January 11, 2018 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Rock and Roll Animated Videos

Today: maybe some animated videos you haven’t seen!

First, some (very brief) Thunderbean news:

Packing and shipping is about the only thing going on this week besides work to finish Fleischer Rarities. More news soon!

The new semester at the school is starting here, and often students will show me something I haven’t seen before, and I always try to show them things they haven’t seen back!

One of the things I was thinking about today was animated music video that are a little less seen. I thought of a few that I wanted to see that I hadn’t looked at in a while, and maybe you haven’t seen them either. Some of these have some nicely executed animation, while others don’t quite get there, but each is an interesting watch.

Running down a Dream (1989)

I believe this short video was directed by Jim Lenahan, and features animation by Rick Catizone and others. It’s got a nice animation history component, being based on the Little Nemo in Slumberland comics of Winsor McCay. I was happy to see a copy up on Tom Petty’s Vevo, and more surprised that I hadn’t thought to look this one up before:

Don’t Walk Away (1980)

While not really a music video, this section of the movie ‘Xanadu’ features an ELO song and the first released animation by the Don Bluth Studios. You can see they are already attempting a more extravagant look than the work being done at the Disney Studio at the time. The animation of course varies here from absolutely beautiful to looking a little rushed in the rotoscoped scenes. I always thought this scene owed something to ‘The Sword and the Stone’. Sadly, this version is ‘flat’, and the film was made in scope. There is a new Blu-ray in scope though, preserving the original aspect ratio of the film.

Love etc. (2009)

This interesting and busy video (by Dutch animator/ Digital artist Han Hoogerbrugge) uses the artists’ motifs (as well as lots of video game references) throughout the piece, and uses Adobe After Effects to combine rotoscoping and CG animated objects to create evolving and dizzying imagery.

The Music Scene (2010)

This beautifully timed and animated video (By Anthony F. Schepperd) is a continuous swirl of color and action, bringing a very traditional flavor to the digital workflow employed. I enjoy the direction this artist’s work is taking, although a lot less conventional.

Don’t Answer Me (1984) Alan Parsons Project

I wished that the animation quality was better on this video when I first saw it, although I really like much of the drawing as well as some of the techniques used throughout, especially the little sets. I’m sure the budget was tight. There’s a nice little reference to ’A Trip to the Moon’. There was a broadcast on MTV showing the making of this video back then- I wish I could find that!

Move your Feet (2003) Junior Senior

This little video uses the look of outdated technology look to make simple and fun animation, by London-based Shyola. It was created using a digital art program called ‘Deluxe Paint’ that gave it this video game inspired look.

Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad (1999)

This primitive looking animated video (based on the look of the artist’s drawing of his ‘Little Idiot’ character) was produced by Belzebu Films.

Seaside Woman (1980)

Brilliantly animated video by Oscar Grillo, based on the 1977 Linda McCartney and Wings song. I especially enjoy the color design ideas throughout, and harsh, deserved criticism of tourists.

Love Without Anger (1981) Devo

This mostly live action video (by Akron’s finest) features a small Barbie animated sequence. The scene was shot in 16mm and animated by one of the founders of the parody ’Church of the Sub-Genius’, Ivan Stang. He also animated some of the other imagery based on band member and composer Mark Mothersbough.

Are there any less seen animated music videos that are stuck in your head? List ‘em!

Have a good week everyone.


  • One less-seen animated video is ‘Basketball Jones’ by Cheech & Chong from 1974.
    I remember seeing it on tv back in the 70s. It had a lot of topical gags (the Goodyear Blimp with ‘Impeach Nixon’ on it) which I didn’t naturally get at the time. Does anyone know who did the animation for it?

    Don Bluth also did the animation for a Scissor Sisters music video. I forget which one.

    • The late Paul Gruwell animated Cheech and Chong’s “Basketball Jones” cartoon, which was released in 1974. It was animated and colored (with marker) on paper, in a style that seemed like utterly full animation at the time.

