Music Video Of The Day: Animal by Def Leppard (1987, directed by Doug Freel and Jean Pellerin)


Animal is a song that took three years for Def Leppard to complete.  The band started work on the song in 1984 with producer Jim Steinman, who is best known for his collaborations with musicians like Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler.  Steinman’s orchestral style proved to be a poor fit with Def Leppard’s more straight forward sound.  After realizing that Steinman wasn’t going to work out, the band brought in Mutt Lange, who was able to get the sound that the band wanted.

Though the band had already found success in the United States, Animal was the first Def Leppard song to became a hit in the UK.  Not only did it reach No. 6 on the UK Single Chart but it also scored the band their first invitation to perform on Top of the Pops.  (For the benefit of our American readers, that was, back in the day, a big effing deal.)

The video finds the band working and performing in a traveling circus.  The video was directed by Doug Freel and Jean Pellerin, both of whom have directed videos for several different artists.  Along with directing several other videos for Def Leppard, Freel and Pellerin have also worked with Metallica.  On his own, Freel has done videos for Roxette and Faith No More.  Pellerin, meanwhile, directed the films, Laserhawk, For Hire, Daybreak, and The Clown At Midnight.

Music Video of the Day: Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard (1987, dir. Russell Mulcahy)


Since I did the concert video version of this yesterday, I thought I would do the original version directed by Russell Mulcahy. Or as I like to call it, Mulcahy for some reason shooting the music video like it’s Madhouse by Anthrax after watching Balls To The Wall by Accept. Also, it looks to me like Mulcahy introduces them at the start of the music video the way I would expect Depeche Mode to be. I don’t know what made him think of the first one, but the second makes some sense. The song is already filled with sexual metaphors.

According to mvdbase, they did this music video a year before they must have decided that a concert video would go over better in the United States. With this music video, they could have also just been trying to break from the image of early metal videos looking like new wave bands. In fact, the book I Want My MTV actually says:

“If you watched MTV with the sound off, you might not have been able to tell the difference between Duran Duran and Def Leppard except that women in Duran Duran videos weren’t in cages”

I can see that when I watch the music video for Photograph. I don’t see that with this music video, but you have to remember that MTV was like the mainstream movie industry. Only a few years after this video was made, you had the rise of directors like Kevin Kerslake who took the medium in an entirely different direction. This meant that as a side effect, bands moved with the year-to-year changes to appear relevant. They probably looked at the video, then looked at Bon Jovi concert videos, remembered their early new-wave-looking music videos, and decided to get with the new-style for bands of their kind in order to get the most positive reception at MTV.

In general, Def Leppard seems to have had a rough history when it comes to music videos. They started off with David Mallet who was coming off of making many music videos for Blondie in the late-1970s. They did a few music videos with the team of Jean Pellerin & Doug Freel. They did this music video with character and storyline director Russell Mulcahy. Then they did some videos with Wayne Isham who had been working with Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe, Judas Priest, and Bon Jovi for years. He would also go on to work with Megadeth, Metallica, Van Halen, and KISS. However, by that time, Smells Like Teen Spirit and grunge were just around the corner. They never seemed to have had a chance to settle on a particular image like Bon Jovi did. Bon Jovi became so associated with their concert videos that they even made a concert video making fun of the fact that they made endless concert videos.

I think we are seeing a failed attempt with a director they shouldn’t have been working with at this point in their career, and that they realized it and quickly had a more appropriate video made in 1988-plain and simple.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard (1988, dir. Wayne Isham)


Sorry about the past couple of days. Things are messy here right now, so it will be spotty for awhile as to what music videos I can get around to writing about instead of simply spotlighting them. However, I am really determined to keep this going everyday regardless of whether I have time to write anything. Today is one of those days that I can write something.

The Internet tells me today is International Day of People with Disability. Or to put it another way, it is time I did a post on a Def Leppard music video. Specifically a Def Leppard song off of the Hysteria album. This really isn’t a spotlight on the music video, but I will briefly talk about it.

The music video is by director Wayne Isham and cinematographer Marc Reshovsky (he shot Teen Witch, Red Rock West, and Trevor) remaking Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer for Def Leppard. After Def Leppard didn’t like the original music video Russell Mulcahy made for them, they made this music video. I guess Def Leppard didn’t like redoing Madhouse by Antrax with the wrecking ball on loan from the set of Balls To The Wall by Accept. Darn it! Now I am going to have to feature that version tomorrow. Sorry The Bangles, you’ll have to wait one more day. Oh, and yes, I really am pretty sure they remade Livin’ On A Prayer here. That music video was also directed by Wayne Isham and shot by Marc Reshovsky. They shot it at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, CO in February 1988.

The real reason I am spotlighting this music video today is for drummer Rick Allen. He was in a car accident on December 31st of 1984 that caused him to lose his left arm. After some initial doubts, they did a little engineering and figured out a way he could continue drumming for the band. The name of the album Hysteria was thought up by Allen as a reference to the car accident. Rick Allen continues to get around today doing work with groups like the Raven Drum Foundation and One Hand Drum Company. He has been quoted as saying:

“What I’ve experienced through losing my arm, I wouldn’t change. The human spirit is so strong”

I don’t really have anything else to say except the obvious. Recently, computer security expert Taylor Swift performed the song with Def Leppard.

I love that she basically stepped into the background about the whole thing to let Def Leppard shine. It’s not as awesome as when Madonna refused to perform for her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, but had The Stooges do it for her. Still, I like it. If you really want a good shot of the work they did to allow Allen to continuing drumming, then I highly recommend watching it. It also did her a service seeing as she is a good musician, but without the kind of voice needed to pull off the original. If she wanted to do a straight cover, then she would need to rework it a bit to make it fit. I hope she doesn’t though. I prefer her to use her star-power to introduce younger fans to older bands that they should be aware of, such as Def Leppard.

Enjoy!