Updated: Sep 6, 2022
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 "Need You Tonight/Mediate" by INXS. "Need You Tonight" was the first single released from the band's 1987 album Kick. "Mediate" was never released as a single on its own, but the song segued from "Need You Tonight" on the album and it was decided to combine them into one music video. "Need You Tonight" would actually go on to become the band's first and only single to reach the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 when it hit #1 in January of 1988. They had released five albums and were massive in their native Australia, but this is the album and song that really led the band to international stardom.
The music video was directed by Richard Lowenstein, an Australian filmmaker who went on to direct most of the INXS videos. He had directed their first big hit in the U.S. "What You Need" and then later other big hits like "Never Tear Us Apart", "New Sensation", "Suicide Blonde" among others. Lowenstein also went on to direct two videos from U2's 1988 Rattle and Hum album, "Desire" and "Angel of Harlem".
For the "Need You Tonight" portion of the music video, Lowenstein has said he created the effects used by cutting up 35mm film and photocopying the individual frames, before re-layering those images over the original footage. Then for "Mediate", they did a tribute to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues". Some are not aware that Dylan had created a very similar style video way back in 1967 first appearing in D. A. Pennebaker's documentary Dont Look Back. In an homage, INXS members flip cue cards with words from the song with the last one reading "Sax Solo" (appropriately followed by Kirk Pengilly's saxophone solo). The location for the "Mediate" portion of the video was near blast furnace number 6, Port Kembla Steelworks, NSW, Australia. The main part of the video for "Need You Tonight" is solid, but it is really the "Mediate" portion, in my opinion, that really sets this music video apart making it truly special. See for yourself and check out the music video for "Need You Tonight/Mediate" by INXS...
The music video surely helped with the success of the single and the album. "Need You Tonight/Mediate" won five MTV Video Music Awards including 1988 Video of The Year.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!