    • Basketball Jones was also seen on BEING THERE (now available on the Criterion Collection

  • Some favorites of mine are the Bedrock Rockers from the Flintstone Comedy Hour. These were short, surreal, sometimes catchy, often unusual visuals, sometimes featuring the Flintstones characters, sometimes purely abstract or semi-abstract images. One of them, “Sunny Day” shows the evolution of Pebbles from baby to toddler to little girl to teenager as Fred pushes her in a swing–one of the few times that the baby and teen versions of Pebbles were shown in the same video.

    “The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan” featured some more rock videos with unusually catchy songs. “Who Done It?” and “I’m the Number One Son” are two that stand out in my memory.

  • Bluth also did animation on the video for “Mary” by Scissors Sisters. A campy Rapunzel story by way of Dragon’s Lair.
    Another old favorite is Dan Fogerty’s “Vanz Can’t Dance”, with brilliant Claymation by Wil Vinton, using an early version of his Wilshire Pig character.
    John Kricfalusi did a video for Bjork that thoroughly out-weirds anything on Ren and Stimpy.

    • That would be JOHN Fogerty’s “Vanz Can’t Dance.”

    • “Vanz Kant Danz” was originally “Zanz Kant Danz”, but Fogerty changed it after Saul Zaentz threatened suit, thinking the song was a slur against him. (Zaentz owned Fantasy Records, for which Fogerty’s group Creedencw Clearwater Revival recorded.)

  • It’s not really “less seen” (over 3 million total views in various iterations on YouTube) but “Ghost of Stephen Foster” (Squirrel Nut Zippers) is one of my favourite animated music videos with excellent faux-Thirties animation.

    “Winner of “Best Animated Music Video” at the 1999 Vancouver Animation Festival. Directed by Raymond Persi and Matthew Nastuk.”

  • The animated videos that I remember were Genius of Love by the Tom Tom Club, Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer and of course Herb Albert and the TJB’s Spanish Flea and Tijuana Taxi which became part of the Oscar winning animated short A Herb Albert and the TJB Double Feature along with The Groovie Goolies and the fictional groups The Mummies and the Puppies, The Bare Bones Band,The Spirits of ’76 and The Rolling Headstones,

  • The Rolling Stones also hired Ralph Bakshi for their 1986 video for “Harlem Shuffle”, where the interesting thing here is the look of the characters and backgrounds were a warm-up for both Bakshi’s “New Adventures of Mighty Mouse” and for John K’s later “Ren & Stimpy” efforts —

  • Tiny Toons – “Istanbul” (They Might Be Giants)

    Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract

    • And don’t forget Particle Man by They Might Be Giants that was also on the Tiny Toons episode Tiny Toons Music Television.

  • I believe “Don’t Answer Me” was animated by Broadcast Arts.

  • Do the Bartman and Deep, Deep Trouble by Bart Simpson

  • Remembering Filmation’s “The Hardy Boys”. Every segment had the Hardy Boys’ band doing a number; the visuals were always some mix of the same stock footage, which seemed to be inspired by the video effects used on the Smothers Brothers show.

  • No Harlem Shuffle? Really?

  • Probably my favorite stop motion music video – Fleet Foxes –

    • Thanks; that’s indeed a good video, and actually fits the song. (As much as I like Pentatonix’s cover, it’s really not a Christmas song.)

  • La Bionda -I Wanna Be Your Lover(1981) :
    Righiera -No Tengo Dinero(1985):

  • “JCB Song” by Nizlopi. Reminds me of Dad. I also like the Chitty reference at the end.

  • There are a few animated music videos I always come back to (Blockhead is one of them !)

