My long quest to find a good all-music channel in this decade has so far brought disappointing results. The only one that I know of still in existence is VH1 Classic, and to get that I'd have to pay for $100 worth of other channels I'd never watch. There's a feeling of hopeless futility in this -- the laws of cable networks stipulate that by the time VH1 Classic is offered in more affordable cable packages, it'll have abandoned its format and will be full of reality shows. Sigh.
There are those who say YouTube is bringing the rebirth of the music video, but watching an endless amount of surprise random videos and deliberately searching for them one by one are not the same thing.
So, it's back to when MTV was good. A while ago I was clued into the existence of a torrent containing the contents of a six-hour tape of uncut 80's MTV, but I was almost too late. The torrent was so large it was sliced into three halves, and it was just about dead. I caught the first third, but I barely rescued the second third from death, and the third third had no pulse on my arrival.
The picture's kind of washed out, but it's still viewable, and it's CLASSIC MTV, so who's really complaining? The date is September 9, 1982. Strap yourself in and prepare for another blast from the superior past.
Superior in most ways, anyway. The first video on the tape was "Say Goodbye" by Triumph (not the Insult Comic Dog). The song's fine, but the video is of the "just the band playing" variety, only this time "just the band playing -- IN SPAAAACE." That doesn't make it better.
Following this was Pat's "You Better Run," which I've already gone over.
But the meat of the video was about to come. Feast your eyes on these Meaty Meat Pies:
Mwaha, sweet! The video makes the song even better. It's a pretty fun and comical illustration job if I do say so. I'd have never thought the flute solo came from a man sitting on a branch playing to a stuffed koala hanging from a noose, but now that I know the truth, I feel blessed.
Watch closely as the man with stringy hair opens the van -- I'm pretty sure he yells the F-word.
As the video ends, veejay Martha Quinn hops down the stairs and says goodbye. Aw, c'mon, we've barely been introduced! But nope, whoever taped this started at the tail-end of her block and that's all we see from her. It's JJ Jackson's turn now. (If you haven't figured this out yet, clicking on the yellow-bordered screenshots will bring up the portion of the video they're from.)
A brief commercial break offers a bodacious advertisement for an Atari 2600 game called "Space Jockey." "Sweaty palms are guaranteed!" it promises. Between the departure of Quinn and the arrival of JJ two more videos are played. The Police's "Spirits in the Material World" is another uncreative "band playing" vid, but since it's the Police I'll offer them a little forgiveness. Another reason I hate these no-frills videos is because there's not much I can type about them. Every shot of the drummer seems to be the same shot.
"Another Thing Coming" by Judas Priest is more of the same, but at least their clothes are so bizarre it makes up for it.
JJ Jackson finally appears and gives us stale Music News from over 25 years ago, using weird terms like "Us Festival" and "Billy Squire". M-Vid Director Brian Eno had just shot a forty-minute music video that was a 24-hour time-lapse of the New York skyline, and to watch it properly you were expected to turn your TV set on its side. I don't know if they ever showed that one.
Another video game ad appears for "M Network," a series of games released by Mattel. This is interesting. They're for the Atari, and Mattel was competing against them with their Intellivision machine. Yet they were also making games for their competitor? It's apparently so. Imagine Nintendo making games for the N-Gage. Or Microsoft porting Halo to the 3DO. Or Sony and Nintendo working together on a CD-based SNES add-on. It's too freaky to fathom.
Now here's.....Rick Springfield, ohhhh joooyyyyy. You might gather from my sarcastic use of multiple letters that I'm not a fan of his. If I have to bring up Rick, then I don't want to talk about this song, I want to talk about this thing from 1973 that aired years before he was ever popular around here:
I can't sum it up better than DVD Talk did:
|Mission: Magic! tells the story of Miss Tickle (voice of Lola Fisher), a hip young school teacher whose class of curious students form The Adventurers' Club. Vinnie and Socks (voice of Howard Morris), Harvey and Franklin (Lane Scheimer), and Kim and Carol (Erika Scheimer) meet in Miss Tickle's classroom, where through a magic gramophone machine, rock star Rick Springfield (himself) calls out to them, telling them about their next adventure. Miss Tickle then brings to life her Egyptian cat statue name Tut-Tut (Oh Tut-Tut, cat of ancient lore, 'Tis time to draw the magic door), and taking a piece of chalk, draws a magic door on the chalkboard, which immediately transports the class to a magic land where Rick Springfield awaits. There, the gang gets into many nonsensical adventures, featuring their enemy Mondran, as well as Dr. Manta, Doctor Daguerreotype, and The Land of Backwards. During the Adventurers' mission, Rick always has time for a rocking song before the group is transported back to class.|
I'll keep in mind not to talk to strangers, Rick.
