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Flashback Video: 'Leave It' by Yes

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 "Leave It" by Yes. “Leave It” was released as the second single from their 90125 album in February of 1984. It wasn’t as successful as their previous smash hit “Owner of a Lonely Heart” but it did make it to #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 and helped make 90125 the band's biggest commercial success by far. "Leave It" has always stood out to me in particular due to the incredible vocal harmonies that are truly the song’s distinction. In my interview with Trevor Rabin from Yes who was the song's co-writer, he said the following about "Leave It" and the band's music videos: Unfortunately Yes’s videos stink, all of them. I think the worst being “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. It’s a study in making rubbish for a lot of money. Luckily, the song did well and wasn’t affected by the incredibly bad video. I’m very happy with “Leave It” [as a song]. We went into a studio and couldn’t get a good drum sound and started with vocals. Without a good drum sound, we focused largely on the vocals and that’s what resulted. I think it’s Yes’s best work vocally. (But also a crappy video, ugh.)

I was a little surprised to hear his comments regarding the music videos and feel he might be a little over-critical looking back now. I feel that the music video for "Leave It" was very creative and turned out quite interesting. It certainly takes a look at the band from a different perspective! Even though Trevor doesn’t seem to like it much, here’s the music video for “Leave It” by Yes…

Did you find yourself turning your head to try to watch it with them being right side up? As I said, I really like the song and I actually really like the music video, too. The "Leave It" music video was directed by Godley & Creme who created some of the most popular videos of the decade including "Rockit" by Herbie Hancock, "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" by Wang Chung as well as several by Duran Duran and The Police among many others. As you surely noticed, the video which is actually one of the first to utilize CGI (computer-generated imagery) shows the band standing upside down while also going through a series of other abstract effects. For some reason, they actually shot EIGHTEEN slightly different versions of the "Leave It" music video. They settled on number 11 to become the official music video for the song (which is the one you watched above) and MTV went on to air a half-hour special on the making of the "Leave It" video. Like the video itself, the "making of" special is an interesting look into the creative process of Godley & Creme, so I thought you may be interested in watching that as well...

Not only did MTV used to actually play music videos, but they sometimes provided a peak behind the curtain like this. Looking back especially now, some music videos from the '80s are certainly better than others, but they all served the purpose of taking advantage of the exposure that MTV could bring a song as the musical landscape was changing. It really evolved into a new artform and, as with any art, its appreciation is quite subjective. I would hesitate to call any of them "rubbish" and certainly wouldn't refer to the video for "Leave It" in that matter then or even looking back now. But like I said, it's subjective and opinions can always differ. Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!



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