Sunday, January 8, 2012

Van Halen - (Oh) Pretty Woman

In honor of the boys (mostly; I miss Michael Anthony) getting the band back together, may I present Van Halen's first real video.  While Warner Bros. did release videos for earlier songs, they used concert footage for the videos.  (As an aside, it seems that most hard rock bands frowned on doing 'real' videos in the late 1970's and early 1980's.)

At any rate, by 1982 Van Halen were one of the biggest rock acts in the world, but they had also been touring and recording more or less constantly since 1977.  Supposedly, the band wanted to do Diver Down as quickly as possible in order to go on some well deserved vacations.  As a result, the album clocks in at 31 minutes and includes 5 covers.  The result is surprisingly good, highlighting the strength of VH's original lineup

"(Oh) Pretty Woman" is, of course, a cover of a 1964 Roy Orbison song that had spent three weeks at #1.  However, by the early 1980's, Orbison was mostly forgotten; he often credited the Van Halen cover with restarting his career.  The Van Halen version peaked at #12, while Diver Down rose to the #3 spot on the album charts.

In typical semi-self destructive Van Halen style, the video was banned on MTV due to its sexual content (the folks at MTV were apparently not amused by midgets fondling tied-up transvestites).  I remember seeing the video on USA's Night Flight, but it was not widely viewed (= rare!).

Cool trivia facts:  Van Halen's frontman, David Lee Roth directed the video, and claims that he wrote the "Intruder" synthesizer intro to fill enough time for the video.  (Yes, "Intruder" also appears on Diver Down, as the band needed every second that they could find).

In the interest of completeness, here is the Roy Orbison original.  I chose a 1964 Top of the Pops video, as it is the most like a 'real' music video.

Note that David Lee Roth's "Going' Crazy!" video (with the full intro) was posted on ERV in January 2015.

1 comment:

  1. Definately a strange video. Thanks for the fun story about it.