My favorite Duran Duran song is "Rio" and "Hungry Like the Wolf" comes in second. That is, my favorite of the two DD songs the local radio stations around here actually play. If Duran Duran has made anything else, I wouldn't know. Raiders of the Lost Ark hadn't been released that long ago, and the video for "Hungry Like the Wolf" borrows heavily from it. There's no boulder, though, and if you're going to target Raiders, that feels like a big omission.
A song's lyrics are often meaningless and merely an excuse to fill a hole. Words are chosen because they sound good when sung and add the proper feeling, not because they form coherent statements. That's especially true here.
"I smell like I sound."
What does that mean? He smells like he sounds? So if I don't like Duran Duran, this guy must smell like a pork rendering plant?
"I'm lost and I'm found."
This is a paradox. You can't be lost and found at the same time. If you're lost, then you haven't been found, and if you're found, then you're no longer lost. It's impossible to be both at once. You're not making any SENSE, dude.
After JJ says his bit about the Duran Duran video, an ad for a new music magazine called "RockBill" airs. The announcer's tagline: "Remember reading? Well, read this." RockBill was so high-quality a periodical, no newsstand would sell it to you. As the announcer explained, you had to send twelve dollars to New York City to get it. "Remember writing? Well, write a check."
Then McGruff the Crime Dog appeared, but due to another program I was running on the computer at the same time, the video lagged behind the audio and I heard McGruff talk over the end of the RockBill ad. A photo of a musician was shown and McGruff said "See that guy? He's STEALING THAT BIKE."
Ordinarily, I wouldn't like a song like this, and my hatred for cover songs knows no boundaries (rare is the cover artist that can improve upon the original). But this....no, I don't hate this. This makes a strong case for music videos, because the pictures improve it a lot. When an old tune like "Crimson and Clover" is garnished with the pretty face of a young Joan Jett jumping off staircases and biting the buds off roses, it goes miles. Put another dime in the jukebox, baby!
With their stylish mirror shades and feathered hair, The Look can rock anywhere and anytime, and with anything -- one of them plays guitar with a large cardboard box in this video, and gets into it Hendrix-style. As they sing, no one can resist and everyone starts jumping, from little kids at the playground to a man riding a stick horse for a half-second.
This one's been played to death on the radio since '82, yet some of you may still have never seen the video. I haven't either, but I have now. It's certainly an interesting interpretation; I had no idea the girls being sung of were such total freaks. I think I now know why A Flock of Seagulls ran so far away.
Following this is a Maxell ad I decided to write nothing about, as not to spoil it. It may be the best ad you see all month.
Now JJ wants to take a break from the music to inform us "why the Animals broke up." My first guess is "because the zoo went bankrupt," but the answer is apparently something else.
Guy on the TV: "I was with friend like low income class family, and my father has very narrow opinion, very narrow view of things because he was troubled when I, uh, when I skinned the pig, for out of the caves a thing that used, is, is quite great. I'm quite proud of that, okay."
This is the rare "band playing" video that's good, because it uses enough creative camera work, snappy cutaways and flashing stage lights to make it a musical experience. You get what you've come to expect from the name Def Leppard: lots and lots of hair.
And at this point....I'm going to have to let it go, partly because my previous belief that I could cover the entire four hours in one piece turned out to be unachievable and I'm now past deadline. This was all from the mere first hour. Lord only knows what I'll find in the other three, or what I could have found in the extra missing two.
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