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 "You Might Think" by The Cars. It was the first single released from their incredible Heartbeat City album in February of 1984. It only peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late April, but the music video went on to even greater success.
The "You Might Think" music video was one of the very first to use computer graphics. At that time, New-York-based visual-effects company Charlex was creating innovative advertising which caught the eye of director Jeff Stein. Many music videos at the time were more performance based, but Stein thought The Cars were a boring live band so he wanted to use some digital trickery to get around that and make them more interesting. Stein, along with Charlex founders Alex Weil and Charlie Levi, directed and produced the video for "You Might Think". Jeff Stein created music videos for Billy Idol "Rebel Yell" and Hall & Oates "Method of Modern Love" around that same time and then went on to direct many other '80s music videos including Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers "Don't Come Around Here No More", Heart "These Dreams", Huey Lewis & the News "Doing It All for My Baby", Breakfast Club "Right on Track" and Warrant "Cherry Pie" among many others. Stein was also a writer for '80s television shows including Barney Miller and Mr. Belvedere.
The video features lead singer Ric Ocasek and model Susan Gallagher in a series of quirky encounters created using computerized effects. The rest of the band appears throughout the video as well. Probably the most memorable special effect is when Ocasek's head appears on the body of a fly buzzing around. That was the most difficult and lengthy shot to create. "You Might Think" took months to make and cost $80,000 to produce, which was almost triple the average music-video budget of the time. The band wasn't on board with the vision at first, but the result was a music video that stood out from the rest and gave The Cars a little more personality than they would have had otherwise. It was also perfect timing as MTV was starting to change the music industry. Here is the music video for "You Might Think" by The Cars...
"You Might Think" is a cool music video, but it is still shocking to me that it would win Video of the Year at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards in September of 1984. "You Might Think" won this award when Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was also nominated. To me, "Thriller" is in an entirely different league than all other music videos, so I have absolutely no idea how it did not win if it was nominated. Other nominees included Herbie Hancock "Rockit", The Police "Every Breath You Take" and Cyndi Lauper "Girls Just Want to Have Fun". The Cars winning Video of the Year is one of the great pop culture mysteries in my opinion. Either way, it's still a great video and one of the decade's most memorable.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!