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Flashback Video: 'Spies Like Us' by Paul McCartney

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 "Spies Like Us" by Paul McCartney. This is the title song to the December 1985 film starring Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. The single saw moderate success peaking at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February of 1986. I have always found this film hilarious and was a big fan of the music video because it features the stars of Spies Like Us joining McCartney.

The music video for "Spies Like Us" was directed by John Landis who also directed the film. In addition to Spies Like Us, Landis is the hugely successful director of so many great comedies including Animal House (1978), The Blues Brothers (1980), Trading Places (1983), Three Amigos (1986) and Coming to America (1988) among many others. Landis also directed the king of all music videos with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in 1983.

The video features Paul McCartney being silly and having fun not taking himself too seriously. It, of course, features some clips from the movie interspersed. It also features Chase and Aykroyd in the studio with McCartney joining in the silliness along with their two beautiful co-stars, Donna Dixon and Vanessa Angel, pretending to provide back-up vocals at one point. The video ends with McCartney, Chase, and Aykroyd walking across Abbey Road, parodying the famous Beatles album cover. Here is the U.S. version of the music video for "Spies Like Us" by Paul McCartney...

The reason I specified that this was the U.S. version is because the UK version had to be edited differently. British labour rules at the time prohibited non-musicians from performing in videos, so the parts with Chase pretending to play an instrument and the girls pretending to sing back-up had to be edited out in order to be aired on the BBC. Chevy Chase would pretend to play an instrument in another fun music video with 1986's "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon.

Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!


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