Movie Music Video is a an occasional look at, well, notable music videos from film soundtracks. This debut column examines an obscure (yet totally amazing) clip from the mid-1980s.
Eddy Grant’s 1982 hit “Electric Avenue” may have told us all how to rock down and take it higher (oh no!), but it was hardly his best song. That honor goes to “Romancing the Stone,” the title track from the popular Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito action comedy. Although a staple on radio stations in the summer of 1984, the song itself only appears in the film for a few seconds — odd given the fact that it could very well be the greatest tune ever written. Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly, but there’s no arguing that it is a jaunty little rocker that brings to mind the wacky antics of Robert Zemeckis’ film.
So what’s so great about this? For starters, Grant begins the clip with a rambling speech about non-alcoholic beverages and climbing a fake mountain while the video’s crew sits around glaring at him with contempt. Then there’s the resquite “clever” editing that attempts to make it look like Grant was actually on the film’s set…even though he clearly was in a jungle somewhere with a director of photography who probably spent the majority of the shoot attempting to pinpoint when his life went so horribly wrong. This is all very much fun to watch, yet it doesn’t even begin to prepare you for the epic moment that occurs two minutes and seven seconds into the clip. At this point, Grant uses his powers of awesomeness to transform a machete into his guitar — which he naturally then uses to rock viewers into oblivion. Wonderful.
There was another video for the song that featured Grant jamming in the studio as opposed to the one you see above, but it doesn’t feature the machete transformation scene and is therefore worthless (die hard Grant fans, all three of you, can watch it here).
When The Jewel of the Nile (the Romancing the Stone sequel) came out in 1985, Grant was not called back to reprise his vocal duties for the soundtrack. Instead, “Caribbean Queen” hitmaker Billy Ocean was brought in to record “When the Going Gets Tough the Tough Get Going.” That video, which features Douglas, Turner and DeVito embarrasing themselves as Ocean’s backup singers, will be featured in a future installment of Movie Music Video. For now though, I leave you with Billy Ocean’s “Loverboy,” a Star Wars-inspired video that is easily the coolest thing you will see all day. Enjoy: