about Surviving Compton to know that this video is more than just a visual representation of an R&B/Soul song about leaving someone who is lying to you. From what I’ve read, this is rather close to what reality was for her at the time this video was made.

There really isn’t much to the video other than it being close to reality, and the song having a nice mix of Michel’le talking over her larynx, and singing from her diaphragm–that’s what creates the difference in her singing and speaking voice. I just thought some people might be curious to see one of her music videos if they haven’t already.

I’m positive there are some cameos in here that I should recognize. The only one that jumped out at me was Eazy-E, but that was because of the sunglasses and the “Compton” hat. I have no doubt that Dre is in here. I am just not familiar enough with how he looked at this time to say where he is in here. It makes sense that they would both be in here. They are both in her video for the song Nicety.

Jane Simpson directed this music video. She seems to have done around 50 of them. A fair number of them for Concrete Blonde. She has done some other work, including Number One Fan (1995) and Little Witches (1996).

Spoiler alert! Little Witches isn’t very good. However, it is kind of fun going into it knowing that it was done by a director who started off in music videos. You can tell at times. In much the same way that you can when you watch Leslie Libman’s Britney Ever After, who also started in music videos.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: We The People…. by A Tribe Called Quest (2016, dir. James Larese)


I figured it was appropriate to follow up Fight The Power by Public Enemy with this music video. I think the music video does an excellent job. I was going to try and interpret the whole video, but I have trouble with lyrics and what I see as the ending, seems to be in direct contradiction with what the director says he intended in the behind-the-scenes video at the end of this post. So, I’ll leave it mostly to you.

I cannot let the post go without mentioning my thoughts on the ending though. The video would appear to have the people following the cords that should lead back to the band. The director even says in the behind-the-scenes video that they do arrive where the band is broadcasting from. But that’s not what you see in the video. It almost gets there with the people running down what should be the tunnels leading to the room, and you can even see a shot in the behind-the-scenes video with them in the room, but it isn’t in the video. I have a feeling that behind-the-scenes video was shot, and then some editing was done to the finished product. The end of the video has Q-Tip alone while a siren plays, then cuts to the protest. I can imagine Q-Tip personally telling Larese that having them show up in the same room as him would defeat the point of the song. It would show the people not rising up for themselves. It would show people rallying to a new king, so to speak. In other words, to borrow from Ozzy Osbourne, since the song does sample Black Sabbath:

“You gotta believe in someone
Asking me who is right
Asking me who to follow
Don’t ask me
I don’t know
I don’t know
I don’t know
I don’t know”
–I Don’t Know by Ozzy Osbourne

I can see them cutting Q-Tip actually seeing them arrive, and instead abruptly cut to the protest. That’s how I read it.

They sample the Black Sabbath song Behind The Wall Of Sleep, which is appropriate since they also did War Pigs and The Mob Rules.

I’ve included War Pigs (live & studio) and The Mob Rules by Black Sabbath below since they are relevant to this song. I’m guessing that the siren at the end is from, or at least a reference to the one from War Pigs, which began the song, rather than ended it.

James Larese directed the video and Cisco Newman produced it. Thanks to BWW Music World we have this quote from Larese:

“I was hugely influenced by Tribe growing up and never imagined I’d be here directing their video. They are just as relevant today as they were 20 years ago. ‘We the People’ touched me on a visceral level. One of the reasons I co-founded Triggr & Bloom, perhaps the main reason, was to position my art to a higher purpose. Working with them was an incredible affirmation for me.”
–James Larese

I can find that Newman has worked on 15-20 music videos in the past few years. He was even nominated for a Grammy for “Weird Al” Yankovic’s music video for Perform This Way.

Here is when A Tribe Called Quest performed We The People…. on SNL:

Finally, here is the behind-the-scenes video that was put out on the video:

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Fight The Power by Public Enemy (1989, dir. Spike Lee)


I had to do this video eventually. It’s one of those that’s so infamous that I’m going to point you to the Wikipedia article. I have no intention of discussing the messy history of Public Enemy. I will also point you to the video the Rap Critic did on the song.

I’m posting this while it’s still relevant to mention that this was the theme song for Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing (1989), which was the movie Barack and Michelle went to see on their first date.

As for the people who worked on the video, I honestly had no idea that Spike Lee directed music videos. According to mvdbase, he has done about 40 of them going back to White Lines by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five in 1983. Oh, and yes, Lee did direct Hip Hop Hooray by Naughty By Nature. I guess that’s where that urban legend came from that Obama was in that music video.

The video was shot by Ernest Dickerson. He seems to have only shot 4 music videos, but there is one that is noteworthy considering he did this one. He shot Born In The U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen. Dickerson went on to do a lot of work as both a cinematographer and a director, including episodes of The Walking Dead and the movie Juice (1992).

Hank Blumenthal was the script supervisor for this music video. I’m not sure if I’ve ever come across that credit before on a music video. He appears to have worked on about 10 music videos and has worked as a producer.

If you haven’t seen Do The Right Thing, then do so. If you haven’t heard this song or seen the video, then also do so.

Music Video of the Day: America by Kurtis Blow (1985, dir. Claude Borenzweig)


This is another one where I will let the people involved do the talking. In this case, it’s editor Glenn Lazzaro whose work we have already seen several times on here. You can click his name in the tags section to see the music videos I have done so far that he worked on. Credit goes to 99Tigers for putting up a post up containing the following:

Posted by Glenn Lazzaro for his series “Adventures in Television”

National Video Center, New York City, 1985.

In the early ’80s when hip hop & rap were first noticed by the mainstream, most of the music videos were dance tracks and for the most part, devoid of political messages. Then Kurtis Blow released the single “America” and all that changed. It was a political rant about everything that was happening during the Reaganomics-Cold War-Anti-Russian era in America. Claude Borenzweig, then working at Polygram Records, was editing & directing internal projects when he got the chance to direct the “America” music video. Claude came up with the idea of a classroom filled with kids where Kurtis would teach them the “real” history of America. David Brownstein and Len Epand produced the shoot for Claude on the main stage at National Video. They shot on videotape using the giant, old-school studio cameras that were usually used to shoot “Sexually Speaking with Doctor Ruth.”

Claude did a rough cut using the classroom footage he directed, and a second cut using stock footage that we would combine in the edit. As usual, we went into the edit room over the weekend so we’d have all the time and equipment we needed. We needed time because we had no edit list, no After Effects, no digital storage, no tracking marks. Just an old Ampex ADO and lots of “crossed fingers” that we’d match the motion between the camera moves and the composited footage. Sometimes it matched. Most times it didn’t.

Needless to say, the special effects seem crude compared to what is possible today. But at the time they were considered state-of-art. We also used the then very popular technique of running the footage thru a black & white monitor to distort it.

Claude hadn’t shot any footage for the Pledge Of Allegiance section of the song, so I was enlisted to lie under the title camera and lip-sync the part. Yes, that’s my ’80s mustache you see inserted into the blackboard starting at 18 seconds in.

Shortly after we finished the video, I worked with Frank Zappa on a week’s worth of programming called “Porn Wars” for the music show “Night Flight.” Zappa would appear at the PMRC Senate hearings in Washington during the day, then come to National Video in New York to tape his segments for “Night Flight.” One night I showed him “America.” He was really excited that the rap world was finally getting political and asked for a VHS copy. I was very proud.

Here is also an article written on it for Optic Music Magazine.

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According to mvdbase, Claude Borenzweig only went on to do a handful of music videos. According to IMDb, he is, or was working as a Psychotherapist.

Producer Len Epand appears to have worked on around 20 videos.

I can’t find any information on David Brownstein.

John Kraus shot the video. I can’t find any other credits for him.

