Music Video of the Day: The Tide Is High by Blondie (1981, dir. Brian Grant)

First Version
Second Version

This is the third and final version of The Tide Is High. It was made a year later by Brian Grant.

The reason I even knew this existed was because of an entry on mvdbase that described it for me.

Though this videos starts exactly the same way as the previous, it quickly changes with a mix of new and old footage (including the famous circular pink bed scene) with a few still pictures tossed in for good measure.

I read “famous circular pink bed scene”, and figured it had to be out there somewhere if it is so famous. It took a fair amount of digging, but I found it. It was worth the trouble.

The video starts off the same way as the other two except it freeze-frames on the faces of the guys in the band. There are some pictures in the video as well as freeze-frames such as the cover of the single. We see it in close-up, then backed up in order to show the whole band. That shot is the cover of the album the song is on.

Then the pink bed makes an appearance. I guess I was expecting something along the lines of It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls or that ridiculous scene from Chatterbox! (1977). I wasn’t expecting to see Debbie Harry rolling in a circular pink bed.

Then there’s the shots with her looking at a number ‘1’ in a manner that makes it looks like she wants to have sex? What else are you supposed to read from these looks, given that they are included with her rolling around on a circular pink bed? I’m not 100% what they were shooting for there. It is memorable though.

Horny Vader makes no appearance in this version. But we do get a spaceman on a conveyor belt??? I have no clue about this part.

There are some shots of the band playing, and this is where this version adds something completely missing from the other two.

The Tide Is High was originally written in 1966 by John Holt and performed by the group, The Paragons. When Blondie covered it, they added the reggae sound, which is the trademark of this particular song. Yet, any reference to that fact were noticeably missing from the other two versions. While it seems odd to be here with Debbie rolling around on a bed, we do see a part that ties in to the reggae part of the song.

No rocket this time around. The video ends with the footage of Debbie arriving on the street to leave with the rest of the group.

There you go. That’s the version with the “famous circular pink bed scene.” It must be so famous that it has been all but expunged from the net.


Music Video of the Day: The Tide Is High by Blondie (1980, dir. Hart Perry)

This is the second version of The Tide Is High (first version). Any sexual stuff is gone. Even Horny Vader only makes a confusing appearance at the end–without any buildup.

The video stays the same until the squatting-Debbie scene. That’s when a video effect kicks in that brings in other footage on top of the floor.

From then on, things are different. Here are some examples.

They still leave in the rocket, but the video comes across like it was supposed to be about a disaster that the band was fleeing, which is how they end up on the space station, or whatever that is supposed to be.

The video says it is the “director’s cut.” That wouldn’t surprise me for a couple of reasons.

  1. Director’s cuts of videos happen. There’s one of Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus and Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana.
  2. There seems to be a drop in quality when you hit the new footage. That suggests that it was recovered and inserted back in with the higher quality stuff that wasn’t cut.
  3. It doesn’t seem to fit the lyrics. It’s more trippy. I’ll give it that. I assume somebody else thought so too, which is how we got the first version as well the third one.

The third one brings back the sexual stuff in a big way. But it also brings an element of the song to the video that neither of these do.


Music Video of the Day: The Tide Is High by Blondie (1980, dir. Hart Perry)

Thank you, Lisa!

Since she did a song by Blondie yesterday, it gave me the idea to do The Tide Is High seeing as it’s kinda weird. It turns out, there are at least three versions of this video–each one different enough to merit a separate post. Yay! Ugh.

This is the first version of The Tide Is High. If you poke around online, then you’ll usually run into this one, with slight variations of the ending.

We start off the video by panning across the boys in the band as they look up, wondering what is taking Debbie so long.

Cut to Debbie’s place, and we see fish filing up her windows. And by fish I mean as close to showing sperm as they could get.

After we see that some of the “water” is leaking into the room, watch Debbie look out a window, and sing to the camera, we cut to a horny Darth Vader watching Debbie.

More of the “water” leaks into the room, so Debbie very precisely squats down and pulls a towel off what looks like a radio.

Debbie then proceeds to mop up some of the “water”, and then ring it right back out onto the floor. I get the feeling that isn’t a blonde joke.

Meanwhile, the guys are outside standing like they are at a urinal.

Horny Vader continues to look at Debbie in a variety of ways, such as the one below.

Debbie does eventually come downstairs so that the band can get into a car, and she can sing out the window.

When she’s done, we are treated to some people…

who had no idea they would end up in video where the audience is meant to think they are looking at a penis.

The phallic object takes off, and after separation, they all go through a brick wall. Just go with it.

Then it cuts to four women in blonde wigs, wearing swimsuits, while carrying a half-naked man. Sure.

Now Debbie taps Horny Vader on the shoulder. He turns around to reveal he’s some sort of combination of Vader and a Cylon?

Debbie seems to have no problem with this turn of events.

This is were you’ll get slight variations. This version does continue a little longer by cutting back to the girls and the half-naked guy.

