Music Video of the Day: Dim All The Lights by Laura Branigan (1995, dir. Lynn Spinnato)

I swear that thumbnail used to be Branigan sitting with the three drag queens. I would say that sex sells, but it’s Laura Branigan. For her, this doesn’t look out of place at all.

Watching this music video now is bittersweet because to the best of my knowledge, it was her last. After doing this video for her cover of Donna Summer’s Dim All The Lights, she retired to take care of her husband who had been diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in 1996.

The more and more I read from the book I Want My MTV, the more and more director Marty Callner seems to be quite the character. It makes me want to hear the story of how he ended up directing Branigan’s early videos. Was he cutting his teeth like David Fincher did with Rick Springfield and Loverboy? Were they friends? I can’t find any mention of it in the book. Callner comes up mainly in the discussion of hair metal bands since, if nothing else, he is credited, along with Tawny Kitaen, for really kicking off Whitesnake’s career.

This time Lynn Spinnato directed a video for Branigan. I can only find three music video credits. She does have a bio on her website that says she worked with numerous other artists than the three I can find documented.

The video contains at least three drag queens: Miss Understood, Hedda Lettuce, and Vivacious. You might have seen them at some point over the years since they have made appearances in both film and television. The oddest thing I came across is that if Wikipedia is to be believed, then Miss Understood performed at “Blaine Trump’s Valentine’s Day dinner.” Blaine used to be married to Donald’s brother Robert. There’s a connection I can’t say I expected to come across when I picked out this music video to spotlight.

There’s also a remix version of the video.


Music Video of the Day: Gloria by Laura Branigan (1982, dir. Marty Callner)

I haven’t done a Laura Branigan video since last summer. That video was the one for Self Control that I will never stop referencing because of its edgy content. For some reason, in the last couple of months, a bunch of her music videos have gotten officially releases on YouTube. As a result, I thought I would spotlight one of her other big hits, Gloria.

It’s really just for the song because there isn’t anything especially interesting about the video. The only noteworthy thing for me is that a chunk of director Marty Callner’s early MTV music videos were for Laura Branigan even though he would go on to do a lot of work with Twisted Sister, Aerosmith, Poison, The Cult, and other bands you wouldn’t think of having any connection with Branigan. Then again, he also worked with Pat Benatar, Cher, and Belinda Carlisle. He even did a video for Tori Amos’ short-lived band called Y Kant Tori Read.

The Laura Branigan account appeared on YouTube last June. I’m not sure why exactly then, or if there was any special meaning to it. It isn’t the anniversary of her death or anything. That’s in August. Her birthdate is in July. It doesn’t coincide with her contributions to Flashdance (1983), Ghostbusters (1984), or Baywatch. Even 35 years from the release of her first album would mean you’d put the channel up this year since it came out in 1982.

The only thing I can find that changed concerning her in the last few months is her birthdate. I guess for showbiz purposes she would say it was 1957, but it turned out to be 1952. Even obituaries had it wrong, and some of been corrected. At the time of writing this, the one on Billboard magazine’s website still says 1957. Apparently this birthdate thing caused a furious debate on Wikipedia. If you go over to her brother Billy Branigan’s IMDb page, then you’ll find that his birthdate was thought to be 1961, but it was actually the year that Laura used as her birthdate.

The only guess I have that has any weight to it is that she was known for her connections to the gay community, and June happens to be LGBT Pride Month. It wouldn’t surprise me if the proper rights were obtained to put these videos up, and they went with June.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad they are up now. Hopefully they don’t fall victim to other officially released videos that get taken down later on.


Music Video of the Day: Self Control by Laura Branigan (1984, dir. William Friedkin)

We already looked at a video directed by someone who would then go on to make feature films. Here we have one made by a director who was already well established. That being William Friedkin. He helmed this kinky music video for Laura Branigan’s song Self Control. To my knowledge, it isn’t out there who played the man behind the mask. The video was controversial at the time. Wikipedia says it even had to be have a minor alteration made to it in order to air on MTV, which Branigan was not happy about.

This is also one of those rare videos where we know more than just the director. According to Internet Music Video Database, this was choreographed by Russell Clark who has done a few films you might recognize. The one that jumps out at me is Rockula (1990). The reason is that I reviewed it last October. It’s that other rock based horror film that has Toni Basil in it. He also did some of the choreography for Teen Witch (1989). Sadly, it seems that according to IMDb, it was not the famous Top That scene.

Also according to IMDb, famous Producer and Production Manager Fred C. Caruso produced this music video. He did movies like The Godfather (1972), Blow Out (1981), and Blue Velvet (1986) to name a few.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I was introduced to this song via the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack.