Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Rock Video Superstars

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I’ve been unpacking more boxes and I found this book, Rock Video Superstars. As you can see, I bought it for two bucks in a discount rack back then.

Rock Video Superstars by LauraMoncur from Flickr

You can’t tell from the photo, but this book is HUGE. It’s 11″ X 17″ and spiral bound. It has been in a box for over twenty years because it just doesn’t fit on any bookcase shelf. I unpacked an entire box of books in awkward sizes. They are lining the top of my bookshelves now.

Even as a kid, I knew that it was a strange book. That’s why I bought it back in 1984, because it was a funny and brief book that tried to describe videos. Take the description of “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, for example:

Rock Video Superstars by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Michael is wandering through an imaginary city, troubled by the rumors that swirl around him and shadowed by a trench-coated stranger, who represents a prying press and public. No matter how hard the stranger tries to trap Michael, he can’t be dragged down. For example, when the stranger tried to grab Michael and the Polaroid camera goes off, not only does Michael disappear from the scene but even the camera can’t capture him; only the stranger is in the resulting photograph.

The sidewalk panels light up as Michael’s feet touch them, and his dance moves are so sudden, so unpredictable that it looks like director Barron would have like him to try to stay on a single square so the man working the lights would have a fighting chance to keep up.

I had seen the Michael Jackson videos on Solid Gold, but for a kid without MTV, this book was a godsend, telling me about videos that I couldn’t see. I remember reading the description for the video for “Karma Chameleon” and wishing that I could watch it on MTV. Years later, when I finally DID see the video, it wasn’t nearly as good as my imagination had made it out to be. Based on the description and the lone picture, it was an epic. In the end, it was just a music video.

You can see all the pages of the book here:


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