Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Want My MTV

Although I don’t update the “What I’m Reading” section of my blog very often, I continue to read books regularly. I’m currently reading I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum. While the history of creating and starting MTV is interesting (who knew that Michael Nesmith of the Monkees “fueled the origins of MTV?”), I truly enjoy reading the behind the scenes descriptions of making the videos. Here are a few portions of the book I feel like sharing (along with the videos):

Daryl Hall: People loved to spend my money. This is a good story: Somebody decided the “Maneater” video wouldn’t be complete unless we had an actual panther, a man-eating animal, in the video. It appeared for a second and a half in the video and probably cost $10,000. This South American black panther was wired to the floor so it wouldn’t attack everybody. Of course, it got loose in this gigantic studio in LA and went in the rafters, fifty feet up. Nobody could get it down. That’s when I left the building.

The panther got at least 10 seconds of air time!

Jazz Summers (Wham!'s manager): Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is a bit camp. Two young boys dancing around in shorts. I thought it was tacky, and said so. I tried to talk them out of it, but my management partner, Simon Napier-Bell, was more camp than a row of tents. He thought it was lovely. And MTV really got behind it.

Debbie Gibson: Being a gay-boy magnet even at fourteen, I was in love with George Michael. I'd come home from school and turn on MTV - and there was "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.

I'm confused. Is Debbie attracted to gay boys or are gay boys attracted to her?

Nigel Dick (music-video and film director): Roland Orzabal told me what he envisioned for "Head Over Heels": "I see myself in a library, there's a beautiful girl, we'll grow old together, and there's all this random stuff like a rabbi and a chimp." And I'm rapidly scribbling on a piece of paper: "Chimp. Rabbi."

Is this the only video featuring a rabbi and a chimp?

Bryan Adams: The whole budget for the "Run to You" video went into building a tree. Lightning was supposed to hit the tree, and create a big, long lightning storm. Imagine the shock and horror on set when the [f'n] thing burns in about a minute. We stood there, looking at this tree up in flames. And Steve Barron's (the video's director) going, "Oh. S#!t." This is probably my worst video.

The real problem is that Adams doesn't run at all in the video. The Bangles walked like Egyptians (sort of) walked in their hit. If the song title is "Run to You," you run!

There are a lot more stories I could share particularly about Van Halen, Paula Abdul, and Billy Squire, but this could end up being my longest post!

Please note that this is not a sponsored post. I'm just really enjoying the book.


Gilahi said...

who knew that Michael Nesmith of the Monkees “fueled the origins of MTV?”

I did. I also know that Michael's mother invented Liquid Paper and that he was independently wealthy while MTV was still a glimmer in somebody's eye.

Mr. Brame said...

I must read this book.

Sean said...

Gilahi - I had no idea of any of that regarding Michael Nesmith. He has had quite the life/career.

Mr. Brame - I do recommend the book particularly if you watched a lot of MTV in the 80s.