Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.
This issue we will cover "Forever Your Girl" by Paula Abdul. This was the title track and fourth single released from her 1988 debut album in February of 1989. "Forever Your Girl" became the second of four #1 singles from the album when it spent two weeks on top of the chart in May of 1989. This is certainly one of the songs that helped cause me to fall for Paula.
The music video for "Forever Your Girl" was directed by David Fincher, who was known for his commercial and music video work at that time including his work with Madonna, Aerosmith in addition to Paula Abdul and many more in the late-80s. Fincher would, of course, later go on to become a hugely successful film director with films like Seven, Fight Club, The Social Network and Gone Girl among others. The first music videos Fincher directed were from Rick Springfield and The Motels in 1985 and then Jermaine Stewart's "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" in 1986. In addition, he went on to direct Patrick Swayze's "She's Like the Wind", Sting's "Englishman in New York", Johnny Hates Jazz' "Shattered Dreams", Steve Winwood's "Roll With It", Jody Watley's "Real Love", Don Henley's "The End of the Innocence", Madonna's "Express Yourself", Aerosmtih's "Janie's Got a Gun" as well as Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" among others in the '80s. Fincher moved into the '90s with Madonna's "Vogue", George Michael's "Freedom 90", Billy Idol's "Cradle of Love" and Michael Jackson's "Who Is It" among the 53 music videos he directed before moving on to feature films.
In the music video for "Forever Your Girl", Paula Abdul is depicted as the director/ choreographer of a children's performance. Among the many children shown in the video you may recognize an 8-year old Elijah Wood, 10-year old Nikki Cox and 8-year old Trevor Wright. This was Elijah Wood's first acting performance and he is has gone to be a successful actor both as a child and then later on especially known for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Nikki Cox had a few previous roles including in the Michael Jackson video for "Badder" from Moonwalker and then was a recurring character on General Hospital from 1993-1995 before starring on 5 seasons of Unhappily Ever After among several other mostly TV roles over the years. The music video is mostly in black and white, but there are some color shots interspersed throughout. Paula's outstanding dancing is highlighted as well as that of the kids in the show. Here is the music video for "Forever Your Girl" by Paula Abdul...
The song was written by Oliver Leiber who also wrote two other hits from Abdul's debut album. I had the pleasure of an interview with Oliver Leiber and asked him about creating each of those hits including "Forever Your Girl". There are some great stories about creating these songs, so I recommend you check out the entire interview, but here is what he said when I asked him whether he thought the song would be special after he wrote it:
To be honest, I never thought that the song would get much attention or do very well. It was in a major key and just seemed too damn sweet to me. So I was pretty surprised when they made it the title track of her record… I think I’m still surprised! I never imagined the night I finished the mix with Keith Cohen at Larrabee North that it would blow up like it did… never thought that for a second. But so pleased that it did!
Abdul's video for "Straight Up" won four 1989 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Female Video, Best Editing, Best Choreography, and the first Best Dance Video, but I have always been more partial to "Forever Your Girl" myself. Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!