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 "Perfect Way" by Scritti Politti. The band formed in 1977 and would find success in the UK during the mid-80s. Green Gartside was the frontman and founding member of Scritti Politti (which translates to “Political Writing” in Italian) and the only member to have remained throughout the group’s history. In June 1985, Scritti Politti released their second album, Cupid & Psyche '85 which would be their most successful reaching #5 on the UK album charts and #50 on the U.S. chart. The album included the band’s only U.S. hit song, “Perfect Way,” which would reach #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the Hot Dance charts. This is just one of the many outstanding songs from 1985 and it always takes me back whenever I hear it.
The music video for "Perfect Way" was directed by Paula Greif and Peter Kagan. Together the duo also went on to direct other videos like Steve Winwood's "Higher Love", Duran Duran's "Notorious" and Cutting Crew's "(I Just) Died In Your Arms". They also directed the commercial for Nike's Air Max using "Revolution" by the Beatles. This video features the band performing in the studio, intercut with close-up faces, video effects, and urban footage with quick edits and transitions. Check out the music video for “Perfect Way” by Scritti Politti…
As an interesting side note, an instrumental version was later recorded by legendary Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis for his 1986 album Tutu. George Cole, author of The Last Miles: The Music of Miles Davis, 1980-1991, explains: “When Miles was recording the Tutu album, producer Tommy LiPuma thought the album needed a cover version, so he gave Miles lots of pop albums to listen to – Miles selected Scritti Politti’s ‘Perfect Way.’ In fact, Miles liked the tune so much, that he originally planned to make it the title track. Miles later became friends with singer Green Gartside and played on the Scritti Politti track ‘Oh Patti.’ He even appeared in the music video.” The fact that Miles Davis chose to cover this song really shows how great of a song it is. Gartside continued to make music as Scritti Politti with a studio album released back in 2006. In 2020, Gartside released a solo single under his own name. Though certainly not in other parts of the world, but in the U.S. Scritti Politti is considered a “one-hit wonder.” As I have said before, at least they gave us one classic '80s song and that’s one more than most musicians ever get.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!