Music Video of the Day: It Hit Me Like A Hammer by Huey Lewis and the News (1991, directed by Nigel Dick)

Huey Lewis & the News were a band who epitomized the early to mid-80s and their music videos played a large part in MTV’s initial popularity. Unfortunately, by the time 1991 rolled around, the band and its style of music was being overshadowed by the growing popularity of both rap and grunge. It Hit Me Like A Hammer was the band’s final top 40 hit in the United States. One of the cool things about Huey Lewis and the News is that, in contrast to a lot of other bands trying to make the transition from the 80s to the 90s, they didn’t change their sound. Huey didn’t start trying to rap. The band didn’t start wearing flannel and covering the Pixies. Instead, they remained who they were, a rocking and unpretentious bar band who wrote songs for people looking to have a good time.

This video was directed by Nigel Dick, who is one of those music video directors who worked with everyone and who still works with everyone. At last count, he has directed over 500 videos.


Music Video of the Day: Let Me In By Eddie Money (1989, directed by Nigel Dick)

“You’re listening to the man with no control who loves his rock ‘n roll, the Money Man!”

Let Me In is from Eddie Money’s seventh studio album, Nothing To Lose.  It was the third single released from that album and made it up to number 60 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 30 on Billboard′s Album Rock Tracks chart.  The song was later covered by Laura Branigan.

The video was directed by Nigel Dick, who directed music videos for just about everyone.  According to the comments that Dick left under the video on YouTube, this was a one day shoot.  The woman at the typewriter is played by French actress Borovnisa Blervaque, who is also known as both Blair Valk and Blueberry Blervaque.  She also appeared in the videos for Money’s Walk on Water and Richard Marx’s Endless Summer Nights.



Music Video of the Day: Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses (1988, directed by Nigel Dick)

Paradise City seems to be the Guns N’ Roses song that’s liked even by people who don’t like Guns N’ Roses.  (My cousin John, who was once the lead singer of a band called Carlos Is A Bastard, still refers to them as being Guns N’ Poses.)

Paradise City is a good song and a good video.  The video keeps things effectively simple, with clips of the band performing the song at Giants Stadium mixed in with behind-the-scenes footage of the band.  All of the members of the band look like they’re getting along and, at no point, do Slash and Axl look like they’re about to come to blows.  It’s a look at Guns N’ Roses that definitely goes against their later reputation for intraband strife.

This is what I like to call a “They sure can play” video because the emphasis is on the band as professional musicians who know what they’re doing and who aren’t just spending all of their time doing drugs and entertaining groupies.  I’m usually not a fan of these type of videos because they often feel phony but it works for Guns ‘N Roses because they really could play.


Music Video Of The Day: TV Crimes by Black Sabbath (1992, directed by Nigel Dick)

Today, this video seems dated.  That’s to be expected from any video that was released nearly 20 years ago.  Today, it’s hard to imagine anyone going through that much trouble to steal a TV as small as the one that is at the center of this video.  In 1992, the idea of a wireless TV that didn’t need an antenna seemed like science fiction.  Today, though, it’s pretty much a part of everyday life.

TV Crimes was the first single to be released off of Black Sabbath’s 1992 album, DehumanizerDehumanizer would be the last Black Sabbath album to feature Ronnie James Dio until 2006, when Dio returned for a greatest hits album, Black Sabbath: The Dio Years.  Dio subsequently appeared on a 2008 studio album, The Devil You Know (a.k.a. Heaven & Hell).  The Devil You Know would prove to be Dio’s final studio appearance before his death in 2010.

This video was directed by Nigel Dick, who is one of the strongest and most prolific music video directors around.  He started in 1983 and has directed videos for basically everyone.  If you were a successful rock band in the 80s or 90s, Nigel Dick directed at least one video for you.  He continued directing into the 21st century and he’s still going at it.  Duran Duran, Oasis, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Brooke Hogan (?), Def Leppard, Madness, they’ve all had videos directed by Nigel Dick.  Dick also directed some videos for Nickelback but we won’t hold that against him.


Music Video Of The Day: One Better Day by Madness (1984, directed by Nigel Dick)

 “The idea of that song was when you’d hear people say, ‘Oh, he’s seen better days,’ like when you see a guy in a suit looking a bit tatty. I thought, ‘What was that one better day?’ Then I had the idea that he would meet this other homeless person that happened to be a woman – and they fell in love. Between them they could engender one better day as people who had, supposedly, seen better days.”

— Graham “Suggs” McPherson on One Better Day

In this song and music video, the lads from Madness prove that they were capable of doing serious songs, along with the comedic romps for which they were best known.

This video was filmed in front of Arlington House, which was a homeless shelter located in the band’s hometown of Camden Town, London.  Because this was their final single for Stiff Records, the label refused to put up any money for the video so what you’re seeing here was funded by the band themselves.


