This week’s Monday Music Video selection is “You’re My Best Friend”, the 1975 song (and 1976 video) by Queen. Off of the legendary A Night at the Opera album, there really isn’t much for me to say about the video. It’s Queen, so you know it’s great. And chances are everybody’s familiar with the song (at least, everybody over the age of, say, 30.) And the video, as with most of Queen’s videos from that era, is a simple but elegant performance piece. It’s beautiful, it’s well done, but there just isn’t a lot for me to discuss.
There is, however, a bit for me to say about how this week’s video was chosen. So watch Freddie Mercury sing, and then we’ll talk a bit about a certain list that I’ve been working on for a while.
So far as I’ve been making MMV posts, there has always been some reason behind the selection — even if it was just my own spur-of-the-moment whim. But I’ve known since the beginning that there would be times in which I would have trouble thinking of an idea (in fact, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” came about because it was the only thing I could find that had a connection to that day in music history). So for those days when my inspiration needs a little bit of a jump start, I wanted to create a list of songs that I could randomly select an item from to write about.
This hasn’t been something I’ve been working on constantly, day in and day out, but it’s had my attention off and on as I’ve been writing movie reviews and regular articles. After ten weeks of the Monday Music Video, the big list is finally compiled. I’ve added entries from multiple source lists, and if a song is on more than one list, it gets more than one entry (and thus a greater chance of being selected). As songs get selected, all their entries are removed from the list (unless there is more than one video for it, in which case I’ll make a judgment call about whether it gets to stick around for another go later on).
These are the source lists I compiled mine from:
- Billboard Top 100 for each year from 1975-1999
- MTV’s First Day Playlist
- MTV Top 20 Videos of 1984 (the list that year only went to 20)
- MTV Top 100 Videos for each year from 1985-1999
- MTV Video Music Awards nominees for each category and each year from 1984-1999
- MTV’s 500 Greatest Videos of All Time (1999 winter list plus vids. from summer list that were cut)
- MTV’s Top 100 Videos of the 80s (1989 list)
- MTV’s 25 Worst Videos of All Time (1999 list)
- Grammy Video Nominees, 1983-1999 (excluding long form videos)
- Rolling Stone Top 100 Pop Songs (2000 list)
- VH1′s 100 Greatest Music Videos (2001 list)
- VH1′s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders
- VH1′s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s
- VH1′s 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s
- VH1′s 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s
- VH1′s 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever
- VH1′s 40 Most Awesomely Bad Metal Songs
- VH1′s 100 Greatest Rock Songs
- VH1′s 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs
- VH1′s 100 Greatest Love Songs
- VH1′s 100 Greatest Dance Songs
- VH1′s 40 Greatest Metal Songs
I focused mostly on the 1975-1999 era, as it’s the heyday of the music video and the era I’m most familiar with. I didn’t want to come across as a grumpy old man too often with more modern music videos coming up all the time. I am well aware that not every possible music video from that era is covered (in fact, “Jailbreak”, by AC/DC, which was already posted wasn’t on the list anywhere). But hopefully this will give a pretty good cross-sample for a random selection. I’m also aware that many of the songs from the Billboard list and other non-video-specific lists won’t have a music video. But that’s the work of a moment to fix when they come up.
After completion, the list had 7785 total entries, counting songs with multiple entries. Many songs have a single entry. Some have a great many. The most is a five-way tie between “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M, “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits, “Scream” by Michael & Janet Jackson, “Take on Me” by a-ha, and “Waterfalls” by TLC with 16 entries each. Of course, that still only amounts to a 0.2% chance of being selected at random, which — while 16 times greater than a one-entry song — still isn’t all that much when taken in whole.
And “You’re My Best Friend”? The first number thrown out by the random number generator was #7756, the one and only entry for this song, which was included by virtue of making it to #83 on the Billboard Top 100 for 1976. I’d call that a pretty good start.