Money for Nothing -
A History of the Music Video
from the Beatles to the
White Stripes
Exclusive excepts from the new book by
Saul Austerlitz, 2007
F  E  A  T  U  R  E  S
Saul Austerlitz's new book, Money for Nothing - A History
provides a much-needed critical assessment of the genre
of music video filmmaking.  From the origins of video
making in the 1960s and 1970s, to its MTV-fueled
explosion in the early 1980s, and ultimately to its
subesequent decline and recent re-birth, Austerlitz's
commentary is always engaging, articulate, and
thought-provoking.  I asked Mr. Austerlitz if I could publish
a few excerpt of his comments on Eurythmics from the
book, and he graciously agreed.
"...The elaborate Rube Goldberg contraption animating
Annie Lennox's head in the video for
Missionary Man (1986)
only made explicit what almost all the Eurythmics' videos
made their implicit theme: the constructed nature of
personality, and by extension, femininity.  In their videos
for "Love Is A Stranger" (1982) and "Beethoven" (1987),
Lennox makes high drama out of removing her wig, taking
off the glam, ice-queen persona as easily as she had put it
and personae, starring Lennox as the chameleon able to
take on a multiplicity of roles and share the transformation
with us.  Unlike Madonna, who changed between one video
and the next, Lennox made transformation an essential
part of the videos themselves.  By taking off her costumes,
literally and metaphorically, Lennox ushered her fans behind
the curtain of stardom's metamorphoses.  Whether sexpot
or dowdy housewife, feminine object of yuppie affection or
butch male impersonator, Lennox turned the process of
changing form into the mask she wore."
"...Sweet Dreams (1983) juxtaposes locales, not personae, switching Lennox and bandmate Dave Stewart at will between a corporate
boardroom and a rural field.  The two worlds increasingly intermingled over the course of the video, like an update of
Shock the
Monkey
, with a cow strolling around the conference room table and Stewart hunched over his computer, surrounded by snacking cattle.  
Lennox is an odd amixture of androgynous corporate cool and pixieish sexual heat, her masculine business suit and carrot-colored
hair implying that no matter the context, Lennox would simultaneously fit in and stand out."
Missionary Man (1986)
Beethoven (1987)
Sweet Dreams (1983)
Money for Nothing - A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to
the White Stripes
is available for purchase from Amazon.com.