Music Video of the Day: Dancing in the Street, by David Bowie and Mick Jagger (1985, directed by David Mallet)

What do you get when you set David Bowie and Mick Jagger loose in an abandoned flour mill?

You get the video for their version of Dancing In The Street.  Their cover of the classic tune by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas was recorded to raise money for the Live Aid famine relief charity.  The video was shown twice during the Live Aid event and it also aired before theatrical showings of Ruthless People, a film for which Jagger had contributed to the soundtrack.  The video was also a hit on MTV, where it helped to introduce both Bowie and Jagger to a new generation of listeners.

The video was directed by David Mallet, who did the majority of Bowie’s videos in the 80s and 90s.


Scene That I Love: David Bowie Performs For Christane F.

Today would have been David Bowie’s 75th birthday.  Though it’s been six years since David Bowie passed, he remains an iconic cultural force.  He is missed, as both a musician and an actor.

In honor of the man’s birthday and his legacy as a performer, today’s scene that I love is from the 1981 German film, Christiane F.  Directed by Uli Edel and based on a true story, Christiane F. is the story of a 13 year-old drug addict.  It’s a powerful film, though perhaps not one to watch if you’re dealing with any sort of severe depression.  David Bowie both composed the film’s soundtrack and appeared in the film himself.

Here, he performs Station to Station while Christiane F. watches.  The scene perfectly captures not only Christiane F.’s fascination with Bowie but also Bowie’s charisma as a performer.  The scene was shot an actual concert that David Bowie performed in Berlin, though the shots of Christiane F. and her friends watching were filmed separately.

Music Video of the Day: Boys Keep Swinging by David Bowie (1979, directed by David Mallet)

On August 1st, 1981, MTV premiered. Over the course of 24 hours, 166 unique music videos were played on MTV. Yes, there was a time when the M actually did stand for music.

The 59th video to air on MTV was the video for David Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging.  This was also the first Bowie video to ever air on the network.  Not surprisingly, Bowie would soon prove himself to be a master of the video form.  He was also one of the few artists willing to publicly criticize MTV for rarely playing non-white artists during the first years of their existence.  Pretty cool guy, that David Bowie.


The First Videos Shown on MTV:

  1. Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles
  2. You Better Run by Pat Benatar
  3. She Won’t Dance With Me by Rod Stewart
  4. You Better You Bet By The Who
  5. Little Suzi’s On The Up by PH.D
  6. We Don’t Talk Anymore by Cliff Richard
  7. Brass in Pocket by Pretenders
  8. Time Heals by Todd Rundgren
  9. Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon
  10. Rockin’ in Paradise by Styx
  11. When Things Go Wrong by Robin Lane & The Chartbusters
  12. History Never Repeats by Split Enz
  13. Hold On Loosely by .38 Special
  14. Just Between You And Me by April Wine
  15. Sailing by Rod Stewart
  16. Iron Maiden by Iron Maiden
  17. Keep On Loving You by REO Speedwagon
  18. Better Than Blue by Michael Johnson
  19. Message of Love by The Pretenders
  20. Mr. Briefcase by Lee Ritenour
  21. Double Life by The Cars
  22. In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
  23. Looking for Clues by Robert Palmer
  24. Too Late by Shoes
  25. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  26. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart
  27. Surface Tension by Rupert Hine
  28. One Step Ahead by Split Enz
  29. Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty
  30. I’m Gonna Follow You by Pat Benatar
  31. Savannah Nights by Tom Johnston
  32. Lucille by Rockestra
  33. The Best of Times by Styx
  34. Vengeance by Carly Simon
  35. Wrathchild by Iron Maiden
  36. I Wanna Be a Lifeguard by Blotto
  37. Passion by Rod Stewart
  38. Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello
  39. Don’t Let Me Go by REO Speedwagon
  40. Remote Control and Illegal by The Silencers
  41. Angel of the Morning by Juice Newton
  42. Little Sister by Rockpile with Robert Plant
  43. Hold On To The Night by Bootcamp
  44. Dreamin’ by Cliff Richard
  45. Is It You? by Lee Ritenour 
  46. Tusk by Fleetwood Mac
  47. He Can’t Love You by Michael Stanley Band
  48. Tough Guys by REO Speedwagon
  49. Rapture by Blondie
  50. Don’t Let Go The Coat by The Who
  51. Ain’t Love A Bitch by Rod Stewart
  52. Talk of the Town by The Pretenders
  53. Can’t Happen Here by Rainbow
  54. Thank You For Being A Friend by Andrew Gold
  55. Bring It All Home by Gerry Rafferty
  56. Sign of the Gypsy Queen by April Wine
  57. The Man With The Child In His Eyes by Kate Bush
  58. All Night Long by Raindow

