The history of the music video

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The history of the music video Alex reddish

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Let’s begin at the very beginning! In the early 1900’s, mr Thomas alva Edison invented the Gramophone- this is a record player.

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The first talking movie was released in 1927 and was called ‘the jazz singer’. The movie was half musical and half silent. During the depression era in 1933, ‘the gold diggers’ idealised glamour. It was an elaborately choreographed video that was the first big production for the cinema screen. Over in soviet Russia in 1938, ‘Alexander Nevsky’ was made by Sergei Eisenstein. The score was composed by Sergei prokofiev and it was the first soundtrack specifically commissioned. In 1935, Fred Astaire starred in ‘top hat’. He was already a stage star but due to his age he was never able to make the most of the arrival of film. Fantasia was released by Disney in 1940. Walt Disney was trying to get his audience interested in classical music by specifically making a cartoon to go with the music.

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1952 saw ‘singing in the rain’ released- it starred gene Kelly and the focus was on dramatic context. Singing in the rain was the peak of musical films and huge stars were made out of the singers and dancers. West side story is based upon romeo and Juliet. This turned a musical into a film. West side story reflects other social changes- the birth of rock and roll and the concept of youth culture and rebellion.

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The explosion of rock and roll came with elvis Presley, the idea of ‘teen’ and youth culture. Young people could identify with Presley and they had the sense of belonging to them. He make ‘black music’ mainstream. Ready, steady, go! (broadcast between 1963 & 1966) Was the first television show dedicated to music, live performances in order to sell the band, however the bands were usually miming. Companies started to see the potential in the commodification of a bands image for TV.

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The beatles’ hard days night was released in 1963. a record company made a promo film for the band, they used quality film director, Richard lester and supporting actors. They played themselves in spoof acts. Top of the pops was made by the bbc and broadcast weekly from January 1st 1964 to july 30th 2006. it was originally used to show the weeks number one single. A record company tried to get their artists an appearance on the show. Artist from the us would either have a performance recorded elsewhere or Pans People danced to the music. Videos were made to try and get the artists on as many commercial programmes as possible.

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in 1965The Beatles released Help! By Richard Lester began to become more arty and conceptual, it was not just a promo for the music but demonstrating the power of the artist. The Monkees! Were a Completely fabricated band from the US, based upon The Beatles. It was a good quality production and the record company had total control over the artist. Before it was a band it was a well-known sitcom series. Because of this it can be seen as an early example of convergence. David Bowie Started his career as a mime artist, he made entire albums as a character (Ziggy Stardust, Jean Genie). This was the change in the music video industry- videos were based more on the character than the artist. The videos started to become as important as the music; people expected the video to accompany the music.

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Queen releases bohemian rhapsody- this is argued to been the first ‘proper’ music video. The Who released Quadrophenia in 1979, this is a feature length film with one band’s songs that became a landmark film in representations of British youth culture. 1981 saw the creation of mtv, it was the first music only TV station, guided by VJ’s- had a massive impact on pop culture. It contributed to the importance of the music video. The channel diversified as the internet and other video channels appeared. 1983 Michael Jackson released, Thriller!. This is the Landmark in the merging of film making and video. It is Often seen as the most successful music video of all time. It was 14 minutes long and screened after the watershed. It featured the famous horror actor Vincent Price.

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1987 saw the release of Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. It was shot with Nick Park (Wallace and Gromit). to make the video Gabriel lied under a sheet for 16 hours as it was shot frame by frame. In 1989 Madonna released ‘like a prayer’, this Went to number 1 in the United kingdom and the united states, it was controversial due to the religious and sexual iconography that the video contained.