Jackie Wilson made his US chart debut with the finger-popping classic, ‘Reet Petite’, on this day in 1957. The video that triggered its re-release, with its unforgettable stop-motion animation, now so well known thanks to the likes of clay-modelled Wallace and Gromit (do you remember Morph before them, also a product of Aardman Animations?), deserves watching again. It helped make the song an international smash hit in the years following Wilson’s death, in 1984.
The tragic entertainer, who spent his final eight years in a coma following a heart attack during one of his concerts, is one of my favourites: a dynamic singer and showman, hailed ‘Mr Excitement’ for his energetic on-stage performances. How about the vocal gymnastics on ‘Reet Petite’ and its amusing Claymation representation?
Thinking about how animation has been used by musicians down the years, it’s hard to think initially of anything beyond the many memorable backdrop films used by Pink Floyd, projected onto a circular screen behind the band as they played, successfully shifting focus away from them. Do you have a favourite? The various ‘Time’ films, not least the 1974 Ian Emes original, are worthy of special interest.
Of course, we all know The Wall well – Gerald Scarfe’s satirical artistry enhanced the project in all its formats greatly – and The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine can’t be far from thought (particularly if, like me, you’re a Liverpool fan dreaming of a team of Carraghers on match day); neither can Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’, still performing admirably whenever called to represent the Eighties in intermittent Best Music Video polls and held up against examples of much more advanced technological and multimedia wizardry. Yet the one that I always loved most of all was Michael Jackson’s ‘Leave Me Alone’, with its clattering teeth, dogs in suits and the man himself tied down like Gulliver by the weight of media expectation.
There are plenty more besides; I’ll offer up the following five, each incorporating different animation techniques which you may, or may not, have seen, recall or even care for. Do tell. Can you think of any others?
The chatroom will be open tomorrow, by the way – from 3pm (UK). All welcome.