Saturday, October 28, 2017

Dio - Last in Line

After years of playing in bands, Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona) came into his own in the early 1980's, helped by his MTV-friendly videos.  Dio's band (cleverly named Dio) scored two platinum records and added a gold one to boot before their popularity declined in the later part of the decade.

Although Dio's career traces back to the early 1960s (!) he is best known for being the frontman of Elf (1967-75), Rainbow (1975-78) and Black Sabbath (1979-82).  After leaving Black Sabbath, Dio opted to form his own band with drummer Vinny Appice, guitarist Vivian Campbell, and bassist Jimmy Bain.

"Last in Line," from the 1984 album of the same name, suits our All Hallows Even theme perfectly, and has been on our list for some time.  From the elevator ride from (to?) hell, to the weird goings on in the basement, this is one odd and creepy video.  I particularly like that the band plays only supporting roles in the clip, though Dio is pretty visible towards the end.

Though Dio's popularity faded, Ronnie James remained active in the music industry until his death in 2010.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Golden Earring - Twilight Zone

Welcome to ERV's 6th annual All Hallows Even celebration.  Yes, we've been doing our version of a Halloween party since we started -- way back in 2011.  Older videos can be found using the All Hallows Even tag to the right.

While "Twilight Zone" isn't the rarest of the rare, it is an excellent video and song that suits the seasonal theme to a T.  And it has become somewhat of a forgotten gem in the 35 years (can it really be that long) since it hit our favorite video music channel.

The song is by the Dutch group Golden Earring, who are not a one hit wonder by virtue of their 1973 hit "Radar Love."  That song hit #13 on the U.S. charts only to be topped by "Twilight Zone" 9 years laters, which peaked at #10 in the U.S.

"Twilight Zone" was written by George Kooymans (Golden Earring's guitarist), and was inspired by Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity (before it became a hit movie).  The band translated that inspiration to the excellent video, directed by Dick Maas, and it caught the eye of the folks at MTV for pretty obvious reasons.  The result was a video in heavy rotation for months, and a hit song.

While Golden Earring would not become huge stars in the U.S., they remained successful in Europe (especially their native Holland), and remain active in the industry to the present day.

Oh, and one word of caution -- this is the uncensored version of the song, which includes brief nudity and a drug injection.  (These scenes were removed from the U.S. version back in the day).

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Genesis - Land of Confusion

For the second video of our "confusion" double shot, we went with Genesis' "Land of Confusion" - one of the more overtly political songs of the 1980's.

By 1986 Genesis (and Phil Collins separately) were huge pop stars, and the band seemed far removed from their art rock roots with Peter Gabriel.  In fact, 1986's Invisible Touch would be the third of four top 10 LPs in the U.S., and the fourth of five consecutive #1 albums in the U.K.

"Land of Confusion" was one of five top five singles from Invisible Touch and hit #4 on the U.S. charts.  The video featured puppets from Spitting Image (a British TV show that was popular at the time).  Interestingly, Spitting Image often made fun of Genesis, which led to the idea of using them in the first place.  The political lyrics from Mike Rutherford suite the theme perfectly, and older readers will recall that "Land of Confusion" went into heavy rotation on MTV for a time.

 Eagle-eyed readers may want to try to identify the many politicians and celebrities caricatured in the video.

As many readers will know, Genesis remained major stars through the early 1990's, before fading from view.  In recent years, the band has sporadically re-formed for reunion tours.