Music Video of the Day: The Drowned Girl by David Bowie (1982, directed by David Mallet)

I was surprised to discover this when I went searching for David Bowie music videos. This is a video that Bowie did for his version of Kurt Weill’s The Drowned Girl. This was included as a part of the Baal EP, which was released to coincide with Bowie appearing in a BBC production of the Bertolt Brecht’s play of the same name. The play is about an irresponsible womanizer whose actions lead to all sorts of tragedy. In The Drowned Girl, the play’s main character (played, of course, by Bowie) sings about a former lover who committed suicide after her left her.

This video was directed by David Mallet and was filmed at the same time as the video for Bowie’s version of Wild Is The Wind. This video was apparently shot in Berlin and the black backdrop and stark lighting was meant to reflect the style of Bowie’s Isolar-1976 Tour.


Music Video of the Day: Modern Love by David Bowie (1983, directed by Jim Yukich)

This video for Modern Love is probably as straight forward as you can expect any music video from David Bowie to be. Filmed during the Serious Moonlight Tour to support Let’s Dance, the video features Bowie and his band performing an encore at Philadelphia’s Spectrum Theater.

This video was directed by Jim Yukich, who did videos from everyone from Iron Maiden to Debbie Gibson to Phil Collins.


Great Moments In Television History: Bing Crosby and David Bowie Share a Duet

In 1977’s Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas, Bing and his family travel to the UK to visit Bing’s long-lost relative, Sir Perceval Crosby.  It’s while staying at the Crosby estate that Bing celebrates Christmas and discovers that Sir Percy lives next door to David Bowie!

You might not expect Bing Crosby and David Bowie to have much in common as far as musical tastes are concerned but that’s where you’re wrong.  After discussing their parenting techniques and their favorite songs, Crosby and Bowie share a duet that has become a classic.

From Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas (which aired on ITV 33 years ago today), here are David Bowie and Bing Crosby performing Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth.

Previous Great Moments In Television History:

  1. Planet of the Apes The TV Series
  2. Lonely Water
  3. Ghostwatch Traumatizes The UK
  4. Frasier Meets The Candidate
  5. The Autons Terrify The UK
  6. Freedom’s Last Stand

Music Video of the Day: Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie (2000, dir by ????)

It’s Ash Wednesday!

I remember, when I was like 14, I got up early in the morning and I woke up my sisters by shouting, “It’s Ash Wednesday, bitches!”  My mom was not amused.  That said, Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite days.  I just love the ritual of it all.  Of course, I also usually wash my forehead fairly early in the day.  That’s allowed, by the way.

Now, before anyone leaves any snarky comments, I fully understand that David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes is not actually about Ash Wednesday nor are the ashes mentioned in the song literal ashes.  I understand that but hey, this is a good song and David Bowie certainly does look happy in this clip.  Around the two minute mark, he takes the time to praise the backup singers, which is a pretty classy move.

This is from a 2000 performance in London.


Music Video Of The Day: Golden Years by David Bowie (1975, directed by ????)

Four years ago, at the age of 69, David Bowie died of liver cancer.  Just as how there was no way that we couldn’t highlight a Bowie video on his birthday, there’s also no way that, on this day, we can’t share another video from him.

