Flashback Video: 'Love Shack' by The B-52's
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 "Love Shack" by The B-52's. The single was released in June of 1989 and has gone on to become known as the band's signature song. The song was a comeback for the band following their decline in popularity in the mid-1980s and the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson in 1985. "Love Shack" peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November of 1989 becoming their first Top 40 hit in the U.S. It was an international hit reaching #1 in three countries and the top 10 in three others.
The music video for "Love Shack" was directed by Adam Bernstein. He began his career as an animator, but went on to direct over 70 music videos including Beastie Boys "Hey Ladies", EPMD "You Gots to Chill", Public Enemy "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" and several for They Might Be Giants in the '80s. After "Love Shack", Bernstein also directed the music video for The B-52's next big hit "Roam". In addition to music videos, he went on to direct Nickelodeon's The Adventures of Pete & Pete followed by an extensive list of other television credits over the last couple of decades. The video for "Love Shack" was shot at the home and studio of ceramic artists Philip Maberry and Scott Walker in Highland, New York and features a cameo from a pre-fame RuPaul in his first mainstream appearance. Pierson later recalled, "we invited all our friends and had a party. We started out really early in the morning and it turned into this rave. RuPaul got the dance line going, and it almost felt like we weren't being videotaped." Guitarist Keith Strickland stated that the dance line scene was an homage to the television show Soul Train, and that RuPaul stepped in to direct the scene when Bernstein "didn't get the process". Video artist Tom Rubnitz also appears in the video as the bartender. The video won the award for Best Group Video at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards.
Here is the music video for "Love Shack" by The B-52's...
If you know the song, there are some lyrics that go, "If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says, 15 miles to the love shack, love shack yeah. I'm headin' down the Atlanta highway. Lookin' for the love getaway. Headed for the love getaway, love getaway. I got me a car, it's as big as a whale. And we're headin' on down to the love shack. I got me a Chrysler, it seats about twenty. So hurry up and bring your jukebox money." At the start of the music video, the band is shown driving in a big Chrysler convertible just like the song references. I always loved that lyric because when I was in high school I drove a giant 1973 Chrysler Newport that was affectionately referred to as "The Big Kahuna" and, though mine was not a convertible, it really could seat about 20 people in it if absolutely necessary. Whenever that line about "I got me a Chrysler" would come one, all of my friends would yell a tribute to "The Big Kahuna". So that is my favorite memory regarding this song, but screaming "Tin roof rusted" at the end is pretty fun, too.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!