Yeah yeah, shameless promotion. Read and be delighted if you wish…or, read again and re-live the magic!
If it ever seems like overkill that I enjoy promoting my related work, just tell me. But seriously, I get really excited about some of the stuff I enjoy sharing with you, the readers, so it’s only right and proper that if I can link my current piece back to something else, I will do it.
So last week, I looked back at a fondly-remembered (and much loved) music video from my childhood, and gushed about it the way someone would remember how they felt about it as a four-year-old. Because when you were allegedly “born 40 years old” you tend to think the way you did as a small child. So just humor me, I’m having a childhood moment.
I didn’t exactly know the lyrics to “You Can Call Me Al” until much later (as in my teenage years), and it still wasn’t the easiest song to master. But one song whose lyrics I not only know now, but knew even back in 1987 while sitting in my mom’s car yelling the song (did I mention I was all tone-deaf and cuteness back then? I still am…all tone-deaf and cuteness. True fact!), was the George Harrison song “Got My Mind Set on You.” This song not only had the distinction of being Harrison’s last single to chart at #1, but it was also his only #1 single that didn’t have religious undertones, nor was it composed by Harrison himself.
The song (and I didn’t know this until I started putting together this article) was actually recorded in 1962 by James Ray, and was written by Rudy Clark, with an edited version released as a single that same year. The George Harrison version, recorded twenty-five years later, was released on October 12, 1987 (one week before my fifth birthday) on Harrison’s 1987 album “Cloud Nine,” recorded on Harrison’s Dark Horse Records label.
And naturally, for posterity reasons, this is the original version. I’ll just get it out of the way.
Uploaded by bisindie 54
It’s okay, but it will never surpass my beloved George Harrison version that I belted out gloriously in the 1980s, but that’s only because I wasn’t aware of the song’s existence, and well, I like what I like. And I like the George Harrison version. Take that, harsh critics!
And now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, that being my rant AND the original song…
There are two different versions of the music video for “(I’ve) Got My Mind Set on You”: the version everyone and their stuffed-and-mounted animal heads know, and the one you may only have seen on the interwebs that You Tube dominates. Because when you are looking for something obscure, someone on You Tube is always holding their warm hand out to you. Thank you, You Tube, for being that warm and guiding interweb hand!
First, the one you may (just may) not know about…
Uploaded by Igor Liniewicz
And the version you and your stuffed-and-mounted trophy animal head know all too well…
Uploaded by Claudio Carrasco
One’s a video about trying to win over love by attempting to win a prize from the crane machine for a girl, and the other…is what happens when Christopher Walken is your dance double.
Note: That’s not Christopher Walken dancing, just someone who obviously INSPIRED Christopher Walken to dance.
In the original video, we have a young man (played by Alexis Denisof, who “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” fans know as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce) as a young man determined to win a lovely young lady a ballerina toy from an arcade crane machine she was trying out at the beginning of the video. The girl moves on to a video viewer machine, where she watches a black-and-white video of George Harrison and his band singing the song. Oh, and the ballerina is won, but winds up appearing the video machine, until she drops out of the video machine and into the crane machine drop. He gives the coveted toy to the girl, and wins her her heart.
“And in the end…we all live in a little video machine…”
It’s so easy for music video guys to win over music video girls.
This video did get some airplay, but it never quite lived up to the one that got more attention (and three MTV Video Music Award nominations). It also made far more sense than the alternative (as in, the one EVERYONE knows).
And in the video we all know, George Harrison (who clearly got his hair styled where Dennis Miller circa 1987 did, and of course, is also what we in the retro writing business call a Mandatory Mullet) is sitting in a study that’s inspired by Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and is easily the nightmare of everyone ever affiliated with PETA. And the stuffed animal heads? They remind me of why the Kenny Loggins paintings in “Vox Humana” are the stuff of nightmares.
Kenny Loggins, there’s another “Captain Hairdo” for ya.
The Quiet Beatle regales you with his own brand of “how I’m going to win your love” singing, while looking all cute and photogenic-like at the camera. I tell ya what, if this has to be his last #1 single, then he really wants this to go out in style. If intended weirdness was the style, then he knew exactly what he was doing.
And then there’s the Mandatory Dance Break, complete with backflip…
And the high kick that my right hip cracks in horror over…
And the fastest jump cut ever, just to hide the fact that Not George Harrison dropped back into the chair.
And through it all, book pages flip, a sentient chainsaw dances, animal heads sing and smile…and a stuffed squirrel plays the saxophone.
I kid you not, this actually happened.
Both videos were directed by Gary Weis, who created short films for “Saturday Night Live” with Albert Brooks and Tom Schiller, and along with his then-wife, Kathryn Ireland, conceptualized the music videos “Without Your Love” by Toto, The Bangles’ “Walk Like and Egyptian,” and that Paul Simon music video I wrote about recently. Can’t imagine which one it was…
And there you have it, another personal musical memory of my childhood. Believe it or not, it took me more than a few years to actively seek out an mp3 of this song (not sure how I went astray, but I found my way back!), but once I did (in 2007), it has been a mainstay on my iPod, in the shuffle of my music playlist, and an important and irreplaceable spot on my happy little heart. George Harrison may be gone (and missed dearly), but this song will always live on.
And so will this GIPHY of “him” doing a backflip.
Pure magic, I say.
Thanks for reading. I knew if I put my mind to it, I knew that I really could…write this article!
Admit it, you showed up for the clever last line, didn’t you?
Allison’s happy little heart loves her childhood earworms. If you love what she has to say, she’d love for you to visit her over at Allison’s Written Words, subscribe to her blog on Facebook, and contact her via Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. She’s got her mind set on you laughing at her bad jokes…and great stories.
Yes, she does know all of the words to this song. Because she set her mind on learning them! She knew if she put her mind to it…oh you know the rest!
She can be found at allisonveneziowrites.com.You can follow her blog on Facebook (facebook.com/allisonswrittenwords) and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.