Friday Night Videos: I Used to Rock!

Eric Clapton: Layla (1970)

As this video from 1983 shows, “Layla” wasn’t always an introspective song. I’d never heard this version before. It’s quite the lineup, what with Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Andy Fairweather Low on guitars.

The Police: Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86 (1986)

Oh, man. Oh, man. YouTube doesn’t have the original studio music video that The Police made for this song in 1980, so you get the 1986 version with the slower chorus and the computer graphics and the floating instruments a la the 1987 video for Rush’s “Time Stand Still”. If you draw a line through the 1980 version of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and the 1986 version, it goes straight through “All for Love,” the ballad he, Rod Stewart, and Bryan Adams did for the movie The Three Musketeers, and ends at the album “Mercury Falling”.

9 thoughts on “Friday Night Videos: I Used to Rock!

  1. Man, I love Clapton performances from the mid 70s through the early 80s. Takes me back to my childhood, when I caught up on his back catalog after the Unplugged disc came out.

    That said, you’re aware that this video breaks into J.J. Cale’s “Cocaine”, right? [I know that you queue this stuff up in advance and may have gotten hosed in the interim.]

    I wish to heck I could find another copy of the live concert tape I have of Clapton from that era … I slap wore the thing out in the early 1990s and stupidly threw it away. Wikipedia is no help for helping me find the title.

    [And in case you’re curious, no, I haven’t forgiven Eric for Pilgrim, not even after Me and Mr. Johnson.]

  2. Geof, thanks. I’ve fixed the link. Also, hee hee about Pilgrim.

    Limax, I didn’t have anything to show this go-round.

  3. On the Clapton video you can’t leave out Steve Winwood on keyboards, the drummer and bass player from The Rolling Stones, Greg Allman on piano (pretty sure) and Riff Raff, the butler from The Rocky Horror Picture show beating the crap out of the Chinese cymbol.

  4. I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the “unplugged” version of Layla. Every time I hear it, I just tell myself it was a bad dream.

    Damn. That version of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” sucks pretty bad, too. As for the video, I get less of a “Time Stand Still” feeling and more of a cross between “Everybody Have Fun” and the “spinning trophy” bit near the end of “And She Was”. That, and I’m pretty sure they owe Electronic Arts some money. 🙂

  5. Jeff, I really like the unplugged version of “Layla”. What I look for in re-done songs or covers is a new spin on it, something that brings out new nuances. On that score, I believe both “Layla” and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” work.

    That said, I remember telling an acquaintance who loved the unplugged “Layla” that there was a much more hard-rockin’ version….

  6. Wow. I did come across as a bit of prick there, didn’t I? 🙂 I’ve tried to get better over the years at expressing personal preferences for songs instead of making value judgments about them, but I’m not always so successful. My friends know my musical tastes well enough to know that this glass house I’m in won’t stand up to those rocks very long. Also, I will freely admit that some of the songs I like really do suck. 🙂

    So, “sucks” is too harsh. The opinions stand, though. For “Layla”, that one is such a prototypical rocker for me that something inside me just fundamentally won’t accept an acoustic version. For quite a while, I would literally get angry if I heard the “unplugged” version. Same thing with the “unplugged” version of “Hotel California”.

    I think another part of it is that doing “unplugged” versions was such a fad in the ’90s. You weren’t a cool rocker if you didn’t “unplug”. In lots of cases it seemed like it was less about expression or creativity and more about pandering to the popular. I obviously don’t know Clapton’s motives, but I can’t help but associate acoustic remakes of rocking songs with that “movement”.

    The Sting song… I’m actually not sure why I react as strongly to the ’86 version as I do, but I do. The further I go, the more I have come to appreciate the old Police stuff (probably Amy’s influence there). That punk/reggae/rock vibe they had was so unlike anything else I’ve heard. This version sounds too homogeneous and soothing to me, especially since this song is basically the conflicted internal dialogue of a guy obsessed with an underage girl. The cognitive dissonance of those lyrics against the almost ethereal style of the music in the ’86 version is just too much for me. 🙂

  7. *laugh* Then again, maybe the Police were all about cognitive dissonance. Just listen to “Every Breath You Take”. I went _years_ before I really listened to what that song says. The song became really creepy to me at that point, and I didn’t like it as much. It’s now “the stalker song” to me. 🙂

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