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A Brief History of Music Videos

The YouTube Music service has been launched in the United States, various articles and blogs devoted to music are growing every day, and Drake's Hotline Bling video has become one of the main events in popular culture. Today we plunged into more than a century-long history of combining music and image - and now we can talk about why and to whom music videos have become the way we see them now.

The first illustrated song

When there was no sound in the movies, songwriters attracted listeners differently. In 1894, music publishers Edward Mark and Joseph Stern, using electrician George Thomas, created the first illustrated song. It looked like this: 10-15 images were applied to each song, which was projected onto the wall during a live performance. Usually illustrated songs were shown before the movie, and sometimes instead. The popularity of the illustrations showed the inventors that this should not be limited.

First video recorded over music

It is easy to guess that the first music video appeared around the same time that sound appeared in the films. More precisely, right away: Bob Witt and Sai Berg performed three unnamed songs (although it says everywhere that they performed My Honolulu Hula Girl and Hello, Aloha (How Are You?), a simple comparison of the lyrics shows that it was not them) show off new Vitaphone technology. For a long time, music videos were just like that, but the term itself did not exist then - it was nothing more than a recorded performance of a song on the tape. There was no such thing as a music video production company back in the day.

history of music videosThe first music video

The first person to call his performance “music video” was Giles Perry Richardson, Jr., aka Big Bopper, the infamous member of the flight “The Day the Music Died” - his Chantilly Lace first got the name music video, although nothing special but touching conversations with the girl on the phone, the song does not occur. On the one hand, in the video of Elvis’s Jailhouse Rock, released a year earlier, there are many more dynamics and there is even a dance segment. On the other hand, Big Bopper is primarily important precisely because it introduced a new concept in everyday life. It is believed that the first video was shot by another legend, Tony Bennett, but there is no evidence of the existence of Stranger in Paradise.

The first video with a plot

Whoever shot the first video with the plot will not work out for sure, however, The Kinks was one of the first. The adventures of the unlucky working-class funeral artists later inspired Oasis to look like a black-and-white video, but it’s hard to call it a cult. By the way, the video was not allowed to be shown on the BBC (but was not officially banned) due to the fact that it was considered tasteless.

The first video of a fictional band

The Archies, who grew out of the teenage Archie comic strip, was not the first band to exist: they were ahead of Alvin and his chipmunks. But the first band that got on TV and, as a result, preoccupied with the appearance of the video, was this one. The band itself is mostly known for the Sugar song, Sugar, which The Monkees is said to have abandoned, but their first video was filmed on the unpretentious song Bang Shang a Lang, which shows how to dance to the bubblegum pop. Gorillaz had more than 30 years to succeed.

The first video recorded on a videotape

It's funny that one of the first videos, which can be considered a full-fledged music video, appeared due to lack of time and the band’s principles. When Queen was invited to the Top of the Pops program, they said that they would not be able to come because of the tour and did not really want to play to the soundtrack (then this was a prerequisite). As a result, one of the most innovative videos of the time came out - a combination of effects, a hint to the cover of the Queen II album and much more led to the fact that over the year’s people consider this the first video in history. In a way, this is not far from the truth.