Flashback Video: 'King of Rock' by Run-DMC
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 "King of Rock" by Run-DMC. "I'm the King of Rock, there is none higher. Sucker M.C.'s should call me sire. To burn my kingdom, you must use fire. I won't stop rockin' 'til I retire." This is the title track from their second studio album released in January of 1985. Still before rap music was fully mainstream, Run-DMC continued their unique blend of rap, hip hop and rock once again featuring the electric guitar of session musician Eddie Martinez.
"King of Rock" would be the second music video that Run-DMC created after "Rock Box" (which was on their debut album and which became the first rap video to be shown on MTV). For "King of Rock", the music video was directed by Joe Butt, but I am not quite sure how that decision came about because he doesn't seem to have any previous experience directing music videos or anything prior. Butt went on to direct a couple episodes of soap operas Another World and As the World Turns, but I do not find any other work attributed to him. This is a little surprising because the "King of Rock" video seems to be well done.
For "King of Rock", the group shows up at the "Museum of Rock n Roll," where they are met by a security guard who tells them, "you guys don't belong in here," and laughs in their faces. That security guard was played by Calvert DeForest, who was doing a character of his from Late Night with David Letterman called Larry "Bud" Melman. Run and D storm past him, busting down the door to a room with some displays honoring music legends. There are references to Buddy Holly, Michael Jackson, Little Richard, The Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elton John and others. They show disappointment in all of those exhibits before coming to one they approve of showing their video for "Rock Box." The "King of Rock" video was not meant to disrespect the pioneers of rock and roll, but more announce the presence of Rap and Hip Hop as more than just a fad. This was still before rap music had gone fully mainstream which more coincided with Run-DMC's 1986 album Raising Hell. I was a fan of Run-DMC from the first time I heard them back in 1983 and this is one of my favorite songs they've ever done. Here is the music video for "King of Rock" by Run-DMC...
Though the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was established back in 1983, the physical museum did not open until 1995 in Cleveland, Ohio. And in 2009, Run-DMC was deservingly inducted. Something they had sort of predicted way back in 1985 with this music video for "King of Rock"!
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!