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Flashback Video: 'Sweet Freedom' by Michael McDonald

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 "Sweet Freedom" by Michael McDonald. This song was featured on the soundtrack to the film Running Scared released in June of 1986. It would be McDonald's most recent top 10 hit when it peaked at #7 in late August of that year. It's a great song and Running Scared is an under-rated buddy cop movie in my opinion.

The music video for "Sweet Freedom" was directed by Leslie Libman and co-directed by her then-husband Larry Williams. Before moving to television primarily, they directed many commercials as well as many music videos in the '80s. In addition to "Sweet Freedom", some of those other '80s hit videos include Chicago "You're the Inspiration", Chicago "Hard Habit to Break", The Dream Academy "Life in a Northern Town (version 2)", The Bangles “Manic Monday”, Belinda Carlisle “Mad About You” and Rod Stewart "Every Beat of My Heart".

Most music videos from '80s movie soundtracks feature clips from the actual movie. As I have mentioned before, the best ones actually feature the cast members participating in the video. Examples of this include "Ghostbusters", "Spies Like Us", "Rock On" and "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" among others. The music video for "Sweet Freedom" features both Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines, the stars of the film. The video starts with lots of clips from the movie, but then focuses on McDonald performing the song in a tropical bar setting. About half-way through the video, Crystal and Hines enter the bar and begin dancing with the other patrons. They eventually sneak up on McDonald and toast with a beer before joining McDonald by the piano to sing the chorus. It's just great seeing Crystal and Hines goofing around and having fun. Here is the music video for "Sweet Freedom" by Michael McDonald...

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


Nov 12, 2022

One of my friends and former Pop Geeks interview subjects is Pleasant Gehman, a versatile talent who played a bartender in this video. She had some good memories of this music video. Here's the link to that interview:

Lanae Moore
Lanae Moore
May 24, 2023
Replying to

I was only 5 years old when this song and movie came out. I remember watching the video on MTV a lot back then. We were stationed in Key West, FL from ‘85 -‘89. I always thought that the video was shot in Key West because they did vacation there in the movie. But I recently learned that it was actually shot in Santa Monica, CA. In the video at around the 2:30 minute mark there is a beautiful lady who smiles at them when they open the door to the bar. Do you know who she is? I have been trying to find out for a while now. She is stunning.

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