Flashback Video: 'You Spin Me Round' by Dead or Alive
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 Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive. It was released in November of 1984 and had great success in the U.S. where it peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August as well as internationally reaching the top 10 in at least 14 other countries. It is a catchy song, but the music video helped gain the song additional attention due to the fashion choices of lead singer Pete Burns. Like Boy George in "Karma Chameleon" or Annie Lennox in "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", Burns had what many would consider a gender-bending androgynous look and for this music video added an unnecessary eye patch to his look.
The music video for "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" was directed by the duo of Vaughan Arnell and Anthea Benton. This was their first music video they directed, but then went on to also direct Dead or Alive's next hit single "Brand New Lover". The duo also directed the Terence Trent D'Arby videos for "Wishing Well" and "Sign Your Name" in the '80s and continued into the '90s and beyond in additional to extensive work in television commercials as well.
The video concept is relatively simple featuring Burns performing inside of a picture frame in front of either a blue or purple backdrop. The rest of the band is also featured in selected shots especially during the chorus. They use a disco ball and gold flags as props and have one section where they create an evocation of the six-armed deity Vishnu. That last effect with the extra arms waving behind Burns is an iconic image of the early '80s music video in my memory. Here is the music video for "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive...
In a later account by Burn he said that the record company was unenthusiastic about "You Spin Me Round" to such an extent that Burns had to take out a loan to record it. Even after it was recorded, Burns recalled, "the record company said it was awful" and the band had to fund production of the song's video themselves. Wow, was Epic Records wrong about the song being awful, but they still reaped the rewards. The video does have sort of a lower budget feel to it and that is probably due to the first time directors and the band having to pay for the video themselves. Congratulations to the band for sticking to their guns and getting an international hit song out of it.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!