Yes Men

Prog rock is for intellectuals.

Not looking forward to another week of running the rat race?  Well, The Nest’s board of directors have declared Mondays to be Mandatory Earworm days!  Per corporate directive, that means we’ll be searching through the filing cabinets for another previously downsized melody that’s eligible for rehire from that giant boardroom of lost hits we like to call the Dusty Vinyl Archive!  DJ Scratchy’s not about to be any stuffed suit’s corporate stooge, while the Sponkies are being interviewed to replace the aging forty-somethings in accounts receivable.  Gather around everyone, this is a team building song…

As someone who was born in the mid 70’s, I was lucky enough to have grown up during the heyday of the greatest cable channel of all time…

John Hope and Charlie Welsh! OK, I watched way too much of this as a kid…

Nononononono!!!!  I mean this one!!!

Yeah, that one! When the M actually stood for something…

Sure, there was always Friday Night Videos on NBC… but MTV played videos all day and all night!  And because I’m a very visual person, a lot of the songs of the 80’s will instantly make me think of images from their videos as soon as the first notes hit my eardrum.  MTV changed the landscape of pop and rock music by making videos for songs just as important to success as the songs themselves.  And in some extreme cases, the video itself was the whole reason some songs earned their place in music history to begin with.  Unfortunately, because music video television was more of a fad than anything that became as trite as Super Bowl commercials once everyone was trying too hard to get noticed, even the most groundbreaking of videos done for otherwise obscure songs have mostly been forgotten four decades later…

Sorry Luis. But hey, the DVA still remembers all the money you wasted on that dinosaur video!

The newest and most innovating music videos began becoming big presentations on MTV around mid-decade…. and that brings us to today’s featured video…. er, song.

The British band Yes were progressive rock pioneers for much of the 1970’s.  However, by the 1980’s nobody wanted to listen to overproduced music with disjointed segments and instrumental breaks long enough to wear out the D batteries in your boombox.  So the group shuffled its lineup a bit and came back in 1984 with a more pop oriented sound for the album 90125 (Not to be confused with 90210 or OU812), which was their biggest commercial success, and spawned their lone US #1 single “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”

You don’t have a lonely heart… you have a broken stopwatch!

“Owner” had a pretty famous music video in its own right, but it was Yes’ follow up single “Leave It” that took MTV by storm in 1984.  The song is OK (it made #24), but would mostly be forgotten even by me if it weren’t for the fact that it’s Godley and Creme directed music video completely messed with our fucking heads at the time…

What’s really weird about the story of this video is that what you just saw was just one of many versions of the video that were made (it’s now considered the “official” one)…. the Wiki article says there were 18 in all (though that number is very much in dispute).  I very much remember that when this video debuted, it was just the guys standing upside down and still during the entire thing.  Then, every time they’d show it again, they kept playing around with the cheesy effects of what amounted to a 1984 version of Photoshop until we’d fiddled with every button on our old boob tubes trying to adjust the picture.  Even crazier was that MTV had an April Fools Day marathon in 1984 where they showed all of the versions back to back!  Bet that was a trip…

Now they no longer have to be jealous that the dog can lick its own balls…

The roundabout of lost music continues next Monday!  You’ll join me, yes?


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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20 Responses to Yes Men

  1. You know I’ll be front row and center. Not stalking mind you, just enjoying the tunes!

  2. love it!!! even when we lost a fabulous canine only feature today ;O)

  3. ghostmmnc says:

    I never heard that song before, but the video was fun to watch. 🙂

  4. Mer O'Leary says:

    I’d like to see a band called “No.” That would be pretty boss.

  5. Wow…never saw the video but LOVED the song on the radio. Yes! always a favorite group to sing along with in the car with the windows rolled down at the top of your lungs.

    • Funny you know the song without knowing the video. I think many of the Top 40 stations passed on it (though i remember hearing it on Casey Kasum’s countdown), but the video got played all the time because of how goofy it was!

      • I was working during the day and going to school at night so didn’t have a lot of extra time for watching videos. But definitely listened to music when I had to do homework and write papers. Ugh-those were the days. 🙂

  6. Great choice. Awwwww man, I wish I could have seen YES live. I hear they gave the best concerts with fantastic sets. Roger Dean who designed their album cover art is one of my idols. OMG I love his work. Thanks for starting the week out with a big YES!

    • Yes is one of those many bands/artists that I learned about while growing up in the 80’s without having any idea they’d actually been around a long time. I drive the old folks nuts when I tell them I like sappy ballad era Chicago better than rock and horns era Chicago simply because I didn’t discover their 70’s music until the mid 90’s…

  7. draliman says:

    Okay, lads, just stand there in a line for 4 minutes and don’t move while I twiddle with some levers here, it’ll be great, trust me…

  8. I too loved the song but never saw the video – I didn’t really watch MTV……back in those days was too absorbed in……..other things.


  9. Ally Bean says:

    I didn’t watch much TV as a kid. We didn’t have a TV for a long time and then we had no cable. Bringing me to my question, how long has The Weather Channel been around? Longer than I realized.

    • The Weather Channel debuted sometime in the early 80’s. I watched it a lot, being fascinated by the weather and all that. Plus, like a lot of cable channels in its formative years, the content was very organized and cycled in a predictable fashion…. which even in my younger years very much appealed to my OCD tendencies.

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