Early music videos

Aaron commented on the video I posted of Elvis Costello’s Radio, Radio:

Not the world’s best video, but definitely a great tune.

Actually, Radio, Radio is representative of the music videos of that era. I remember, because I graduated from high school in 1981. Radio, Radio was made in 1979 — pre MTV (launched Aug. 1, 1981).

There are two early videos that stand out in my mind. First up, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, made way back in 1975. It must have been years later that I saw it for the first time. According to Wikipedia, this video “has been widely hailed as the first true pop promo, launching the MTV age”.

Pretty low tech to be cutting edge! But remember, videos were edited by hand back then … never mind computer generated images.

The other video that stands out in my memory is Sting and the Police performing Every Breath You Take. The images here fit the brooding music and sinister lyrics perfectly. But we’ve jumped all the way to 1983 and the MTV era.

Wikipedia gives a special nod to Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer (1986): “to this day, considered one of the most important and influential music videos ever created … the most-played video in [MTV]’s history”.

Wikipedia adds, “Most of Gabriel’s videos employ sophisticated animation and other cutting edge special effects, and he has long been considered one of the music video’s foremeost innovators”. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who was familiar with the theatricality of Genesis when Peter Gabriel led the band.

In case it has escaped anyone’s notice, I’m partial to British acts.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. aaron
    Oct 26, 2006 @ 20:17:20

    Good classic tunes (and videos). Regarding Gabriel and Genesis —
    I’m a big fan of Gabriel, particularly solo album #3 (aka Gabriel 3), Security, and Us, but my favorite Genesis albums were immediately after he left (in the era I call “And Then There Were Four”) — I’ll take Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering over any other Genesis albums before or after, even if there’s no better Genesis photo than Gabriel dressed up as a flower — http://home.freiepresse.de/disch/flower.jpg


  2. Ozymandias
    Oct 27, 2006 @ 03:09:35

    Good music. Yawp!


  3. Stephen
    Oct 29, 2006 @ 11:34:52

    I’ll have to check out the so-called “And Then There Were Four” period. My favourite Genesis album is “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”, but then I’m not familiar with a lot of Genesis. I love Gabriel’s greatest hits compilation. I don’t think I even know Security, so I guess you’ve set out some homework for me.

    When you say “Yawp” it makes me thing of Pinky and the Brain.


  4. Ozymandias
    Oct 29, 2006 @ 23:32:09

    If I was in the same room you’d be thinking about ear plugs. My yawp is deafening. YAWP!


  5. Dan
    Sep 21, 2007 @ 17:14:43

    I’m trying to get help in finding an old music video. Can’t remember the name of the group, but in the video a car smashes into a big pyramid of TV sets and the girl singer looks punk in a mohawk and leather outfit. I’m guessing late 70’s or early 80’S. Any ideas?


  6. Stephen
    Sep 21, 2007 @ 18:50:15

    No idea. You don’t even know the name of the singer? Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders? Joan Jett?


  7. Kevin
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 07:34:41

    I think you are thinking of Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics.


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