Music Video of the Day: Oops! …. I Did It Again by Britney Spears (2000, dir by Nigel Dick)

Before The Martian, there was …. Oops! …. I Did It Again!

Oops! …. I Did It Again is one of Britney Spears’s best-known songs and it’s certainly one of the most fun to sing at the top of young lungs when you’re speeding down the interstate on the way to Lake Texoma.  (Just ask my sister.)  But I think that people forget just how weird this video is.

Basically, we’ve got an astronaut (Eli Swanson) exploring Mars when he comes across an image on a Martian stone, the cover of Britney’s second album, Oops! …. I Did It Again.  On Earth, the nerdy NASA guy is impressed while the astronaut wonders if it’s possible that Britney Spears has come all the way to Mars just to play with his heart….

And she has!  Suddenly, there’s a stage on the Martian surface and Britney and the backup dancers are performing while the astronaut watches.  Eventually, Britney approaches him and proceeds to …. TAKE OFF HIS HELMET!  (Britney will not only play with your heart but apparently, she’ll also try to kill you.)  For a few brief seconds, it appears that the astronaut’s head might explode but no, he survives.  He then hands her the Heart of the Ocean, the extremely tacky blue diamond that was at the center of the film, Titanic.  The astronaut explains that he went down to the bottom of the ocean to get it for her and then he took it to Mars for some reason.  (Remember, the video makes it pretty clear that the astronaut wasn’t expecting to run into Britney Spears during his Martian exploration.)  In one of the most badass moves of all time, Britney says, “Oh, you shouldn’t have” and then walks away.  As for the astronaut, he hopefully managed to get home.  I mean, if Matt Damon could do it, anyone could do it….

Yeah, yeah, we know….

This video was directed by Nigel Dick, who also directed the video for ….Baby One More Time.  During filming, Britney was actually struck in the head by a falling camera and had to get four stitches before she then went to finish the video.  Like all great artists, Britney suffered so that you may enjoy.

So, enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Sometimes by Britney Spears (1999, dir by Nigel Dick)

So, this year, Britney Spear’s debut album, ….Baby One More Time, is 20 years old and good people everywhere are celebrating.  Myself, I’m going to be listening to Britney all week and I’m also going to be singing every single song out loud.  I’ll probably end up annoying a lot of people, as that seems to be what happens whenever I loudly sing Britney.  (My sisters claim that, when it comes to singing, I’m borderline tone deaf but I think that’s going a bit too far.  I will, however, admit that my accent probably never sounds more Texan then when I’m singing.)

Anyway, Val has already taken a look at the video for ….Baby One More Time and, yesterday, I featured the video for (You Drive Me) Crazy.  So, it only seems appropriate that today’s music video of the day should be the video for Sometimes, which was the 2nd single to be released off of ….Baby One More Time.

Sometimes finds Britney on the beach, watching as a male model named Chad Cole runs alongside a dog and then stands around tossing a football up in the air.  (Chad Cole is crazy hot in this video, though I have to admit that I’ve always preferred people who spend their time at the beach writing poems about dead trees and industrial pollution.)  Anyway, when Britney isn’t stalking Chad, she’s performing with her back-up dancers.  Everyone’s wearing white, which is not only designed to play up the video’s pure intentions but also makes it seem like everyone in the video came to the beach straight from a Backstreet Boys theme party.

With this video, you can tell that the main aim was to provide a contrast to the sexualized Britney of the ….Baby One More Time video.  In this one, Britney’s dressed in all white and, instead of asking to be “hit” one more time, she’s instead demurely watching the all-American boy from a proper and chaste distance.  This is the Britney who wouldn’t have been out-of-place in one of those sun-drenched, virginity-celebrating beach films from the early 60s.  “Fear not, moral guardians,” this video announces, “our Britney is a good girl!”

Interestingly enough, the video’s original concept was that Britney would be looking the beach and having flashbacks to a past relationship.  However, in the video that was actually shot, the idea is that Britney is looking to the future, thinking about the perfect relationship that she’ll someday have.


Music Video of the Day: (You Drive Me) Crazy by Britney Spears (1999, dir by Nigel Dick)

Remember Drive Me Crazy?

Released in 1999, Drive Me Crazy was a little film from the Freddie Prinze, Jr. era of teen romcoms with generic titles.  Of course, Freddie Prinze, Jr. is not actually in Drive Me Crazy.  Instead, the Prinze role was taken by Adrian Grenier, who does a decent impersonation.  In this film, Grenier plays the neighbor of Melissa Joan Hart.  The plot was pretty standard for the films of this era.  Melissa Joan Hart needs to make someone jealous so she pretends to date Adrian Grenier and then they end up falling in love for real.  Along the way, an important lesson is learned about being yourself and not worrying about what cliques think of you.  It’s pretty much a forgotten film, overshadowed by the likes of She’s All That and Get Over It.  (When Adrian Grenier took on the role of “greatest actor of his generation” Vincent Chase on Entourage, it was often said that Chase’s first film role was in a romantic comedy with Mandy Moore.  I assume that was a reference to this film.  Not that I ever watched Entourage….)

