The single tracking shot following singer Shara Nelson as she walks through a degenerate Los Angeles in Massive Attack’s “Unfinished Sympathy” remains one of music’s most indelible images. The man behind that video, and indeed all of the videos from that band’s first album, Blue Lines, is Baillie Walsh. The British director has continued to push the creative boundaries throughout a career stretching over 20 years, helming videos for, among others, New Order, Richard Ashcroft, Spiritualized and Oasis (who he also captured for the 2007 rockumentary Lord Don’t Slow Me Down.) Here Walsh shares five of the videos that continue to resonate with him.
The Jackson Five
“Can You Feel It”
I saw it at Marble Arch Odeon. It was just extraordinary. It’s magical in that cheesy, post-production way, but at the time it seemed incredibly modern. Music is like a diary of your life and that was a lovely moment.
Madonna “Open Your Heart”
I have to add Madonna because through the late 80s and early 90s she led the whole ‘video’ era. The one for me is “Open Your Heart.” When Jean-Baptiste Mondino got involved he transformed her—she had this Marilyn Monroe quality and the choreography was great. That combination of Mondino and Madonna was sensational.
Aphex Twin “Window Licker”
Chris Cunningham is a master and his execution is so spot-on. It’s anal in a way but it’s so genius and dark—you’re entering the world of Chris Cunningham and that’s always exciting. I thought “Window Licker” really pushed boundaries. It was a sensational visual feast with great humor.
UNKLE “Rabbit in Your Headlights”
Jonathan Glazer’s video is a beautifully executed piece of work, really surprising, fabulous.
“Nothing Compares 2 U”
John Maybury was my boyfriend for 17 years. When he made that video I was there and it was a fabulous adventure. It’s [one of] the most emotional and mesmerizing videos ever made, with a genius song written by Prince. Sinead’s performance blew John away—he didn’t know she was going to pull that out of the bag. It’s her face, her beauty. It’s just the best performance of any pop video that I can think of.