I came of age in the heyday of the music video. Before MTV you could catch them on HBO in between movies and on a program called “Video Jukebox.” Sometimes they even showed them in the middle of SCTV and Saturday Night Live.
One of the first videos I saw had me scratching my head — the B52’s “Rock Lobster.” It might be the video that set the stages for all the puzzling curiosities that would follow, the one that led rock stars to say, hey, why don’t you dress up as the lone ranger and rescue a pretty girl from a couple of midgets, or hey, why don’t we put your head on the body of animated insect and have you shooed away by, um, a pretty girl?
Basically people didn’t know what to do with videos. Some just said, hey, I’ll do the song on stage at the St Paul Civic Center and dance with a pretty girl. Others acted out the song in the most literal way. When the lyric says “she left me,” they show a pretty girl throwing a few things in a suitcase and heading to the car.
One of my favorites of the era is this one. As one of rock’s best storytellers and a flair for theater, Mr. Davies was a natural for the genre.
If I had to pick a favorite of all times, though, I might pick this one. It’s got one of my favorite bands hanging out with Muppets, but I think what really puts it over the top is what a friend said about this video: you can tell that for the guys in the band, this is a dream come true.