Matt Welch finds six minutes and fifty-five seconds on YouTube that he says changed his life.
For me, the video music moment that changed my life happened in 1987.
I was house sitting at my ex-girlfriends while she was on tour in Japan. She didn’t have cable TV. For the most part, TV was limited to four local stations (San Diego), but once in a while, when the sunspots were right, or something, you could pick up stations from Los Angeles. I was flipping the dial and picked up the signal of Channel 5.
Channel 5 was playing a music video for some reason.
For months prior, I had been saying, “I wish I could find a modern Hank Williams — somebody with all the twang, but some rock/punk influence … not rockabilly, and not cowpunk, but pure country.”
That night, Channel 5 introduced me to Dwight Yoakam.
You know, in watching that video I realized — I hadn’t seen it since 1987.
Matt inspired me to check out a couple of other forgotten music TV gems.
One is Ricky Martin on the Grammys. There is also a back story here. The night of this performance, Billie and I were only half watching the awards show. We were also going through a spate of interest in Latin music. When Ricky came on, I was standing behind the couch. Billie was in the kitchen. From the moment the performance started, I was speechless. I kept hoping Billie would come into the room, but didn’t want to utter a word in the middle of such showmanship. Billie came in right at the tail end. Man, was she pissed that I didn’t call her in. I heard about it for another year or more. Well, just now, she finally got to see the video. She said she got chills. As far as I’m concerned, that single performance is about the only worthwhile think Martin ever did.
Then there is Fantasia Barrino singing Summertime on Idol. That remains, probably, the single greatest performance in Idol history.
Going back aways — when I was in high school, Elvis Costello had the whole school buzzing a couple of times. One was when a history of rock and roll came on television and the segment on new wave included this video. Everybody wanted to know if I’d seen Elvis walking on his ankles. The other was EC on SNL, which surprisingly is not on YouTube. But I did find this cool Top of the Pops performance of Watching the Detectives, which I’d never seen before.
Oh, I’ve got to add this first televised performance of Elvis — a completely
solo version of Allison.