(Want to be your super hero …. fallin’ from running horse….)

Originally, Drive Me Crazy was going to be called Next To You, which is perhaps the only possible title that could have been more generic than the one that they went with.  The title changed after the success of Britney Spear’s debut album, …Baby One More Time.  One of the songs from the album, (You Drive Me) Crazy, had been included on the film’s soundtrack and the film’s producers decided to try to capitalize on Britney’s popularity by renaming the film after it.  And so, Next To You became Drive Me Crazy.

This also led to the production of a music video tie-in.  In the video for (You Drive Me) Crazy, Britney plays a dorky waitress who turns out to be a great dancer.  Of course, both Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier make appearances in the video.  Apparently, Grenier really didn’t want to be in the video and had to be talked into it by the video’s director, Nigel Dick.  Did Grenier think that he was too good to appear in a video with Britney Spears!?  That’s a bold statement from someone who subsequently spent 8 years acting opposite of Jeremy Piven.

Anyway, this is a fun video and, with everything that she’s been through, it’s always kind of nice to see Britney actually enjoying herself.  Filmed years before the marriage to Kevin Federline and all the stuff that followed afterwards, there’s a lot of optimism and hope to be found in this video.


Music Video of the Day: Rocket by Def Leppard (1988, directed by Nigel Dick)

The seventh and final single to be released off of their album Hysteria, Rocket allowed the members of Def Leppard to acknowledge the music of their youth.  Among others, the song’s lyrics cites The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, T. Rex, and especially Lou Reed’s Satellite of Love.

Directed by Nigel Dick, the video for Rocket features Def Leppard playing in the same warehouse that was used in the video for Women. This time, the band is surrounded by televisions that flash footage from the 70s.  Not only are there the expected clips of Richard Nixon, the Apollo 13 disaster, and Edward Heath but there’s also plenty of footage of various artists performing on Top of the Pops.  Because Def Leppard is an English band, there’s also a good deal of footage of Arsenal winning the 1971 FA Cup Final.  There’s also a very brief shot of the infamous Gary Glitter, who was a British icon at the time this video was released but who, nine years later, would dramatically fall from grace after being convicted on charges of downloading child pornography.  This video was the last to feature lead guitarist Steve Clark, who died from alcohol poisoning in 1991.

Rocket ultimately peaked at number 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.


Music Video Of The Day: Everybody Wants To Rule The World (1985, directed by Nigel Dick)

Yesterday, when I wrote about the video for Shout by Tears For Fears, I apparently made up a song that doesn’t actually exist.  I wrote that Shout was the band’s signature song, along with Everyone Wants To Rule The World.  I also wrote about the joint vocalist of Tears for Fears, Richard Orzabal.  Not only did I make up a song that didn’t exist but I also created an extra member of Tears For Fears.  As everyone knows, the song is called Everybody Wants To Rule The World and the singer is named Roland Orzabal.  I don’t know how I screwed up those two simple facts last night.  Maybe I was writing from Earth-2.

For many people, Everybody Wants To Rule The World will always be the song from Real Genius.  The song actually first appeared on the 1985 album, Songs From The Big Chair, for which it was a last-minute addition.  Roland Orzabal has said that he originally felt that the song was too lightweight and that it wouldn’t be a good fit with the rest of the album but producer Chris Hughes convinced Orzabal to include the song.  Hughes felt that the song would chart well in America and he turned out to be correct.  Would the song have been as popular if it had been called by its original title, Everybody Wants To Go To War?  That’s like asking if War and Peace would have been as much of a success if Tolstoy had called it War!  What Is It Good For?

As for the video, it features Curt Smith driving through the desert, people racing dune buggies, men dancing in front of gas pumps, and the Cabazon Dinosaurs.  The scenes of Curt in the desert were filmed in California and Nevada while the scenes of Tears For Fears performing were shot in London.  Curt Smith has said that the shooting of the video was a “disaster” and that there was a serious accident involving the dune buggies that led to a child being thrown from one of the vehicles and hitting his head on a rock, leaving him temporarily unconscious.  Despite all of the difficulty involved in shooting the video, it was still placed in heavy rotation on MTV and played no small role in making the song a hit.

Everybody Wants To Rule The World spent two weeks as the number one song in the U.S.  In the UK, it peaked at number two, the only thing keeping it from reach the top being the charity single, We Are The World.