Once in a while, I came across a version that would not cut back to the five whatevers, but instead go to the following shot where some people run towards the camera.

I’ve included that version below. I don’t know if that was intentional, censoring, or just that during that particular airing they cut the video short, and we are seeing something else for a few seconds. My bet is on censoring.

There are versions that just fade to black while Debbie dances.

If you think I was jumping to conclusions about the sexual stuff–I wasn’t. One of the other versions is more explicit in that area.


Music Video Of The Day: Atomic by Blondie (1980, directed by David Mallett)

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

Before anyone asks, my selection of this music video has absolutely nothing to do with the current situation between the U.S. and North Korea.  To be honest, when I picked this video, I didn’t even know that was going on.  The fact that I picked Atomic at a time when everyone is freaking out about nuclear war is just one of those coincidences that helps to keep life interesting!

No, the reason I picked this video was because I’m getting ready to finally watch T2 Trainspotting but, before I watch T2, I have to rewatch the original Trainspotting.  Sleeper’s cover of Atomic is prominently featured in Trainspotting and I have to admit that I’ve always liked that chorus of “Your hair is beautiful.”  I’ve always loved my hair.

(My boyfriend got excited when I told him I would be featuring this song because apparently, he used to listen to it while running down pedestrians in Grand Theft Auto.  And, actually, I can imagine this would be a pretty good driving music.)

Anyway, I did some research to see if I could explain just what exactly this song is actually about.  It turns out that the song is actually about nothing.  Courtesy of Songfacts, here is Blondie’s lead singer, Debbie Harry, on how Atomic came to be:

“He (Blondie Keyboardist Jimmy Destri) was trying to do something like ‘Heart Of Glass,’ and then somehow or another we gave it the spaghetti western treatment. Before that it was just lying there like a lox. The lyrics, well, a lot of the time I would write while the band were just playing the song and trying to figure it out. I would just be scatting along with them and I would just start going, ‘Ooooooh, your hair is beautiful.'”

While the video takes place in a post-apocalyptic world (and features artist Jean-Michel Basquiat as the man who takes away the horse at the beginning), the song actually has nothing to do with nuclear war.  It’s actually not about anything.  It’s just a good song!


Music Video of the Day: Rapture by Blondie (1981, dir. Keith MacMillan)

We had some fun the past couple of days watching Carman kill Satan and banish movie monsters from his house, but now it’s time for the Rapture.

I’m sure people know the historical significance of this particular music video by now, but I’ll restate it anyways. In the very early days of MTV, they rarely let blacks appear on the network. They of course had accusations of racism thrown at them. Thinking about it now, it was probably that they were operating on the fringe so much that they figured what little audience they had would go away, and they’d go under based on the demographics information they had. That’s my best guess considering it just took Michael Jackson having a big hit with them to get rid of that. However, during that period, this meant that Rapture by Blondie wound up being the first rap music video aired on the network.

As is often the case, Wikipedia has some good information. The music video was set in the East Village section of Manhattan. That’s exactly what it says over on Wikipedia. I’m not sure if that means it was actually shot there or not.

William Barnes was the guy in the long white suit referred to as the “Man from Mars”. According to IMDb, he went on to work on localizing video games such as Mario Party 5. He also choreographed the music video.

Graffiti artists Lee Quinones and Jean-Michel Basquiat make cameo appearances. Basquiat was hired after Grandmaster Flash didn’t show up for the filming.

Rapper Fab Five Freddy not only is mentioned in the lyrics of the song, but also made a cameo in the music video.

Wikipedia also mentions that much of the outside portions of the music video were shot in one take.

Keith MacMillan directed and John Weaver produced this music video. They both seem to have primarily worked on music videos for Kate Bush, but also did some work for Motörhead. The two as a team went by the name Keef. You can find Keith MacMillan under that name on IMDb. He has also used the name Marcus Keef. John Weaver on the other hand is buried under so many people with his name that I don’t even know if he is there. There are only two that have anything of note in their credits. One worked in the art department on three Playboy movies, and another was a director on the TV Show Dark Shadows.

Enjoy! I always do anytime we get somebody predicting the world will end on a particular day and time.

A Quickie With Lisa Marie: Gimme Shelter (performed by Merry Clayton and the Rolling Stones)

Today is November 9th.  I’m 25 years old today and I don’t want to talk about it.  Bleh.  Instead, let’s just play one of the greatest songs ever written, Gimme Shelter.

Gimme Shelter is one of those songs that seems to turn up in every fourth movie that I watch and it’s easy to tell why.  It’s a great song.  Despite the apocalyptic subject matter, this is an undeniably exhilirating song.  This is a song that makes my heart beat faster every time I hear it.  If I ever happen to total my car again, it’ll probably be because I was listening to this song while driving.  If I ever make out my list of top ten songs to fuck make love fuck to, Gimme Shelter will be at the top of the list along with Blondie’s Atomic, Siouxsie and the Banshee’s Kiss Them For Me, and every song on Moby’s Play CD.

Is it possible that Gimme Shelter is the greatest song of all time?