Toonsday – Tunesday

This week’s theme is animated music videos.

They range in styles and mediums, just like the music itself. The importance of music videos in the 1980s is often taken for granted. With freedom to create “shorts” in many different styles, music videos helped the flow of art and creativity for many people making the videos and watching them. Anyway, on to the videos….

1. Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1989)

Taking inspiration from the 1905 comic strip “Little Nemo in Slumber Land” by Winsor McCay, Tom Petty’s hit song was an ode to his musical roots. Mix in a little “King Kong” and you have a classic video for a classic song.

2. Opposites Attract – Paula Abdul (1988)

After watching this video in 1989, i wanted more MC Skat Kat. Animated by members of  Disney Animation, MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob were created by Michael Patterson. Patterson first gained popularity for animating the music video for A-Ha’s “Take Me On” in 1985. The rap that MC Skat Kat does in the song was written by Romany Malco (who would later star in “40 Year Old Virgin” and the show “Weeds”) and performed by  Derrick Stevens, while the background vocals for the song were done by The Wild Pair, Bruce DeShazer and Marvin Gunn. After the popularity of this video, MC Skat Kat released an album but it was a flop, sadly.

Who knew it took so many people to make one cool cat?

3. Harlem Shuffle – Rolling Stones (1986)

First released in 1963 by R&B duo Bob and Earl, this 1986 cover by the Rolling Stones got a little funky with their video. The video blended live action segments directed by famous animation director Ralph Bakshi and animation segments directed by future The Ren & Stimpy Show creator John Kricfalusi. Another bit of triva, the opening horn segment of the song was sampled by House of Pain for their 1992 hit “Jump Around”.

4. Money For Nothing – Dire Straits (1985)

The music video for “Money for Nothing” features early computer animation illustrating the lyrics. The video was one of the first uses of computer-animated human characters and was considered ground-breaking at the time of its release and became a staple on MTV. Originally, lead singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler was not at all enthusiastic about the concept of the music video. MTV, however, was insistent on it. Director Steve Barron (director of A-Ha’s “Take Me On” video, see a theme here), of Rushes Postproduction in London, was contacted by Warner Bros. to persuade Knopfler to relent. Barron flew to Budapest to convince Knopfler of their concept. Meeting together after a gig, Knopfler was reportedly still unimpressed, but this time his girlfriend was present and took a hand, saying “There aren’t enough interesting videos on MTV, and that sounds like a brilliant idea.”, which caused Knopfler to change his mind about the video.

5. Take Me On – A-Ha (1984)

Directed by Steve Barron, A-Ha’s video for “Take Me On” was actually their second one for the song. Their first version was released to little fan-fare in 1984.  The 1985 version was filmed at Kim’s Café in London, England and on a sound stage in London. The video used a pencil-sketch animation / live-action combination called rotoscoping, in which the live-action footage is traced over frame by frame to give the characters realistic movements. Approximately 3,000 frames were rotoscoped, which took 16 weeks to complete. The idea of the video was suggested by Warner Bros executive Jeff Ayeroff, who was pivotal in making “Take on Me” a globally recognized music hit. The video ended up being a staple for MTV and showed how beautiful and artist music videos could be.


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