Amoeblog

Somebody Called Me Australian - Music Videos Part III - The Australian Age

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 7, 2011 07:00pm | Post a Comment
This blog entry is part of a series on the history of music videos in the pre-MTV era. Part I dealt with the era from 1890s-1940s. Part II covered the 1940s-1960s. This section focuses on Australia's domination of music videos, beginning in the 1970s.

Videos took off in Australia largely because the country is a dang continent and back in the day traveling across it was harder than just moving to England and getting famous there, something which many Aussie bands have done… and probably continue to do. So rather than drive through bush fires and blizzards to get from Perth to play to seven larrikins in Brisbane, music videos were increasingly used to promote bands.

 

Sounds Unlimited




The evolution of the music video, part II (1950s - 1960s)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 6, 2009 01:45pm | Post a Comment
As persuasively and incontestably argued in The evolution of the music video, part I  (1890s - 1940s), the music video began not in the '80s, as is often wrongly assumed, but the '90s... the 1890s (if we accept the basic concept of videos being one stand-alone work of one song/one visual). From the humble sound experiments at the dawn of the celluloid age through the artistic flowering of Soundies, many musical promos were created of high historical and artistic importance. In the 1950s and '60s, videos moved from bars and clubs to the living room, as television became the new venue for music promotion.

Cineboxes, Scopitones and Color-Sonics
According to the Quixotic Internet Accuracy Project, the term "music video" was coined by DJ (VJ?) J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in 1959. That year, the Cinebox hit the scene, essentially following in the footsteps of Soundies by manufacturing videos for what was essentially a jukebox with a visual component. In 1965, the Cinebox was re-branded the Colorama in the US. The following year it was again re-branded, this time as the Cinejukebox.

Cinebox Brochure  Frankie Avalon and a Cinebox Cinebox highlights

The evolution of the music video, part I (1890s - 1940s)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 14, 2009 02:56pm | Post a Comment
Video and the Radio Star

I think it's safe to say that many, if not most, people seem to assume that music videos began with the initial broadcast of MTV on August 1, 1981. That first video, the Buggles' excruciating "Video Killed the Radio Star," came out in 1979, so what were they singing about? Were the Buggles prophets or were there videos before MTV?


For a long time, there have been musical numbers both in film and on TV. And hundreds of people have probably seen the PBS documentary about Soundies, where Michael Feinstein suggests that "an amazing forty years before MTV made its debut came a revolution in sight and sound." Hacktually, the marriage of music, advertisement and visuals within discrete shorts is almost as old as film itself and this, part one of The evolution of the music video, actually ends with Soundies.  

*cue the Ken Burns music*

1890s - The Kinetoscope

William K Dickson  Kinetoscope  Kinetoscope Parlor
William Dickson, a Kinetoscope and a Kinetoscope parlor

William K.L. Dickson, one of the most important pioneers of early film, was working on the Kinetoscope, which played short films matched sound recorded on wax cylinder to film. In what to me is the first music video (filmed around 1894), Dickson plays "Song of the Cabin Boy" on the fiddle whilst two dudes grind suggestively.

MTV VMA'S...

Posted by Brad Schelden, September 9, 2007 11:45pm | Post a Comment

Tonight was the broadcast of the MTV video music awards. I grew up loving MTV and I loved watching the music videos of my favorite new bands. I was introduced to a lot of new music by seeing their videos for the first time on MTV. I didn't even have cable for years, but I would watch MTV whenever I got a chance at a friends house or my grandparent's house. I even watched that first little reality show called "The Real World" when if first aired. Back when it was one of the only non music video related shows. The times they have changed on MTV. This is the schedule for MTV tomorrow.

6am -9:30am (videos...for real...some videos on in the early morning when nobody is watching)
9:30-1:00pm (my super sweet 16...reality show)
1:00-3:30pm (2 1/2 hours of bad rich kid o.c. style reality shows such as the hills, etc.)
3:30-4:30pm (total request live...partial videos with lame commentary and crowd shots)
4:30-6:00pm (another 1 1/2 hours of bad reality shows about rich o.c. kids and some stupid game show)
6:00-8:00pm (the real world...this show is now beyond ridiculous)
8:00-1:00am (5 more hours of reality shows about rich spoiled white kids with relationship problems and a show about a 17 year old pro skater with some issues)
1:00-2:00am (celebrity rap superstar....reality show)
2:00-4:00am (parental control...reality show in which the parents choose who their kids go on dates with)
4:00-9:00am (music videos and total request live...so the only place to watch videos is in the early morning)

So in one 24 hour period on MTV there are only 6 1/2 hours devoted to anything that is remotely related to music videos. Of the remaining 17 1/2 hours, only one show has anything remotely to do with music or music videos. The other shows really have no place on a show calling itself "Music Television." This is seriously a typical day for MTV. The only difference this year is that in order to try and get better ratings for the live airing of the awards show, they decided to not repeat the show over and over again the next day. I can think of countless shows they could have on MTV that would actually fit into a station supposedly devoted to music videos. They should obviously play more videos. Even Justin Timberlake realized this. He made a little shout out against MTV when he won his awards tonight, begging them to play more videos and less reality shows. There are so many interesting people in the music business. They could have hours and hours of interesting documentaries on so many different musicians. There are also so many amazing videos that they could still show. They could have hour long shows devoted to old 80s and 90s videos or have shows that showed artists earlier videos. They could have great themed video hours. Indie (alternative) videos, metal videos, hip hop videos, r & b videos, electronica vidoes. They did have shows like this before. Alternative Nation, Yo! MTV raps, and Headbangers Ball were on every single day. 120 minutes was on every Sunday and always showed some amazing videos that did not usually get shown on MTV. They did have a game show called remote control, and a couple cartoons like beavis & buthead, daria and aeon flux. But even Beavis & Buthead showed music videos. And these shows never took over the programming. There was always more than just a couple hours of videos. I know that MTV now has MTV2 and some other shows on the higher up cable packages. But the original MTV should still have music as their focus. If they really feel that people need reality shows or fake reality shows, they could at least try and make them about music.

For some reason I always watch this awards show. It is fun to see what all the music stars are wearing and there are usually at least a couple performances worth watching. The show tried to be different again this year by moving to Las Vegas with the show happening in different fancy hotel rooms all at the same time. There was a Kanye West room and a Fall Out Boy room. What everybody could not stop talking about was the opening number by Britney Spears. This should have been her big comeback. Her new album, whenever it comes out, may still do OK. But this performance was boring and sort of uninspired. Britney seemed bored herself and didn't seem to really even try and pretend that she was really singing.  Chris Brown and Rhianna had an amazing performance. That little Chris Brown is a great little performer. Alicia Keys was awesome like she always is. And the closing number with Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, and Keri Hilson was fantastic. The sets and the dancers and the lasers were all awesome. It was also great to see Dr. Dre have a surprise appearance.  One of the most depressing things about the show was the commercials for all the horrible new MTV reality shows that are premiering soon. A fake show about a britney spears type and a reality dating show about some model famous for being on the cover of Maxim magazine. This is what we have to look forward to. 

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