I had so much fun reading the comments posted over the past few days in response to my piece on Billy Squier’s unbelievably bad video for “Rock Me Tonite” that I couldn’t resist sharing another video. This one I’ve actually posted on DM before. It features blue-eyed soulsters Hall and Oates singing “She’s Gone” while in what appears to be a shared drug-like stupor. Pre-dating MTV by almost a decade, this “promotional video” for the album Abandoned Luncheonette was made in 1973 and not released until years later. It’s a real jaw-dropper.
The clothes, the glazed expressions, the parade of women passing in the foreground, the red-sequined devil costume, the guitar solo with flippers…it’s all so ridiculously strange that it had to be a parody, right? A punk-style “fuck you” to the music industry?
When I originally shared this vid on DM a couple years ago, I didn’t know its history. As it turns out, the video was an elaborate joke with very little sub-text. A “fuck you” of sorts. In a 2009 interview with John Oates, the truth came out:
Well, I’ll give you a little background about what happened with that “She’s Gone” thing. First of all, it was 1973. There was no MTV, there was no outlet for anything like this. You know, it might be one of the first music videos ever made. I really couldn’t say, honestly, but it definitely would be a contender. What happened was, we were asked to lip sync “She’s Gone” for a teenage TV dance show broadcast out of Atlantic City, New Jersey. And we really didn’t want to do that; we didn’t want to pretend to sing the song. It was supposed to be shot in a television studio in Philadelphia. So we thought, with the mindset that we were in at the time – and I won’t say more on that, either -
We showed up at the television studio with a chair from our living room. The woman who’s walking through the picture – that’s Sarah…
And the devil who comes through was our road manager at the time. And we brought Monopoly money, and those weird instruments, and they thought we were nuts. They really thought that. My sister directed that video.
They thought we were completely insane. They actually didn’t air it; they wouldn’t air it. But we had it this whole time, and eventually I leaked it out to the internet, ’cause I just thought the world should see it.
Sounds kinda hip. You buying it?