Music Video of the Day: Runaway by Bon Jovi (1984, dir. Michael Cuesta)


Back to the book, I Want My MTV, again. One thing I’d like to make clear before I start is that if there is one group that dominates that book, then it’s Bon Jovi.

Doc McGhee [managed Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, Scorpions, and Skid Row at the height of each band’s career]: I’d just starting to manage Bon Jovi when we did the video for “Runaway.” There’s a chubby girl who’s a runaway, but she has laser eyes, and the band is playing in a warehouse that’s burning. In the ’80s, every video had to look like Escape from New York. Something had to be on fire, and you had to be in an alley that was wet, or else you couldn’t shoot a video.

Seen here! A chubby girl.

Also, lasers!

Okay, so McGhee’s memory might not be so good. I can give him a break on both counts. I have to imagine that in 1984, he was bombarded with so many models trying out for these parts that Jennifer Gatti actually does look chubby reaching back around 30 years in his mind.

You might know Gatti from playing Ba’el on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Star Trek: The Next Generation — Birthright, Part II (1993)

Cut to a few years later after the rocky start with Runaway:

Doc McGhee: I mean, MTV was playing so much Mötley and Bon Jovi, I’d have to tell them, “You’re overexposing my artists. If you don’t take them off the air, I’m not going to give you another video.” I was fighting to get less airplay, not more.

Len Epand [was a video production executive for PolyGram Records]: Once Bon Jovi established a winning style on “Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer,” we pulled their prior videos out of circulation. They were all deemed embarrassing, or at least not the right image. We notified all video outlets, including MTV, that they were no longer licensed for use. I doubt they ever appeared on broadcast again.

Luckily, the video is up officially on YouTube. While not being fond of the video, the band apparently still plays the song during concerts. It’s on the greatest hits album of there’s that I have. I can understand why they pulled this video back then. They had hit on a winning image with videos like Livin’ On A Prayer. They ran that formula into the ground, but still, it worked.

Len Epand: For “Runaway,” we used a commercial director named Michael Cuesta, who had no music-video experience.

I can’t only find one other credit for Cuesta–Crow Dog (1979). I’m not even sure that entry on IMDb is him because there is another Michael Cuesta who has been successful as a producer and director.

Bob Montgomery (Robert Mont) was the producer. I can only find a couple of music video credits for him.

Enjoy!

Song of the Day: Wanted Dead or Alive (by Bon Jovi)


The newest entry in the “Song of the Day” feature takes us back in the glory days of the late 80’s when hard rock made a major come back. It’s only appropriate that I pick one of my favorite hard rock songs of the era: Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”.

It was to be the third single released off of their monster third full-length album, Slippery When Wet. It would turn out to become their official anthem as millions of fans from several generations since it’s initial release. The Old West-themed song was a collaboration between frontman Jon Bon Jovi and band lead guitarist Richie Sambora. It took the two listening to Bob Seger’s own “on the road” song “Turn the Page” to bring inspiration to the two musicians. What they came up with was their own version of “Turn the Page” and it would become an instant hit and classic.

“Wanted Dead or Alive” would have one of the more recognizable openings with Sambora playing the initials chords on a Spanish guitar before the rest of the band comes in and Jon Bon Jovi starts singing about the hard life of a rock band as it travels from gig to gig. The lyrics to this song shows the less-than-glamorous side of a band no matter how successful they may be. The two musicians liken themselves to the Old West cowboys and gunslingers who, just like a rock band, lived like outlaws and on the edge of what’s morally decent as they passed from dusty towns to dusty towns plying their skills.

Even after 23 years since this song came out I’m still not tired of it and could always get me to sing along to it to the top of my lungs.

Wanted Dead or Alive

It’s all the same
Only the names will change
Everyday
It seems we’re wastin’ away

Another place
Where the faces are so cold
I drive all night
Just to get back home

I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
Dead or alive
Wanted
Dead or alive

Sometimes I sleep
Sometimes it’s not for days
The people I meet
Always go their separate ways

Sometimes you tell the day
By the bottle that you drink
And times when you’re alone
All you do is think

I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive
Wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive

Ohh alright
Ohh

Oh I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive

When I walk these streets
A loaded six string on my back
I play for keeps
‘Cause I might not make it back

I’ve been everywhere
(Ohh, yea)
Still I’m standin’ tall
I’ve seen a million faces
And I’ve rocked them all

‘Cause I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive

I’m a cowboy
I got the night on my side
And I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive
And I’m right
(And I’m right)
Dead or alive
I still drive
(I still drive)
Dead or alive

Dead or alive
Dead or alive
Mm dead or alive
Dead or alive