Video Killed the Radio Star (1979) :: The Buggles :: SOTD

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“In my mind and in my car,
we can’t rewind,
we’ve gone too far –
pictures came and broke your heart.”

Video Killed the Radio Star (1979) :: The Buggles
Song of the Day

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Though often associated with “the 80’s”, The Buggles’ big hit was actually released in 1979. That said, it gained its notoriety, when it played an integral part in launching MTV in the United States at 12:01 am on August 1, 1981. I was there, well “there” as in “in front” of my TV, helping to “kill the radio star”.

MTV was part of my life-blood in my pre-teen/teen years, as was the radio (see, I didn’t leave the radio behind), especially the almost as new as MTV Los Angeles radio station, KROQ (they were more-or-less born in 1976, though I didn’t discover them until the Fall of 1980).

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For a long, long time I couldn’t hear this song without thinking of the video, and without being tossed back into nostalgia-land, finding myself musing over crushes and pin-ups, Molly Ringwald movies, and the hours I spent watching music videos in my bedroom.

The video itself was written, directed and edited by Russell Mulcahy, a video director who was quite prolific in the 80’s, especially with Duran Duran (10 of their videos are Mulcahy’s work) and Elton John (20 of his).  He later went on to direct TV and films.

from “Take This Waltz”

Now when I hear the song, though, I am immediately reminded of the emotionally-charged scene from “Take This Waltz” that the song is featured in. This scene, it moved me to the point of having to turn the movie off for a bit. There are so many unspoken feelings that go through the characters, especially Margot (Michelle Williams) while the song plays on, and the ride spins, and so many of those feelings I related to (still do) that I found myself breathless.

I am a believer in the power of music in film, and when it works, it can take a scene beyond script and dialogue, and transcend it into something else entirely. This scene, with “Video Killed the Radio Star” in it, is one of those transcendent ones.

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