Golden Years was one of Bowie’s signature tunes.  Angela Bowie claimed that the song was written for her but David never denied or confirmed that claim.  David Bowie did say that he originally tried to give the song to Elvis Presley but Elvis turned it down.  At that time, Elvis probably did not want to be reminded that he was in his “golden years.”

In 1975, in the days before MTV, music videos were often simply performance clips.  The video for Golden Years was taken from Bowie’s performance on Soul Train.  Bowie appeared on the show on November 4th, 1975 and he performed both Golden Years and Fame.  Bowie was only the 2nd white artist to ever appear on Soul Train.  (The first was Elton John.)  A lifelong fan of American R&B, Bowie was a huge Soul Train fan and was reportedly so nervous about appearing on the show that he actually got a little drunk before his performance.

David Bowie, R.I.P,

Music Video of the Day: Space Oddity by David Bowie (1969, directed by Malcolm Thomson)

 “In England, it was always presumed that it was written about the space landing, because it kind of came to prominence around the same time. But it actually wasn’t. It was written because of going to see the film 2001, which I found amazing. I was out of my gourd anyway, I was very stoned when I went to see it, several times, and it was really a revelation to me. It got the song flowing. It was picked up by the British television, and used as the background music for the landing itself. I’m sure they really weren’t listening to the lyric at all. It wasn’t a pleasant thing to juxtapose against a moon landing. Of course, I was overjoyed that they did. Obviously, some BBC official said, ‘Oh, right then, that space song, Major Tom, blah blah blah, that’ll be great.’ ‘Um, but he gets stranded in space, sir.’ Nobody had the heart to tell the producer that.”

— David Bowie on Space Oddity

Today would have been David Bowie’s 73rd birthday so it only seems appropriate that he should be honored with our latest selection for music video of the day.

Though it may be hard to believe today, David Bowie was not an overnight success.  Bowie spent five years drifting from band to band and experimenting with different types of music before he finally released his first solo album, which failed to chart.  Space Oddity, which was the first single to be released off of his second album, was fortunate enough to come out at a time when the entire world was watching the moon landing.  It captured the public’s imagination and so, of course, did Bowie.  Space Oddity launched Bowie’s career and also made a legend out of an enigmatic astronaut named Major Tom.

This music video was Bowie’s first.  It was actually filmed as part of a 30-minute promotional film called Love You Till Tuesday.  The film was originally meant to feature Bowie singing seven of his songs.  It was only at the last minute that Bowie decided to add a performance of Space Oddity as well.  Bowie was only 22 when this was shot and, not surprisingly, the influence of Kubrick’s 2001 can be felt throughout the Space Oddity video.

Despite Bowie’s success and growing fame, Love You Til Tuesday failed to attract much interest from potential buyers and it sat on the shelf until 1984, when it was finally given a VHS release.



Music Video Of The Day: Jump They Say by David Bowie (1993, directed by Mark Romanek)

Though this is one of David Bowie’s most popular videos and also features one of the best performances of his often underrated acting career, the story behind it is a sad one.  Bowie wrote the song from the point of view of Terry Burns, his schizophrenic half-brother who once attempted suicide by jumping out of a window.  Though that attempt failed, a few years later, Terry did succeed in escaping from the mental institution where he was being held.  After escaping, Terry was hit by a train and killed.  Much like Bowie’s previous song, All the Madmen, Jump They Say was inspired by Terry’s life and Bowie’s own attempts to understand the source of his brother’s mental illness.

This makes the video all the more poignant as Bowie plays a businessman who comes to suspect that his colleagues are plotting against him and, in order to escape from them, ends up throwing himself from the roof of an office building.  Mark Romanek directs in such a way that it’s never clear whether Bowie’s character is correct to be paranoid or if it’s all in his mind.  Romanek throws in visual references to other films that dealt with the themes of paranoia and conformity, including A Clockwork Orange, Alphaville, and The Trial.  Romanek has subsequently gone from being an in-demand music video director to directing films such as One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go.

When this video was released, Bowie was going through something of a career slump.  Jump They Say was a bit of a comeback for him, reaching number 9 on the UK charts.