Down the street of my soul :: VOTD

Self Control :: Laura Branigan
from the album, Self Control
Directed by William Friedkin

Self Control is the name of an international hit song recorded in 1984 by Laura Branigan, as well as the album on which it appears. The song was recorded earlier that same year with the same English lyrics by Italian singer Raf, who co-wrote the song with Giancarlo Bigazzi and Steve Piccolo. Branigan’s version first hit # 1 in Germany on June 15, 1984. Raf’s version first hit # 1 in Italy on June 23, 1984. Branigan’s version was the most popular song across Europe during much of the summer of 1984 and was the most successful single of the year in Switzerland. Branigan’s version peaked at # 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and also went to # 2 on the dance chart.

Branigan was one of the first artists of the video era to work with an Academy Award-winning film director on a music video when William Friedkin (The French ConnectionThe Exorcist) directed the clip. Filmed in New Jersey and New York City, the video was produced by Fred Caruso and first aired in April 1984.

The video (see above) depicts Branigan, sitting in her bedroom while her lover sleeps. Tempted by the allure of the city at night, she gets dressed up and goes out. Brief encounters with a mysterious man in a full-face white mask lead Branigan from the dance floor of a night club to an underground room where the masked man stands in the midst of an orgiastic gathering that he beckons her to join. Branigan allows herself to be led into the group, but ultimately flees in fright. Returning home, Branigan finds that the masked man and some of his throng are, somehow, now in her bedroom. The masked man lowers Branigan to her couch, and she surrenders herself to him. The masked man, standing over Branigan, now lying unconscious on the floor, turns and walks towards the bedroom window, fading away in the morning light. Branigan, consumed by guilt, gets up and turns out the light. The final scene shows Branigan lying awake in bed, when her lover turns to face her, his face hidden behind a familiar white mask.

The video ultimately drew controversy, as it was considered so shockingly steamy that MTV required some edits before it could air. Entertainment Tonight aired a segment on the network’s reaction to the clip, which was being played in late-night slots on other networks. Though Branigan resisted at first, her record company convinced her to allow a minor alteration and the video was aired on MTV, though by this time the single had peaked on the charts. Branigan would go on to be nominated for a

1985 American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Video Artist. Branigan’s fellow nominees were Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper, who won the award.

Branigan performed the song live in her debut on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on 27 April 1984. She also promoted the song during appearances on The Merv Griffin ShowSolid Gold (12 May 1984),[6] Dick Clark’s American Bandstand (9 June 1984)and the syndicated Dick Clark television special Rock Rolls On, which she also co-hosted.

Editor’s Note: This song, as well as Laura Branigan’s other hit Gloria, will forever and always remind me of roller skating. There were three roller rinks that my friends and I used to love going to, but it was Skate Ranch, an oversized red barn in the middle of suburbia which housed a huge skating rink, that we liked the best. We used to have a skate-dance routine we made-up for this song that included using our hands as masks, and our fingers as fangs for the “I live among the creatures of the night” lyric.


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