EURYTHMICS

- Missionary Man 

THE TRAVELING WILBURYS

- End of the Line

GEORGE HARRISON

- Got My Mind Set on You 

DION with LOU REED & PAUL SIMON,

- Written on the Subway Wall

  • YouTube Classic

BLUR

- Bang

CHESNEY HAWKES

- The One and Only 

HADDAWAY

- What Is Love

EURYTHMICS

- It's Alright

(Baby's Coming Back)

TAKE THAT

- It Only Takes a Minute 

Take a look at the Youtube channel for more videos...

In 1986 Annie and Dave invited me to Paris to pick a track from their Revenge album for a video. They were keen to use the half-speed lip-sync technique I'd developed at art school. When I heard 'Missionary Man' I knew it was the perfect track. We shot the video over 3 days on the Warner Brothers' Chaplin Stage in LA. I had a half-speed soundtrack made and Annie mimed in slow motionas we ran the camera at 12.5 frames per second instead of the usual 25fps. This made the film appear twice as fast so that when it was edited alongside the normal track, Annie's singing was in sync, but her mesmeric movements were at double speed. It was the first time a big audience had seen the technique and Michael Jackson's director phoned me in the middle of the night, begging me to tell him how it was done. MTV nominated Missionary Man for best video, and although many directors have since copied the technique, nobody has bettered Annie's posessed performance in the last verse. 

I’d originally intended to make a comedy video for The Travelling Wilburys’ ‘End of the Line’. Sadly, Roy Orbison died shortly after George had asked me to do it so I changed the concept to a homage. Roy had been my first childhood hero and I wanted to create an environment that would allow the band to celebrate their friend. I put the Wilburys playing in the guard’s van of a train with Roy’s guitar in a rocking chair. George’s son, Dhani, pulled a fishing wire attached to the chair, so although Roy was gone, he was still rocking. We shot the video over 2 days in LA. The band had just come back from Roy’s funeral so there was a lot of emotion on set. It still pleases me to this day that we managed to capture some of it on film. 

In 1989 I went to New York to shoot a video for Dion’s nostalgic new release. His early records with the Belmonts were before my time, but I’d been a big fan of his 1968 hit, Abraham, Martin and John. While I was chatting with Dion in his hotel suite he casually mentioned that he’d got Standard 8 home movies of his teenage do-wop days in the Bronx. I immediately had them tele-cinied for use in the video! When he told me that Lou Reed and Paul Simon were singing on the track, I asked him to call them to be in the video. Dion said he was too shy to ask them, so I volunteered. Lou’s wife answered my call and went off to get him. I asked if he’d sing for Dion on the stoop of a brownstone near where he lived. Lou agreed and, as the lines were double-tracked, he let me and the camera-assistant sit in with him, do-wop style. When I called Paul Simon he immediately agreed to me filming him in Little Venice. As we set up the shot I told him about a guy I used to know called Nick who said he used to be a friend of his in the 60s. Paul’s eyes lit up as he grilled me about his old friend. He smiled fondly as I described Nick’s room that had albums running all the way around it. The whole experience was one of love and nostalgia. Dion’s early rock and roll attitude had inspired Lou and Paul and they would have done anything for him. You can see it in their eyes.

.

.

.

In my first Take That video (Promises) the band wore their trademark ‘Spandex’ outfits, beloved of their now erstwhile manager. Not only did the track bomb, but the press ridiculed their ‘cheesy’ image. The record company gave the boys an ultimatum: Get a hit or get lost! The next video was called It Only Takes a Minute. I set it in the spit and sawdust of an old East End boxing gym, dressed them in street clothes and told them not to smile. With the exception of Robbie’s cheeky grin, they stuck to their task and danced their hearts out. It was a great day’s shoot and Graham Fowler’s lighting captured the gravitas of the Raging Bull title sequence I was after. 

BEAUTIFUL SOUTH

- Everybodys Talkin

Music Videos

© ​Willy Smax                         willysmax.com@gmail.com