Bad instrument aping (but nobody cared)
Drivin’ home late one night a coupla weeks ago after getting’ the s*** beat out of me in Edison … song came on … an old one … “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer … not my era … hated the ’80s … but, yeah, I watched the MTV like everyone else … and, funny thing is, that video (you know which video) was playing crystal-clear in my brain as I drove south on the Garden State Parkway in the darkness … I could see those ghoulish girls in their fire-engine red lips, white pancake, red nails, sheer black stockings, black heels … aping instruments unconvincingly … they made “The Partridge Family” look like Led Zeppelin … but that didn’t matter … there was something hot about it … plenty, in fact … you couldn’t look away … I knew I’d have to dial it up on the YouTube when I got home …
The 1986 video was directed by British photographer Terence Donovan. The video stayed true to itself … there was no story, no romantic sub-plot … just a weird, dreamlike vibe …
Here’s Julie Pankhurst on the left and Patty Kelly. Of course, the world found out who these girls are. Not surprisingly, they were fashion models. Donovan, who was in the fashion world, knew most of them.
This is Mak Gilchrist and Julia Bolino. I thought Gilchrist stood out the most. She looked like a vampire. Or a dominatrix. Or a vampire dominatrix. But I also remembered Bolino well. (Never mind why.) P.S.: I’m sorry I didn’t show the “drummer,” Kathy Davies. There weren’t any good shots of her, really.
Robert Palmer was funny in the video. Even though he was obliterated … destroyed … incinerated … atomized by all that estrogen, Palmer still managed to steal focus a couple of times with little gestures that emphasized his pre-recorded vocal. Actually, I found new respect for Palmer’s vocal performance … he does a lot of classic, bloozy stuff. I like that little falsetto he breaks out. In the video, Palmer’s demeanor was kind of like an American Bryan Ferry … an aloof guy in a tie who is aware that this scenario is cheezy, yes, but he also relishes his position as one guy among five enchanting women. There are times in life when ya gotta live in the moment.
There were several fetishistic cutaways that were also burned into my brain. The girls’ red nails got special attention in these frames, which emphasized moments in the song.
More fetishistic cutaways spotlighted the girls’ sheer black stockings.
This video was in constant rotation in 1986. And when it came on, everyone I know would stop what they were doing and watch it again! Palmer and Donovan followed it up with a shameless retread, the video for “Simply Irresistible.” It just didn’t have the magic. Too many girls, too much color, too calculated. Even too much ambition. Palmer looked embarrassed. Hey, man, a video like “Addicted to Love” — corny and seductive at the same time — can only happen once.