Here’s an excerpt from Billboard magazine from November 23rd, 1985 concerning Claude Borenzweig:

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Here’s an excerpt from Billboard magazine from May 24th, 1986 about how the video was nominated for several awards:

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Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Open Letter To A Landlord by Living Colour (1989, dir. Drew Carolan)


Full credit goes to Songfacts for these quotes. I would paraphrase, but I don’t think that would be right. Here’s the background on both the song and the music video from poet Tracie Morris, who helped write the song, and director/photographer Drew Carolan.

“At the time we were talking about tenements and other buildings being torn down for buildings that would be inhabited by ‘Yuppies.’ I remember a great deal of alarm in the BRC (Black Rock Coalition) when The Gap first opened up a store on St. Marks’ Place. We saw the downtown/boho lifestyle changing before our eyes. The song focused on the displacement of residencies of course, but I think we were considering how entire neighborhoods were beginning to shift.

The idea of landlords and slumlords getting tenants out to reap financial rewards isn’t new, especially in New York. We certainly felt at the time that much of the motivation behind the riots was to gentrify the East Village.

Now of course we hear about gentrification at a more extreme level taking place all over NYC, not just in Manhattan but all over Brooklyn and all the boroughs. In some ways, ‘Open Letter’ was a precursor to the wholesale expunging of the regular people that have made New York City great since the beginning.”

–Tracie Morris

“The live footage was shot at Toad’s Place in New Haven before a live audience. The band was getting ready to go out with the Rolling Stones on the Steel Wheels tour. We invited 500 people in early for some playback coverage and then the rest of the crowd for an actual show.

The cutaway material was shot in New York, DC and LA. In ’89 the housing situation was bad in most urban cities. People were being forced out of places they had lived in for generations. Living Colour knew that. They hailed from Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island. They saw it everywhere they played. I was from the Lower East side. I saw the writing on the wall. Gentrification was sweeping up the cities and taking the working class with it. We see the band walking through decimated neighborhoods where they used to play. A street called Hope. A little girl on a swing disappears. Empty. Gone. Peaceful protests and shouts melt into the droning sound of the mass transit system.

I just watched it and it rings true today as well. Sad but true.”

–Drew Carolan

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Rise by Bad Brains (1993, dir. Paul Rachman) + Death


I said I would try to get every genre of music I could into Black History Month.

Here we have the hardcore punk band Bad Brains. They’ve been around for a long time now. They started out in 1976 as a jazz fusion band before migrating to Hardcore Punk. They released their self-titled debut album in 1982. There are some good songs on that album, but the one of special note is Banned in D.C., which was based on an unofficial ban put on them in clubs in 1979 in Washington, D.C. I’m kind of surprised since the all-black proto-punk band Death only didn’t have their record released in the early-to-mid-70s because they refused to change their name. That was it. It would get released decades later, but I’ll leave it to you to watch the movie A Band Called Death (2012).

Then again, the mostly white hardcore punk band Dead Kennedys took endless flack all the way up to Tipper Gore, among many others, so it’s believable. What isn’t believable, but is true, is that Dead Kennedys would perform under their actual name at my high school in the early-80s. I thought it was a myth until numerous people who had been there told me stories about that night. That’s a story I will have to look into more detail at some point.

If the director of this music video sounds familiar, then that’s because he also directed Hunger Strike by Temple Of The Dog and a couple of videos for Alice In Chains. One has to wonder what the conversation was between the band and Rachman:

Bad Brains: We’ll take one part Smells Like Teen Spirit, two parts Jeremy, and feel free to sprinkle in a little Faith No More and Living Colour.
Rachman: You got it!

I’m not complaining. You can see the same sort of thing with their video for the song God Of Love. The group was inspired by musicians like Black Sabbath and Bob Marley. They even got their name from the Ramones song Bad Brain. So why not draw on the music videos of bands they no doubt help to inspire. Makes sense to me.

Enjoy!