THROWBACK THURSDAY - TONI BASIL + DAVID BYRNE x TALKING HEADS - ONCE IN A LIFETIME - TEXT LUKE BATHER
…and you may find yourself staring at your screen in disbelief.
Yes, this video is probably about as dated looking as music videos get if you take it purely at face value, but lets dig a little deeper and just marvel at it.
In 1980 the music video, as a concept was very, very new but you can never accuse a man like David Byrne of not being forward-thinking or for refusing to embrace the new and the weird. That’s pretty much his M.O.
So of course the only logical reaction is that it was nominated for some MTV awards and shown at the Museum of Modern Art
Byrne sought the help of filmmaker, actress and musician Toni Basil. Yes, the Toni Basil who starred in Easy Rider, and who would go on to release the song ‘Mickey’ and who also directed the video for that song - considered by many to be the first choreographed Music Video. Look her up, she’s amazing. The duo co-directed the video, heavily featuring green screen techniques and Byrne’s signature peculiarities - inspired in this instance by a combination of tribal dances and epileptic fits. Really.
As you watch this video, try to imagine it yourself seeing it in 1980s - this is INCREDIBLE! What’s going on with that weird blue/green wavy backdrop? Why does David Byrne look so out of breath? What’s with the glasses and the jerky movements? Am I supposed to know why? How am I supposed to feel?
So of course the only logical reaction is that it was nominated for some MTV awards and shown at the Museum of Modern Art. Of course!
Bask in this. We’re still using this sort of look on music videos today, and i’m not just talking in a pastiche/lo-fi throwback type way.
Sure, it looks more polished now but the core idea is still there. Never forget your roots.