    1) Vince Collins – Life is Flashing Before your Eyes

    2) Stuck in the Sound – Let’s Go

    3-17) Daft Punk – Interstella 5555 (their “Discovery” album as a full length animated film)

    18) Queens of the Stone Age – Go With the Flow

    19) Pearl Jam – Do the Evolution

    20) Korn – Freak on a Leash

  • There is one animated music video that comes to my mind, and that’s Grease is the Word from the movie Grease (1978).
    No, wait… I have one more that comes to me, and that’s In My Wildest Dreams sung by Belinda Carlisle in the movie Mannequin (1987)

  • Rolf’s Cartoon Club – Madonna – Report On The Making Of Dear Jessie Video – 1989

  • Jurassic Park-Weird Al (animated by Mark Osbourne)

  • Another animated music video is ‘Love Is All’ by Roger Glover (Deep Purple) and Friends featuring Ronnie James Dio on vocals.

    It was the animated sequence of a live action movie called ‘The Butterfly Ball’ , which I’ve never seen and was based on the book by Alan Aldridge. The animation was done by Halas and Batchelor.

    The music video ‘Insanity’ by Oingo Boingo features creepy Jan Svankmajer style stop-motion animation.

  • Wilco and Popeye “Dawned on Me” 2012

  • The Petty video is great, although it’s based on an over-literal interpretation of the title. It isn’t about the kind of dream you have while sleeping, but rather the kind of dream that is a goal or aspiration.

    Still good to see “new McCay” animation!

  • Xanadu is not a scope film, and the excerpt here on the website is not really ‘flat’. It’s an anamorphic widescreen 1:85 clip that hasn’t been transcoded to YouTube properly, resulting in the clip looking flat but it’s actually squashed because it hasn’t been properly encoded to stretch to the correct 1:85 aspect ratio. It’s obvious everything is just a little thinner than it should be.

  • Two particular music videos I remember well from the good old days of MTV…

    Elton John – Club At The End Of The Street:

    Rod Stewart – The Motown Song (watch for Elton’s character from the previous video make a cameo here):

    Both videos produced at Animation City in London.

  • Btw, just wanted to mention, for those who didn’t catch it, that Anthony F. Schepperd’s MV for Blockhead’s “The Music Scene” was featured on adult swim’s early morning audiovisual showcase [I]Off The Air[/I], on the episode that focused on the theme of “Animals”.

  • Elvis Costello & the Attractions had an animated video for their 1979 single ‘Accidents Can Happen’. I think it was made by Oscar Grillo who did the ‘Seaside Woman’ animated video.

  • Most all of the Cartoon Network “Groovies” videos were good but “Jabberjaw(Running Under Water)” by Pain was by far the best. I am a ska/punk fan , and even though that band did not consider themselves to be of that genre, they certainly come close enough for my tastes. Also “the Incredible Shrinking Day” one, with Ed, Edd and Eddie. (Don’t remember who sang the song) I never even liked Ed, Edd and Eddie but that song is excellent! (I’m on my phone and can’t figure out a way to post a link to the videos at the moment, but they are on YouTube.)

  • I had forgotten all about “Don’t Answer Me” and Nick & Sugar. Great to see that one again.

    John Wilson was one of the pioneers of animated music videos in the 1970’s with the cartoon sequences he created for “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” (A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done, Dark Lady, One Tin Soldier, Higher Ground, Brand New Key, and others) plus at least one for the Tony Orlando show and Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby” for The Midnight Special. (And, for Christian Svenningsen, he also made those animated titles for “Grease.”)

    A number of those music videos were released in the early days of VHS as “John Wilson’s Mini-Musicals,” a tape that now commands insane prices as a collectible; and some of the S & C Comedy Hour numbers were on the DVD release of that show. The Wilson cartoons would make a great Thunderbean release, but the problems of clearing music rights have reached impossible proportions now, so it probably could never happen.

  • OK, the other day, when I was on my phone, I couldn’t figure how to post these links on here but now I can:
    And “The Incredible Shrinking Day! (Such a great song title and great song!)

  • No “Take on me” by A-ha? That was a beautifully done video. Should have made the cut here.

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