You might remember it. Back in 1985, Mick Jagger and David Bowie recorded “Dancing in the Street” to raise money for Live Aid, the famine relief mega-concerts organized by Bob Geldof. Originally written by Marvin Gaye, and first made famous by Martha and the Vandellas in 1964, “Dancing in the Street” topped the British charts when Bowie and Jagger recorded their version in 13 short hours. The collaboration also yielded what’s possibly the worst music video ever made. Or so this survey by The Guardian would conclude. NME ranks it as the 11th worst of all-time.
Shot by David Mallet at the London Docklands, the original video (see below) features “Bowie in an oversized yellow raincoat and leopardish jumpsuit and Jagger in yellow sneakers and a flouncy electric-green blouse,” writes Mark Kurlansky in his book, Ready For a Brand New Beat: How “Dancing in the Street” Became the Anthem.
He adds, “It is hard to understand what is going on in this video of two men dancing and hopping around each other.” And if you turn the sound off, it only gets worse … if that’s possible.
Above, see what happened when writer & director Strack Azar created a “silent” version of the Jagger/Bowie video last year. It’s laugh-out-loud funny at times. It’s also a good reminder that when you watch something visual, you can’t discount the impact that the soundtrack makes on the total experience.
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David Bowie Releases 36 Music Videos of His Classic Songs from the 1970s and 1980s
Bob Geldof Talks About the Greatest Day of His Life, Stepping on the Stage of Live Aid, in a Short Doc by Errol Morris
Mick Jagger Tells the Story Behind ‘Gimme Shelter’ and Merry Clayton’s Haunting Background Vocals
Shoulda called it Dancing in the Sheets because Angie left David after catching him in bed with Mick. I went to Maggie Mae Abbott’s place in West Hollywood once and she said she couldn’t invite me in because Angie was staying there after leaving David for that raason.