Retro Dee writes about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s on this site. Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every Wednesday.
Hi folks! It’s Retro Dee and in this post we’re gonna Keep the 50’s Alive with five great (now classic) videos that pay homage to The Best Era Ever.
These videos are of songs that are themselves now old, and each alludes to the 1950’s. Even back as far as 30 years ago, it was clear that the 1950’s were a great time in history.
1. ”The Longest Time” by Billy Joel
As one of the greatest songs from the 80’s era, “The Longest Time” always brings tears to my eyes. Off of Joel’s 1983 “Innocent Man” album, it was clearly a time in his career that he wanted to veer away from the dismal “Piano Man” era, and pay homage to the Fabulous Fifties.
The video for “The Longest Time” is a lot of fun, if not a tad inaccurate since Joel would have only been 10 in 1959. Still, this is back when a video’s story line was consistent with its song, and played out like a mini-movie. MTV was the 80’s biggest achievement in entertainment, and the 1950’s was its throw-back era.
2. “In Bloom” by Nirvana
The song itself couldn’t be more morbidly 1990’s- but the video pays an odd homage to the Nifty Fifties in a setting that looks like it’s supposed to be The Ed Sullivan or Milton Berle Show.
Frontman Kurt Cobain dons a pair of black horn-rimmed glasses and dresses uncharacteristically dapper to portray a 1950’s recording star. I love how they filmed this video, it is just brilliant.
But truly, my favorite thing about it is the tame and pleasant demeanor of Kurt’s 1950’s character. The little smiles and eyebrow raising cracks me up. Of course, true to grunge band form, things do get a “tad” out of hand during the performance, at least by 1950’s standards. Back then they might have had to pull the plug and go to the test pattern.
3. “Buddy Holly” by Weezer
Sometimes I wonder where I ever got the idea that Buddy Holly was uncool, then I remember this Weezer song. The 1990’s were a time that didn’t give you a lot of room to be yourself and Rivers Cuomo alludes to the issue in “Buddy Holly”.
But more importantly, perhaps, is the fact that this video is set in an iconic TV spot: Arnold’s Diner from “Happy Days”!
When I first saw this video as a kid, I remember thinking: “Who is this guy and why is he singing about Buddy Holly? Oh, who cares? It takes place at Arnold’s!”
And boy does this video do some great editing, especially when you consider it was made in the 90’s and the technology was not what we have now.
4. “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel
So we’re back with Billy Joel in the late 1980’s, this time with “We Didn’t Start The Fire”. I don’t really like this song, but I suppose it was a powerful look back on the past 30 years for the folk in 1989.
The video somewhat facetiously portrays a couple getting married in the late 50’s. It features a Lucy-esque housewife while Joel sits cooly in the kitchen as sort of a narrator to the story.
This video ends on a disturbing note, I won’t lie. It’s even more disturbing when you consider the last 30 years that came after this was made, and what we’re going through now. As a matter of fact, you might want to quit while you’re ahead and stop watching after they have their first baby.
5. “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty
Finally, we have the late but great Tom Petty with his huge 1989 hit, “Free Fallin’”.
Once again, the 1980’s pay homage to the 1950’s, not only in the video, but in the song itself, which mentions Elvis Presley. Though all in all, this video is super 80’s.
This song is a Petty fan favorite, and whenever I hear it, I picture the segment of this video with its throw backs to a simpler time. I guess that’s what I got out of it. The rocker chick on the half-pipe doesn’t really impress me.
Well, that’s it! Thanks for reading, I mean, watching!
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