The Police's 'Every Breath You Take' has the distinction of being the first music video I ever saw, or at the very least, the first one I clearly remember seeing. It was on NBC back in, I guess, 1984 on a show called Friday Night Videos. I think it was followed by Duran Duran's 'Hungry Like the Wolf' and Prince's 'Little Red Corvette'. For a 10 or 11 year old who had just spent the last year in a communist country the experience was revelatory. I'd always had a love for listening to music but now I could watch it too. That night with my brother and mother in front of the tube managed to spark, not only a lifelong love of The Police, but an appreciation for what a really good music video can be.
Those of you who were around at the time know that there was a lot of shit being mass produced to fill a hungry market and the artistry that we've become accustomed to with video directors over the years wasn't so much en vogue at the time. Seeing this stark, noirish, high contrast and painfully simple video that fit the song more in tone and theme than in trying to tell any kind of story, while showcasing the band in what is, essentially, a performance video was something I really responded to. It's a little abstract, a little haunting and very beautiful.
Since starting down this path I've gone through a lot of videos from favourite songs, past and present, to see where they stand on the 'all-timers' list. I found that even though I still love many of the songs, the videos really weren't anything 'important' or overly clever. It sounds lame to say it but there needs to be a deeper connection for me, somehow. Like a movie you finish watching, leave the theatre, go 'round to the box office, buy another ticket and go back in to watch it again just to experience it again. Watching this clip the other night cemented its place on the list.
As always, your own comments are encouraged.