In the early ’80s, when Mick Jagger was wearing football pants and knee pads on stage, he did a lot of running around in public. I thought I could easily find him running, dramatically and symbolically in Stones videos, but this is the best I could find. You’ll see Mick run – for dramatic effect – 3 minutes and 15 seconds into this meandering clip. It’s not an impressive display, but he’s acting. We’re better off thinking of Mick in those football pants and knee pads, running because The People demand a great show!
The “getaway” trot is a common reason for rock artists to run in videos, tying back to the long tradition of musicians on the run, whether from the law or adoring fans. For a historical perspective, see the characters of White Christmas on the run at the start of that holiday classic for the former and The Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night for the latter.
At the 1:15 mark in her “Human Behavior” video Bjork begins to pick up pace as a bear pursues her through the woods (or are she and the bear the same?)…she’s got a “girly,” floppy arms motion, possibly in part owing to her stylish, floppy outfit…at 1:25 she abandons her floppy trot for flying (later she does a mean backfloat, making this possibly rock’ first triathalon event). She lands in a tree, but when the branch breaks she falls into a darkened country road and must duck under an oncoming car driven by the bear. Relieved to escape a certain death, she resumes trotting through the woods, this time with a precocious Little Red Riding Hood gait.
The root cause of the getaway trot may be something more profound, however: the attempt to run from one’s demons. Red Hot Chili Peppers’ singer Anthony Kiedis gives shirtless running with a tight ponytail a bad name in the video for “Under the Bridge.” Let’s talk a look at a clear example of the inner demons-inspired rock trot.http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xkgnlu
As Kiedis revisits familiar haunts, there’s a growing sense that the man’s inner demons are in pursuit. Finally, at the 3:15 mark, Kiedis is seen bursting through his own head, which had already been superimposed over the cover of John Lennon‘s Imagine album. Arms-a-pumpin’, ponytail-a-flowin’, the initial impression is that of Jim Thorpe getting back in touch with his Native American roots for a Hertz Rent-a-Car commercial. Soon, though, this impressive imagery is diminished by the jiggling of Kiedis’ budding manboobs and clear lack of triangulation where the midsection meets the hips. Immediately following this sequence, he’s put on a black tank top and is wrapping himself up in his arms, as if in shame. Coincidence? A closing gesture meant to comment on the serious lyrical content of the song? I think not. The remorseful body language is similar to what we see from a runner-up in an athletic event. Although he gives it his best effort, Anthony’s not the shirtless, ponytailed runner he used to be.
For some, a wedding day can unleash a can of demons, as demonstrated in Greg Kihn Band‘s, “Jeopardy.” At the 2:12 mark, with his bride and wedding guests turning into zombies, Kihn makes a frantic, awkward dash down the aisle. His form is poor before he’s mercifully dragged back into the zombie mix.
NEXT: Closing thoughts.